In travel and tourism terms, autumn and spring are known as mid-seasons – the in-between seasons. And right now, we’re in one of those as across Mzansi, flowers are in bloom and green leaves have begun to sprout on previously bare trees. With such beauty being spread by nature across the country, why is summer still seen as the single best time to travel in South Africa?
The most obvious answer is that for most families holiday planning coincides with work and school holidays. Although, during these times, prices rise along with demand and the weather can tend to be either cold or quite hot.
Mid-season – when the weather is less extreme and prices are lower – makes for great times to travel, too. Below, Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront Guest Relations Manager, Nicol Carelse gives us five reasons why mid-season makes for the best time to take a holiday.
There are many discounts and great rates
This year, everyone is looking for affordable opportunities to travel with the cost of living having gone up significantly. During mid-season flight and accommodation, rates are significantly lower than during peak season.
“Passengers who plan their travels strategically and fly out of peak season this year can stack up the savings while still getting to do a trip across the country, or take that long-desired journey abroad. There are always seasonal flight price changes that travellers can benefit from. This spring flight prices are currently seeing an even bigger decrease compared to what we observed before the pandemic,” notes Laure Bornet, GM, KAYAK EMEA, which manages Cheapflights.co.za.
In fact, this year mid-season domestic and international flight prices saw a 12% and 26% decrease, respectively for 2022 in comparison to peak season flight prices.
To add to these lower rates are mid-week travel discounts as there are often days when flying and lodging are less expensive. These are days during the week when travellers are less likely to book accommodation or when flight bookings are generally lower such as Mondays and Tuesdays.
You can have more fun in nature
Whether you’re crushing red and brown leaves under your feet or you’re walking along, side-stepping indigenous flowers along a path, autumn and spring are two seasons where nature is bound to amaze you with it’s beauty. It is said that these two seasons in particular are the most colourful seasons where nature has its chance to show off an array of leaves and blooms from all over the colour spectrum.
Across the country, there are several national parks kept in pristine condition. Each year during spring, South Africa’s national parks offer free entry to visitors for one week during spring. Other seasonal activities include surfing in spring when the water is warming up after a cold winter and the waves favourable.
For an easy travel hack, that can save you time researching online, ask the concierge at your hotel ahead of time which activities they recommend that you take part in. Concierges can be used ahead of your arrival so once you’ve settled your booking, email the concierge for advice on setting up an itinerary for you that will take you to all the great local nature spots.
It helps with productivity and boosting mid-year recuperation
Often people wait until the end of the year to give our bodies and minds an extended mental and physical rest. However, mid-season breaks are the perfect opportunity to schedule days to just lie in or times to nap in between activities. According to the Human Capital Hub, resting or taking a holiday can make you more productive once you get back to work. This is because being out of a normal routine, helps the brain to be more present and, as a result, relax. Within your normal routines, your brain is often on autopilot while repeating the same tasks over and over again. Breaking out of the day-to-day routine forces the mind to be present while focusing on completely new experiences. This mental and physical break and ability to be present gives individuals mindful experiences that add to well-being.
There are fewer people around
The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone conscious of personal space. During peak season, local attractions, shopping areas, beaches and parks tend to be crowded and busy. In mid-season when travel density is lower, beaches and attractions are less crowded making for safer travelling.
Additionally, queues are almost non-existent and bookings to local attractions, restaurants and activities are more likely to be open during this time. There are also fewer cars on the road meaning that there’s less traffic. You will be able to see more in less time.
There is fair weather
In South Africa summers and winters reign true to their reputation of being particularly hot and cold. In autumn and spring, however, temperatures are moderate and in the Atlantic and Indian oceans, the water is warmer for swimming. This makes for optimal weather for the outdoor activities that the country is famous for.
Whichever season you choose to travel in, make sure to include time for scheduled rest, outdoor activities and interactions with locals to have a relaxing and authentic experience of the area you travel to.