December in South Africa is a lovely time of year for a number of reasons… It’s warm, it’s sunny, it’s holiday time – which means it’s beach, swim, sand, sun time, it’s resting time (although no one really rests). Oh yes, and somewhere in there it’s that Christmas thing also.
If you are from Johannesburg, you inevitably want to migrate to the coasts to show off just exactly how little sun you get. Forcing the coastal locals to wear ultra-tinted sunglasses to prevent arc-eye from happening, because the sun reflecting off of your milky white torso and legs is blindingly dangerous! This migration results in long hours on the road, swearing at fellow Vaalies and roadworks (that never seem to end), long queues for the much needed caffeine fix, or toilet break, that ensures the safe arrival at your preferred coastal destination.
So, no resting there, then while at the coast you try and be as touristy as possible, if you migrated to the Cape you inevitably want to go to Table Mountain, do a Wine Route or 10, go to Robben Island etc etc etc. If you migrated to Durban you probably want to go to uShaka Marine world, or visit those Rastafarian caves. To be honest I don’t know Durban all that well, it never was a December destination for our family.
Couple that with having to visit anyone you have ever known who lives remotely close to where you will be vaca-ing and you have a pretty jam-packed stress-inducing trip, masquerading as a holiday. Then you get back to Johannesburg, the epitome of a rat race, and you THINK you are ready for the new year because you left your house, city and people in search of solace and peace by going to where EVERYONE else is also going. Good luck. It’s a placebo effect. Simply because you spent all your money on a holiday, you took pictures of said holiday, you ended up in hospital because coastal sun is unfriendly to your non-sunblock using ass, you assume that the stress of the previous year is away. SURPRISE, it’s hiding under all that sea sand that will inevitably get onto every piece of clothing you own. 6 Months after your vacation you will still find sand in your hair, even if you are bold. BELIEVE ME!
If you are from a coastal town that gets the annual migration of pale Vaalies then you also get no rest, no peace. Your traffic increases, your usual spot on the beach gets taken, your local store’s prices go up because hey, where else will theses local tourists go for their shopping. And because the Vaalies can shop nowhere else, the restaurants and shops are inevitably fuller, meaning you have to find a less satisfying place to eat. Lets face it, a city rat will ALWAYS need to shop for pointless things, it’s how you spot them in the wild. You get sucked into hurricane Vaalie every holiday season and it takes you about 3 months to recoup.
My advice, as a seasoned human being, Vaalie and Cape Townian, STAY AT HOME!! Especially if you are from Johannesburg. Stay in Joburg, it might be the first time you can drive out of Rosebank toward ANYWHERE ELSE on a Monday afternoon at 4pm and NOT sit in traffic for a day and a half. It might be the only time you will not want to commit a crime of the bodily harm type when you venture into a mall. It might be the only time that you will not have to deal with as many obnoxious Vaalies as usual. It might also be the first year that you don’t go into borderline financial ruin because you didn’t take out another loan to pay for your vacation, which always costs way more than you anticipated.
“But what is there to do?” Plenty! There is so much you can do during the holidays in Joburg. Some of them you will even get paid for. Short list of things you could do while in Joburg during December:
- If you live alone, or even if you don’t, you could offer your superb house sitting skills to all the Vaalies that are leaving. Offer to walk people’s pooches, feed their animals, backwash the pool. The works. Folks pay good money and it doesn’t take a whole day to just make sure nothing is broken or dead.
- If you need less rest than the average rat, then you could try and find a December job. Bartend, waiter, Razzle Dazzle, promote. All kinds of things. I don’t know how many places are looking for temps but it can’t hurt to try, hey?
- If you do need more rest than the usual, you could get yourself a few cold ones, find out which folks have the coldest pool and just hang around till you look like you have been at the coast the whole time. Seriously, that’s what the Vaalies that went to the coast are doing anyway. Let’s face it, Vaalies are shit scared of the ocean!
- If you need rest but at the same time need to keep busy because you are a busy little rat, then take up a vacation hobby. Redo a room in your house, paint a wall, break out a wall, build a desk. Find a place that sells those shipping pallets and get building. PINTEREST BITCHES!! Everyone knows how to hammer a nail. One up all the vacationers by starting to gym now already then you will feel better about your inevitable New Year’s resolution, and you will already be in a routine.
- If you are not the physical labour sort then read some brain dead books, or read life enriching books. READ is my point there. Get yourself some of these adult colouring books and get cracking on those hand cramps. Or play games, PlayStation, Xbox, PC name your poison and there is a game for you. Or you could legitimately watch an entire season of Friends, catch up on Suits, start watching Game of Thrones and veg the whole time! Get take away pizza and build yourself a pizza box fort. No one will judge… Except me, I will judge!
- If you want to tourist in Johannesburg, there are plenty of places you can go to that do not close, even on Christmas day (sad, I know). You could go to any of the botanical gardens, you could go to Orlando Towers and get your adrenaline pumping (which also helps with stress relief) by bungee jumping or free falling, you could go to any of the wildlife parks like the Lion Park or the Rhino & Lion Park or any of the zoos. Hell, if you want animal interaction volunteer at an SPCA. If you want to spend a little more money than usual, you could go to places like Sun City or Gold Reef City. Or you could visit museums and monuments in Johannesburg and Pretoria or go check out the Cradle of Humankind. The province is your oyster.
For a few tips on some free shit to do in Johannesburg read HERE!
Whatever you plan to do, I hope you keep in mind that simply because you are on vacation does not mean that everyone else is, so don’t be mean to those who still have to work and serve you. Be kind, everyone is trying to unwind. Also, please chill the freak out on the road people, every single year people die on the road because they either think they can drive for 14 hours straight without resting (red bull gives wings and heart problems, not supernatural staying awake powers) or they can drink and party for 14 hours straight and then drive 5 kms home.