Where to Travel in December
Often synonymous with winter holidays and chilly conditions in the northern hemisphere, and warmer summer days in the southern hemisphere, December marks the perfect time for a getaway. With a wide selection of luxury tours, safaris and excursions to choose from, we’ve rounded up a list of 10 of the destinations for a December holiday, featuring majestic scenescapes, unique wildlife and the very best in culture and cuisine.
December to March marks Namibia’s hot summer months, making it a good time to visit this African nation, especially if you want to see newborn animals and migratory birds. Signalled by heavy rainfall, December delivers the perfect climate for the two week blooming season of desert flowers. Timing is crucial to see this colourful display blanket the Namib desert, especially against the stark contrast of iconic spots such as Sossusvlei, famous for its copper-hued sand dunes.
It’s also a great time of year for keen photographers to capture some breathtaking images. For unique stays in Sossusvlei, Wilderness Little Kulala features intimate suites, each decked out with its own private plunge pool and rooftop deck, perfect for stargazing.
Botswana’s wet season hits the country at the start of November, lasting through till April. Despite soaring day time temperatures that clash with rain showers and thunderstorms, this is a good time to visit Botswana to truly satisfy your safari wanderlust.
December is one of the best months to visit Rwanda as this is prime gorilla trekking season. The dry weather makes for a wonderful tromp through the forest undergrowth when out hiking. It’s also easier for guides to spot animals in these drier conditions. Overlapping with gorilla season is chimpanzee trekking, a must-do activity in Nyungwe National Park. Make the most of your time here with a stay at the One&Only Nyungwe House. Made up of 22 suites, each room features an array of artwork inspired by Rwandan scenescapes and culture.
4. South Africa
Dry and sunny days greet you between October and April in South Africa, making December prime time to see the country. December’s longer days and warmer temperatures prove to be the ideal time to visit Cape Town. Signal your time here with a visit to its pristine surfing beaches or a stop in the Winelands for a sip and stroll among the vineyards.
December also marks the middle of the wet summer season, transforming Kruger National Park into a lush scenescape perfect for birding. Bordering Kruger, a trip to Sabi Sands is a must if you’re looking to get up close and personal with the big five, in what is widely considered one of Africa’s premier game reserves.
The dry season of Vietnam runs from November to April, making December one of the best times for visiting cityscapes like Hanoi and the northern region of the country. It’s famous for excellent street food tours sure to satiate a healthy appetite, and many other exciting things to do. Indulge in all of Vietnam’s local specialties like iconic phở (soup with rice noodles) and bánh xèo (savoury rice pancakes). For a one-of-a-kind stay, Capella Hanoi features 47 rooms and suites, each paying homage to legendary opera artists, designers and composers.
6. Sri Lanka
In the mood for a nice cuppa in the verdant tea country of Sri Lanka? You’re in luck if you’re planning a trip in December, one of the best times to visit, as it’s when the country experiences cooler temperatures. Sri Lanka’s tea country is one of the last places in the world where the crop continues to be harvested by hand. For the history buff, a trip to the seaport of Galle on the southern edge of Sri Lanka is a must ,with the UNESCO World Heritage site Galle Fort serving as a prominent stopping point for spice traders during the 16th century.
December is a great month to explore some of Sri Lanka’s national parks. While the lush vegetation may make it a little trickier to spot animals, the birding is fantastic. Leopard tracking in Yala National Park is incredible no matter what time of year you visit.
Get your tango on with a December visit to Argentina. September to March marks the best time to visit, with warmer spring and summer months perfect for exploring neighbouring Patagonia and the Lake District. A visit to Mendoza delivers you straight to the heart of Argentina’s wine industry, as vineyards dot this picturesque region against the backdrop of the staggering Andes mountains. A couple of our favourite places to stay here are The Vines Resort and Spa and Cavas Wine Lodge.
Head to Argentina’s coast if you are keen to catch the end of whale season and spot some of these majestic creatures before they head off to other waters. But no matter where you find yourself in this wonderful country, there are plenty of things to do.
Reward yourself with a trip unlike any other to the white continent of Antarctica. The warmer summer months of December to March mark the best time to take in the natural beauty and teeming wildlife of this stark landscape, including newborn seal pups and penguin chicks.
Or, slow down time with a stay at the Blue Lagoon Retreat, soaking in the therapeutic nature of the spring’s geothermal waters, with sustainability kept front of mind. The retreat is located in the heart of an 800-year-old, moss-covered lava flow.