Be a tourist in your own country

September is World Tourism Month, and in South Africa, it’s also the month we commemorate Heritage Day. With inter-provincial travel now allowed, and hotel groups like First Group opening their doors for the first time since March, it is the perfect opportunity to explore our beloved country, while connecting to the rich history, cultural diversity and heritage that South Africa has to offer.

“We officially re-opened our doors on 4 September 2020 and we’re excited and eager to welcome guests as they visit First Group resorts around South Africa. Our country is not short of experiences — from coastal getaways and mountain retreats to fun-filled family holidays and bush adventures — we truly do have it all,” says Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group Hotels and Resorts.

He adds that exploring your home country will not only allow you to escape the lock-down fatigue but also contribute to the economy and job creation. “We encourage people to support local. It enriches suppliers while sustaining the job market, which is especially critical at the moment. Various industries continue to face challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but your support can make a difference,” he says.

Shaun offers 4 travel experiences to explore in South Africa: 

Sandy Beaches:

From Cape Town to Durban, to the Eastern Cape, South Africans can take a journey to discover some of the most picturesque scenery, while escaping the stresses of modern-day city life. Depending on your preference, you can visit the remote Wild Coast’s Hole in the Wall for excellent birdwatching, nature walks and hiking trails. For something closer to the city, the KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape coastlines offer trendy beaches that are sure to refresh your mind and body.

The Drakensberg and KZN Midlands:

The evergreen KZN region has some of the most unspoiled foothill, waterfall and mountain views, to captivate your imagination and quench your thirst for outdoor adventure. It allows one to truly embrace slow life with exhilarating activities ranging from canopy tours and candle dipping, to horse riding and much more. It also brings a whole new meaning to supporting local with an abundance of arts and crafts shops along the Midlands Meander route.

Magaliesberg Nature Escape:

The understated Magaliesberg has one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, rich with bushveld savannah. It offers an ideal escape for friends and family to spend time surrounded by the tranquility of nature. There are various leisurely activities to take part in, including riding up the Hartbeespoort Aerial Cable for a first-class view of the Magaliesberg Mountains.

The Garden Route:

The Garden Route is well known for its verdant and diverse vegetation, stretching from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape. It’s perfect for a long drive to explore forests, beaches, lagoons and farmland surrounded by beautiful landscapes. Although there are many places to visit along the route, the coastal village of Mossel Bay makes for the best all-year-round holiday destination with exceptional weather.


“Our country is abundant with wildlife, stunning scenery and renowned vineyards, making it one of the world’s big long-haul travel destinations, establishing tourism as a pillar of the economy. The international travel restrictions will give South Africans a chance to develop a deeper sense of our heritage while ploughing back into our local communities,” Shaun says.

He adds that although many people are reluctant to visit destinations during the COVID-19 pandemic, they can rest assured that they will have a pleasant experience as health and safety protocols are being adhered to at First Group. “As leaders in the hospitality industry, First Group transformed every resort and hotel into a COVID-safe zone so that guests can enjoy an even cleaner, safer, germ-free holiday from check-in to check-out,” Shaun concludes.