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4 reasons you need to cross the Northern Lights off your bucket list this year

There has never been a better time to see one of Mother Nature’s ultimate shows: the spectacular aurora borealis – or Northern Lights. Caused when atmospheric gases collide with charged particles from the sun, the Northern Lights are a heavenly nocturnal dance of colour everyone should see at least once. Here are a few reasons to book your trip now:

1. The spectacular solar cycle ends soon 

We are nearing the end of a solar cycle, when the sun’s “heartbeat” is at its peak. From 2007 until 2018, the sun has been firing off solar flares and has an increased number of sunspots: the more solar activity, the better the light displays.

2. Guaranteed sightings, or a free cruise

Aurora hunters claim September and March to be the best months to plan a trip to see the lights — but the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months (from October to February) are a close second. To capitalise on the great conditions, Inspirations Travel and Tours (ITT) is offering 12-day expeditions with Norwegian cruise company Hurtigruten. They’re so confident you’ll have an incredible sighting on Hurtigruten’s 12-day Classic Round Voyages cruise that they’re making a very special Northern Lights Promise: if there’s no sighting, you’ll get another Hurtigruten six or seven-day Classic Voyage for free (*Ts and Cs apply, scroll down for details).

Lonely Planet has called Hurtigruten's round-trip cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes and back to Bergen “The World’s Most Beautiful Voyage”. It explores Norway’s entire coastal route – all 34 ports – and there’s a special Polar Circle crossing. And, of course, there’s the guaranteed Northern Lights sighting.

3. No two sightings are the same

Even if you’ve seen the Northern Lights once, no two sightings are the same. They can last from a few minutes to a few hours, as yellowish-green curtains of light, or white spirals or violet, white or red arcs. If you’ve seen ‘em in Norway, then try a trip to Iceland, Russia, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Greenland or Alaska instead.

4. Snow

Need another reason? We don’t get much of it in South Africa and it can be absolutely magical. An Arctic adventure to see the aurora borealis can be the perfect reason to ski, dog sled and snow angel until your heart’s content — or cosy up with a hot chocolate after a chilly night out.

*Ready to book? Ask your nearest Sure Travel agency about ITT’s Northern Lights Promise promotion, which applies to Hurtigruten's Classic Round-trip Voyages departing from 1 October 2017 to 31 Mar 2018. Cruises start from R18 499 per person sharing. Or call 0861 47 48 49 for more details.  

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