Hey Joburgers, remember when you had time to go on extended holidays? Me neither, and I moved out of Jozi years ago. That’s not to say I have forgotten how the ratrace works. If you have finally reached tipping point – with murder right there on the horizon – perhaps it is time to escape for a weekend? The following is a collection of awesome little pockets of you-time within a couple of hours of Joburg. Get away and back without the boss knowing any better – except maybe the coy grin that has suddenly replaced the grimace you’ve been harnessing for months. Oh and we have tried to keep within a reasonable budget just to ensure you have no excuses!
1. Die Ou Pastorie
Nothing relaxes more than great food and serene surroundings. Die Ou Pastorie is a unique guesthouse and restaurant situated in Skeerpoort, Magaliesberg and the quaint beauty of this establishment is only surpassed by their amazing food and hospitality. It is built around an original 1880’s pastoral home and set in magnificent gardens at the foot of one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges. It is just far enough to forget about that flipping taxi that cut you off the other day; so you could even just pop out there for a Sunday lunch and be back before Carte Blanche. Then again once you are out there you may just never want to leave! Not to worry though they have you covered with eight rooms available
Rates: For a two-night stay for two sharing it is R490pp and is inclusive of breakfast.
2. Bill Harrops Hot Air Balloons
If you just want to get high and feel like you have a fair bit more cash in the kitty then be sure to check out Bill Harrops. Whether you’re sipping fine champagne while hovering gently above the tree tops of the beautiful Magalies River Valley, or drifting majestically high above the Magaliesberg range in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, just 45 km north of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, you are pretty much guaranteed to forget about that deadline for just a little while longer. What a great way to get your head back in the clouds before having to get back to the daily grind.
Rates: For individual adventurers R2770 to R2310 per person (weather dependent) but if you book in groups then the price drops as the number of people increase.
Contact: Tel 011-705 3201
3. Goblin’s Cove
Nothing gets your mind off of work faster than being whisked away to a magical place. Well, at least that is what the movies always tell you. Instead of escaping to them vicariously via the tele why not come through to Goblin’s Cove . Well-known sculptor Charles Gotthard has created this wonderous world in the foothills of the Magaliesburg mountain range, less than an hour’s drive from Pretoria and Johannesburg. Goblin’s Cove Fantasy Restaurant offers a unique dining and accommodation experience. A beautiful setting, a superb menu and cosy train cabins for those who want to stay over.
Rates: The train is comprised of 3 en suite cabins and you can catch a mid-week special at R550 per couple sharing or if you can’t get off work go over the weekend for R800 per couple sharing.
Contact: Tel 014-576-2143
4. Sparkling Waters Hotel & Spa
If you are really getting tense due to endless traffic and your office chair is just exacerbating things further then be sure to make Sparkling Waters Hotel & Spa your next getaway. Situated in the heart of the Magaliesberg Mountains only 1.5 hours from Johannesburg, this luxurious three star hotel is the ideal weekend holiday to ease the tension. With the Sparkling Health Spa located in the garden you will find it quite hard-pressed to retain any tension and can return feeling pampered.
Rates: Rooms start at R550 sharing per night and include breakfast.
Contact: Tel 014-535-0000/6
5. Magaliesberg Canopy Tour
So you don’t have enough time for a whole weekend away? Well get a whole week’s worth of escape by visiting the Canopy Tours in Magaliesberg and get your zip-line on! Located at the Sparkling Waters Hotel, 1hr 20mins from Johannesburg & Pretoria you could even make this an extension to your stay there. There are tours leaving every 30 minutes from 07:00 to 16:30 in summer and 08:00 to 15:30 in winter.
Rates: It will set you back R450pp which includes transport to and from Ysterhout Kloof, guides, refreshments, all equipment and a light meal at Hadeda’s restaurant.
Contact: Tel 014-535-0150
6. Bush Willow Tented Camp
Being stuck in the city can really make you miss mother nature. So if you have forgotten what trees look like or how birds sound why not get closer to nature by removing the walls between you? Bush Willow Tented Camp is situated in Muldersdrift only 30 minutes from both Johannesburg and Pretoria. The small tented camp is built in a sector of Glenburn lodge which is surrounded by indigenous bush; it is situated on the banks of the Blaauwbank River right at the foot of the Zwartkops Mountains. This camp is geared more towards group stays – so get your mates together – with each spacious tent sleeping six.
Rates: It will cost you R840 for the tent, for the first night, and then it drops to R530 for each subsequent night – divide that by six and you are looking at a steal. They even provide bedding for you – at an additional R60 – just incase you thought you could muster up an excuse.
Contact: Tel 011-668-1600
7. Dome Inn
Of course it isn’t all happening in Magaliesberg! If we look to the other side, a mere 1-2 hours drive from Pretoria & Johannesburg, the Dome Inn offers luxury accommodation in the picturesque Vredefort Dome in Parys. You can choose from 11 delightful guestrooms, 6 rondawels and 3 bungalows on 3 acres with trees and garden surroundings.
Rates: The bungalows sleep from 7-14 people each and will cost R150pp during the week whereas weekends cost R200pp – with family units, that sleep 2-4, available as well. They even offer caravan and tent stands, starting from R100, if you are wanting to be a little more independent.
Contact: Tel 056-818-1577
8. Parys River Rafting
If you still have some pent up aggression after that Friday meeting – I mean honestly it’s Friday – let it out with a couple of screams down the Vaal River. Parys river rafting offers river rafting, rafting, water rafting and white water rafting as team building and leisure activities. Parys river rafting is based in Parys but also travels throughout South Africa to bring the Parys river rafting experience to you.
Rates:Whilst it might fall out of budget (at around R550-R600pp) they do offer packages that include accommodation.
Contact: Tel 072-749-8169
http://www.parysriverrafting.co.za for a custom quote.
9. Carryblaire River Retreat
If you don’t want to sleep on the river when going rafting but you still want to remain out of reach of the rat-race then Carryblaire River Retreat just may be what you require. Only an hours drive from Johannesburg and nestled on the banks of the Vaal River near Parys, Carryblaire River Retreat embodies peace, tranquillity and a sense of oneness with nature.
Rates:At R475 per person sharing and options to include champagne and flowers it is also a great romantic escape for you and your paramour.
Contact: Tel 072-178-7699
10. Zenzele River Lodge
If you are trying to move to warmer climates and are in the mood for luxury then be sure to make Zenele River Lodge your next destination. Located only 85km from Pretoria – so about an hour or two from Jozi – set in the midst of a yellow monkey thorn tree sanctuary, situated in the Limpopo it has all the ingredients for a great escape. You can go to sleep with the cries of the wilderness on your doorstep and wake up with the harmonious sounds of the fish eagles hunting in the open skies.
Rates:Whilst the Luxury and Standard rooms are a little outside our budget part of this guide, you can hire out the Eland camp at R3900 per weekend and it sleeps 10. The perfect excuse to wrangle together some good friends and some food and drinks for the weekend.
Contact: Tel 012-346-7693
Well all this talk of getting away has definitely whet my appetite and I hope it has inspired you too. Also if you know of a hidden gem that we were unable to uncover in and around Joburg add it to the comments below. Now get outta here!