Super-Romantic Local Spots
With Valentines Day just around the corner, it’s time to start pulling out all the stops romance-wise. Your budget might not stretch to dinner on the Eiffel tower, but luckily there are plenty of options for the hopeless romantics right here on South African shores. If you want to impress someone special this Valentines day (or any other time, because romance isn’t only for one day of the year!), you can’t go wrong with one of these stellar local spots.
1. Where? Dullstroom
What to expect? Lazy, slow weekends in the countryside with evenings spent around roaring fires are the main attraction of Dullstroom, but it’s not just a winter destination. Fishing, horseriding and beautiful country walks are all part of the attraction, as well as the irresistible charm of small-town South Africa. If you fancy a meal out, visit Art of Food for a real fine-dining treat. It’s the top-rated restaurant in Mpumalanga, and it’s affordable, delicious and cosy. Don’t forget to bring back a smoked trout and some cheese from the local artisanal shops.
2. Knysna, Garden Route
What to expect? The expansive Garden Route is completely chock-full of romantic spots but we’ve chosen Knysna because it has the perfect mix of seclusion and proximity to shops and restaurants. Sip on cocktails at Pezula’s clubhouse, visit the Noetzie beach for golden sandy beaches surrounded by castles (yes really!), go for a cruise on the lagoon and then retire to your private accommodation – whether you choose beach or forest is totally up to you.
What to expect? Paternoster is one of the West Coast’s traditional fishing villages so you can expect beautiful coloured boats dotted all over the shoreline. Paired with blinding white beaches, loads of pretty, blue and white seaside cottages, and enough fresh seafood than you can shake a stick at, Paternoster is the perfect getaway for Capetonians looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city for a weekend away with a loved one.
What to expect? Wine, wine and more wine! Oh, and to add to that, there’s also incredible food ranging from handmade chocolates and glorious Italian eateries through to world-renowned dining at Reuben’s. With breathtaking mountains and valleys as the backdrop for a weekend spent indulging in some of life’s finer things, you can’t go too far wrong. And who better to enjoy them with than the person you love?
What to expect? Hazyview has it all. If your special someone is adventurous and outdoorsy, treat them to river rafting, horseriding, quadbiking or hiking. If you’re a more leisurely type who thinks that being adventurous is trying a new coffee from the comfort of your chalet, there’s plenty to cater for you as well. A late afternoon game drive in the nearby Kruger Park has to be on your to-do list. Pack a picnic and a flask of coffee and bring your best binoculars! The area is stunning, so look for a place with panoramic views or which overlooks the bubbling Sabie river, and we can guarantee your Valentine will fall even more in love with you.
What to expect? Mist creeping in over the peaks, panoramic views of the spectacular Drakensberg amphitheatre, frosty mornings, rolling green hills and cute towns dotted around South Africa’s most famous mountain range. The Drakensberg is within easy reach of both Gauteng and Durban, and provides some of the best hiking in the country for both seasoned hikers and occasional walkers. Catch the Drakensberg boys choir, go for a birds of prey show, taste locally-made chocolate and sip on a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire in the evening. Plus, your Instagram will look great!
What to expect? This largely underexplored part the rugged Wild Coast, Cintsa is within easy enough driving distance from East London airport, making it accessible for a long weekend even for the out-of-towners. It’s wild and unspoilt, with bright white sand backed by dense forest. Spend mornings drinking in the sea breeze with a warm cup of coffee in your hand, and your afternoons swimming and horseriding on the beach.
8. Nottingham Road
What to expect? The heart of the KZN Midlands, Nottingham Road is famed for hospitality, picturesque surrounds and the foodie heaven that is Midlands Meander. Spend some time relaxing in a peaceful spa, buy some local arts and crafts, visit waterfalls, gorge yourself on cheese and chocolate or get active with hiking, treetop canopy tours and quadbiking. If you have kids, this is the perfect way to combine a romantic getaway with a family-friendly trip.