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Top Five Learning Holidays to Take in South Africa


We all long for our holidays – time off from the normal, humdrum working life and a chance to recharge the batteries. But why not combine that leisure time with activities for which you normally just don’t have the time? Here are five suggestions that could perk up your off-work time.

Although aimed at South Africa, you could well explore combining some of these options with your next overseas holiday.

1. Golf:

Golf is a very popular leisure activity offering challenges, rewards – and frustration. If you are looking for more challenges than your local course can offer, or simply want a change of scenery, how about a golfing holiday?

South Africa remains a well-kept golfing holiday secret. The truth is, along with the natural beauty of the country, superbly designed golf courses to suit all levels of experience abounds.

Along with golf, if you want a taste of luxury try the Fancourt Hotel and Golf Resort on the Garden Route, one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline you will find anywhere. The Fancourt has been voted as the best golf resort in Africa no less than six times since 2001.

Apart from the Garden Route, the other three popular golfing holiday destinations in South Africa are Cape Town and the Winelands, Sun City, and the Kwa-Zulu Natal Region.

If you prefer to travel, as opposed to staying at a single resort, why not try a pre-booked golf tour? You can combine sightseeing with your golfing holiday without the need to worry about availability of tee-off times.

2. Horse Riding:

If you are a horse lover, then why not consider a riding holiday? Many locations offer brief, horse riding sessions suited even for the absolute beginner. More experienced riders – and those with tougher backsides – can select holidays that extend over several days.

One such resort offering a wide variety of horse riding holidays is Farm 215, a 4-star country house nature retreat located on the Fynbos Road, between Stanford and Cape Agulhas in the Southern Overberg in the Western Cape. The African Horse Company offers guided out-rides from 1-hour to all day sessions.

Also select from a variety of longer rides ranging from a 2- day/3-night ride that covers the Walker Bay whale sanctuary and Grootbos Nature Reserve, or a 9-day/10-night marathon that takes in the southernmost tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas.

You will be relieved to know that the first day of the 9-day trek culminates with a massage, if you so desire!

3. Sailing:

Do you love the wind in your hair, the taste of salt on your lips and the sounds of waves against the hull of a sailboat? Or do you get your thrills from the roar of a powerboat engine? Perhaps a sailing holiday would suit you.

There are sailing holidays to suit all tastes, but the Ocean Sailing Academy, located between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, is the largest Royal Yachting Association and South African Sailing Training Centre in Southern Africa.

Whether you are into sailboats or the power variety, the Academy offers career training and leisure courses for the international sailing community. It is located in Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, perfect both for sailing as well as shopping!

4. Cooking:

Here’s an idea to get your imagination and taste buds working overtime. How about jazzing up your culinary skills during a holiday and maybe learning some of those kitchen restaurant secrets?

The small, privately owned Le Quartier Francais in the French Huguenot valley of Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands offers a range of cooking courses for all tastes. The back-to-basics course teaches you to make your own butter from fresh farm cream, bake your own sourdough bread in a wood-fired oven and top it all off by making your own fresh cheeses.

If your tastes run to the more decadent, how about the Dessert Me course, filled with delicacies that defy calorie consciousness? You will also learn the subtle art of selecting the perfect wine to accompany your creations.

For the patriotic, the South African Flavours course utilises only South African ingredients. You’ll learn all there is to know about local vegetation and indigenous herbs.

5. Surfing:

Cowabunga, dude! If you like to Hang Ten, or endlessly watch the conclusion to the Patrick Swayze movie Point Break , then this could be for you. On the other hand, if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, consider taking a surfing holiday and brushing up both your technique and surfing lingo.

An ideal setting for your surfing holiday is the Wavecrest Surf School, located at Jeffreys Bay. From a hippie domain in the 1960s, Jeffreys Bay – known as Supertubes – is today the host of one leg of the World Surfing Tour

Don’t worry if you’re a beginner. The main beach or dolphin beach is ideal for beginners and Wavecrest offers a 7-day surf package deal that includes a lesson each day, with a board and wetsuit available for your convenience for the rest of your holiday.

The surf course covers all the basics – water safety, how to catch a wave, all about balance and finally, how to stand up on your board.

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