18 Relaxing Local Getaways To Book, Like Now

by | Apr 5, 2023 | Travel

Sometimes you want a holiday that is all beauty and relaxation and other times, you want to switch it up a bit. These local getaways will have you enjoying the best of both. Action and relaxation.

Western Cape

De Hoop Collection, De Hoop nature reserve

If you enjoy walks on the beach and exceptional views then you will love De Hoop Nature Reserve, one of the Cape’s last unspoilt gems. The Reserve is in the Overberg region, a three-hour drive from Cape Town. The World Heritage site offers world-class whale watching and is paradise for bird enthusiasts with its more than 260 species of bird, including the endangered Cape Vulture. De Hoop Collection includes various self-catering options from two- to four-bedroom cottages and houses.

What to do

There is plenty of opportunity to switch off and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this nature lover’s paradise. Keep some energy for interpretive marine walks, hiking and mountain biking trails, eco boat cruises on the vlei and Nature drives, tennis or boules. Enjoy a meal overlooking the beautiful vlei at the staple of De Hoop’s dining scene, The Fig Tree Restaurant, and the Silo Wine Cellar, where an exceptional variety of wines can be enjoyed.

Waves Of Grace Seafront Villa

Situated in Herolds Bay and jutting out toward the ocean, this tranquil escape offers relaxation but also opportunities for more. Each suite has its own bathroom with patios showcasing panoramic sea views.

What to do

Go swim in the ocean and let the waves break over you (or maybe catch a surf). If you’ve got a bit of an appetite for adventure, there are hiking and cycling trails around, and you could even try your hand at fishing, if that’s your thing.

Boardwalk Lodge Self-catering

Nestled among the trees and birds, this lodge offers wrap-around views of the sea and lagoon in Wilderness. Get the ultimate best-of-both-worlds with this wooden lodge and cabin-feels, while taking in the full expanse of ocean and nature.

What to do

Take in the indigenous forests with a hike, go bird watching or take a cycle around the town and surrounds. Of course, there’s swimming and game drives on offer. Or, simply unwind fully as you settle down on the patio, glass of wine in hand.

Eastern Cape

Sky Villa, Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay is well known for its pretty beaches, lagoons and indigenous forests. Add specialist mountain bike trails and this seaside Garden Route town makes for a great active holiday. The 5-star Sky Villa Boutique Hotel of the Cape Summer Villas Boutique Collection is situated on a hilltop in Barons View Estate and offers an uninterrupted 360-degree view of the Keurbooms River, Indian Ocean and the Tsitsikamma and Langkloof Mountains.

What to do

Hit the new trails at Sky Trails just below the renowned Sky Villa Boutique Hotel. The new trails in the network have been machine sculptured and are primarily for mountain biking, but there are also running, hiking and walking trails. The trails have been laid out to provide maximum fun and flexibility to users and are all well-signposted.

Escape the Ordinary

Feel like you’re really, truly in the middle of nowhere with this gem of an escape. This self-catering apartment, in the Phantom Pass Private Estate, 10km from Knysna, is ideally located to take in the full expanse of undulating nature around it. Be greeted in the morning by the birds, and feel connected with the wilderness.

What to do

Explore your surroundings by grabbing your bike and cycling around. Or go on foot and enjoy a hike in the greenery. If that’s also not your thing, simply soak up the views from the swimming pool on the deck.

Houtbosch Bay Honeymoon Suite

Go rustic and relaxed with this sweet cabin overlooking the mountains and ocean. Perched on a gentle hill, this wooden luxury cabin boasts views for days, with a hot tub to boot. If you’re a bird watcher, this is paradise. This property is ideally located on the edge of a nature reserve just 5 km from Jeffery’s Bay, and 75 km from the airport.

What to do

Take in the sights from the deck or soak it up in the tub. Jeffreys Bay is nearby, so drive down to the beach and paddle out to make the most of your time. Or, pull out those sneakers and take a hike in the wild terrain.


Château La Mer

With views of the Hartbeespoort Dam and the Magalies Mountain range, you can’t really go wrong with this stay. The place has been decorated in the French style (in case the name didn’t give this away) and each room has its own views and facilities, from 270-degree views to a fireplace and communal patios.

What to do

Take this opportunity to truly stay and do nothing, while lounging around the pool, soaking up the view or heading off for a much-needed spa treatment. You’re a stone’s throw from the Hartbeespoort dam, with its own activities, as well as The Aloe Farm.

Happy Valley

This self-catering lodge is on a camping site, meaning you’re right in the wilderness in the lush green Leeuwkloof Valley. The thatched cottage can house up to four people, with a pool and lounging area on the premises.

What to do

Take a walk to let in the lush greenery around you, or go for a dip in the pool. You might spot some game, so drive around the area or take a bike to get the most of your experience. Simply relax and let the gorgeous greenery dictate some much-needed R&R.

The Cradle Boutique Hotel

The Cradle Boutique Hotel is situated right in the Greater Cradle Nature Reserve, right where the Cradle Of Humankind is. The rooms, overlooking the rugged reserve, are eco-friendly, sustainably built with timber and thatch. Each room has a viewing deck to take in the surrounds, and six rooms come with wood-burning hot tubs, so you can soak up as you watch the stars.

What to do

Explore the Reserve during your stay and go on a tour, where you can trace the origins of the human species, experiencing first-hand two famous fossil dig sites – Gladysvale and Malapa – in the heart of the Cradle of Humankind. You may even spot game along the way: the reserve is home to leopards and brown hyenas and antelope. Aside from the historic expeditions, there are guided walks around the majestic surroundings.


Thanda Safari, Zululand

Holiday plans are incomplete without a visit to a game reserve. Thanda Safari is a five-star, Big Five game reserve situated on 14 000 hectares in the heart of Zululand, KwaZulu- Natal. It offers an authentic South African wildlife experience with excellent game viewing all year round and has a sincere commitment to the Zulu culture and the environment.

What to do

Experience a guided walk through the bush, cheetah and rhino tracking and long cruises on the St. Lucia Estuary. Enjoy musicals, concerts and artists performing in a safe, protected, open-air “theatre” in the bush by Thanda Safari Starlight Productions.

Thula Thula Private Game Lodge

Thula Thula, in the heart of Zululand, offers a wildlife reserve with elephants, which bestselling author Lawrence Anthony wrote about extensively from the reserve. Stay in the lodge or a luxury-tented camp and allow yourself to be treated to spa treatments and game activities.

What to do

Go on a game drive, of course, where you can get up close to the giant elephants and rhinos. You can also enjoy Thula Thula’s Boma Dinner, a traditional Zulu dinner with braai around the fire in the Boma, under the stars.

Champagne Castle Hotel

Escape to the mountains in this range-like retreat. Nestled between Johannesburg and Durban, this local getaway in the Drakensberg mountains has been declared a Mixed World Heritage Site. That’s because it houses a rich collection of San rock paintings and has a diverse range of plant, bird and insect life.

What to do

There are daily guided hikes to go on and soak up the vastness of the mountains around you. Go horse riding, break out the tennis bats and play a game, or even play a spot of bowls. Of course, there’s a spa for those aching muscles and tons of viewing spots from which to down a glass of wine while relaxing.


Walkersons Hotel, Dullstroom

Head over to the picturesque town of Dullstroom. While it’s well-known as a premium fly fishing destination, it has all the charms of a countryside getaway. The Award-winning Walkersons Hotel & Spa near Dullstroom is a perfect blend of elegance and charm. It’s located on 800 hectares of peaceful countryside. Walkersons boasts 27 private hotel rooms.

What to do

Take a walk along the paved, contoured pathways; hike to the top of the estate among wildlife and spectacular views; enjoy delicious gourmet country cuisine that has long been one of Walkersons’ significant attractions, along with the unspoiled scenery, its luxurious Spa and the chance to fly-fish in Dullstroom’s famous trout dams.

Thabamati Luxury Tented Camp

If camping was never your thing, rest assured you won’t have to whip out an air mattress at this local getaway. Each luxury tent is flanked by the river and accompanied by decks and open patios that bring the wildlife inside. The pool, bathtub, fireplace and deck all have first-class views of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which itself forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park.

What to do

Take a game drive and experience The Big 5 first-hand, or try a guided bush walk. Go star-gazing after supper and sundowners and admire how much of the stars you can *actually* see. And, if you’re in need of urgent relaxation, there is a spa that’ll bring treatments to your tent!

Kruger Gate Hotel

Settled along the Sabie River with stunning views of the Kruger National Park, you’ll meet The Big Five in person and be able to take refuge in a variety of suites, including self-catering options with viewing decks galore.

What to do

Your experience won’t be complete without taking on the Big Five safari, where you’ll meet leopards, lions, elephants and rhinos. The Kruger is also a bird-watching paradise. And, when the new day dawns, try your hand at putt-putt, tennis or volleyball (or all three). The hotel is also kitted with a spa, for those days when you really need R&R, overlooking the stunning bushveld.

North West

Iwamanzi Game Lodge

Iwamanzi means “the place of falling waters”. Immediately, we’re drawn to the lushness of the area, supported by nearby dams and local game. Thatched chalets with breathtaking views offer a secluded stay in luxury. Iwamanzi also does education and sanitary pad drives in the township nearby, benefiting the local community.

What to do

Soak up the wilderness around you by going on a game drive or guided bush walk or mountain biking trip. Or, simply take in the wonders by the pool and relax with a sundowner overlooking our legendary South African sunsets.

ANEW Hotel & Resort

In the Magaliesberg Mountains, you’ll find relaxation and adventure in ANEW. Patios allow you to take in the rustic landscape with panoramic views and each room is kitted in modern luxury. Plus, it’s only a 90-minute drive from Joburg and Pretoria.

What to do

If you’re the fun-loving adventurous type, you won’t find yourself bored. There’s a golf course and swimming pool, sure, but also the opportunity to try your hand at archery or paintball. Or, take in the surroundings with a quad bike. You can also simply relax and enjoy sundowners on the deck, overlooking the mountainous range.

Sheperd’s Tree Game Lodge

In the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve, Sheperd’s Tree is tucked away right in the heart of the bushveld. Experience the Big Five as they graze on your doorstep and the wonder of uninterrupted sunsets blazing over the horizon. Various suites offer views of the landscape, with private villas offering your own oasis from the bush.

What to do

Of course, there are Big Five game drives, but you can also try something very different: Sheperd’s Tree offers a unique hot air balloon experience, where you can enjoy the view from above. There’s also a spa offering various treatments.

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