Get romantic in Gauteng: 8 great date ideas
1. Be like a caveman
Head to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site for an underground tour of the Sterkfontein Caves, a world-famous (and easily navigable) site where fossils of our earliest ancestors were found. The tour, plus browsing the museum and curio shop, takes about 3.5 hours and tickets cost R130 online. Grab a bite to eat and buy an original fossil cast above ground. Visit www.maropeng.co.za to find out more.
2. Cuddle on the cableway
(OK, strictly speaking, this is not in Gauteng, but is easily accessible from Johannesburg and Pretoria.) There’s nothing like a bit of aerial suspense to get the heart muscle pumping. Invite your belle (or beau) on a cableway ride to the top of the Harties Cableway in Hartbeespoort. Then calm her (or his) nerves by watching the sun set over the dam and sipping a delectable cocktail or two. Open from 9am till 4pm, tickets to the top and back cost R160 per person. Visit the Harties Cableway website to find out more.
3. Movie date for two
Looking for something different? What about an ‘indie flick’ for two? The Bioscope, an independent cinema in Johannesburg’s Maboneng Precinct, is a firm favourite among Gauteng hipsters. It serves delicious pizza and a variety of craft beer, and offers a range of alternative and independent movies. Tickets cost R45 for a movie, or R120 for a movie, pizza and drink. Once a month the Bioscope runs Noodle Box Cinema, where you get Chinese dinner and a kung fu movie for just R70. Keep an eye on its Facebook page for details of what’s showing.
4. A cycle through Soweto
A fun date for those who love cycling is a bicycle tour through Soweto. Explore the community with local guides on bikes and get to know what makes the township so unique. You can rent a bike or take your own – it's up to you. There are multiple tour options – two hours, four hours or full-day cycle tour – and all include a stop at a local shebeen (traditional pub) and a snack from a corner café. Visit www.sowetobicycletours.com for prices and more info.
5. Picnic in the park
Spend some quiet time outdoors together at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in Roodepoort. Here you can explore rolling lawns and multicoloured flowerbeds; take photos of the 600+ indigenous plants; and perhaps catch a glimpse of the pair of nesting Verreaux’s eagles above the waterfall. You're welcome to pack a picnic and recline on a blanket in the dappled shade of the trees, but be sure to follow the garden's picnic-in, litter-out rule. Open from 8am to 5pm, entrance costs R35 per person. Visit the website for directions and more info.
6. Go on a boat cruise
There’s nothing more romantic than a boat cruise, sipping champagne as you sail into the sunset. Stonehaven on Vaal in Vanderbijlpark has four riverboats currently in service, each of which departs from Stonehaven Harbour to cruise along the Vaal River. Book a lunch cruise, sunset cruise, party cruise or just about any other type of cruise you can imagine by contacting Stonehaven. Costs are billed per person, per hour and start at R50. Click here to view rates and find out more.
7. Win his heart with beer
Guys – and some girls – will jump at any opportunity to drink beer. Take your beloved to the SAB World of Beer in Newtown, Johannesburg, and tour South African Breweries’ award-winning facilities. Here you’ll learn about the origins of beer and find out what happens during the brewing process. After the tour you’re invited to taste a few local brands. Continue your liquid lunch at the Tap Room, where pub grub is served. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm, the tour is R75 per person and includes a halfway pint and two drinks vouchers to be redeemed in the Tap Room. Visit www.worldofbeer.co.za/tour to find out more.
8. Not just for the birds
Spend an afternoon together meandering through the exotic walkways of the Montecasino Bird Gardens in Fourways, Johannesburg. Home to over 60 species of birds, the gardens are rather spectacular. You’ll get a chance to feed the parakeets and the ducks, which everybody loves, and then visit the tea gardens for your own meal. The gardens are home to more than just birds – be sure to visit the endangered frogs and reptiles as well as the deadly snakes – if cringing is your thing, of course. Open Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 5pm, R58 gets you in, but save a little change for the bird food. Click here to find out more.