Published 13 January 2020
We know how precious our annual leave is, and it can be tricky deciding on dates, but with 10 public holidays and five long weekends lined up for us in 2020, it’s time to start planning like a pro.
Luckily for you, the travel marketing team at Big Ambitions have been hard at work, putting together a handy 2020 public holidays infographic. They’ve even suggested their favourite local and international holiday destinations for you to add to your travel wish list this year.
Explore Portugal’s Douro River Valley
Jenna Berndt, Brand Owner at Big Ambitions, highly recommends heading to Portugal, a destination recommended by both the world leaders in guided holidays, Trafalgar, and the experts at Flight Centre Travel Group.
The country was named Europe’s Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards in 2019, as well as the Best Sustainable Destination in Europe. “A bonus is that it’s rand-friendly and super easy to access from Mzansi, with several flight options from Joburg and Cape Town,” explains Jenna.
She highlights the country’s incredibly scenic Douro River Valley as a ‘must do’ for all visitors to Portugal. Not only is it a UNESCO World Heritage site, but the valley’s wine region will delight all wine-loving South Africans.
Try a 2020 cruise holiday
If you have yet to try cruising, Natalie Major, a Brand Owner at Big Ambitions, describes 2020 as the year to choose a cruise.
“With so many onboard activities and exciting destinations, you will be hard pressed to find a destination that won’t appeal to every type of traveller. Be sure to check out Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Encore, and get packing for a holiday well-suited for the whole family,” she says.
If you’d like to level up on luxury, Natalie recommends stepping aboard Oceania’s Nautica, which departs Cape Town on 20 January 2020 before skirting up and down the South African coastline between Walvis Bay and Maputo.
Say yes to Stellenbosch
If you love the good life, Big Ambitions Director, Natalia Rosa suggests a weekend (make it a long one) in Stellenbosch.
“Home to the country’s most celebrated wine route, beautiful historic façades and the warm welcome of a town which simply oozes hospitality, Stellenbosch is the kind of weekend destination that will leave you feeling truly spoilt,” she says.
“Spend a morning walking beneath its leafy oaks admiring the Cape Dutch architecture that remains as intact as it was in the days of Simon van der Stel. Savour the tranquility of the exquisite Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden, then spend the afternoon sampling from Sauvignon Blanc to Bubbly, all against the backdrop of some of the Western Cape’s most magnificent towering backdrops.
“Whether you love culture, art and design, adventure and the outdoors or want to tantalise every sense, Stellenbosch is a destination set to delivers the warm heart of the Winelands around every turn,” she adds.
Visit the Elgin River Valley
Big Ambitions Content Writer, Linsey Schluter, suggests South Africans keep it local and make their way to the Elgin River Valley, just an hour’s drive from Cape Town.
“Surrounded by mountains, forests and streams, Elgin manages to feel a million miles from the city. It’s our favourite spot for a long weekend as there is so much to enjoy, but it’s also close enough for a sneaky break when you just need to rest and recharge,” she says.
“The Palmiet River is the perfect place to SUP, fish or cool off after a long hike in the mountains. Or you can explore the valley’s wine farms, restaurants and markets. The Elgin Railway Market is probably our favourite market in all Mzansi – and it celebrates the art, food, wine and spirit of this beautiful Overberg town.”
Break away in Bilene
If you’re craving a cross-the-border beach holiday in Mozambique this year, Big Ambitions Brand Owner, Roland Müller, highly recommends staying a few nights at Bilene Lodge.
“Settled within the seaside town of Praia do Bilene, it’s an easy two-hour drive just north from Maputo, and since the roads are tarred, there is no need for a 4×4 ,” he says. “The shallow waters of the salt water Ujembe Lagoon is also perfect (and safe) for families with kids.”
He further explains that the region surrounding the lodge has not quite solidified itself as a tourist destination, managing to keep a low profile from holidaymakers. “It’s the kind of place where you’ll still feel like you’re outside of South Africa, but not quite in the middle of nowhere,” he concludes.