Schools have reopened, most people are back at work, and the traffic is resuming its usual pattern of mayhem. But a fortunate few South Africans have plenty of leave due or perhaps have schedules that allow for travel wherever’s convenient rather than waiting for the holidays.
Perhaps you’re even lucky enough to be able to spoil yourself and your significant other when you feel like it. Shaun Pozyn, marketing manager for British Airways (operated by Comair) suggests the following getaways to get you into the Valentine’s Day spirit.
Shamwari Private Game Reserve, in the malaria-free Eastern Cape, has undergone a USD50m revamp of its luxury lodges, including Eagles’ Crag, which is specifically for couples (another, Riverdene Family Lodge, is specifically for families).
It’s surrounded by lush vegetation and the rock-faces for which it’s named. There are just nine suites at the lodge, which has its own spa, and each suite has a private deck with a heated plunge-pool. The game-viewing is unrivalled, and guests know that visiting Shamwari supports its conservation and rehabilitation operations. 90% of Tripadvisor contributors rate it as “excellent” and rave about the rangers’ ability to find wildlife. www.shamwari.com
Tintswalo Atlantic is a five-star boutique lodge at the foot of Chapman’s Peak on the Cape Peninsula’s Atlantic seaboard. It’s the only lodge in the Table Mountain National Park, a World Heritage Site, and is on the edge of a pebble beach, with its 10 suites overlooking the ocean, the Sentinel mountain range and Hout Bay.
It’s hard to imagine a better plus for supper as the sun sets. While the lodge is secluded, it’s also a short drive away from Cape Town’s many attractions, including wine-farms, museums and galleries, markets, restaurants, and of course, scenic views.www.tintswalo.com
Babylonstoren is a historic wine-farm with a vast fruit and vegetable garden that dates from 1692, with the Paarl mountains as a backdrop. The rooms have hot tubs, four-poster beds and fireplaces. There are two restaurants on the farm: the Greenhouse, which offers breakfasts and light lunches, and Babel, which focuses on fine dining, with seasonal food grown on the farm, and a “pick, clean and serve” and farm-to-fork approach.
Facilities on the farm include a bakery and a hammam, a traditional Turkish bath. Pozyn’s tip: take a guided garden tour and look out for the massive blue-and-white china mosaics and the hedgehogs. www.babylonstoren.com
Kangelani Lodge in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal overlooks the scenic Assegay Valley and offers hotel rooms, self-catering units and luxury tents. You can request supper in the wine-cellar or in the bush boma, surrounded by indigenous trees and aloes.
Nearby attractions include the Shongweni Farmers’ Market and game-viewing at the Phezulu Safari Park. The Umgeni Steam Train offers a nostalgic and relaxing way to see the Valley of a Thousand Hills and beyond, and the Shongweni Brewery and Porcupine Quill Brewing Company offer craft beer tastings. https://www.kangelani.co.za/
The “so close it’s kinda local” Solana Beach resort in Bella Mare, Mauritius is a lovebirds’ playground in a tropical paradise. With its backdrop of beaches and palm-trees, this adults-only hotel on the island’s east coast offers the perfect atmosphere for falling in love. All rooms offer stunning sea views from a private balcony or garden patio.
For the more adventurous there’s a variety of activities, watersports and restaurants to explore. kulula holidays gives you the opportunity to knock your plus-one of their feet between 16 February and 30 March at R14 114 per person sharing for seven nights of lovin’ bliss. (Flights, transfers, breakfast and dinner included daily).