Over the last three weeks, many South Africans have been dreaming about where they would like to venture to once the lockdown eventually scales back and it’s safe to travel locally again.
Until that happens (and even if it’s only in 2021) we’ve been keeping busy by pinpointing our favourite easy-to-reach, yet off the grid destinations that would appeal to those looking to make up for “lost” holiday time in the future.
The South Coast, KwaZulu-Natal
Once domestic travel slowly returns, families may want to consider heading down the South Coast and spending a weekend at the Blue Marlin Hotel in Scottburgh.
Located just an hour’s drive from Durban, this loveable, historic hotel offers budget-friendly family suites, a beach right on your doorstep, an onsite pool, bar and restaurant. If you’re keen to try something new, book a scuba dive at the Crystal Scuba Academy, based at the hotel, and if you’d like to add some bush to your beach, the T.C. Robertson Reserve is just a 10-minute walk away.
Then, looking ahead on the calendar, there might also be a chance to time your trip around the annual Sardine Run which typically runs between June and July.
Finfoot Lake Reserve, North West Province
For those based in Pretoria or Johannesburg, Finfoot Lake Reserve is a great choice, only an hour’s drive away, and just a stone’s throw from the well-loved Pilanesburg Game Reserve. Although not open yet to the public, the accommodation here offers a swimming pool and games room on-site, as well as two additional activities included in the rate.
If you’ve been craving to get outdoors and active, this is just the place to do so. Choose from Segway tours, guided bush walks, 4×4 game drives, barge cruises and canoeing.
If you live in the Western Cape, keep in mind that beyond the twisting curves of the Piekenierskloof Pass lies the intriguing local dorpie of Citrusdal. If you’re looking for a top-up of vitamin C and some fresh country air, this little town and its surrounds are renowned for its rolling citrus orchards.
An affordable accommodation choice in the area is Pikienerskloof Mountain Resort, or ‘Piekies’, as the locals know it. You’ll have to keep tabs on when it will re-open but it comes complete with a spacious outdoor pool and plenty of open space to tire out little legs. The kids will also love the playground area, complete with jungle gym, trampolines and a game of giant chess set.
Mount Savannah, Gauteng Province
Those dreaming of a relaxed, informal holiday outdoors can breakaway post lockdown (and travel restrictions) at Mount Savannah. This malaria-free reserve, less than 45 minutes’ drive from central Gauteng and Pretoria, lies within the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
Perfect if you’d like to add in an element of education for the kids. Here, chilling around the central campfire area, while watching (and listening!) for wildlife is one of the most effortless ways to bond with each other outdoors. There are plenty of open areas for the kids to run around, along with a playground and a plunge pool on-site.
Braai facilities are readily available for those who’ve not been able to light up the coals over lockdown.
Lake Jozini (also known as Pongolapoort Dam), KwaZulu-Natal
Aside from its acclaimed cultural heritage and historic battlefields, the northern reaches of KwaZulu-Natal, particularly the Elephant Coast which offers a bounty of unexplored game parks, tremendous walking trails and, of course, the most seductively beautiful lakes at its heart.
The largest body of water here region is Lake Jozini, a well-known Tiger fishing destination. Bookmark Jozini Lodge & Spa as an accommodation option, where you can throw in a line and view wildlife in real-time straight from your boat — a nice change from a phone or tablet screen.
The Drakensburg, KwaZulu-Natal
Dreaming of seeing the mountains again once local travel comes back to life? Channel your inner Fraulein Maria with a future stay in the Drakensburg in KwaZulu-Natal. If you’re looking for authentic accommodation here, we’ve always loved Little Switzerland.
This charming Alpine resort offers pet-friendly chalets so that furbabies can tag along, too. Nestled at the foot of the Northern Drakensberg, it feels as though you’ve stumbled upon a little Swiss village somewhere in the Alps. Or even more so, one of those far away places you might have once read about in a storybook.
By IOL Supplied