The second installment of our twelve part series on the best places to visit when, this month it’s all about the natural delights of Vietnam, ancient monasteries of Tibet, sublime southern coastline of South Africa, desert dunes of Morocco and intoxicating wildlife of Ecuador.
With lofty emerald peaks, verdant rice paddies, teeming national parks, and a glistening tip to toe coastline, Vietnam is a place of incredible natural beauty. While there is no right or wrong time to visit this enchanting country, November marks the start of the dry season, with sunny skies and warm temperatures. This warm humid climate makes for an excellent time to explore Vietnam’s charming rural villages and thriving cosmopolitan cities, to cruise spectacular Halong Bay, enjoy a cyclo tour of Hanoi’s enchanting Old Quarter, and try delectable Vietnamese cuisine.
For centuries this Buddhist kingdom was hidden away from the rest of the world, nestled in the vast snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. A land of mysterious treasures, rich history and sublime beauty, Tibet has long enthralled intrepid travellers. Like other destinations within the Himalayas, the best time to visit Tibet is between October and November, when climatic conditions are ideal for trekking with a dry climate, pleasant temperatures and brilliant visibility. Home of the Dalai Lama, and riddled with sacred temples and ancient monasteries, Tibet also offers an unrivalled insight into the Buddhist religion.
With a colourful mix of cultures, languages and people, it is no wonder why South Africa has earned itself the nickname The Rainbow Nation. This multi-cultural vibe combined with world renowned game reserves, rugged mountain ranges and beautiful beaches, make South Africa a truly tempting destination. With the seasons running opposite to those in the northern reaches of the African continent the tail-end of the year is the best time to visit South Africa. In November the country boasts a hot and dry climate with clear blue skies making it the idyllic time to stand atop iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town, go in search of the Big Five in Kruger National Park, or drive along the scenic Garden Route.
Although just a short hop for Europe, the culture, history and landscape of this North African country is a world apart. A sensory overload of sights sounds and smells, Morocco excites all of the senses and has to be seen to be believed. With distinct regions of coast, mountain and desert, the climate of Morocco varies across the country, but typically the early winter months of October and November make for extremely pleasant climatic conditions to explore all that Morocco has to offer without the fierce summer heat. Explore the bustling souks of Marrakech, chill out in laid back Essaouira, camel trek through the Sahara, discover imperial Fes and much more.
From the picturesque colonial towns of Quito and Cuenca, to the lofty heights of the Andres and incredible biodiversity of the Amazon, what Ecuador lacks in size it makes up for in its incredible array of natural and man-made wonders. Bang in the middle of the dry season, November brings cool temperatures and cloud cover making it an excellent time to explore Ecuador’s many sights and star-attractions without scorching heat or heavy rainfall. After discovering all that Ecuador has to offer on land, head off shore to the incredible Galapagos Islands, an archipelago of otherworldly beauty and home to a staggering collection of unique species.
Stay tuned next month for the best places to visit in December.