Winter in South Africa has its pros and cons - With such a diverse landscapes offering everything from tropical loveliness to bone-chilling coldness, there is a lot to be said for taking some time out during the secret season.
At Traveller24 we've been fortunate enough to get a first-hand impression of some of the top spots across SA. We've rounded up a few we think will lend itself nicely to a blissful winter mini-break.
From the lesser-known West Coast and up-and-coming wine regions of the Western Cape, through the Karoo, and the Garden Route. winding up to a luxury pampering escape just outside Pretoria - you may want to check these out.
A hotel that takes the time and effort to build around its stellar 300-year-old oak tree is just class in our books – everything else aside.
And there is no denying Cellars-Hohenort, as part of the Liz McGrath collection is a classy affair.
After spending a cosy weekend at Cellars, one of its three fine hotels across SA, the 9.5 acre garden is an impressive aspect that adds to the winter allure of this country escape. It blends into the World heritage site that is Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, just beneath Table Mountain and mere minutes away from the urban pulse of Cape Town. Read more here
Bokkoms, kerrievis, roll mops and oysters: Welcome to the West Coast diet
The West Coast is a lesser-travelled treasure trove of scenery, culture and cuisine. A visit is a sensory experience that will leave you hooked on the people and their lifestyle. If, like me, you have never had the pleasure of experiencing an oyster, mussel or even a pickled fish, the new West Coast foodie route will give you an introduction like no other. The West Coast is definitely worth a spot on your winter breakaway bucket list.
West Coast Way, which has the promotion of tourism on the West Coast Biodiversity Corridor as its mission, is proud to present the new self-drive foodie route to the public. This unspoiled destination also boasts a Culture Route, Scenic Route and Berg Route, all of which aim to encourage the West Coast as a tourist destination of choice among local and international travellers, whilst stimulating economic growth and job creation in the region. The foodie route brings all West Coast routes together and leaves your taste buds longing for more. Read more here.
Why Elgin the the ultimate adventurer's paradise
The Elgin Valley on the Hottentots-Holland Mountains serves as the very first escape out of the Mother City. The valley literally sits just as you come off Sir Lowry's Pass, and offers an array of to-do's for weary city-dwellers.
The rigid Elgin valley, with its plenty of rocky mountains, slopes and hills and lakes and dams provide the best terrain for adventurers, especially for triathletes and trail runners. The valley also hosts plenty of adventure events, like the Sanlam Cape Mile swim, XTERRA and even the Cape Epic.
For the more laid-back folk however, there are always fly-fishing, swimming or easy hiking.
And if all that adventure has taken its toll, you can always bulk up on some slow-smoked ribs and home-made sausages from The Hickory Shack. Read more here.
The complete guide to a Knysna winter escape
The Garden Route is one of the classic bucket list destinations. One which always summons travellers back as they fall more and more in love with the lush green forests, the pristine beaches and the secluded little seaside towns.
In summer, the N2 is crawling with cars as holidaymakers from all over the globe fight for their place in the sun.
In winter, however, the Garden Route caters for locals. Not necessarily the fun-in-the-sun type, but rather the serenity seekers who crave a winter break, reading a pile of books and drinking a bottle of red wine alongside a cozy fireplace. Winter also ushers in the loved Oyster festival in the Garden Route. The festival boasts a remarkable selection of sporting and lifestyle events from swimming, bowls and hiking to food and wine-tastings, live music, a children’s programme and oodles of oysters! Read more here.
Try this Touwsberg adventure on your next #WinterBreak
Tucked away in the majestic landscape of the Klein Karoo, surrounded by the spectacular Touwsberg mountain range, Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve the perfect breakaway for adventurers.
Established in 2007 and with 7 000 hectares of the most spectacular panoramas and vast Little Karoo landscapes, it's self-contained biological and geological eco-systems are home to a variety of fauna and flora. Whether you’re visiting Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve for a weekend getaway, or if you choose to call it your home, you’ll be treated to sights of magnificent animals, including Black Wildebeest, Bontebok, Eland, Gemsbok, Giraffe, Kudu, Mountain Reedbuck, Ostrich, Red Hartebeest, Springbok and Zebra.
A variety of activities are available at Touwsberg Private Game and Nature Reserve for the avid adventure-seeker. Read more here.
City buzz to classic country: A weekend escape to Pretoria’s Kievits Kroon
The grasslands of South Africa in and around Gauteng have a certain charm in winter. Sure it’s warm and dry, to the extent that your skin cracks up. And at night, it’s bitterly cold. But when you’re sitting in the afternoon winter sun, basking like a rock rabbit, the heatwaves of summers’ past couldn’t be further away. And during those cold nights, a fireplace and a bottle of red are all you need for ultimate bliss.
Winter is a magical time of year, when everything takes a break from growing and blooming and just settles in. And you should too. In Gauteng, the prospects of taking a break are often overshadowed by having to travel far distances and having to dish up big bucks for flights and fuel, in addition to accommodation. But why travel out of this winter wonderland if you can have a break right outside the Big City? Read more here.