With 2015 having sped past in an absolute blur, you might be wondering where it leaves you in terms of the upcoming year of travel. Have no fear, for we’re peering into our crystal ball to scope out some of the hottest destinations for 2016.
This vibrant African nation of Botswana has been making waves amongst travel gurus, featuring in lists by National Geographic and the Huffington Post, not to mention snagging first place in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016.
With next year heralding Botswana’s 50th year of independence, people are starting to sit up and take notice of this thriving, progressive country.
One of the country’s major draw cards on the tourism front is undoubtedly the magnificent Okavango Delta. Lauded as one of the last truly great wildlife habitats on the continent, the wetlands are made up of a sprawling river fan, feeding the lush lands which eventually transform into the Kalahari desert.
Here you can encounter some of the magnificent wildlife who come to graze here during the dry season. This includes buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, hippos and giraffes, not to mention cheetahs, antelope, Nile crocodile and four of the Big Five – lion, rhinos, leopard and elephants.
Head over during the high water season around June to August to skim across the water on a mokoro, a barge-canoe expertly manoeuvred by the local guides.
From the heat of Africa to the chill of the Arctic, Greenland is the next on our list. It is also trending across the travel sphere as the next unique location, according to Lonely Planet and Nat Geo.
With just under 57,000 inhabitants, this autonomous Danish island has the world’s lowest population density, but it might be about to welcome a few more visitors in 2016. Rather than great landmarks or other tourist traps, the allure of Greenland is down to its awesome natural beauty and untouched landscapes.
Visit Ilulissat, the so-called iceberg capital of the world, where colossal ice formations are always in motion. Or perhaps arrange your trip for March, in time for the 2016 Arctic Winter Games that will be hosted in the capital of Nuuk.
Of course, when you come to Greenland, you can’t leave without a night under the stars, gazing up at the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, visible from September through to April.
From the scarcest population to a country with one of the world’s most populous cities, we welcome you to Japan – coming in at second place just after Botswana on Lonely Planet’s top 10 list.
The capital city of Tokyo, home to over 13 million people, has made its way onto Australians’ top 10 places to visit next year, as reported by the Daily Mail. In addition, the glittering white powder of the ski fields of Hokkaido have also had a nod from National Geographic as a must-see winter destination.
Start your journey in Tokyo, visiting such iconic sights as Shibuya crossing, Harajuku shopping district and Tokyo Tower. The techno-savvy amongst us will rejoice at the electronics haven of Akihabara, where you’ll find no shortage of gadgets and toys on offer. There is also the bustling Tsukiji Fish Market, and the serene Meiji Shrine to explore in the middle of this sprawling metropolis.
From Tokyo, you can head north to ski in Hokkaido, or take a journey south to discover the temples of Osaka, the intrigue of Kyoto and the natural beauty of Hiroshima prefecture. Don’t forget to check out our Japanese phrase book and pronunciation guide, so you can ask for a sample of some of the nation’s incredible cuisine. Oishi!
Featured in the Huffington Post and Lonely Planet, Palau is a Micronesian archipelago in the far-flung reaches of the azure waters of the South Pacific. This tiny republic is made up of over 200 islands, although only eight are inhabited by the national population of just over 20,000.
The temperatures are agreeable year round, sitting at an average of 27 degrees Celsius, and while rainfall can occur throughout the year, typhoons are rare. While you’re here, plan to spend your time splashing about in the crystalline waters, which were declared a marine sanctuary by the President in 2014.
You’ll find world class diving here, where the diverse underwater life includes and abundance of coral, as well as turtles, sharks and dolphins. Don’t forget ocean kayaking, which can take you through the uninhabited Rock Islands Southern Lagoon. These lush limestone outcroppings are a naturalist’s paradise, and have been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.