July 30, 2012

Follow the Sun – Jet off to a perfect beach getaway

The beach is always a good idea. If you're wanting to jet off to a sunny beach paradise, here are some warm and sunny destinations, approximately 4 hours flying time from Johannesburg. Less time on the plane and more time to spend in the sun!

For travel packages and flights to these destinations, visit our website and find your nearest Sure Travel agent.

View the ultimate beach paradise getaways here – think the Cayman Islands, Croatia and Whitsunday Islands.

Only a 4 hour flight from Johannesburg, affordable and with no visa required for South African passport holders, it’s no surprise that Mauritius is such a popular beach getaway.

Known for:  Sandy white beaches, warm aquamarine sea and lagoons, luxury hotels and friendly locals.

Don’t miss: Port Louis’ colourful markets, a visit to a sugarcane factory, exploring on horseback and the lush forests of the Black River Gorges National Park.

Best time to go: July to September

Estimated flight time: 4 hours from Johannesburg

Where to stay? Read reviews of some Mauritius hotels here. 

A view of Le Morne mountain looking over Beachcomber's Paradis Hotel and Golf Club.
A view of the spa at Beachcomber's Dinarobin Hotel, Golf and Spa resort.
Beachcomber's Le Canonnier in Mauritius.
Beachcomber's Le Victoria resort on the north-west coast of Mauritius.

Built on a pristine, remote tropical island, Mumbo Island Camp in Lake Malawi is paradise on earth – as it would have been a hundred years ago. With an exclusive limit of 14 guests, no electricity (blissful!), hot bucket showers, and basic yet comfortable tented structures, Mumbo Island has been built to leave only a very minimal impact on its surroundings.

Known for: Mumbo Island Camp is known for its pristine, untouched state and has never been populated by humans. Malawi is affectionately known as the “warm heart of Africa”, and its friendly, welcoming people live up to this reputation.

Don’t miss: Snooze in a hammock while listening to the African Fish-Eagles soaring overhead, snorkel and spot colourful cichlid fish in the crystal-clear, warm waters of the lake and swim and kayak to your heart’s content.

Best time to go: Late April to November

Estimated flight time: 2 hours 30 minutes from Johannesburg to Blantyre, Malawi

Need to know: Check health requirements and vaccinations with your local travel health clinic. Malaria risk area. Visas are not required for South African passport holders.

Mumbo Island camp on Lake Malawi.
Swimming, kayaking and snorkeling are popular in the warm, clear waters of Lake Malawi.
Relaxing in a hammock is one tempting way to spend an afternoon at Mumbo Island.

The island of Zanzibar, with its endless palm fringed beaches and azure waters, was the favourite haunt of the Sultans of Oman in the Middle Ages – and the island has retained that sense of exoticism and escapism to this day.

Known for: Spices especially the scent of cloves, traditional sailing dhows, magnificent carved wooden doors and Stone Town.

Don’t miss: The vibrant Darajani Market in Stone Town, a historical tour of the city, a cruise on a traditional dhow at sunset and a visit to the tropical rainforest, Jozani Forest, home to the Zanzibar Red Colobus monkey.

Best time to go: Late June to October

Estimated flight time: 3 hours 30 minutes from Johannesburg to Zanzibar

Need to know: Check health requirements and vaccinations with your local travel health clinic. Malaria risk area. Visas are not required for South African passport holders.

The bright colours and exoticism of Zanzibar can be seen in everything from the colour of the ocean
to the incredible whiteness of the sand.

Set like a jewel within the glittering Quirimbas Archipelago off the coast of Mozambique, Medjumbe is a small private island only one km long and 500m wide. A perfect vista of white sand and translucent sea mesmerises all who visit.

Known for: The Quirimbas Archipelago is a chain of 32 islands that are famous for their rich corals and abundant marine life.

Don’t miss: Relax in the private plunge pools and laze the afternoons away in a gently swaying hammock at Medjumbe. Enjoy delicious, fresh seafood on the deck – the ultimate in barefoot luxury. If fishing is your thing, the Quirimbas Archipelago offers some of the most spectacular fishing in the world.

Best time to go: June to August

Estimated flight time: 1 hour from Johannesburg to Maputo

Need to know: Check health requirements and vaccinations with your local travel health clinic. Malaria risk area. Visas are not required for South African passport holders for tourism purposes for a stay of up to 30 days.

Medjumbe Private Island glitters like a jewel off the coast of Mozambique.

Réunion, the French governed island in the Indian Ocean, is not nearly as well known or developed as its neighbour Mauritius, and therein lies its charm and attraction. The island is a tropical paradise of contrasts - shimmering white beaches, dense forests, soaring mountains and volcanoes, gentle waterfalls, lagoons and quaint villages.

Known for: Its active volcano and 3 lush amphitheatres or ‘Cirques’, which are formed from dormant volcanoes.

Don’t miss: If you are looking for a place to chill out on the beach, then you will find it on Réunion, but the island offers so much more than just that. It is an adventure and nature lovers’ paradise – View the “Piton de la Fournaise” considered one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. Visit the village of Cilaos, situated at an altitude of 1300m in one of the 3 calderas on the island (A caldera is a shallow valley formed by the collapse of the centre of a dormant volcano). Enjoy the view from the Cirque of Mafate and hike in the remote valley – there are an amazing variety of trails and the area enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status.

Best time to go: May to June, although the peak tourist season runs all the way from late June to September.

Estimated flight time: 4 hours from Johannesburg on Air Austral. Read about a
Air Austral flight here.

We recommend: A stay at the luxurious LUX* Ile de la Réunion. Set in gardens scattered with charming Creole villas, coconut palms and filao trees, this unique beach hotel has the most exclusive views of the shimmering, coral-sheltered lagoon at L'Hermitage.

Need to know: No visas needed for South African passport holders. 

Pic credits:
Mauritius: Beachcomber 
Malawi: 1,2,3, 4, 5

Zanzibar: 1,2,3,4
Mozambique: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Reunion: 1,2,3, 4


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