On our quest to hand pick some of South Africa’s best secret getaways, we found our way to the Klein Karoo (naturally). This place of history and one-of-a-kind scenery is where expansive plains stretch between mountainous rises, where winters are icy fresh, and the air is as pure as can be. Old farm houses sparsely populate this great region of central South Africa, and once you’ve found the heart of the Karoo, there is no going back. This is Madi-Madi Karoo Safari Lodge, and it is one place you’ll wish you didn’t have to leave! 4 Cottages are decked out to accommodate nature seekers in luxurious solitude overlooking the Kammanassie River, while guides are there to introduce visitors to the wild surroundings on horseback, on foot, or by vehicle. Stargazing has never been this magical.
It’s impossible to design a virtual tour of the diverse and colourful country of South Africa without visiting the countryside known as the highlands meander. Golden-green grasslands blanket the rolling ridges and valleys along the R531 where a detour between Johannesburg and the Kruger Park takes road trippers to the fresh hillsides of the country’s trout fishing capital: Dullstroom. Here, a small nucleus of excellent restaurants, fly fishing outfitters, old stone cottages, icy, mirror-like lakes, and local charm fills the town centre, while rainbow trout fishing retreats, mountain bike trails, and hidden lakeside cabins populate the outskirts. This is where we can trust Walkerson’s Hotel and Spa to give us just the nest we need to fully relax into the pace of Dullstroom, disappearing off the face of the earth for a brief weekend break from the real world.
A piece of South African heritage, celebrated as a National Monument, is The Post House. Originally built in the late 1800s in the quaint country town of Greyton, this little building was the local post office and offered accommodation and food to tired travellers. It has been expertly maintained to showcase its authenticity, while the hotel rooms have been gently refurbished to provide luxuries of a boutique hotel. Greyton is a popular small town in the country’s Overberg region, and many mountain bikers bring their energy and love for the beautiful countryside over for weekend getaways. The restaurant’s reputation says it all, and a little shop sells homemade jam, chutney, pesto, and scrumptious bakes to take home. This is certainly one for the pocketbook of South Africa’s most treasured secrets.
Nestled on the edge of the character-filled village of Paternoster, the Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel longs to host its guests in total seaside style and local, West Coast charm. Watch whales and dolphins frolic in the endless cobalt-blue or simply kick back in earth-friendly luxury. Just 90 minutes from Cape Town, this retreat is masterfully tucked between the ocean and the surrounding nature reserve, enveloping visitors in another world entirely. This oceanside beach house is modern, soothing, fulfilling, and restorative. We’ll see you there!