You are currently viewing Hotspots To Cram In That Last Bit Of Summertime

Hotspots To Cram In That Last Bit Of Summertime

Not quite ready to admit that winter’s on its way? Keith Bain has got you covered with five local luxe getaways to stave off the pending chill.  


Where? Kromdraai, Krugersdorp, about an hour from Johannesburg.   

Why? You needn’t travel to the coast for an injection of summertime lethargy. At this former dairy farm situated within the iconic Cradle of Humankind, the aim is to provide a space in which to switch gears, connect with nature (and yourself), pause, unwind and recharge.  

In other words, it’s a sanctuary, with chic, monastic guestrooms in a series of restored farm buildings surrounded by immaculate gardens and sprawling lawns. Plus, it has instant access to a vast nature reserve.   

They lay on activities to help get you in the mood: yoga classes, contemplative hikes, storytelling sessions, guided walks through the neighbouring Nirox outdoor sculpture gallery, and tours of the on-site food garden.  

There’s a beautiful restaurant doing creative things to keep you nourished and a setting that somehow sets your soul free: pull out a chair on the lawn, by the dam, under the ancient trees (where you can also climb into a swing chair or hammock or beanbag), or sink into a sofa at the bar…  

You can also set off on foot to explore a semi-wild landscape, discovering thought-provoking artworks (and a few curious herbivores) as you go, or find your way to the tranquil little waterfall where you will imagine you’ve found paradise.  

Cost? From R2 300 per couple, including breakfast.  



Where? On the Cape West Coast, about 90 minutes from Cape Town.  

Why? Tucked inside West Coast National Park, this time-trapped hamlet consists of restored whitewashed bungalows. Once a whaling community, it’s barely mentioned on maps, and maintains a stoic presence in an isolated part of the lagoon.  

Unfurl a towel and get lost in a book, or dip into the blue (and relatively warm) water. Inaccessible to the public, you can get in if you rent one of its self-catering holiday homes – the prevailing aesthetic is weathered wood and bits of rope and maritime flotsam gathered on sun-stained verandas.   

Bring stacks of boardgames and binoculars for a back-to-basics recharge. Enfolded by fynbos, it’s also lovely for hikes, mountain biking and birdwatching. Perfect, too, for idly listening to the soft therapeutic lap of water against the shore.   

Cost? Rentals vary according to cottage size, seasons and number of nights booked.  


The Oyster Box  

Where? Umhlanga Rocks, which is about 20 minutes from Durban and from King Shaka International Airport.  

Why? Ranked as Africa’s ritziest seaside hotel, The Oyster Box is an unmitigated splurge. It’s blessed with indigenous gardens, a wealth of South African art, lavish decor and even themed uniforms for the staff – it’s like being in another era.  

It boasts Durban’s prettiest spa, an in-house cinema, an elegant cocktail bar overlooking Umhlanga’s lighthouse, and immaculate bedrooms – the best of which are close enough to the water to make you feel like you’re floating on the ocean. It’s this proximity to the beach – hearing the sloshing of waves at night – that is the real draw card, though. 

It’s not uncommon to see dolphins surfing in the breakers right from your breakfast table on the terrace, and to get to the seaside promenade that runs the length of Umhlanga, you just step through a gate.  

From here, you’re inches from a long, broad beach punctuated by tidal pools, and with several designated bathing areas watched by lifeguards. All along, you’ll find lovely spots to wade, bodysurf and admire the distant horizon.  

How much? From R7 893 per couple, including breakfast. 


Umngazi Hotel & Spa

Where? Wild Coast, 20km from Port St Johns and about six hours from Durban.  

Why? At the other end of the Wild Coast, this charming family resort on the Umngazi river mouth is set within its own nature reserve, flanked by dense and lush coastal vegetation, overlooking an estuary and beach.  

Although it offers a whole host of opportunities to keep active, it’s also perfect if you want to languish and laze on the beach or on a deck with a dramatic view. If all the chilling and tanning is too stressful, you can have your muscles soothed at the spa.  

And although it’s well-geared to keep children occupied, there are plenty of nooks (and privately located honeymoon bungalows) where it’s possible for peace-seekers and couples to remain blissfully unaware of the faraway pitter-patter of little feet.  

Cost? From R1 735 per person sharing, including all meals.  


De Hoop Collection  

Where? De Hoop Nature Reserve, about three hours from Cape Town  

Why? Endless milky-white beaches, shape-shifting dunes, placid eland cropping the grass outside your cottage, flamingos flocking at the vlei in graceful pink patterns, rare and endangered Cape vultures circling overhead as you hike up the Potberg mountains…   

A few days at De Hoop will set you free. There is something about all that space, the sea-spray air, the glare that hits your eyeballs when the sun bounces off those snow-white sand. This is real escape. Not the kind that offers free Wi-Fi and click-of-the-fingers room service, but the kind that detoxes your mind and spirit, while putting energy back into your body.  

Accommodations include refurbished farm buildings, a range of large chalets and cottages constructed in a matching style, plus a couple of historic houses. It looks nothing like a hotel, even though there’s a restaurant and a big pool and even a gift shop (where you can buy firewood for your braai). One night definitely isn’t enough.  

Cost? From R1 650 for two guests, self-catering.  


Photography: Supplied 

Subscribe to: