Wondering where to spend a spooky Halloween this year? Try one of South Africa’s haunted hotels – you’re sure to have a memorable stay.
1. The Kimberley Club, Kimberley
Wealthy philanthropist Joe van Praagh insisted on building a private bathroom when he resided here. Seemingly he has never left and he may grace you with his presence if you stay at the boutique hotel that takes you back to the diamond era – he’s been seen in the reading room on the first floor. En suite bedrooms are decorated in colonial style and three dining areas offer delicious meals. There’s plenty to do in the area, including a ghost tour of the city’s other haunted buildings.
From R860 a person a night sharing. Tel 053-832-4224.
2. Lord Milner Hotel, Matjiesfontein, Karoo
This majestic Victorian hotel was built in 1899 by James Logan during the Anglo Boer War. He may be buried 10 kilometres away, but his presence is felt in the hotel’s lounge areas. Another ghost, Lucy, roams the first floor in her nightgown, but perhaps the best-known spirit is Kate, a Boer War nurse who played cards with her patients. She’s sometimes seen staring from the turrets and the sound of shuffling cards can be heard from a room on the second floor. The hotel is filled with antiques and the en suite rooms are reminiscent of yesteryear. From R375 a person a night and R465 a person a night in the main hotel. Tel 023-561-3011.
3. Mountain Park Holiday Resort Hotel, Bulwer
This KwaZulu-Natal manor house with its creaking floors and Tudor-style accommodation has no less than seven ghosts. You could share a pint with two ghostly drunkards in the bar or bump into one of the three men who reside on the third floor. Then there’s childminder Ruth, seven-year-old Matilda and Wisp, one of the only known ghost dogs in the country. Ghost tours take place every Saturday night (R5 a person), with prizes for the best paranormal photo taken. If ghost hunting isn’t your thing you can also enjoy horse riding, swimming, tennis and bowling.
From R255 a person a night (minimum three nights). Tel 039-832-0026.
4. Zorgvliet Country Lodge, Stellenbosch
One of the Cape’s oldest wine farms is in a region where travellers once feared to tread as the dense forest was inhabited by gangs, escaped slaves and wild animals. The only things you may have to watch out for today are the mischievous spirits who open and close doors or play with light switches in the tasting room in the original homestead. Taste award-winning wines, visit the deli, enjoy a picnic or spend a night in an individually decorated room in the luxurious Country Lodge with views over vineyards and mountains.
B&B from R990 a person a night. Tel 021-885-1399.
5. Glen Lodge and Pub, Cape Town
Originally the Glencairn Hotel, this family-friendly spot between Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town is perfect to watch southern right whales in False Bay. Stay the night in an en suite room with a view of Glencairn Beach and you may also encounter two ghostly residents. Some claim to have seen a woman and a little boy on the stairs of the hotel and their presence is occasionally felt when furniture is moved around. Enjoy spirits of a different kind at the Stoep and Swing pub or have a meal with a view at the Bay Café.
From R330 a room a night (single). Cooked breakfast on request. Tel 021-782-0315.
6. The Nottingham Road Hotel, Nottingham Road, Kwa-Zulu Natal
If you leave your room in a bit of a mess at this historical landmark hotel along the Midlands Meander, you are likely to come back to find it neat and tidy. You can thank Charlotte, the resident house-proud ghost who apparently puts away clothing and tidies beds. She seemingly favours room number 10 as this is where it is rumoured that she fell (or was pushed ?) to her death.
R420 a person a night (sharing) from Sunday to Thursday and R490 a person a night (sharing) on Friday and Saturday. Breakfast is included. Tel 033-266-6151.
7. Foxwood House, Johannesburg
Is that footsteps you hear or just creaking floorboards? This historic boutique hotel in Houghton, close to Joburg’s business districts, is surrounded by lush gardens and has large, luxurious suites. Built in 1924, it was one of the first houses in the area and not much has changed, with antique family heirlooms decorating the rooms – look out for the radio gramophone which has been in the same spot since 1936. It seems that not only the original furniture remains. Apart from mysterious footsteps, several guests claim to have seen a lady with a child on the balcony and some have sworn they’ve seen Paul Kruger. B&B from R1 105 a person a night. Tel 011-486-0935.
Wondering where to party this Halloween? Here’s a roundup of the 20 best Halloween parties and events around South Africa.