Trade the winter blues for ocean hues
We know it’s still (technically) summer – although we’re not entirely sure where the sun’s hiding – but, as the year ticks around, our thoughts are turning to winter escapes. Because, there’s something special about escaping the dark nights, for sunny days somewhere a little bit different. So, from the wild landscapes of South Africa and the cultural wonders of Oman, to gorilla-tracking adventures in Uganda, the vibrant markets of Morocco, the exotic beauty of Vietnam, and the endless plains of Tanzania’s Serengeti – below are 6 winter holiday ideas that you can still escape on this year.
Don’t forget, all of our holiday itineraries are just examples of what is possible. Every single holiday we design is completely tailormade to you, your interests and your bucket lists.
1. A South African Fortnight
Brighten up your winter by heading off on a two-week South African journey to soak up the diversity of the Rainbow Nation. Begin in Cape Town, absorbing iconic sites like Table Mountain and Robben Island before tucking into a world-class dinner (or two) – the food here really is world-class. Head to the rolling Winelands region and indulge in a glass of something crisp and chilled as the sun sinks below the vines. From popular spots like Franschhoek (don’t miss the wine tram!) to hidden gems like Paarl, a couple of nights here is a great addition to any South Africa holiday. As you make your way down to the coast, explore the tranquil De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Overberg region, with all of the local wildlife that calls the region home. Then, dive into the endless beauty of the Garden Route, with nature trails and animal sanctuaries galore. This two-week adventure ends with the wild cherry on the cake – an Eastern Cape Safari experience. With big-5 wildlife and wonderful lodges, get ready for encounters you’ll never forget.
The itinerary: 4 nights Cape Town, 2 nights Winelands, 1 night Overberg, 3 nights Garden Route, 2 nights Eastern Cape Safari.
2. This Vietnam holiday is a great reason to head East this winter
Trade the chilly winter temperatures for an exhilarating 2-week voyage across Vietnam. This adventure spans the North, Central, and South of the country, for a rich and varied experience. Firstly, you’ll get a taste of Hanoi’s bustling charm, before setting sail on an overnight junk boat adventure through the mystical landscapes, emerald waters and dramatic limestone karsts of Halong Bay.
Back on dry land, you’ll spend three nights in tranquil Hoi An, where you’ll while away the hours wandering through its charming lantern-lit streets and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage. Try your hand at an organic farm cooking class or venture into the surrounding countryside to meet the locals in Tra Que village.
Next up, you’ll explore Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and its vibrant energy. Amble around its bustling markets, explore its ornate temples, and visit the historic Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground passages that played a crucial role during the Vietnam War.
This winter escape deserves some beach time, so to finish up your Vietnam adventure, you’ll spend three blissful nights unwinding on the palm-fringed shores of Phu Quoc Island.
Itinerary: 2 nights in Hanoi, overnight cruise around Halong Bay (2 days/1 night), 3 nights in Hoi An, 2 nights in Saigon, 3 nights Phu Quoc Island
3. Classic Oman – 10-day adventure
Discover Oman’s allure this winter, with a mix of breathtaking nature, rich heritage, and a dose of old-world charm that clashes wonderfully with modern life. The best bit? You’re never far from one experience to the next – from bustling Muscat to the tranquil mountains, it’s a quick ride. No need for lengthy stays or endless car rides on this Oman holiday. Your adventure starts with 2 days in Muscat, then takes you venturing into the mountains, through forts, crumbling villages and golden deserts, before ending your adventure back in Muscat for some serious beachside R&R. Why not opt to escape the UK this winter and soak up the culture in Muscat, explore Nizwa’s history, embrace the serenity of Wahiba Sands, and get your feet up on the beach.
Itinerary: 2 nights in Muscat, 3 nights in Nizwa and the mountains,1 night in Wahiba Sands, 2 nights in Muscat
4. Gorillas, chimps and tree-climbing lions in Uganda
Perhaps this winter calls for a real bucket-list-worthy adventure? Maybe by the time the fireworks light up the sky at midnight on New Year, you’ll know what it feels like to be mere metres away from wild gorillas? This Uganda holiday is the way to do it. You’ll get to soak up the very best of each region at a relaxed pace (the best way to travel, if you ask us!). Mountain gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the star, of course, with multiple pinch-yourself chances to see these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. You’ll also enjoy safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park – think early morning game drives, boat cruises, chimp tracking and the infamous tree-climbing lions. You’ll explore Kibale Forest, too, known for its high success rate in chimp sightings!
Your journey: 1 night in Entebbe, 3 nights in Bwindi, 2 nights in Queen Elizabeth NP, and 2 nights in Kibale Forest.
5. A warming winter getaway to Morocco
Imagine crackling fireplaces, serene markets, and distant snow-kissed peaks. All of that, and more, awaits you in Morocco this winter. We know Morocco often brings to mind scorching Sahara heat and escaping to the winding mazes of the medinas to escape the sun. But, it also makes a special escape in the cooler months. From November to February, the climate is similar to that in southern Europe – a lovely temperature, with plenty of cosy, romantic ambience to enjoy.
This journey leads you through the milder climes of southern Morocco. From the coastal charm of Essaouira, you’ll venture into the High Atlas Mountains, bask under starry skies in the wilderness of Agafay Stone Desert. Your holiday finishes in Marrakesh, a city more enchanting without the usual crowds. This tranquil winter retreat unveils the true heart of Morocco, and it’s peppered with delightful experiences and off-season perks we know you’ll love.
Itinerary: 3 nights in Essaouira, 2 nights in the High Atlas, 1 night in Agafay Stone Desert, 3 nights in Marrakesh
6. Serengeti Safari and Indian Ocean Escape
Safari pro or first-timer – regardless, this Tanzania and Zanzibar holiday is ready to impress. From heart-pounding wildlife encounters to serene beach escapes, this winter holiday offers the perfect mix of action and relaxation. Because life’s about balance, right?
First, you’ll head off to explore Tanzania’s iconic northern safari circuit, beginning with the captivating Lake Manyara, where pink flamingos grace the shores and tree-climbing lions roam the landscape. Then you’ll move on to the Ngorongoro Highlands, where you’ll stand at the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater and take in the breathtaking, endless views before you.
Next up is the legendary Serengeti, where the grassy plains play host to the African Big Five and are also the stage for the great natural phenomenon of the Great Migration. Imagine witnessing vast herds of wildebeest and zebra stampeding across this dramatic landscape. You’ll never forget it.
Once you’ve had your fill of exhilarating safari encounters, it’s time to escape to Zanzibar’s pristine shores. Unwind amidst the island’s rich history, exploring its charming Stone Town with its intricate architecture and vibrant markets. Then, sink your toes into the soft sands of Zanzibar’s beaches, before diving into the clear waters for some cooling off and adventure. Try a spot of snorkelling or dive beneath the waves to explore the vibrant coral reefs. Or venture inland to discover the island’s spice plantations.
Itinerary: 1 night in Arusha, 2 nights in Ngorongoro Highlands, 3 nights in the Serengeti, 5 nights in Zanzibar