Did you know?
A prospective bride or groom can arrange for a diver to enter the predator exhibition at the Two Oceans Aquarium to hold up a sign from the other side of the glass as an unusual way to propose.
Romantic accommodation in South Africa is something very special: rooms with private decks, your own splash pool and hot tub, open fireplaces, four-poster beds that look onto wildlife watering holes and luxurious bathrooms with generous baths and showers open to the elements... everything you need for a perfect romantic getaway.
The nature of the landscape, from bush to beach and mountains, naturally lends itself to privacy and seclusion. Think Out of Africa meets Downton Abbey. Many locales also lend themselves to special occasions such as romantic bush dinners by lamplight, private beach walks and intimate forest and riverside picnics.
Many of the establishments catering for couples will arrange these outings for you. Some also offer exclusive twosome activities, such as couples' massages, couples' yoga, horse riding and hot air balloon rides, complete with champagne sundowners.
Romantic accommodation in South Africa is usually graded four- or five-star, as such establishments offer great attention to detail and ensure privacy. The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa has graded a number of venues described as ‘romantic’, ranging from private game lodges to manor houses and exclusive tree houses.
You won’t be disappointed with the seductive Timamoon Lodge near Sabie, Mpumalanga; Kennedy’s Beach Villa in Hermanus, Western Cape; Thonga Beach Lodge in Mabibi, KwaZulu-Natal; Singita Boulders Lodge in Sabi Sand Reserve, Mpumalanga; and Pondoro Game Lodge near Hoedspruit in Limpopo.
There's nothing quite like a beach holiday to ease the soul and serenade the senses. The Long Beach Residence and Villa situated in Kommetjie (Western Cape) boasts five luxury suites and the scenic serenity and wide-open spaces of the Southern Cape Peninsula. Have the entire villa to yourselves and sip on the fantastic views of the ocean, ocean and more ocean.
Another ‘barefoot’ tourism option is the Oystercatcher Lodge. This superb establishment is situated along the West Coast. Try out a beach villa or the honeymoon suite. In terms of activities, nature rules – try bird watching, whale watching or long walks as the sun goes down. The West Coast is renowned for its seafood so enjoy feasting on freshly caught lobster and spectacular Cape wines.
The winelands of the Western Cape are also pretty romantic – especially the smaller towns such as Franschoek, Paarl, Bonnievale and Montagu. In Franschoek you will find The Auberge du Quartier Francais – a country style retreat inspired by the surrounding vineyards and the Huguenot settlers who arrived here many moons ago. Auberge du Quartier Francais is a Victorian residence that is known for its excellent cuisine and gorgeous décor.
Heading off to the mountains is another option and in South Africa there are a number of getaway spots to choose from including the Drakensberg, the Cedarberg, the Magaliesberg – and all the other bergs (mountains) in between.
Blue Mountain Lodge is the ultimate in winter-time getaways. Situated in Kiepersol, Mpumalanga, Blue Mountain Lodge is all crackling fireplaces and robust merlots. Set on hectares of indigenous bushveld, the Lodge is simply magnificent in every sense. Victorian suites are luxurious yet not intimidating and a chapel on the grounds means that mean spontaneous weddings are easily arranged. The cuisine is also pretty spectacular, using fresh herbs and produce grown on the Blue Mountain Farm.
When it comes to assaulting the senses, there is no place more seductive than the African bush. If you’re slightly offbeat in your view of the world then Jaci’s Tree Lodge may be the place for you. Situated in the Madikwe Game Reserve (North West Province) Jaci’s is all Moroccan-chutzpah meets South African chic… and then some. Think bright oranges and burnt reds, mosaics and eclectic items mixed into the African bush scenario. Game drives are the order of the day, or lounge about the decks and get lazier by the minute.
The KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is a great spot for city dwellers to escape the bright lights of Durban or Johannesburg. Known for its quaint B&Bs and exquisite guesthouses, the Midlands has a charm all of its own. One of the most delightful properties in the region is the aptly named Granny Mouse Country House. Found in the Balgowan region, Granny Mouse has deluxe cottages with private balconies and fireplaces.
A good couple of hours away from the Midlands down in the Cape, one finds the spectacular Garden Route. And if romance is the order of the day, then visit Plettenberg Bay. Here, Tsala Treetop Lodge offers the ultimate in laid-back luxury in the Tsitsikamma Forest. Exclusive timber suites with their own deck and infinity pool are yours for the taking. Another spot in ‘Plett’ that is worth a visit is the Phantom Forest, again its wooden decks, endless views and the sounds of nature all around you.
Still in the Garden Route area, Lily Pond Country Lodge, in Nature’s Valley is the sweetest spot. Situated amongst colourful lily ponds and indigenous forests Lily Pond is an unfussy getaway for those seeking solitude and space. The four garden suites offer the ultimate in romantic holidays. No cynics need apply.
Other romantic notables to look out for:
- Bartholomeus Klip, Tulbagh
- Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse, Drakensberg
- Cranberry Cottage, Clarens
- The Artists’ House, Hemel-en-Arde Valley
- River Bend Lodge, Addo Elephant National Park
- Kings Walden, Haernetsburg
- Cape Cove Guest House, Fresnaye
- Sediba Private Game Lodge, Welgevonden
- Lion Sands, Mpumalanga
- Etali Game Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve