Dreaming of the December holidays? Aren’t we all. And while we do deserve some indulgence after a year of hard work, these days there is a trend towards fitness-focused holidays. What are these? Well, imagine fewer cocktails by the pool and more water bottles strapped to your backpack. While fitness fans still want to use their holiday time to travel and make rich memories, they also want to keep fit while they do it – returning home revitalised rather than three kilograms heavier.

If a more active holiday sounds appealing to you, here are some popular destinations that are becoming known for their fitness focus:

 

BINTAN ISLAND, SINGAPORE

Just a short ferry ride from Singapore, Club Med Bintan Island is renowned for its natural beauty, and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor activities to keep you busy. Play a round of golf at one of the breathtaking courses overlooking the azure sea, bodyboard, kayak or surf in the warm waves, or hike up the 340-metre Gunung Bintan mountain, taking time to plunge into the water from a waterfall on your descent (said to bring good luck!). Pitched as “the new Bali”, we think Bintan is only going to grow in popularity.

 

SICILY

Don’t get distracted by the pasta and gelato – you’re in Sicily to cycle! Started in 1909, the Giro d’Italia is Italy’s iconic multi-stage bike race and this year it was hosted in Sicily. There are many riding tour companies in the area offering trips that take you on the same routes the pro riders whizzed up and down. You’ll get the opportunity to tackle some of the race sections yourself, including the steep and infamous climb up Mount Etna. Companies like the Sicily Cycling Club will even help you craft a tailor-made training camp, depending on your time constraints and ability. And in the evening, they can also recommend the best restaurants in the area − so you can finally feast on that well-earned bowl of Pasta alla Norma (pasta with eggplant) and dessert of cream-filled cannoli.

 

MAURITIUS

We all know Mauritius for its picture-perfect white sand beaches, turquoise water and twinkling swimming pools. But it’s also become somewhat of a trail running mecca and is home to the Dodo Trail, an annual ultra-trail running race hosted by Yan de Maroussem, one of Mauritius’ most famous trail-runners. Then there is also the Ultra Trail Raidlight Beachcomber, which has courses of 47km, 25km and 10km. All these races let you see some of the most breathtaking parts of Mauritius, from fields to forests, lagoons to mountains, and even across untouched beaches.

 

SOUTHERN AFRICA

That’s right – you don’t even have to go very far for a truly memorable fitness-focused adventure holiday. If staying in our own backyard appeals to you, there is a range of multi-day hikes around Southern Africa to choose from through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The Otter Trail is South Africa’s oldest hiking trail, stretching 40km between Storms River Mouth and Nature’s Valley along the Garden Route. The trail consists of five days of fairly strenuous hiking, and you’ll stay in self-catering huts along the way.

Just north of the border, Namibia’s Fish River Canyon Hike winds through around 85km of the second largest canyon in the world. It’s extremely rugged and not for inexperienced hikers as it’s unguided and goes through some very remote, harsh terrain – but intrepid adventurers are rewarded with breathtaking views of this natural wonder, as well as wide open spaces and unparalleled stargazing. 

 

There’s no doubt that a “fitcation” is a great way to keep your body fit, relax your mind and return to normal life feeling refuelled and re-energised. With all these options, you really are spoilt for choice, and no matter which one you choose, your body – and your health – will thank you! Before you book your fitcation, it’s worth remembering that Sanlam Reality, available to Fedhealth members, offers you travel benefits and rewards that you can use before and during your trip, including discounts on flights, car hire, airport transfers and more.