With reports that the Red List is set to drop from 54 to nine countries this week, thoughts have turned to those faraway destinations that have been banned for too long. From the paradisiacal landscapes of Seychelles and Thailand to unforgettable African wildlife experiences, the very idea of quarantine in hotels has served to end some of the most exhilarating travel experiences in the world. But luckily that could all change on Thursday.
Here, we take a look at 10 destinations that we hope to see released from redlist status this week. Each is open to UK travelers to some extent, but note that some require multiple tests to visit, regardless of vaccination status.
For many travelers, South Africa is at the top of the wish list to be removed from the red list, especially as summer is approaching in the southern hemisphere. A total all-rounder, it’s easy to combine Cape Town’s cultural thrills with unforgettable safari experiences. Beyond the Big Five, you can choose to travel the Coastal Garden Route, with its astonishing array of flora and whale watching opportunities. Another great way to cross the country in style is to take a luxury train. The two main operators based in Pretoria are Rovos Rail or the Blue Train, where your suite is a living room by day, a bedroom by night and has a marble and gold bathroom.
Travelers will not have full access to Thailand if the country is lifted from its Red List status – trips to bustling Bangkok cities or sleepy temple towns in the north would still require a 14-day punitive quarantine. However, its successful “sandbox” program has allowed fully vaccinated foreign tourists to return to its largest island, Phuket, if they fly directly. Granted, part of the island is overdeveloped, but explore beyond the resort town of Patong and you’ll find quiet beaches, a jungle-covered interior, and a provincial capital full of scorching street food stalls. Stay tuned as plans are underway to open more areas of the country from November.