HomeSmart LivingSilver surfers, it’s time for a local adventure of a lifetime

Silver surfers, it’s time for a local adventure of a lifetime

Adventure knows no age limit, and for baby boomers South Africa presents a plethora of exhilarating bucket list travel destinations. With your working and limited leave days behind you, your travel options both locally and internationally are vast and diverse.

According to Hospitality Net the baby boomer generation is currently having a great impact on the hospitality and tourism industries. These travellers finally have time and money on their hands to travel, with some retirees even able to take up to four or more trips a year!

Research by Expedia shows that baby boomers have an unwavering sense of adventure, meaning they’re not content with low-key holidays but instead are after experiential travel – whereby a traveller prioritises “experiencing” a destination by engaging with local customs, culture, and cuisine.

And while many a tourist’s bucket list contains exotic wonders in far flung parts of the world, Mzansi has a treasure trove of splendid destinations that are right on our doorstep.

Road trip along the Panorama Route

Road trip warriors that love setting off on the open road are spoilt for choice with the many options offered South Africa’s vast scenic countryside. The enchanting Panorama Route, which meanders through the Mpumalanga highlands, or the north-eastern section of the Great Escarpment of the Drakensberg, are both known for their scenic beauty. Relish these incredible regions panoramic views, rugged cliffs and lush vegetation on a relaxing road trip.

A visit to the Panorama Route would not be complete without stopping off at the iconic Blyde River Canyon, which is the largest green canyon in the world and third largest canyon globally. These 26 kilometres of serenity attract avid bird lovers as it’s the only site in South Africa where the rare Taita Falcon breeds. Other rare birds in the canyon include the Blue Swallow, Southern Bald Ibis and the Brown Scrub Robin. Amidst the tropical foliage, spend an afternoon at one of the canyon’s inviting picnic areas or braai facilities.

The canyon’s beloved, must-see natural attractions include Pinnacle Rock, a 30-metre quartzite tower, and God’s Window, where on a clear lucky day you can see Mozambique. Heaps of travellers to Mpumalanga combine a trip to the Panorama Route with a visit to the Kruger National Park.

Top tip: If you are going to book a rental car for this adventure make sure to check the comfortability of the seats and that you will have enough leg room as you will likely spend hours in the car on your road trip.

The Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park became South Africa’s first national park in 1926 and is home to the world-famous Big Five (lions, leopards, black rhinoceros, African bush elephant and African buffalo) which puts a trip to the park on many a bucket list. Brimming with exquisite wildlife and untouched nature the park is the perfect place to unwind in and make unforgettable memories.

Located ideally in the Greater Kruger Conservancy, bordering the famous Paul Kruger gate, the Kruger Gate Hotel is a convenient and inviting base from which you can explore the Kruger. You can make your stay in the Kruger as relaxing or as busy as you please, with guided safaris, spa treatments in the wild, refreshing swims in a pool overlooking wandering wildlife right in front of you and sip cocktails or local wines on a game-viewing deck.

“The Kruger National Park is considered by many gloablly to be one of the Earth’s natural wonders that everyone should visit. It’s incredible to see all visitors to the park nurture their sense of adventure and love for nature, and we are mindful of accommodating to any guest need. Anyone at any stage of life can find serenity in the bush. Older visitors with particular needs can be rest assured that our property has wheelchair ramps and railings to assist them throughout their stay. You could explore the park in your own vehicle, or if you would feel more comfortable in the hands of an expert guide you can opt for an open-air guided safari experience,” explains Anton Gillis, CEO at Kruger Gate Hotel.

Top tip: During a trip to the Kruger National Park you may spend more time than usual outdoors so consider wearing UV-protective clothing, sunglasses and hats. 

Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma

As years of hard work has given way to a well-earned era of leisure, Plettenberg Bay with its awe-inspiring Atlantic Ocean coastline is a relaxing destination. Marine wildlife lovers would be especially excited to know that in May this year the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) announced that Plettenberg Bay was announced as a Whale Heritage Site, making it the third site in our country and one of seven fully accredited sites globally. This idyllic bay has seen an influx of visitors hoping to witness the majestic whales in action. June through to September is when Humpback and Southern Right whales migrate to the bay to breed so the winter months is an ideal season to visit.

Located 483kms from Plettenberg Bay,Tsitsikamma, which is Khoi for “place of abundant or sparkling water”, is a region that boasts pristine wilderness and an the inviting Indian Ocean. There is something for every type of traveller in Tsitsikamma, whether you’re a hiking enthusiast interested in the region’s various trails or looking to embrace the local creative culture at the Storms River Arts & Crafts centre. Travellers interested in the quirkier attractions might also appreciate the eclectic ambiance of Marilyn’s 60’s Diner, where the neon rimmed signage and retro decor will transport you back to a time when Elvis was topping the radio charts, or the Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary which is South Africa’s only non-profit centre for wolves.

Top tip: Consider booking guided boat tours in Plettenberg Bay; the expert tour operators will give you a better chance of witnessing these magnificent aquatic mammals up close and impart interesting whale facts.