Cape Town - Island life - unhurried, sun-kissed and for the most part languid and decadent. And that's really how it should be. Days spent sunning yourself while reading a good book and sipping on the perfect cocktail of your choice.
Whether you're enjoying your annual family vacation as the kids frolic at the shoreline or are being entertained by your resorts' all-inclusive facilities - or you're the honeymooner walking on cloud-nine, as South Africans there are a number of options to choose from.
Far-flung yet affordable comes in the form or Indonesia's Bali or Thailand and of course for repeat visitors to the likes of Mauritius there's the trend of living a like a local. Perhaps you wanting something that's anything but an Indian Ocean hotspot - this is Rodrigues' appeal - and of course combining the best of beach and bush is easily done in Mozambique or while jetting off to Tanzania's Zanzibar.
These are the trends resonating through local holidaymakers' top choices to help you plan your 2018 dream island escape.
Trend Alert: Improved accessibility and close to home
Cruising is gaining popularity across the board as travellers look for summer holiday fun that won't break the bank. In a recent MSC Cruises survey, the world’s largest, privately-owned cruise line says that what South Africans want most in their travels and holiday experiences is "more sun, sea, and sand". In March this year, MSC announced that as part of its annual cruises to Africa’s warm east coast, the luxury cruise liner would be including Pomene Bay in Mozambique. Just 605km north of Maputo, Pomene Bay is praised as one of Mozambique’s hidden jewels.
Also with the festive season fast approaching, Pan-Africa's low-cost airline, fastjet has announced its new schedule for domestic flights to SA's exotic neighbour will also be starting in November.
Trend Alert: Ease of access and living like a local
Repeat visitors to Mauritius, one of the most popular island breaks for South Africans, will realised the value of this trend. While the resorts are amazing and the best splurge for honeymooners or families wanting to make full-use of the amenities, living like a local is catching on.
Many have embraced the whole “gypsetting” concept and started renting apartments when going to the island, renting a car and doing some shopping at the colourful markets and learning how to cook local food.
Trend Alert: Lesser-Known adventure
SEE: Indian Ocean escapes: Beach-busting holidays for South Africans
Rodrigues Island is definitely one of the lesser-explored islands to spend a quiet, yet memorable holiday. Those who enjoy nature’s beauty will appreciate its scenic beauty. It is a peaceful island, holding a special allure for water-sport enthusiasts. If you want to tap into the Indian Ocean charm and relaxation then head here.
Trend: All-inclusive and you can explore the mainland
SEE: #AfriTravel: Find your escape at all new Chuini Zanzibar Beach Lodge
If you have the time you can combine your exotic beach break with some added Afri-Travel exploration. What's exciting about Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania is that South Africans can easily choose an all-inclusive deal that should see this break go easier on your pocket than most.
Tanzania's Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the ultimate safari experience to combine with Newmark's Chuini Zanzibar Beach Lodge as an example. Expect a unique combination of unfiltered landscape with naturally aged ruins, as you immerse yourself in a "contemporary African grunge" experience.
Trend: Far-flung, exotic and hassle-free
Indonesia is an exciting destination that offers South Africans a 30-day free visa on arrival. As the largest archipelago in world and home to the fourth largest population - its people, spread across more than 13 000 islands, are rich in culture and heritage. While the country is also largely Muslim, there are hundreds of ethnic groups speaking many different languages.
Tourism under the banner, Wonderful Indonesia is thriving as travellers flock to Bali, Jakarta and Lomok. It is well-known for its komodo dragons, gorgeous beaches and pristine diving opportunities as well as orangutans and tigers.
Bali itself definitely on the rise as an affordable, romantic holiday experience - combining all the beautiful aspects of an exotic break.
Trend Alert: Good rand value and eco-friendly
Most South Africans love Thailand for different reasons. It offers shopping, nature exploration, the amazing Thai culture & hospitality, delectable food along with the adventurous allure of island hopping.
Phuket & Bangkok continue to be popular choices – mostly due to easy accessibility, especially as most airlines have direct flights from their hubs into these cities - but many of us are realising there is so much more to see and do across this diverse nation of islands.
But Thailand really is a beach holiday paradise. Koh Tao, in an area called Chumphon, and known as Tiny “turtle island” has become especially popular for diving. It is 45km north of Koh Phangan, is one of the top scuba diving destinations in Thailand, if not the world as only Cairns, Australia issues more PADI certifications than Koh Tao. What’s more, the island, which is the site of important breeding grounds for Hawksbill and Green turtles, is now a center for environmentally friendly diving practices, including the reintroduction of hundreds of juvenile turtles to the island's ecosystem and efforts to preserve and grow coral reefs.
What to read next on Traveller24:
- Gypsetting: Mauritius from a different perspective...