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Posted on: Monday, 18 November 2013

Indulgent weekends – 30 venues in South Africa you will simply LOVE

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How to handle the Christmas holidays and still manage to relax?

A weekend away – just the two of you.

Leave the kids with your parents (isn’t that why they visit you, anyway?) or put the pre-Christmas mall-trawl and parties on hold to head away for a couple of nights of just you time…

Here are 30 handpicked venues that will make it that much easier to simply book the time away without having first to trawl the web for options.

Some are super luxuriant, others I’ve chosen because of their location, the balance simply because I like them (quaint or eccentric) and think you might too.


Botse Botse in Limpopo
Photograph: Botse Botse Luxury Retreat in Bela Bela, Limpopo

Indulgent weekends – 30 venues you will simply LOVE …



Zenzele River Lodge, Rust De Winter – five chalets offer unspoilt views of the Eland river and African bush, each with its own private deck

Botsebotse Luxury Retreat, Bela Bela – this boutique lodge inspired by African design and art offers teak decks, a pool and hot spa, and four luxurious en-suite rooms with a private courtyard

Klip en Kristal Guest House, Bela Bela – beautifully presented and finished five en-suite rooms and spa facilities

Kandowe Nature Reserve, Gravelotte – in the heart of the bush choose from a luxury guest cottage or a couple of spacious rondavels with secluded verandas



Boven Villa, Waterval Boven – thatched cottage set in manicured grounds offers luxury rooms in a perfect setting

Cpirit Country Haven, Dullstroom – a series of quirky accommodation ideas like a barn house and fishermens cottages, the original farmhouse is converted into four studio-suites

Tanamera Lodge, Hazyview – follow a winding road into the forest and you shall find Tanamera Lodge, nestled on the malaria-free slopes of the Sabie River Valley


Hartford House
Photograph: Hartford House in Mooi River, Natal Midlands, KwaZulu Natal



Three Trees at Spioenkop, Drakensberg – in this gorgeous luxury lodge at the foot of the Drakensberg find six luxury en-suit rooms and views over the Spioenkop Game Reserve

Hatford House, Mooi River – luxury boutique hotel and stud farm with fourteen luxury suites and chalets on a trout lake with award winning restaurant

The Folie, Nottingham Road – four en-suite bedrooms with 360 degree glass walls and raw wooden eaves, complete with chef and man-about-the-house should you not want to lift a finger

Hluhluwe River Lodge, Hluhluwe – 12 thatched chalets in the shade of an indigenous forest plus two honeymoon suites in a forested ravine, scheduled game drives and high tea at 14h00



!Xaus Lodge, Kgalagadi – owned by the Khomani San and Mier communities this luxury lodge lies in amongst the red dunes of the Kgalagadi TransfrontierPark – a place to experience

Kuilfontein Stable Cottages, Colesberg – an historic racehorse stud and sheep farm offers luxury restored stable quarters with quirky décor


Kuilfontein Stable Cottages
Photograph: Kuilfontein Stable Cottages in Colesberg, Northern Cape



Die Ou Pastorie, Skeerpoort – set in magnificent gardens stay in one of eight garden suites with views of the Magaliesberg mountains

Madikwe Safari Lodge – Big 5 game reserve with eclectic African architecture, stay in one of 20 suites in three intimate camps



Lethabo Estate, Lanseria – think organic, thatched boudoir with a treehouse feel, river cottage or rock pool lodge offering a diverse mix of fire dancing, horse whispering and mobile spa treatments



Lemon3Lodge, Kirkwood – close to the Addo Elephant National Park find this trendy lodge in the midst of an organic lemon orchard with a salt water pool

The Old Jail, Willowmore – an historic stone building, the restored Old Gaol now combines elegant style B&B with an art gallery; ask particularly about the former cells and exercise areas

St Aidan’s Guest Cottage, Grahamstown – this historic cottage has five en suite bedrooms and two self-contained cottages

Bon Tempo, Grahamstown – not luxury but certainly quirky, this bohemian backpackers on the hill in the Manley Flats valley includes a couple of cottages perfect for cosy nights

Sibuya Game Reserve, Kenton On Sea – reserve on the banks of the Kariega River, choose from the river camp or forest camp for secluded luxury

Rustpunt, Nieu-Bethesda – charmingly restored Karoo cottage for self-catering with incredible views and hosts who go the extra mile


Sibuya Game Reserve
Photograph: Sibuya Game Reserve in Kenton On Sea, Eastern Cape



Hebron Guesthouse, Citrusdal – perched on the top of the Piekenierskloof Mountain, six beautiful rooms set in amongst citrus orchards

Oudrif, Clanwilliam – on the banks of the Doring River, straw bale cottages for peace, quiet and being close to nature

Suikerbossie, Riebeek Kasteel – in the midst of the Swartland, this lovely 3-bedroom cottage is an idyllic weekend hideout

Jan Harmsgat Country House, Swellendam – this historic Cape Dutch farmstead close to Swellendam offers four voluminous en-suit rooms with 1-metre thick walls and authentic yellowood detail



Emoya Hotel and Spa, Bloemfontein – this game farm has a Basotho village hotel or unusual shanty town style accommodation to choose from

Carryblaire River Retreat, Parys – pretty cottage getaway on the banks of the Vaal River near Parys this bird sanctuary offers tranquility

Pula Victorian Guest House, Smithfield – I love the décor of this little victorian Karoo guesthouse set on the edge of town


Photograph: Oudrif in Clanwilliam, Cederberg


Wanda Coustas


Wanda Coustas has written in one form or another for 10 years, seven of them as a copyblogger. She has travelled the Western Cape extensively and the rest of the country in protracted road trips that have given her both joy and an ongoing relish for experiencing what she writes about first-hand. She is a trained opera singer, poet, eurythmy dancer, philosopher, and bee whisperer.

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