Romantic destinations 

Date:

As Valentine’s Day draws near, now is the perfect time to showcase the beauty South Africa has to offer. From beach to bush to berg, South Africa has it all to plan and execute a charming and intimate escape. 

Whether you have a romantic partner, a best friend or your favourite aunt, this is the time to show them some love with a little adventure or relaxed experience. From breath-taking landscapes to thrilling experiences, there’s something for every kind of couple and friend in every corner of the country.  

Cradle of Humankind (Gauteng) 

What is more romantic than a hot-air balloon ride with your significant other? Float over the picturesque countryside of the Cradle of Humankind (a World Heritage Site), with the gently undulating grassland hills and valley bushveld below. Just an hour’s drive from OR Tambo International Airport.

If you prefer to stay on the ground, Gauteng is home to a variety of rooftop restaurants that offer delicious cuisine and spectacular views, from the lively cityscape of Johannesburg to the serene greenery of Pretoria. Some of the most popular rooftop restaurants in Gauteng include The Living Room in Maboneng, where guests can indulge in organic cuisine while taking in stunning panoramic views of the city. 

Hartbeespoort (North West) 

Just an hour’s drive from OR Tambo International, Hartbeespoort is a small resort town in the North West Province. With its breath-taking views of the Magaliesberg Mountains and the Hartbeespoort Dam, this town is a true gem. Couples can indulge in many romantic activities, such as hot air balloon rides, sunset cruises, horseback riding, hiking, and more.

The area is also home to several vineyards and restaurants, making it the perfect place to enjoy a romantic dinner and a glass of wine while taking in the stunning scenery. For those looking for a more adventurous escape, there are plenty of outdoor activities, too, such as ziplining, mountain climbing, quad biking, and paragliding. The province is also home to Sun City Resort and wildlife destinations. 

God’s Window (Mpumalanga) 

A short connecting flight out of Joburg (or a road trip), God’s Window is located in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve on the stunning Panorama Route. True to form, God’s Window offers a breath-taking view of the Mpumalanga landscape, including the Drakensberg escarpment and the lowveld.

The lush subtropical vegetation, rolling hills, and deep valleys of the area create a stunning backdrop for anyone looking to reconnect with their significant other or perhaps pop a certain question. The province is also home to the world-famous Kruger National Park, which boasts the most extensive diversity of wildlife in South Africa. 

Clarens (Free State) 

Take a leisurely road trip (four hour’s drive from OR Tambo International) to the unique town of Clarens. Set in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, Clarens is famous for its picturesque scenery, relaxed atmosphere, and vibrant arts community.

With the Golden Gate National Park right next door, Clarens also offers many outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and horseback riding in the surrounding mountains and countryside. 

KZN South Coast (KwaZulu-Natal) 

The South Coast of KZN boasts the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the province. Blue Flag certification relates to water quality, safety, and public environmental education, so couples who love lazy days on pretty beaches and the warm sea will love this area.

If adventure sport is your thing, or you like to golf together (the South Coast has 11 quality golf courses), you will be just as happy here. A leisurely one to two-hour drive from King Shaka International Airport takes you through sub-tropical forests, rolling hills of sugar cane, banana plantations, orchards of nuts, blue lagoons, and golden beaches with rocky coves.

You will be rewarded with five Blue Flag beaches to choose from: Marina Beach, Trafalgar Beach, Southport Beach, Umzumbe Beach, and Hibberdene Beach.  

Tsitsikamma (Eastern Cape) 

Rocky coastlines, beautiful landscapes, and lush forests are just some of the outstanding features you can find on this famously beautiful and enchanting stretch of South African coastline. Tsitsikamma National Park is part of the Garden Route National Park, and encompasses a marine reserve made up of 80 kilometres of coastline.

The area is known for its natural beauty and is home to various species, including indigenous forests, bird species and marine life. Visitors can take part in guided walks and hikes, explore the local wildlife, or relax on the beautiful beaches. It is also home to one of South Africa’s most famous walks – the Otter Trail.

It is also right next to Bloukrans Bridge, the world’s highest bridge bungee jump. What better place to get bae’s heart racing for you than right here? A scenic six-hour road trip from Cape Town International Airport will get you there. 

Bela-Bela (Limpopo) 

Take your love to the next level in Bela-Bela. This area is known for its hot springs, vibrant atmosphere, and diverse activities. You can expect to find numerous spas and wellness centres with plenty of local culture, markets, traditional villages, and festivals to indulge in.

The town is also a popular destination for foodies, with various dining options, from local street food to gourmet restaurants. It’s the perfect spot for a couple to connect. A two-hour drive from OR Tambo International will get you there. 

Kimberly (Northern Cape) 

Kimberly, known for its rich history, cultural heritage and diverse activities, is just a short connecting flight away from OR Tambo International. The city is a popular tourist destination in South Africa, attracting visitors seeking history, culture and outdoor adventures.

There are also several historic landmarks in Kimberly, including the Big Hole, a massive open-pit diamond mine that is now a museum and tourist attraction. Kimberly is the ideal place to make your love feel like a true gem. And in the home of diamonds, a ring wouldn’t go amiss in this part of the country. 

Knysna (Western Cape) 

Stunning natural beauty, lush forests, pristine beaches, and tranquil lagoons – what more could you need for a romantic rendezvous? Foodies can look forward to a variety of dining options, from local street food to gourmet restaurants.

One of the most popular attractions is the Knysna Heads, two large sandstone cliffs that form a natural entrance to the Knysna Lagoon. The area is also home to wildlife, including elephants, dolphins and whales. 

Visit southafrica.net/za/en/travel or sanparks.org for more information. 

SAA flies between Johannesburg and Cape Town, and Johannesburg and Durban several times a day. From there, rent a car and drive to your destination. Visit flysaa.com 

Source: shotleft.co.za; visitkznsouthcoast.co.za. IMAGES:  KZN South Coast images supplied by SCTIE.

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