Luckily for us, it’s a glorious month to promote tourism in our beautiful country as we crawl out from under blankets and closed doors and start to venture out into the warm spring sunshine.
Even locals can be tourists, so gather your friends and family book cheap domestic flights and explore South Africa this month.
Here are four great and inexpensive ways to celebrate spring and National Tourism Month, at the same time.
1. Smell the flowers
The annual appearance of hundreds of thousands of flowers blooming all over the Northern and Western Cape is a sight to behold, and both a professional and amateur photographer’s dream! Do your research beforehand so you know exactly where the best blooms are. For the best views a good tip is to drive away from the sun. The angle of the sun can make the swathes of colour appear a lot duller than they are. And please remember, the only thing you should be taking away is memories and photos.
2. Welcome the whales
Head to Hermanus or False Bay for a sighting of beautiful beasts of the sea. Around this time, Southern Right Whales migrate to our warmer southern waters from Antarctica, to calf. Book a Kulula flight to cape Town and be part of the lucky few who see the heaving masses emerge from the ocean. An honour bestowed on those lucky enough not only to be near the ocean, but also to have a view of it.
Whether you’re watching from the shoreline or head off on a tour boat, every year from June to November you can catch sight of these gentle creatures entertaining crowds of whale-watchers hoping for a glimpse or better yet, a rare display of acrobatics.
3. Get out into the countryside
Wherever you are, getting out into the countryside and enjoying the natural world is a perfect way to welcome in spring and marvel at just how breathtaking our scenery is. Joburg dwellers are not quite as lucky with natural views as Capetonians, so a hike in the Magaliesberg is a great way to breathe in some clean air and adjust your eyes to views that stretch to the horizon.
If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, then sign up and start training for South Africa’s most famous (and oldest!) hike, The Otter Trail 2019 which sets off in October.
4. Visit a heritage site
South Africa is home to nine Unesco World Heritage Sites which is a major tourism drawcard. No matter where you are you won’t be far from one of them from Robben Island in the Cape, to the endless stretch of Drakensberg, to the Vredefort crater in the Free State up to the magnificent Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng. Put all of them on your bucket list and start ticking them off during tourism month.
Tourism Month is a great opportunity to showcase our amazing country and to feel proud to be a part of it. So, plan a trip, post your pics to Instagram and if you inspire one person to visit, you’ve done your bit to help boost our economy, create employment and welcome new visitors.
For more info head over to the Department of Tourism website and have a look at the list of official activities planned for National Tourism Month.