For those in many Asian countries, Chinese New Year, an annual celebration that kicks off with the new moon between 21 January and 20 February, is the perfect time to take a holiday. Need some inspiration? Here are some of the best places to travel for Chinese New Year.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is perfect in late January and early February. The windy season is over and the weather is still beautiful and hot. The school term starts from the middle of January, so the city isn’t as busy as it is over Christmas and New Year.
Spend your time here exploring the stunning Cape Peninsula, visiting the African penguins at Boulders Beach, taking the cable car up Table Mountain for panoramic views of the city and ocean, and enjoying sundowners at Camps Bay.
Make sure you book early to secure a room in one of our favourite city hotels, such as Ellerman House.
Masai Mara, Kenya
A safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara in January or February means dry weather, with lots of wildlife to spot around the watering holes.
This time of year sees some of the highest concentrations of animals in the Mara, with the chance to see the Big Five, cheetahs sprinting across the plains, the endangered black rhino and pods of hippos wallowing in the Mara River.
As this is a popular time to visit, make sure you take advantage of our expert advice to find a spot that avoids the majority of the crowds, such as a private conservancy outside the main national park.
Makgadikgadi Pan, Botswana
Whilst everyone has heard – or should that be ‘herd’? – of the Great Migration in Tanzania and Kenya, few know of Botswana’s zebra migration.
This is the longest land migration of any mammal and you can see them on the salt pans during January and February, before the herds start moving back into the Okavango Delta.
Around 30,000 animals, mostly zebras, take part in this migration. The pans allow uninterrupted viewing of the herds and also mean you can stay at the famous Jack’s Camp, a luxurious oasis on these barren salt flats.
January and February in Zanzibar mean hot, dry weather – ideal for a winter sun escape. February is also a great time for diving here.
Enjoy the melting pot of cultures you’ll find in Zanzibar, where you’ll see plenty of evidence of its Middle Eastern heritage – Stone Town used to be the capital of Oman. Whether it’s lazing around on the beach or exploring the underwater world, Zanzibar is an amazing place to spend a CNY break.
Head to Pemba Island, one of the best places to snorkel with whale sharks.
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Although you can visit the mountain gorillas all year around, January and February are dry months, which makes the trekking a little easier. What an incredible way to celebrate CNY!
The experience of visiting the gorillas starts with a trek of varying lengths, depending on the habituated gorilla family your group has been assigned. Once you arrive at the site – which rangers will have already checked out earlier in the morning to make sure they know where the gorillas have settled – you’ll have an hour to spend with these amazing animals.
The best thing about choosing Rwanda as your gorilla trekking destination is all the new luxury lodge openings, such as the stunning Bisate Lodge.
The wildebeest migration herds are calving during the month of February – around 500,000 calves are born over just a few weeks. It’s a fascinating time to journey to the Serengeti.
Not surprisingly, predators are also out in force during this time, so you can spot cheetahs and lions on the plains, too.
This is a wonderful time to see the herds of the Great Migration in a very different stage to the famous river crossings that take place later in the year.
Chinese New Year – or Spring Festival – starts on 5th February 2019. 2019 is the Year of the Pig.