Where is the love? We pick South Africa’s most romantic hideaways

“Choosing a romantic destination for a holiday is not an easy task. Many couples can’t agree on which side of the bed to sleep on, never mind having to decide between a mountain cabin and a seaside cottage. So whether it’s to flame a new romance into life or rekindle an old one, we’ve selected South Africa’s four quirkiest romantic getaways for you to enjoy – places guaranteed to please both partners and ignite the passion.”

Kwazulu-Natal – Sycamore Avenue Treehouse and Guest House

Just a ten minute journey from Mooiriver in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands lies Sycamore Avenue Treehouse and Guest House, a family run guesthouse with a memorable difference. There are various accommodation options available to visitors, and all of them have you gazing down on the world from your comfortable treehouse lodgings (as the website boasts, “If we can’t fly with birds we can at least nest with them”).  Of particular interest to star-crossed lovers will be the aptly named “Romantic Treehouse” – a snug escape hiding six metres from the ground in an oak tree. Guests will want to make use of the jacuzzi spa bath as well as the indoor and outdoor shower, while the balcony also has a hammock which is great for whiling away the time mesmerised by the starry night sky.

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Other treehouses include Fantasy (a triple storey with space for four), Bottle (so named for the glass-door shower on the top level looking out over the Drakensberg Mountains) and Planequarium (a double-storey six-sleeper cottage). Once guests have acclimatised to their unique lodgings there’s plenty to explore in the area, such as hiking at Giants Castle, Monks Cowl, Cathedral Peak and Royal Natal Park or river rafting on the Tugela River. Other attractions include wildlife in the Weenen Game Reserve and the regions plentiful and historic battlefields. However it isn’t necessary to leave the estate, as the tree houses are surrounded by fifty acres of beautiful English-style gardens which can be slowly and peacefully explored. Meals are also taken at the guesthouse, with all meals prepared in the kitchens and using as much local produce as possible. All in all the perfect place to spend some quality time with that significant other.

Western Cape – Kolkol Mountain Lodge

There’s something intrinsically romantic about the cold. Too many Hollywood chick-flicks may be to blame, but the result is an automatic association in our minds between a chilly winter’s evening and an affectionate cuddle in front of a roaring log fire. If that’s a scene you can identify with, then Kolkol Mountain Lodge will most probably fulfill your every wish. Set in the beautiful Babilonstoren Mountains in the Kogelberg Biosphere reserve (just an hour from Cape Town), Kolkol has everything needed to turn a grim Cape Winter’s day into a date to remember. The Canadian-style log cabins boast wood-fired hot tubs, big stone fireplaces and an abundance of peaceful solitude. The cabins are self-catering so privacy is assured, and the natural surroundings of fynbos and mountain will most certainly create an imprint on your memory.

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The Kolkol Cabin was the first one to be built, taking owner Rudi a year and a half to do by hand.  Since then five more cabins have been painstakingly added to the collection, all with the same personal touch and attention to detail. Of the six cabins four of them are two sleepers, while only the King Cabin and the Kolkol cabin are available for larger numbers. With romance in mind, guests can also choose the honeymoon package which includes a meal and a bottle of wine as well as gowns and slippers.

Activities at the lodge include hiking, picnicking, bird-watching and mountain biking. The nearby towns of Hermanus, Villiersdop, Caledon and Grabouw also offer attractions such as wine-tasting, eating-out, scenic flights and even whale watching. Capetonians looking for a romantic escape from the city will do well to look no further than Kolkol Mountain Lodge.

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Mpumalanga – Belgrace Boutique Hotel

It has long been known that getting in touch with nature is the best way to fire up the flames of love, and that’s certainly the case at Belgrace Boutique Hotel in Mpumalanga. Created specifically with romance in mind, the hotel combines sensationally decadent furnishings with a beautiful natural setting to create a holiday experience that will not be quickly forgotten. In keeping with the romantic theme, weddings can also be held at the hotel, with various arrangements available depending on the size of the wedding.

Entrance to Belgrace Boutique Hotel

Just five minutes from the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, the Belgrace Boutique Hotel is the perfect gateway to exploring the Kruger National Park. Spread over more than 19 000 square kilometres and holding over 800 species of animal, the park can keep visitors entertained indefinitely. Once the novelty has worn off though, the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden is close by, as are the spectacular sights of the Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window. For the more adventurous, Hazyview Skyways Trails is a three hour canopy tour with great views of the Sabie River, and the Sudwala Caves, close to Nelspruit, offer an exciting scramble through the caves as well as a look at some almost life-size dinosaur statues.

However, leaving the Belgrace Boutique Hotel is easier said than done. The rooms are classically elegant and deliciously opulent, with beautiful furnishings such as crystal chandeliers, jacuzzis and four poster beds.  Candlelit dinners can be served in the suites, and the continental breakfasts in bed will have guests feeling like royalty. The restaurant, set under a sprawling wild fig tree, serves delicious French-themed meals, and the cocktail lounge is also available for guests to enjoy. Leaving the hotel at the end of a stay refreshed and rejuvenated is as good as guaranteed.

Dining Room

Gauteng – The Michelangelo Hotel

For some, the very thought of being stuck on a secluded farm far from the hustle and bustle of the city is a form of cruel and unusual torture. If big city living is the lifeblood that keeps you and your partner energised, then consider the luxurious Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton a good option for your next holiday. Boasting classic Renaissance architecture and located right on Nelson Mandela Square, guests are pampered in luxury from arrival to departure.

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The Michelangelo Hotel has over 200 accommodation options available. Superior rooms offers a lounge and bedroom area, with premier suites and executive suites also available. Deluxe rooms are available, with the bedroom and lounge on split levels and a domed ceiling. The hotel also has two presidential suites, with a kitchenette and butler as well as stunning views over the square. Facilities at the hotel include gym, jacuzzi, indoor heated swimming pool, valet service, 24 hour room service, laundry service, cocktail bar and the Piccolo Mondo restaurant.  The hotel is a member of “The Leading Hotels of the World” group, and the style and sophistication of the hotel will leave even the most glamorous traveller impressed. Famous guests include celebrities such as the Obama’s, Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey.

The hotels greatest accomplishment is to offer guests both the excitement of a fast paced city lifestyle and the calm serenity of a peaceful stay. From the restaurants, clubs, shops and bars of Nelson Mandela Square (which attract roughly one million visitors per month) guests can return to the hotel spa for a soothing massage or jacuzzi.  While many businesses use the hotel as a corporate base due to its great location in the heart of Sandton, The Michelangelo Hotel deserves serious consideration as a romantic destination for its style, sophistication and lavish luxury.

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Sam Bradley

Sam Bradley is a travel and adventure enthusiast with a passion for scuba diving, paragliding and skydiving. He has travelled to four continents, lived in the Peruvian jungle for six months and tour guided through most of Southern Africa. He is married to Cristie and is a committed Christian, and is currently living in London along with a whole bunch of South Africans.

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