It’s already the end of October in 2015. Where does life go? The silver lining here is that this means it’s also time to start looking forward to your end of year holidays. If, like us, the general crush of people on the beaches of Kwazulu-Natal’s South coast, or Clifton, gets the most of you then perhaps you might be considering a December with a difference this year? Fortunately there are plenty of places where you can experience total relaxation, while also coming home with a lifetime of great memories for you and the kids. Here we highlight just a handful of these to show you Christmas doesn’t necessarily mean queues at the Pick n Pay and fights around an over cooked Turkey. It’s not too late to really make something wonderful out of your end of year leave.

India
India is a destination many people judge often without going, and yet is one of the most powerful seats of modern civilisation. This trip takes us to the ancient, and beautiful north of the country. Steeped in history some of India’s most iconic historical and religious sites can be found here. From the majestic Taj Mahal to the spiritual city of Varanasi this tour takes in as many of them as possible, while also allowing time for a game drive to spot the near extinct tiger. If you want an experience that’s worlds away from your day to day life, and that will stay with you forever, this certainly beats another year queuing with the crowds at the shopping mall.

Finland
Living in South Africa can be an odd experience come Christmas time. All the imagery sees people huddled around fires, while snow drifts lazily from the sky outside and we are braaing Boerewors by the pool. The Finnish Wilderness week will give you some of that imagery, while also opening up your world to new experiences and the kind of peace that can only come with near total isolation. You will be based in the Oulanka National Park, an absolute treasure, of tall trees, snow drifts and frozen lakes. Here you are totally cut off from civilisation and will experience hiking, snow shoeing, and dog sledding in absolutely pristine surroundings. The food is also a real treat. Locally sourced and cooked by a top chef you will experience a wide variety from wild game such as elk, to fresh caught salmon. And don’t worry about being cold; warm clothing and equipment is all provided.

Cuba
For those who shivered just reading about Finland, then what about a cultural excursion, the likes of which are becoming rarer by the day in our modern society? Cuba has been open to tourists for just a few years now and as such still retains much of its unique identity and charm. With pristine beaches, beautiful green valleys, and crumbling colonial cities, there is a beauty and romance to Cuba that makes one feel like they are visiting a past age. Learn to dance the Salsa, hand roll the famous cigars and mix a proper mojito, all while enjoying your time in the sun, with this warm and friendly country.

Vietnam (1)
From the electric city of Saigon to the beauty of the Mekong Delta this tour will immerse you from beginning to end in all that Vietnam has to offer. It’s a gorgeous journey from North to South in which you will taste the foods, live the experiences and return to South Africa feeling enriched and relaxed.  10 of the nights are spent in comfortable hotels, but you will also get to experience life aboard a boat, a sleeper train and staying with a family in the Mekong Delta. This is as unique as it gets.

Winter Markets
And finally one for the traditionalists. Europe at Christmas time is an incredible experience. The frozen lakes, the snow covered trees, and the warm, fire-lit market places that smell of gluhwein, cinnamon and roasting meat. As well as enjoying the majestic beauty of both Vienna and Prague, you will also get to witness medieval streets decked out in traditional lighting  in Cesky Krumlov and visit the UNESCO capital of culture Pilsen, with plenty of stops in small, traditional restaurants to experience the best in local foods. It’s a wonderland experience that fans of the holidays shouldn’t miss.

So if you want to do something memorable, exciting and different, send us an email at info@Wanderingfree.co.za and we will get you on the tour of your dreams by year end.
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