For many people a beach holiday is the ultimate in heavenly getaways. For other people there needs to be more to it than just sand and sea. Here are 4 suggestions as to how to make your South African beach holiday even more enjoyable.

  1. Slackpacking on the Wild Coast

Slackpacking is the glamourous twin of traditional hiking or backpacking. If you love to hike but hate having to carry everything but the kitchen sink on your back as well, then slackpacking might be the perfect solution. All you carry is your own water, snacks, sun-cream, jersey, raincoat if necessary, and any meds you may need. The heavy stuff either gets carried by porters or is driven to the night’s accommodation. And the accommodation, depending on the tour you undertake, ranges from tented camps to luxury hotels. With all the heavy lifting taken off your shoulders you can simply enjoy the walk along pristine, golden beaches, the thunderous surf on one side and the spectacular, untamed beauty of the Wild Coast on the other.

  1. Sing with the Whales in Hermanus

Hermanus is the whale capital of the world! Between June and November, the gentle giants migrate from their Antarctic feeding grounds to safer, warmer shores of South Africa. Here they have their babies and spend time holding song competitions among themselves, breaching, fluking, lobtailing, logging, spouting and spyhopping. Southern Right, Humpback and Bryde (pronounced Broodus) whales all come to visit each year. Humpbacks especially return to the same breeding grounds every year. Baleen whales, like the Humpback have the longest migrations for any mammal. A round trip can total over sixteen thousand kilometres. Hermanus is one of the best places to experience the wonder of whales without having to leave land – that’s how close the whales are! There’s also quaint little towns and fabulous restaurants to explore.

  1. Surfing with the Pros in Jeffreys Bay and Cape St Francis

Jeffreys Bay, or J-Bay as it’s known locally, is one of the world’s favourite surfing destinations thanks to its surf break, considered one of the best in the world due to its consistency and quality. The result – unique and perfect conditions for surfing! The Billabong J’bay World Circuit and the WCT Pro J-Bay has world-class pro surfers coming to town to compete. With 10 famous surfing spots J’Bay caters for everyone, from beginners to the pros. Magnatubes which provides the heaviest, unpredictable, powerful waves is only for experienced surfers. The Boneyards are a favourite with local surfers, but it’s called Boneyards for a reason! Be warned. Then there’s Kitchen Windows, Tubes, Supertubes, Point, Albatross, and Main Beach which is perfect for surf school!

  1. St Lucia Wetlands
    Two and a half hours from Durban is South Africa’s very first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tropical climate and warm Indian Ocean make the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park unique. The Park’s 5 ecosystems are home to an abundance of different African plants, animals and birds. It’s certainly more than just sea and sand, for here you can enjoy horse rides along the beach, watching, in season, whales breach and sport in the ocean, or egg-laying Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles. Whale Sharks often meander past as well. The wetlands is also home to approximately 1200 Nile crocodiles, 526 bird species, and 5000 breeding white pelicans. Hippos, wander down the streets of the tiny town of St Lucia at night, and sometimes during the day, in search of grass.