October 22, 2012

Follow the Sun – perfect beach getaways

There is just something about a typical beach or island that makes for a perfect holiday. Soft white sand, swaying palm trees and warm turquoise waters spell out luxury, relaxation and tranquillity in any language. A while ago, we featured some idyllic beach and island getaways (read that blog post here) only 4 hours flying time from Johannesburg. This time we headed a bit further away on the globe to find those perfect beach getaways…
CROATIA
Known for: With over a thousand islands and a sea temperature that reaches 27°C in the summer, Croatia is one of Europe’s hottest attractions (in both a literal and figurative sense!)Known for: Its magnificent coastline, 2600 hours of sunshine annually, the red roofs of Dubrovnik and wonderfully preserved old towns.
Don’t miss: Croatia’s fine shingle beach Zlatni Rat, known as the Golden Horn,which stretches out hundreds of metres into the sea at Bol on the island of Brac - like a white tongue licking the deep blue sea. If you don’t mind the wind and jostling with the crowds, Zlatni Rat is the perfect place to try out some watersports and windsurfing. A small section of Zlatni Rat beach is reserved as a nudist beach, as are many of the surrounding smaller bays and beaches.
Best time to go: April to September
Need to know: Visas are required for South African passport holders.





CAYMAN ISLANDS
Located in the Caribbean Sea south of Cuba, the Cayman Islands consist of a group of 3 islands which form the beach playground of the rich and famous.
Known for: Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman, the largest island, which has sand stretching as far as the eye can see. The beach is rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, and is also the least populated.
Don’t miss: Swim with and pet a few dozen friendly stingrays at Stingray City on Grand Cayman – an once-in-a-lifetime experience with one of the ocean’s most graceful creatures.
Best time to go: June to October
Need to know: Visas are not required for South African passport holders.




MALDIVES
Known for: Bright blue skies, all-year round sunshine and fantastic diving and snorkelling in lagoons the temperature of bath water.  Maldives is the typical, luxury, ideal paradise destination that has to be seen to be believed. Thatched over-water villas are the islands’ signature style of accommodation.
Don’t miss: The 26 natural atolls making up the islands of the Maldives are surrounded by barrier reefs and large coral patches. Dive and snorkel at Maa Kandu and Kuda Kandu – these atolls are noteworthy as they have both survived coral bleaching and the coral here is said to be the best in the country.
Best time to go: December to April (Dry season)
Need to know: No visas are required for South African passport holders.




MALAYSIA
Known for: Dense jungle and steep mountain cliffs leading down to tropical paradise style sandy beaches on the peninsula.
Don’t miss: The food! Malaysia has one of the best assortments of cuisines in the world. From Chinese-Malay to Indian curries and even impressive Western food, Malaysia is a feast for the taste buds
Best time to go: May to September.
Need to know: No visas are required for South African passport holders.




WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS
Lying in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, in the warm waters of Australia's Coral Sea, lie 74 tropical islands – the Whitsundays.
Known for: The incredibly beautiful white sand beaches and clear waters in every shade of blue imaginable – only 8 out of 74 islands are inhabited so they retain their unspoilt charm.
Don’t miss: Whitehaven beach – its crystal clear aqua waters and pristine white sand stretch 7km along Whitsunday Island. At the northern end of the beach is Hill Inlet – a cove where the tide shifts the sand and water to create an unforgettable, swirling fusion of colours. Taking in the view from a seaplane or helicopter is out of this world!
Best time to go: April to September
Need to know: Visas are required for South African passport holders



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