Travelling abroad with your pets is much easier than it used to be thanks to the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) and the introduction of the Pet Passport, which was first launched in 2000. This means that as long as pets fulfil the criteria and have all necessary documentation, they can travel between member states without the need for long, stressful and expensive stays in quarantine.
Who does not love a water park on holiday? They are designed to keep us entertained for a whole day whilst enjoying some sunshine. Kids love them as they have hair raising thrills galore and parents love them because they always tire the children! Check out some of the best water parks in the world…
Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
Situated in the mind boggling Atlantis Hotel in Dubai, this is a fabulous place to entertain the kids. There are 42 acres of fun stuff to do. The park has different areas for different ages including an area for younger children with safe water slides and room to run around.Those who prefer to take it easy can lie in one of the hundreds of sunbeds (complete with shades) and take in the fun. The adrenalin boosting water rides include The Leap of Faith which is a virtually drop 9 stories high into a shark filled lagoon. The sharks are safe as the ride is in a tube. Its all very exciting – there’s a fabulous beach and a dolphin experience if the slides haven’t provided enough entertainment!
Typhoon Lagoon, Florida
The water park in Florida is a popular attraction in the US which has a myriad of water coasters and a ;Crush and Gusher Water Coaster. This hair raising ride includes drops of 420 feet and thousands of gallons of water pumping the ride along. Watch out if you find Miss Tilly – the abandoned boat as she spurts gallons of water every thirty minutes.
The humidity in Tokyo can be stifling and there is no further excuse needed to buy a ticket to one of Tokyo’s water parks. This particular park has the unusual experience of swimming with a robotic dolphin – who could resist? There are various thrills to be had on water slides and a great selection of swimming pools to cool off in.
Alton Towers Water Park, UK
As well as being the UK’s top theme park, the recently opened water park gives people aqueous fun when the sun has stopped shining. There are lazy rivers for a more sedate ride, as well as the Master Blaster water Coaster which is not for the feint hearted. There is an outside area if the sun is shining but there are plenty of things to do if the sun has failed to show up. Alton Towers can be a little tricky so take your own car for speedy access.
The south of France can be quite a hot place for kids (and adults), especially in the Summer months. The Aqualand park is the biggest in Europe and gives plenty of opportunities for a cooling splash or two. King Cobra is an utterly terrifying ride that sees the rider being spewed from the mouth of a giant serpent. It is as terrifying as the Black Hole – a ride that takes the rider into a petrifying black nightmare. The rides here are fast and furious but there are a few more chilled out rides and places to sit without fearing for your life!
Tropical Islands, Krausnick, Germany
The largest free-standing hall in the world is where Tropical Islands can be found. This structure was originally built as a hangar for dirigibles, and it has a maximum capacity of 6,000 visitors. This particular water park has one of the largest indoor swimming pools in the world, measuring a total of 656 feet or 200 meters in length. There is also a rainforest in a separate area from the pool, and it includes 50,000 different plants as well as a hotel and a nightclub. You can even choose to go on a balloon ride if you want, making for an extra special experience.
Nagashima Spa Land, Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, Japan
You will find that Nagashima Spa Land is a water park that truly offers something for every member of the family. This amusement park has a giant Ferris wheel, rides for children, thrill rides, several roller coasters, and a water park. This water park was recently named the 18th most visited amusement park in the world and attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year, some of whom come from all corners of the globe. This very large amusement/water park is home to the Aurora Wheel, which is a giant 90 meter Ferris wheel, and is a very popular tourist attraction.
Siam Park City, Siam, Bangkok, Thailand
Siam Park City is a very popular amusement and water park located in the Khan Na Yao district of Bangkok. This amusement park opened in November of 1980 and has drawn millions of visitors from all over the world since it first opened its gates. One of the largest theme and water parks in all of Southeast Asia, Siam Park City is set in 120 acres of land and offers a number of different attractions, including the water park, amusement park, museum (with safari section and animal park), event zone, and camp for children.
Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark, United States
Home to the tallest slide in the world, Shlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark offers plenty of fun and excitement for every member of the family. This water park has a slide called Verruckt, which takes four riders on a raft down a whopping 15 stores, reaching speeds that go up to 70 mph. If you want to stay a bit closer to the ground, you can choose to go on Torrent River, the world’s largest tidal wave river. There are some rough seas to travel in this water park as you drift through a canyon for a truly memorable experience.
For many, packing a picnic and heading off for the day is the epitome of summer, and with more of us than ever choosing to stay at home for the holidays there has never been a better time to get the hamper packed and set off to enjoy some of the best picnic spots in the UK. These are set in some of the most scenic of the British countryside, although there is the odd one near the coast if you prefer to eat your picnic lunch in the bracing sea air.
Avon Valley Country Park, Bristol
This stunning country park covers 50 acres and adjoins the River Avon. There is plenty to see and do here for the whole family with a great adventure park for the younger family members and peaceful trails to stroll along by the river, with loads of scenic picnic spots along the way. Work up an appetite before lunch and that picnic will be even more enjoyable. You can then hop on the Avon valley railway and let your food go down.
Wellington Country Park, Berkshire
Set in 350 acres of rolling Berkshire countryside, the Wellington Country Park is truly something to behold. Children will have a great time in the adventure playground, or on the miniature railway, or playing crazy golf or giant snakes and ladders. The lakeside walks and numerous nature trails make for a perfectly relaxing day, and as well as many picnic spots there are also barbecue areas and you can also camp here if you want to stay longer.
Beecraigs Country Park, West Lothian
This Scottish country park is the perfect setting for a great day out for the whole family. Located in the Bathgate Hills, close to Linlithgow town, Beecraigs covers an area of 913 acres, and alongside its tranquil picnic sports there is also a vast array of adventure sports to try your hand at such as canoeing, skiing, kayaking, archery and orienteering. The deer farm is very beautiful and well worth a visit, as is the fishery. There are camping and caravanning facilities for those of whom a day here simply isn’t long enough.
Ragley Hall, Hertfordshire
The magnificent Ragley Hall county estate is where the Marquis and Marchioness of Hertford have called home for almost 350 years. This is the perfect place for a day out in the country and one of the prettiest picnic spots you will find anywhere, especially if you choose one by the lake and glimpse the majestic peacocks strutting around. Ragley Hall also boasts, among other things, trampolines, huge 3D maze, a kids zone and adventure playground.
Barafundle Beach, Pembrokeshire
One of the best kept secrets in Welsh tourism, this little known beach is an absolute delight and has even ranked as one of the world’s best. This beach is clean, small and quiet and boasts sand dunes as well as numerous caves and rock pools to explore once the tide goes out. It has been described as the perfect family picnic spot, and those who have discovered this gem tend to return time after time.
When it comes to lists of top beaches in the world, the stretches of golden sand that are dotted around Europe are right up with the best. The South of France, however, is somewhere very special when it comes to beaches. This one time playground of the rich and famous is highly accessible with France’s TGV high speed trains , and affordable to all, and we are now free to enjoy the delights of these top 5 beaches in the South of France.
Located in between Valras Plage and Cap d’Agde, the relatively small bay that is Vias Plage has some of the warmest waters you will find anywhere in the South of France. Many are surprised to see a beach that isn’t exactly bursting with facilities ranked as one of the best beaches in an area packed with stunning bays, but when you look at the overall package of the location, the pristine sands and aforementioned waters, and the fact that even in the height of summer it is never crowded, it really should not be so surprising to see it on the list.
This is probably the best of the many beaches in Cap d’Agde, and is situated right in the heart of this popular tourist area. Holidaymakers flock here and it has been named as one of the best beaches in the South of France many times. Those who can drag themselves away from the golden sands for a while can take refreshments in the lovely beach side bar and restaurant, and enjoy a drink or a meal while taking in the breath taking views of the entire bay and all the way down to Narbonne Plage.
Point Zero Plage
Whilst the town of La Grande-Motte, with its modern urbanisation and pyramid shaped hotels, there is no denying that its Point Zero beach is something very special. Visually, it is stunning and with so much on offer it is the ideal beach for both adults and children. There is an abundance of bars and restaurants along the sea front just a few steps from the lush sands and even those who choose to give the town a miss completely can have everything they want at the waters edge.
This beach is next to Narbonne Plage, and it is a close run thing to pick one between the two, but Gruissan gets the nod as the town behind it is so much nicer to visit. This beach has the wide expanse of flat sand which is the trademark of beaches in this area, and you are guaranteed a great spot even in the height of summer. Gruissan Plage became famous when the film Betty Blue was filmed here, and the beach huts on stilts next to the beach are still there, and the focus for many a holiday snap.
This is very much typical if the beach resorts found in the South of France with a plethora of decent eateries, a picturesque harbour and plenty to keep the shoppers happy, The wide expanse of sands at Valras Plage is large enough to accommodate vast numbers of holiday makers, with enough room for you all to spread out and relax without being on top of each other. There is much to do in close proximity to the beach too, such as the adventure park at the harbour in the summer months, and the fairground rides alongside it.
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The carnival in Rio de Janeiro has to be one of the most famous events on the world calendar, with people flocking from all corners of the globe to join in the celebrations. However, there are many other festivals which take place in countries in every continent throughout the year – here’s a calendar of just a few of the events.
By Cheréne Pienaar
South Africa is a wonderful country to visit. There’s the history, the landscapes, the people, the culture and the resorts. Oh and then there’s the wine and much more. This article takes a look at 11 family vacations that are great for family holidays throughout South Africa.
1) Skukuza Rest Camp
Easy to access by air and road, Skukuza is situated right in the middle of Big Five country offering a variety of options to accommodate bush lovers including semi luxury bungalows camp sites, cottages 21 furnished safari tents and 4 guesthouses.
Bush walks and game drives make game viewing an absolute pleasure. An outdoor amphitheatre shows awesome wildlife documentaries and the Skukuza Golf 9 hole (18-tee), Par 72 golf course makes this visit to the Kruger National Park more than simple a safari holiday. Other activities, facilities and attractions at Skukuza Rest Camp include 2 restaurants one of which is the world famous Selati Station Grillhouse. Selati offers a full a la carte breakfast every.
Skukuza Rest Camp has public telephones, a post Box, bank, car hire & wash, internet café, delicatessen, communal ablutions, 2 swimming pools, cafeteria, shops, laundromat, petrol station, communal kitchens, cutlery and TVs (limited DSTV) available in family bungalows and luxury units. Day visitor’s picnic (located 4km outside the camp) with swimming pool, cellphone reception and the Skukuza Indigenous Nursery approximately 5km outside camp.
2) Sun City
Known as ‘Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure’ Sun City is South Africa’s premier holiday resort and a number one choice for family vacationing offers spans of entertainment for all ages. The resort complex offers family friendly vacations with a combination of family fun, food, gambling, game arcades, shopping and world-class hotels, aquatic activities at Sun City from the Valley of the Waves to thrilling water ports.
Keeping teens and tots busy and occupied at Sun City is not a difficult task with a range of fun for family friendly vacations with sun and superior entertainment activities. A supervised play area at Kamp Kwena and Animal World can only add to the fun. A baby-sitting service allows a little alone time for Mom and Dad, swimming pools, gorgeous gardens, game drives and restaurants creating options.
Sun City offers music and nightclubs for the lovers of the night to the great game of golf with two 18-hole championship golf courses challenging all levels of play making Sun City a mecca for golfing pleasure. Both courses, designed by Gary Player, offer a scenic and superb golfing experience.
3) Crawford’s Beach Lodge
Chalet accommodation makes it a classic style lodge great for family friendly vacations. Pine and thatch combined with bamboo finishes and clay effectively match the bright beds and gorgeous studded leather sofas. Only a short walk down to the beach it adds to the ambiance of what makes it an incredible whale spotting location with dolphins swimming and free boat-based whale-watching.
Pristine pool, tennis court and playground, guided hikes, horse-riding and spa treatments as well as a games room and gym makes Crawford’s Beach Lodge an outstanding option when looking for where to spend the summer holidays with focus on family friendly vacations. Inkwenkwezi Game Park with the big give is a mere 7km away adding to the family’s to do list.
Unwind and chill out with the finer things in life while kicking back in the lounge stacked of awesome photography books and a selection of other great reads. A telescope sits out for studying the stars by nights and the ocean by day through a quaint A-framed window. Crawford’s Beach Lodge is definitely worth the visit to the Wild Coast when looking for the best in family friendly vacations.
4) Zinkwazi Lagoon Lodge
The Zulus called it Zinkwazi, the home of Fish Eagles, a coastal eco resort with 7 kilometres of untouched lagoon situated on the beautiful North Coast of Kwazulu-Natal, only 80 km from Durban on the beautiful Dolphin Coast in the heart of the historical King Shaka Route.
Zinkwazi Lagoon Lodge offers 3 different accommodation options for family friendly vacations with beautiful suites, sophisticated dining, full board and breakfast options. Zinkwazi Lagoon Chalets giving guests the fully equipped self-catering option, each designed to indulge the outdoor living experience. Zinkwazi Forest Camp is an eco-camp, set in a riverine forest catering for caravaners and campers.
As far as what to do at Zinkwazi Lagoon Lodge, consider yourself spoilt for choice. Catch the ferry to the protected Beach or take a relaxing cruise on the lagoon aboard the Fish Eagle. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a host of courses while birdwatchers can explore numerous hotspots and eco trails by road, foot, canoe, off-road or boat. Zinkwazi is located close to game reserves and historical sites.
Raffia Restaurant serves spicy a la carte meals and the Isifonya Pub & Sundeck tucked away in the forest canopy where you can enjoy sundowners and some downtime, the Boma provides the perfect place for living it up on those family friendly vacations on amazing tropical nights around the campfire.
Mykonos has been a family friendly vacation favourite with South African for years. Located on the shores of the Langebaan Lagoon is a fantastically fun resort showcasing the height of hospitality and giving us a great taste of Greek living in South Africa.
Dedicated and well trained staff at Club Onos will cater to the children making it an awesome place for your next family friendly vacation, linking in with all the fun the kids can imagine including great day excursions, water sports and fishing.
Have some fun in the sun at Mykonos by lounging on a luxury yacht, casino cruising or do as little as possible relaxing in the luscious self-catering accommodation. Their Health & Leisure Centre will ensure Mom and Dad are pampered while restaurants and bars will keep guests wined and dined.
6) Drakensberg Sun Resort
This spectacular family friendly vacation favourite also forms part of the SunSwop Exchange programme, with families returning annually to enjoy their vacation in the heart of the Drakensberg. Families can enjoy a selection of activities at the resort including Spoilt Green Eco-Spa, trout fishing, horse riding, hiking Trails, canoeing and canopy tours.
Drakensberg Sun Resort is only 4 ½ hours from Johannesburg and 2 ½ hours from Durban offering a host of indoor and outdoor activities to keep the whole family entertained. Accommodation is really quite luxurious with wooden finishes that complement the resorts natural environment. This is nature at its best with breathtaking and just beautiful family friendly vacations in the Drakensberg.
7) Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge
Welcome to this incredible 4-star rated Bush Lodge located in the North West only 40 minutes from Rustenburg and 90 minutes from the city of Golf, Johannesburg. Kwa Maritane, Place of The Rock in Tswana, in malaria-free Pilanesberg National Park, is situated in the heart of the Bafokeng Nation’s territory, only a stone’s throw away from ‘Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure’ Sun City.
Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge is a great choice for family friendly vacations with 90 hotel rooms, just 3kms from Pilanesberg Airport, restaurant & bar, DSTV, offering spectacular big five viewing, underground hide & webcam, guided bush walks, game drives, 2 bomas, rock climbing wall, children’s playground, wireless internet, 2 swimming pools and spa.
8) Hermanus Esplanade
Hermanus Esplanade is situated in one of South Africa’s true coastal gems and makes for the perfect family friendly vacation location. Often referred to as the whale watching capital of the country Hermanus offers visitors a slice of magic when coming to spend time in their little seaside village. Full of interesting things to see and do with a range of activities and attractions in this gorgeous cape location.
The resort complex has 25 fully contained self-catering units ranging from duplex to apartments tucked-away for a little more privacy and an original fisherman’s cottage. Each unit has its own courtyard and barbecue with the exception for the two group apartments. The atmosphere and decor creates a feeling of being in the Greek Isles.
9) Dumela Holiday Resort
Located on South Africa’s Natal South Coast is the popular Dumela Holiday Resort in Margate, perfectly set right on the gorgeous Hibiscus Coast. The resort offers self-catering accommodation with friendly staff, taking pride in being one of the best family resorts in the country. At no charge baby cots are available on request.
Family friendly vacations with incredible views of the Indian Ocean, a pool, braai area, take away with daily specials for lunch and a thatch pub. Also at the resort are a great spa and a sauna, open gym, trampoline, playground, and entertainment which include the likes of darts, table tennis, pool tables.
The surrounding area offers entertainment and relaxation for the whole family. An arts and crafts trail known as the Southern Explorer is distributed to guests free of charge. Margate is all very close and the Wild Coast Casino is 30 min drive away. The Hibiscus Coast is also referred to as the Golf Coast with 6 incredible courses within half an hour’s drive.
A crocodile farm and bird park are nearby, as well as the popular Oribi Gorge, learn to scuba and take a stunning swim at the Protea Reef, experience a journey on the narrow railway taking you along the coastline and inland to Paddock on the Banana Express, take a deep sea fishing trip.
10) Merry Pebbles
Merry Pebbles is a truly family focused holiday resort located on the banks of the upper Sabie River within the boundaries of the mountain village Sabie. This is centrally situated on the Panorama Route close to tourist attractions within the vicinity including day trips to the Kruger National Park (the Phabeni gate) only 52km away, Gods Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and numerous waterfalls.
Merry Pebbles Resort offers guests a real range of AA highly recommended accommodation options from self-catering chalets, bungalows, cottages and lodges to 3-star graded caravanning and camp sites. A fully licensed a la Carte’ restaurant onsite serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The resort caters for family friendly vacations with facilities including heated and cold water pools, water slides, tennis court, mini-golf, outdoor chess and entertainment center, play parks, mountain biking and hiking trails offering fun for the whole family and making Merry Pebbles a great family vacation option.
A family resort located in an African bushveld environment, situated in the Limpopo province, a short drive from Johannesburg, close to the town of Bela Bela, meaning ‘Boiling Boiling’ in Northern Sotho. Forever Resorts’ Warmbaths is home to the mineral-rich hot springs that gives it the name.
An affordable family friendly vacation offering guests a fantastic summer holiday experience. K will love the pools, rides, river and water sports including motorised skiing camping sites. Warmbaths has a total of 124 self-catering bungalows. Enjoy game viewing in the resort’s private game resort and for that kiddies evening fun the onsite Spur for that fun no cooking family treat. #
France is rich in local culture and history. Despite its prominent location within Europe, it has managed to keep its own identity which has made it a haven for tourists. In this article we look at 10 amazing images from various locations around France – all unique in their own special way.
Amazing Photos of France
France played a significant role in the Second World War with British troops landing on the beaches of Normandy to thwart the advances of the German army. Although eventually the Germans were defeated, many Allied soldiers lost their lives in the initial invasion and throughout the rest of the war. This photo has been selected as it is a memorial for the Allied troops. The image itself is beautifully composed and sends shivers down your spine.
One of the most iconic landmarks of France is the Eiffel Tower so no image collection would be complete without it. This stunning shot has been taken from the ground and shows the Eiffel Tower lit up in radiant gold against a dark blue night sky. Truly magical.
The Louvre may house numerous historical paintings such as the Mona Lisa but the building itself is also of artistic significance. In this image, the Louvre can be seen at sun set with a stunning reflection doubling its beauty.
Seen in many 50s films, L’Arc de Triomphe is a well known Parisian landmark so it simply has to be including within this collection. This black and white image gives the arch a majestic feel and enhances the carved detailing.
France is a popular destination for the rich and famous with no destination more prevalent than Monaco. This shot encapsulates the very essence of Monaco as it features a number of luxurious boats with the city itself in the background.
Dijon has a lot more to offer tourists than just the traditional yellow mustard that comes from there. Home of a wealth of historical and religious buildings that sport awe inspiring architecture, this image features a stained glass window from the Saint-Benigne Cathedral. This photo perfectly captures the bright glass which makes up a series of religious scenes.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame is famous not only for its architecture but also for the story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, a popular Disney Film. This image is worthy of being included in this collection as the jaunty angle beautifully shows the intricate detailing that went into the cathedral.
The Palace of Versaille is a popular tourist attraction with people of all ages. This photograph beautifully captures some of the ornate ceiling paintings which have been carefully maintained within the palace.
This beautiful photograph shows the town of Rocamadour which is believed to be the resting place of the Virgin Mary. As a result this scenic town perched on the side of a cliff is full of religious and historic buildings. The photograph perfectly captures the precarious location of the town, along with the thriving landscape around it.
The final amazing photograph from France is this shot of Lourdes. A popular holiday destination and pilgrimage location, this image captures the exquisite architecture along with the majestic gold cross. The cloudy grey background gives this image a moody feel and touch of drama.
With so many beautiful buildings and historic monuments to visit, France is a holiday hotspot for those looking for culture.