Hidden gems for your next mini break
It’s hard to believe that we’re already in March… Where is the year going? And more importantly, now that we’re officially at the end of the first quarter of 2015, where are you going to celebrate?
Mini-breaks are a great South African tradition. Simply take a half day’s leave on a Friday, drive out to somewhere close enough to be convenient, but still far enough to feel foreign, and be back in time to start work again on Monday.
Weekends away are a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones, or just with yourself on a solo retreat… But between a place to stay and things to do, they can cost enough to make you consider just spending another 2 days on the couch.
Well, the king is here to help you relax in cut-price style. Here are our favourite hidden gems from around the country, where you can put your feet up without emptying your wallet out.
Less than 2 hours away from Jozi is the home of the world’s largest diamond discovery. Visit this charming getaway for a trip back to a simpler time.
If you love trout fishing, home-made delicacies and charming art, visit Dullstroom in Mpumalanga. It’s also the home of one of the largest international whisky collections in the Southern Hemisphere, and the Christmas in July celebrations are not to be missed.
There are plenty of water sports based activities in this rustic getaway, just an hour from Johannesburg, but also plenty of opportunities to get your chill on. Visit one of the animal sanctuaries in the area and get up close and personal with monkeys, elephants or cheetahs.
Magaliesburg is also about an hour from Joburg, and although it’s small, it has a wide range of activities and accommodation to suit almost any budget.
Elands and Lambert’s Bay:
Just 2 hours from Cape Town, Elands Bay is a surfer’s paradise, with sprawling, unspoiled beaches and beautiful natural landscapes that just beg you to take long walks on the sand.
Hemel n Aarde Valley:
Nestled between Caledon and Hermanus, this picturesque valley features rows of vineyards, pine and eucalyptus. Go exploring in the historic ruins before making your way down to the coast.
The scenic home to artists, potters, and delicious artisanal food producers, McGregor’s manicured gardens, old-fashioned cottages and irrigation channels make this little village look like a fairy tale come true.
Just an hour from Cape Town, Paarl’s culture-rich heritage make for both a beautiful, and educational, getaway. As the third oldest city in South Africa, and the largest town in the Cape wine lands, there are plenty of culinary sights and flavours abound. But if you want a little more adventure, try out the Drakenstein Lion Park.
Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana:
If you’re in Kwazulu-Natal, why not revisit history with a trip to the once-bloody battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, where the British troops first got served by the great Zulu warriors? It’s worth spending a little extra on a guided tour if you can afford it, to get the whole gory story.
About 3 hours from Durban are the pristine beaches of Sodwana Bay. See if you can spot the ancient coelacanth, or just lie back and watch the fishing boats. If you’re craving excitement, this is also an excellent swimming, snorkelling and diving location.
And while you’re saving money and having fun exploring South Africa, keep your car covered with car insurance from the king.