The time has arrived for you to reveal the romantic in you, even if only on this one day in the year. Here are 12 things to do with your partner this Valentine’s Day in Gauteng.
1. Hot-air ballooning over the Cradle of Humankind
Take a hot air balloon ride with AirVentures over the Cradle of Humankind. These one-hour flights leave from Kloofzicht Lodge, coffee is served on arrival, and champagne after landing. Take a bottle of bubbly along if you feel like having some while enjoying the spectacular view of the heritage site below. Booking is essential.
Price: R1995 per person for the classic flight, R 2195 per person for safari flights, and private flights are R6200 per couple for the classic flight and R6450 per couple for the safari flight.
Place: Cradle of Humankind, Muldersdrift, Johannesburg
Contact: 083-3560-2435, www.air-ventures.co.za
2. Go for a ‘Valentine’s Picnic in the Garden’ at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
Pack a picnic basket and a blanket, and enjoy an evening in the open air with romantic live music. The evening also includes a lucky number prize draw and other surprises. Gates open at 18:00 on Tuesday 14 February. No advance booking required.
Price: R150 per couple (in aid of The Black Eagle Project)
Place: End of Malcolm Rd, Poortview, Roodepoort, Johannesburg
Contact: 086 100 1278, www.sanbi.org/gardens/walter-sisulu
3. See the stars at the Johannesburg Planetarium
Spend a romantic evening under the stars in a lover’s arms. Enjoy the beauty of the awe-inspiring night sky as recreated by the famous Hamburg Projector (with a history of its own). This outing accommodates kids too, although when the lights go off ‘movie rules’ apply, so perhaps keep the kids in the front-row seats. There will be two shows on the night, at 18h00 and at 20h00. Reservations neccesary.
Price: R34 per adult and R21 for senior citizens and school kids
Place: Yale Road (Entrance 10) University of the Witwatersrand, Milner Park, Johannesburg
Contact: Tel 011-717-1392, www.planetarium.co.za
4. Cook a romantic meal together
Wicked Food Cooking School offers a special cooking class for couples on Valentine’s Day (and earlier that week on Saturday 11 February). Both classes start at 18:00 in the evening. Included in the price below are delectable foods (contact them for details about the menu), the cooking lesson, sparkling wine and drinks during the evening. The evening promises to be fun-filled and a great bonding experience for couples.
5. Dinner and dress-up: ‘Last dinner on the Titanic’ at La Canard Restaurant
This year being the Titanic’s centenary year, Le Canard Restaurant will recreate the impressive 11-course menu served on the tragic evening of April 14 1912, featuring cuisine inspired by the king of chefs, Auguste Escoffier. There will be iceberg warnings, live music, and a special guest artist pas-de-deux performance by stars of The South African Ballet Theatre (the latter being weather dependent). ‘Survival gifts’ will be handed out at the end of the evening, and one lucky couple will win a trip to Ireland to visit the Titanic Belfast Museum. The dress code is strictly black tie, or a costume as worn in the set time period. The event starts at 19h00.
Price: R780 per person (all inclusive)
Place: 163 Rivonia Road, Morningside, Sandton
Contact: 011-884-4597, www.lecanard.co.za or check out their event page www.whatson.co.za/details.php?id=64435&event=Valentines%20Banquet
6. Spend a day at Sparkling Waters Health Spa
Treat your partner and yourself to a relaxing day out of town at Sparkling Waters Health Spa. Ask for the Valentine’s Day offer (applicable for the entire month). The spa is an extension of the Sparkling Waters Hotel (3 star), and makes for a lovely treat, especially if you also plan to stay for the night. Sparkling Waters Hotel also has a dinner dance on the Saturday night of the weekend preceding Valentine’s Day.
Price: Valentine’s Day special R800 per person (which includes a bottle of champagne and relaxing spa treatments)
Place: Rustenburg, roughly one-and-a-half hours’ drive from both Johannesburg and Pretoria
Contact: 014-535-0000/1/2-6 or 082-859-4036/7, email firstname.lastname@example.org, www.sparklingwaters.co.za
7. An afternoon or evening at Tangaroa Strawberry Farm
Have a romantic picnic on the banks of a beautiful dam and watch ducks swim past while you enjoy the sunset at the Tangaroa Strawberry Farm. Tangaroa Strawberry Farm has various picnic basket specials to choose from (last orders are taken on 6 February) and also offers spa treatments. There are two picnic sessions, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Booking is essential. Note that strawberries are not in season, but the outing still promises a farm feeling and escape from the city. Also note that visitors cannot bring their own picnic baskets.
Price: Variable, according to the different picnic basket specials. The De Luxe basket costs R460 (for 2 people), the Gourmet basket costs R670 (for 2 people), and other options are also available. You also have choice of spa treatment specials.
Place: The farm is near the south-west corner of the Hartebeespoort Dam, ± 50 km from the Dome at Northgate.
Contact: 082-503-5996 or 012-207-1116, email email@example.com, www.tangaroa.co.za
8. Go to the Johannesburg Zoo
This is the classic outing romanticised by Hollywood and makes for a great day trip. Kids will also be entertained. Take a nice long stroll, have an ice cream, and enjoy the animal humour. There will also be a moonlight tour and romantic evening under the stars for Valentines Day. The zoo is open from 8:30 to 17:30 weekdays and weekends, with last entries being at 16:00.
Price: R55 per adult (age 13 and above), R34 for senior citizens and kids (12 and younger)
Place: Corner of Jan Smuts and Upper Park Drive in Parkview
Contact: 011-646-2000, www.jhbzoo.org.za
9. Hotel stays
Spend a night enjoying the breathtaking cityscape at the famous five-star Westcliff that is situated on a hill above Johannesburg. Celebration packages are on offer, and keep an eye on their website for Valentine’s Day specials closer to the time.
Place: The Westcliff, 67 Jan Smuts Avenue, Westcliff, Johannesburg
Price: Variable, depending on the time of stay and degree of pampering
Contact: 011-481-6000, www.westcliff.co.za/web/ojnb/packages.jsp
10. Dine & dance
For a frivolous night out in the city, go dining and dancing at Cantare or Coco Bongo in Montecasino. Both have set menu specials for the evening, live music and a dance floor.
11. Go ice-skating at the Kolonnade or Northgate
This is a fun option both for those in the Pretoria area (Kolonnade Shopping Centre) and in Johannesburg (Northgate Shopping Centre) – and with the high summer temperatures, a golden opportunity to cool down in style. Kids will also enjoy this outing. There are two ice-skating sessions, from 10:00 to 17:00 and from 19:30 to 22:30.
Price: R45 entrance fee, R20 skate hire at both ice rinks (Northgate’s ice rink has a half-price Tuesday special for only R32.50, including skate hire. Kolonnade’s ice rink has specials that include ice-skating and food specials at restaurants like Panarotti’s, Spur, Wimpy, Steers and Debonairs. Both have a Sunday Night Madness special, when you pay R35 for the evening, including skate hire.)
Place: Kolonnade Shopping Centre, Zambezi Drive, Montanapark, Pretoria and Northgate Mall, c/o Norththumberland Road and Olievenhout Avenue, Northriding, Johannesburg
Contact: 012-548-2450 (Kolonnade) and 011-794-8706 (Northgate)
12. Couples photo shoot
Many photographers in Johannesburg do couple photographs, and it could be good fun and a generally inexpensive and memorable thing to do on Valentine’s Day. Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, search for a photographer in your area and pick the one whose portfolio you like most.
Remember that many Valentine’s Day specials become cheaper when done in groups, so check with the venue and consider involving your friends for double dates etc.