Cape Town - As we head into July, it officially signals the middle of the year is here and it's time for a recharge, whether you find yourself in the northern or southern hemisphere.
In South Africa, we usually see ourselves making the most of the wintry months by tapping into our favourite foodie hotspots, the winelands is a winner for a whole host of reasons and of course it's the big mid-winter break for families - as the school holidays will be in full swing come June.
Head further north and you'll be looking at peak-season summer escapes - where you'll no doubt find out how charming Europe is in the summertime? Tell us, which do you prefer - Europe in the winter or summer - and WHY? email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traveller24 has a few suggestions for you to consider this July. We will also be unpacking the #AfriTravel hotspots of Morocco, Kenya, Botswana and Mozambique - so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter here for a serious dose of wanderlust + plus all the planning details you need to make your holiday dreaming a reality.
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#WinterEscape Road-Tripping to the Garden Route
The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s most iconic natural spaces. It offers extraordinary experiences along a world-renowned road trip - often ranking in global lists for seasonal best, must-dos and affordability.
However, right now the area has been devastated by an unexpected, raging fire.
South Africa has often proved resilient to the devastating effects of fire - which is even hard-coded into the seeds that make-up our unique World Heritage Cape Floral Kingdom. Did you know a part of the Garden Route has officially been declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve?
South Africans have come together to offer support for the displaced across all sectors of the affected communities and it will no doubt take a number of weeks if not months before they are back on their feet. And when they are, they will need the support of tourists near and far more than ever.
If you haven’t yet planned a bucket-list adventure for yourself, your friends or your family - consider the exceptional adventures of the Garden Route.
Organisers have confirmed the Knysna Oyster Festival and its various sporting events will be going ahead as planned.
SANParks has also confirmed the national park has been largely unaffected and the Otter Trail remains intact. Here Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger of How Far From Home share their recent five-day hike that usually has a year-long waiting list.
But there are a host of other experiences to plan around. And you cannot get more authentic than checking out the inland explorer's Garden Route - including highlights of Swellendam, Grootvadersboch and Oudtshoorn, extending towards the longest wine route in the world Route62, while you're at it. Planning a Garden Route escape cannot be more valuable than round about now.
Click here for all your Garden Route inspiration.
SEE: #LoveSA: Budget 'Bae-cation'
Explore the Winelands
One of the definitive heritage spots where winter really comes alive is the Winelands in the Western Cape. The Cape Winelands is one of SA's most sought-after winter destinations - but with so many wine farms where to start, right?
Keeping in mind it’s the off-season and loaded with wining and dining specials for locals - you need to check out Traveller24's curated list of winter winelands experiences here.
Head to Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson or Stellenbosch - not forgetting the likes of Wellington or Elgin, who all have a winter trick or two up their sleeves.
Think seasonal menu taste sensations, long lunches with delectable wine pairings and some unusual ones too - all combined with the arts and culture and some of the coolest winter activities on offer across these winelands towns.
Whether you choose a snug weekend away or a decadent day-trip, make no mistake, it's time to enjoy the good food and wine of the season.
ALSO SEE: National art festival 2017: Planning ahead
Budget-friendly, long-haul spots for South Africans
If you think planning a proper overseas holiday requires a year’s salary when you're dealing in rands, you’re wrong.
The concept of bucket-list holidays has adapted to include shorter, more budget-friendly escapes that are equally as memorable and certainly twice as effective.
We’re not saying avoid the dollar or euro-destinations entirely - but merely suggesting a broader selection of spots to consider spending your hard earned cash on.
Have you considered the affordability of Sri Lanka? Read this if not.
You must admit, saving for a holiday can be as daunting as trying to lose weight or heading out on a blind date - click here to read how to save for that unique European experience.
Also consider off-season Japan on the cheap or how about making the most of stop-over, hotspot Dubai on a budget?
SA industry flight booking experts have also helped us whack the odds of where to go for an affordable long-haul break. These 18 spots are a hot favourite when it comes to long-haul - but don’t book until you’ve read these flight saving tips.
Check your passport validity and then get ready to explore.
ALSO SEE: #SABudgetTravel: How to give your bank balance a break
Don't forget - next on radar are #AfriTravel hotspots of Morocco, Kenya, Botswana and Mozambique - Subscribe to our newsletter here
What to read next on Traveller24:
- 12 Top SA winter holiday destinations for families
- Hot or Cold: A long-weekend escape to suit your taste?
- SA Outdoor Fun: 5 great Joburg hiking trails