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Bucket List – Hotel Edition

Thrill-seeking travellers, start planning your next getaway to one of these destinations. Each will prove to have something unique that will make it worth the travel.

Thrill-seekers often say that if you’re not living life on the edge, you’re just taking up space. One thing all adventurers have in common is a curious and spontaneous spirit.

They’re compelled to seek out the undiscovered; to go where few dare venture. Thankfully, there are a few destinations, both locally and further afield, that reward their boldness. If you consider yourself a hedonist, this traveller’s bucket list is just for you. 

Grand Daddy Hotel has made its home in the heart of the mother city.

Grand Daddy Hotel has made its home in the heart of the mother city.

The Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel 

Sleeping in a trailer park is a novel experience all on its own. Add to that the excitement  of having your airstream camper pitched in the middle of Cape Town’s CBD.

The Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel offers the only Rooftop Airstream Trailer Park in the world and defines itself as the “most original, convenient and fun place to stay”. You need only spend a night at any of the seven uniquely themed caravans, and you’ll understand why.  

Whether you want to feel like you’re tucked away in a private beach shack or huddle in a hut on safari, there is a tastefully decorated airstream camper suited to you. Each trailer includes amenities such as a queen-sized bed and an en-suite bathroom, air-conditioning, and high-speed fibre internet access.

In addition, they also offer rooftop movie nights, as well as beautifully curated food and drinks boxes. These include a rooftop braai box (or a vegan version), an oyster box, snack boxes, cheese and charcuterie boxes, as well as beer and cider buckets.  

This is a once-in-a-lifetime city glamping experience not to be missed.  

Warm yourself round the fire as you watch the sun set behind the Cederberg valley

Warm yourself round the fire as you watch the sun set behind the Cederberg valley

Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve  

The mark of a good vacation is how often you default to reaching for your phone. At Kagga Kamma, you’re not even given the chance.

Between the rock art walk – where you come face to face with original Khoi and San paintings that are over 20 000 years old – a four-wheel tour, the game drive (which, if you’re lucky, treats you to the 27 zebras, 28 eland, 52 springbok and 2 leopards on the property), as well as the numerous hiking trails within the reserve, you’ll barely find time to fit in all your meals. 

The remote game lodge is tucked away in a cluster of naturally formed caves, roughly three hours’ drive from Cape Town. It would be prudent to take your 4×4 or rent an off-road car, as the last 40km of the drive is on a dirt road and smaller cars have been known to get stuck. 

Ten cave rooms, five hut suites, and two magnificent open-air suites spread themselves out across 15 000 hectares of flatland. Spend a night in one of the open-air suites for a truly remarkable experience.

Quad bike to a secluded location where you can wash off the day under the outdoor shower or spend the sunset soaking in a wood-fired hot tub. A complimentary bottle of bubbles can be enjoyed around the fire pit, as you dig into the three-course picnic that is prepared to order.  

Lest we forget the true showpiece: countless stars, seeming like holes in the sky that let glimpses of heaven peek through, seem close enough for you to touch. By the sixth shooting star, you’ll have run out of wishes because you’ll be living your dreams. 

Spend a night in one of the authentic cave rooms at Kagga Kama Nature Reserve.

Spend a night in one of the authentic cave rooms at Kagga Kama Nature Reserve.

Shayamanzi Houseboat  

Voyagers don’t wait for their ship to come in, they row out to meet it. If you’re in search of your floating palace, Shayamanzi Houseboat moored in Lake Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal, is worthy of a charter.  

South Africa’s first luxury houseboat gets its name from the invitation “let’s hit the water”. You’ll want for nothing during your stay in one of the six deluxe cabin rooms or four pontoon cabins, which are serviced by round-the-clock crew.

From the houseboat, you can soak up the stunning scenery of the Lebombo Mountains and superb wildlife of the Pongola Game Reserve on the shores of Lake Jozini.  

The tropical KZN climate makes a stay at Shayamanzi a year-round option. May to August are ideal cruise months, with birdwatching at its prime. Local game frequent the lake during the winter months, too. If you prefer to soak up the sun during the warmer months however, you’ll have to fight for your spot on this enviable vessel. 

The local wildlife flock to Lak Jozini during the dry winter months.

The local wildlife flock to Lake Jozini during the dry winter months.

Palm River Hotel  

Victoria Falls is Mother Nature showing off. The stunning 1.7km wide and 108m deep cascade that borders both Zimbabwe and Zambia has earned its place as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. 

Mosi oa Tunya, which means “the smoke that thunders” in Sotho, is considered the biggest waterfall on the planet because of the sheer volume of falling water. It’s the kind of natural marvel you would have to see to believe. 

The Palm River Hotel is situated as close to Vic Falls as most hotels can get, which offers the privilege of unobstructed access to the wildlife that call the landscape home. 

Bigger groups can stay in the Palm River Villa, which can take up to six guests. The secluded villa comes complete with a private pool, patio, and expansive garden. 

If you’re not courageous enough to bungee jump, at least visit the Vic Falls bridge and witness the waterfall up close. The deceptively named Devil’s Pool is a must-do, as the view is absolutely heavenly.   

Unique furniture and finishings at Palm River Hotel. Photo:Zimbabwe Photography

Unique furniture and finishings at Palm River Hotel. Photo:Zimbabwe Photography

The Essentials

Grand Daddy Hotel: Expand your experience with one of their many tours to explore not just Cape Town and surrounds, but the rest of the country and further afield. 

Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve: If camping is more your style, the nature reserve’s rugged and undiscovered wilderness makes Kagga Kamma a bucket-list destination for camping enthusiasts. Choose between four campsites: two completely remote (you’ll need a 4×4) or two close to reception with ablution facilities.   

Shayamanzi Houseboat: Lake Jozini is the only place in South Africa where you can catch Tiger fish. Alternatively, go mountain biking in the heart of the Zululand bushveld. Lake Jozini (also know as Pongolapoort Dam) is a 3½ hour-car trip from Durban. 

Palm River Hotel: While most people prefer to take vacations in summer, we tend to neglect the colder season, which is when most game watching is at its peak. Travel and accommodation prices are also more affordable during the winter period. Most hotels and restaurants are happy to accept ZAR at Victoria Falls. Pack sunscreen and insect repellent.  

Getting there 

FLY SAA flies daily between Johannesburg and Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, and Johannesburg and Harare, Zimbabwe.  

Words by Inga Sibiya

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