Getting out of Johannesburg is so exhausting that one often tends to put it off completely, rather than face the hour or so it takes just to make it to the outer perimeters, so vast is the sprawl.
Other than heading off for your long weekend at the crack of dawn, before anyone else has cottoned on to the idea, make sure your destination is so damn fine that the time away is worth every moment of the trek that had to happen in order to get there.
We’ve selected a few such venues for you to choose from, for Easter, or any long weekend…
Indulgent breaks from Johannesburg
De Hoek Country House, Zeekoehoek, Magaliesberg
This effortlessly graceful stone country house is set in a pocket of indigenous bush in amongs the farming community of Magaliesberg. I’ve only ever eaten there, which was a complete treat and can attest to the sublime setting, but the accommodation is in cool, dark rooms described as having ‘elegant proportions’.
What started as a seven bed house is now a 20 bedroomed boutique hotel. The house was built using beams, doors, marble and granite from around the country and American Oregon pine from the old Crown Mines. This is for those after a weekend of spoiling.
To Book See De Hoek Country House Rates and Special
La Provence d’Afrique, Magaliesberg
Another example of a pampering weekend, this three star venue is a different concept of seven French suites set on the Berg River. The setting is drop dead gorgeous, the suites exotic, and the whole play on French romance in the Magaliesberg uniquely creative. The suites are built inside the old stone studio of sculptor Charles Gotthard (yes, his hand is also evident at Goblin’s Cove).
Each suite then looks out on a little ‘alley’ in the centre, which serves as a street café. At one end is a French courtyard complete with fountain, on the other big leather couches for games and fun, and there is a central pub for drinks of all description. To add further temptation to the deal, there is also a zen forest spa overlooking the river. All of this is set in six acres of gardens. Zany romance and pampering.
To Book See La Provence d’Afrique Rates and Specials
This is a smaller affair, but also something slightly quirky. This two-bedroomed stone cottage lies in a bush-like environment, right in the heart of Dullstroom, easily reachable from Johannesburg.
It’s beautifully furnished, private, and equipped with everything you need to have a weekend away from it all – washing machine, fridge, wooden floors and big beds. Venture out only to explore Dullstroom, drink a locally brewed ale at the Anvil Ale House, or for the occasional fly fishing.
Book Now. See KlipHuisjes Rates and Specials
This game reserve needs little introduction. Set close to the Botswana border in a malaria-free area, it has provided wild game viewing for some 20 years and is famous for Operation Phoenix, the world’s largest game translocation exercise of over 8000 animals, including lion, elephant, African wild dog and buffalo.
Each suite in the lodge is organically designed with intimate fireplaces and bathrooms. French doors open out onto a wooden deck with your own plunge pool. The guest areas too are sumptuously furnished and designed, and meals are a highlight. Just four hours from Johannesburg, this is real indulgent breakaway. They welcome families too. Indulgent game viewing.
Book Now. See Madikwe Safari Lodge Rates and Specials
The setting is gorgeous – in amongst majestic trees right next to a river. What used to be a family home has been converted into a charming guest house that not only qualifies as indulgent but also has something unique about it.
The country house looks worthy of at least one romantic weekend in one of the three garden cottages set in the gardens (reason enough to visit – judging by the pictures), or the two rooms in the manor house. Ducks Country House serves as a wedding and conference venue too.
To Book See Ducks Country House Rates and Specials