With Winter fast approaching, most of us are already pulling out our thick jackets and Winter wellies, and stocking up on red wine and entire seasons of our favourite TV series. Instead of hiberating indoors, why not pack the car and explore some of South Africa’s most beautiful destinations. We’ve picked 5 fabulous spots to get you started!
If mountain views is what you’re after, visit the scenic Drakensberg. With four different valleys, each with it’s own unique beauty, you will not be disappointed. The Drakensberg, stretching over 1000kms in total, starts in the Champagne Valley in the Central Berg, and continues through the Cathedral Peak and Didima Valley, the Royal Natal National Park and Amphitheatre Valley, and finally the Middledale Pass Valley.
Take a round trip up the Sani Pass in a 4×4, attempt the Champagne Castle Hotel Big Five Hikes and get your name on the honours board in the hotel. Organise a morning horse ride over the mountains and through rivers and spend the afternoon relaxing at Cathedral Peak Wine Estate. For the more adventurous, go kloofing or canyoning or attempt the Sani Pass MTB Trail. If snow is what you’re after, visit Rhino Peak, Sani Pass or Giant’s Castle – these spots are covered in a thick blanket of white snow between June and August.
The Berghaven self-catering cottages are situated in the peaceful Champagne Valley and boast spectacular views of the countryside. The cottages are equipped with all the necessities including heaters and most have a fireplace for added warmth. With dams, a forest and a playground for the kids, Berghaven is the perfect spot for a family Winter break.
Ama Casa Self Catering Cottages is the ideal romantic getaway. Cuddle up next to a roaring fire or take a dip in your own private jacuzzi. Ama Casa doesn’t allow children under 12 years of age so guests can enjoy the peace and quiet. DSTV and underfloor heating are an added bonus.
Magaliesburg has become a popular holiday destination for JHB residents due to its numerous accommodation options and range of activities available. A trip to Magaliesburg is not complete without going on a Hot Air Balloon Safari. Mountain Sanctuary Park is a Nature Reserve with hikes, mountain bike trails, secret rockpools, mountain streams and spectacular views. Adventure seekers should visit Shelter Rock for Abseiling down the 100m Magaliesburg cliff face.
Blue Roan Country Lodge is set on rolling lawns with panoramic views of the majestic Magaliesburg mountains. As they don’t allow children or groups, this is another ideal spot for couples. With an indoor log fireplace, electric blankets, a jacuzzi bath, a private patio and a dvd player, guests won’t ever have to leave their cottages.
Magaliesberg Mountain Lodge is tucked away in the Magaliesberg mountains overlooking the Hartebeespoort Dam. This 3 bedroom thatched lodge is situated within a group of de-fenced farms allowing game to move freely in the area. Guests could spot giraffe, eland, kudu, zebra, impala, water buck, klipspringers and baboons. This retreat is perfect for families and outdoor enthusiasts.
Hogsback can be found on the Amathole mountains in the Eastern Cape and is surrounded by magical indigenous forests. This tranquil town is the quintessential place for relaxation. Visitors to Hogsback can enjoy activities at The Edge; a game of croquet, a stroll through 15-acres of beautiful garden, walking through the Chartres design Labyrinth (of the largest in the world) and taking in the spectacular view from The Bluff View Point. Hogsback Adventures offers guided bike trails, hiking tours and abseiling while Amathole Horse Trails arranges horse rides through the Amathole Mountains and enchanted Hogsback forests.
Kings Lodge has hotel accommodation as well as self catering units in the hotel gardens. The units are fully equipped and have fireplaces and DSTV for those chilly ‘bed weather’ days. Visit during June to August for a chance of snow!
Maple Grove Hogsback offers three cosy self catering units, two of which have log fireplaces to add warmth in the Winter months. Guests can wander along the Maple Grove paths to a stream at the bottom of the garden or pick their own fruit (seasonal) at the Kiwi Fruit Orchard.
Greyton is a quaint town nestled in the Riviersonderend Mountain Range in the Overberg region. With quiet, mostly dirt roads, Saturday morning markets, and plenty of freshly grown produce available, guests visit Greyton to escape the hustle and bustle of busy city life. Mountain Biking is a popular sport in Greyton, with the choice of 150kms of trails, but less adventurous cyclists can also enjoy this sport by hiring bicycles and riding around town, stopping for coffee or a bite to eat along the way. Greyton is the perfect holiday for kids as it offers horse cart rides around the village, guided walks and tours and the Greyton Farm Animal Sanctuary, a private farm for rescued, orphaned or sick farm animals.
Fig Tree Cottage is centrally located within walking distance of restaurant, art galleries, and shops. The cottage has breathtaking mountain views and is fully equipped. Guests can snuggle in front of the fireplace with a book chosen from the substantial library in the living room. A wide screen television, dvd player and DSTV are also available for those who don’t feel like braving the cold outside.
Oewerzicht is a diverse farm situated just 9kms outside the tranquil village of Greyton. Oewerzicht offers 2 types of accommodation; 6 furnished Safari style tents are equipped with a kettle, small fridge, heater and braai facilities and 7 farm style cottages are set on the opposite side of the river and on a hill with stunning views.
Dullstroom is a small town in Mpumalanga and is one of South Africa’s premier flyfishing destinations. Visitors flock to Dullstroom in July for the Dullstroom Winter Festival, a music festival with food stalls, a kids zone, and art exhibits. Athletes from all over the world use Dullstroom for training as the nearby De Berg is set 2300m above sea level. Local mountain bike trails, horse riding, bird watching and scenic drives to the ‘Big Five Towns’ – Pilgrim’s Rest, Sabie, Hazyview and Graskop – will keep the entire family busy.
Anglers Court is perfect for a Winter weekend away and is within walking distance of the Dullstroom village, shops and restaurants. 5 luxury self catering units are fully equipped and offer a fireplace, DSTV, jacuzzi-spa bath and a private patio with braai facilities.
Fox & Squirrel is set on the edge of the Dullstroom Dam overlooking the Steenkampsberg Nature Reserve. This cosy self-catering cottage has an open-plan lounge with fireplace, a dining area and a well equipped kitchen. A patio provides gorgeous views of the dam and Suikerboskoppie.