Want to do something completely different for a short break? Here are some of our top 10 weekend getaway ideas whether travelling solo, with your partner or the whole family.
1. Breathe in the fresh air of the Drakensberg
- Ideal for: adventurous families
Nestled in the beautiful surrounds of the Drakensberg Mountains lies the grand old Cathedral Peak Hotel. Spacious rooms with cosy interiors are the perfect retreat after long hours spent exploring the Drakensberg. There’s plenty to keep the kids busy: the heated pool, trampoline, pony rides and 10-m climbing tower mean hours of fun for them. There’s also quad biking up the mountain, where you can take in the fantastic view. While the kids are off exploring, spoil yourself with a romantic picnic under the towering mountains.
2. Stay in a boathouse loft in Knysna
- Ideal for: enchanted weekends away
In a magical harbour town on Thesen Island, Knysna, down a secluded road and perched on the calm waters of the Knysna Lagoon, is a stunning hideaway. The Lofts, housed in a 100-year-old boatshed characterised by robust wooden architecture, luxurious decor and soothing views over the water, provide a charming site for a romantic getaway. Watch the changing moods of the lagoon while enjoying baked treats at warm and welcoming Ile de Païn, or just settle into your undisturbed sanctuary above the water.
3. Float on the lagoon in tranquil Langebaan
- Ideal for: a family get-together
Stay aboard a Langebaan houseboat and you’ll wake up to the turquoise waters of the Langebaan Lagoon below you, with white beaches only a stone’s throw away. Surrounded by sea and bird life and the hustle and bustle of activities on the lagoon, this is unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced. The houseboat is spacious and has self-catering facilities, making it ideal for a weekend away with the family. The boats stay moored on the lagoon, allowing you a fuss-free, safe experience on the water.
4. Sleep under the stars in the Cederberg
- Ideal for: a unique experience
Step away from the city lights and traffic and head to the Cederberg Mountains and the starlit skies. Surrounded by rock formations, rolling mountains, blazing night skies and silence, is Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve, just outside Ceres. Stay in a cave room in the side of the mountains, or spend the night on the open-air deck under the stars, where you can fall asleep watching shooting stars stain the night sky. Kagga Kamma offers a spiritual getaway where you can get in touch with the raw wilderness around you. While there, go on a San Cultural Tour to see the rock paintings, or on a safari to see the sights.
5. Spend the night in a luxe caravan in the sky
- Ideal for: rooftop luxury
Smack bang in the middle of Cape Town’s trendiest neighbourhood, and with a full view of Table Mountain, is the ultra-retro and vibrant The Grand Daddy Hotel. Roosting atop the hotel, harnessing the energy and creativity of Long Street below, is Grand Daddy’s chic Airstream Rooftop Trailer Park. The flamboyant trailers are decorated by local creatives, each according to a theme. Perhaps the Beach House trailer tickles your fancy, or the Blooming Daisies is more your style. Within walking distance are some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, boutiques and clubs, just waiting to be explored.
6. Be queen of the castle in charming Clarens
- Ideal for: a fairytale weekend away
Jutting out of a hillside in the arty hub of Clarens lies a fairytale castle packed full of eclectic decadence. Bohemian Castle in Clarens, with its Middle-Eastern tapestries and fittings from all over the world, will make you feel like you’ve stepped into another universe. Enjoy a glass of wine in the castle’s ‘Sunset Corner’ while watching the sun set over the Maluti Mountains as the lights of Clarens illuminate the valley below. The tower sleeps four, so you can have the whole castle at your disposal, for a fantasy experience fit for royalty.
7. Nestle in the bush alongside mountains
- Ideal for: a romantic retreat
Resting on the side of a mountain, hidden amongst the kiepersol and mountain nettle trees, is quaint and cosy Thaba Tshwene, just outside Hartebeesfontein in the North West. This cosy lodge in the bush makes a quick and romantic bush escape from the city. Grazing buffalo welcome you along the winding, paved driveway up to the camp. The bar fridge is fully stocked with well-priced refreshments, and the outdoor shower beckons you to freshen up under the twinkling stars. The lodge has a cigar bar, where you can find a sheltered table and enjoy sundowners, then head off to the fine-dining restaurant with its well-thought-out menu and inviting wine list. It’s the perfect retreat if what you’re looking for is a place to put your feet up, read a book without interruption and enjoy the magnificent views.
8. A life-changing experience in the trees
- Ideal for: adventurous families
At the foothills of the Outeniqua mountains, along the mystical Garden Route, you’ll find a crop of eco-friendly, self-catering tree houses in a lush indigenous forest. Teniqua Treetops provides a secluded escape immersed in nature. Fall in love with the sounds of the forest, river and bird song, and on occasion, the sound of the sea, and amble down to the unspoilt Karatara river for a picnic.
9. Hide out in the olive groves in Paarl
- Ideal for: a peaceful escape
Cascade Country Manor is a quiet getaway nestled in olive groves at the base of the Klein Drakenstein Mountains. This quaint hotel, situated alongside a waterfall in the Paarl Winelands, has 15 luxurious rooms, making it an intimate retreat. Take a trip to the Cascade Manor Spa, and visit Limietberg Nature Reserve to soothe the soul. Try an olive oil tasting, and the culinary creations at the Manor restaurant.
10. Burrow into the tree tops in the bushveld
- Ideal for: nature lovers
If you spent childhood days dreaming in the branches of a tree, you’ll love settling into the luxurious tree houses at Pezulu Game Lodge, just outside Hoedspruit. The tree houses are built into the tree tops amidst the bush in a small reserve 40 minutes from the Kruger Park’s Orpen Gate. The main lodge is built around a Marula tree, and has a tree-top bar for enjoying afternoon tipple. These beautiful structures have views over the waterholes and, if you’re lucky, you might see wildlife saunter over while you have sundowners on your deck. There are also family-friendly units, and a rock swimming pool that the kids will love. Enjoy a game drive or bush walk to immerse yourself in the wildlife around you.