When winter really sets in, people start dreaming about heading to the tropics. The beaches of the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii or maybe even Bali or the Seychelles seem like the perfect destinations. There is another secret to wintertime getaways that never really crosses people’s minds (although everyone who stayed awake for geography class knows about it).
When the Northern Hemisphere is mired in winter, it is summertime down south. In Southern Hemisphere destinations, December and January are the height of beach and barbecue season. Everyone is outdoors, and there is a lot to do and see. You could even say that, because of all the events and attractions, December-February is the best time to visit the Southern Hemisphere.
Here are five ideas for escaping the cold at home by heading south (way south).
South African Safari
South Africa is arguably the most accessible destination on the continent. Its national parks and nature preserves are teeming with the kind of wildlife that safari aficionados dream about. Kruger National Park is the country’s undisputed headliner. Home to 150 species of mammals, over 500 types of birds and 150 species of reptiles and amphibians, Kruger is heaven for wildlife lovers.
Royal Malewane, a safari lodge inside the park, brings a classic wildlife experience to guests while also giving them every opportunity to enjoy comfort and maybe even a little bit of pampering. The best thing about places like Malewane (and other luxury camps around Kruger) is that you have access to private guides who can give you a very personalized safari experience.
An Argentine wine vacation
The city of Mendoza is at the heart of South America’s wine-making industry. Located in Western Argentina, at the foot of the Andes Mountains, this area is known for its rural beauty and its quality local wines. The wineries around Mendoza can give vineyard tourists an experience that rivals Napa or Tuscany. Sunny weather is virtually guaranteed. Mendoza gets 320 days of sunshine each year.
The unique Cavas Wine Lodge sits amongst the vineyards. Featuring colonial-style adobe villas, this is a one-of-a-kind resort. Personal plunge pools, chiminea fire places and a full service spa mean that you will find plenty of luxury at Cavas as well.
Private island in Mozambique
Mozambique is another Africa destination that is at is best in January and February. The country’s coastline is lined with fabulous islands that are virtually untouched by the outside world. Whether you are interested in sailing, diving or beach-going, these spots are perfect.
The Azura Resort on Quilalea Island, in the middle of the Quirimbas Archipelago Marine Sanctuary, has the kind of untouched idyll that many tourists can only dream about. With private villas scattered around the beach, visitors will often feel like they are the only people on the entire island. Snorkeling, diving, swimming, sailing and inland safari drivers are all on the agenda here.
Brazil’s summer is in full swing in January and February. This is Carnaval season in the famous city of Rio de Janeiro. The crowds take to the streets for weeks of partying and colorful costumes and food and drink. In the nearby town of Armação dos Búzios, things are a bit quieter. This historic village has charming cobblestone streets and wonderful beaches. Some secluded spots are perfect for sunbathing and swimming away from the crowds.
The Insólito Boutique Hotel fits perfectly with this atmosphere of secluded paradise. Located on one of the area’s most private beaches, it features luxury suites that are equal parts coolness and comfort. French movie icon Brigitte Bardot came to Búzios many times, and Insólito has the same kind of timeless glamor that the screen legend is known for.
Australia is arguably the most popular Southern Hemisphere destination. For wildlife seekers, it is hard to find a destination better than Kakadu National Park. The vast flood plains in this part of Northern Australia are teeming with reptiles, birds and mammals. Visitors here see wallabies, crocodiles, koalas and dingos as well as hundreds of other creatures.
You don’t have to be like Crocodile Dundee to enjoy this kind of landscape. The luxury bush camps of Bamurru Plains make it accessible for everyone who doesn’t want to give up creature comforts to experience the wild. The resort’s trademark screened and tented suites put guests right in the midst of nature while also offering them a high level of luxury.
Did we mention your favorite destination? If not, you can check out our web site for vacation villas in other great getaway destinations.
What is your idea of a perfect Southern Hemisphere getaway? Or, if you already live in Australia or South Africa, let us know where you’d like to go to escape the summertime heat…