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For some people, romance involves cocktails and a great view; for others, it’s all about getting dirty as far away from civilisation as possible. So wherever you are in SA, and whether you love it or hate it, we hope you find something that tickles your fancy in this, not-entirely-romantic list of things to do this Valentine’s Day in South Africa.


Visit the Living Room in Maboneng for a cocktail.

Visit the Living Room in Maboneng for a cocktail.


Things to do for Valentine’s Day in Gauteng

For the lovers

1. San Deck at Tsogo Sun, Sandton

Sandton is the richest square mile in Africa, and also the perfect spot for a cocktail as the sun dips behind Jozi’s skyline. The complimentary spiced biltong is unforgettable. The Michelangelo Hotel is a walk away, just in case you need a bed. Cocktails from R60.
Contact: Tel 0117805000,


2. Central One bar, Sandton

There’s a sushi and music session on Fridays and if a little dancing under the setting sky appeals to you, this is the spot. This one calls for a little dressing up. Cocktails from R65.
Contact: Tel 0112861000,


3. Living Room, Maboneng

If you’re the tree-hugging type, then you’ll love this plant-filled space in downtown Joburg. The city views contrast with the green interior, plus you can stroll through Maboneng after drinks to take in the energy of the city. Cocktails from R65.
Contact: Tel 0823709284,


For the haters

1. Hedianga Beast, Gauteng

Kick dirt in the face of heartbreakers and Hallmark cards and hit the trail in this running event in Pretoria East. There are three distances to choose from ‒ 5, 10 and 15 kilometres ‒ along an undulating course of rocky climbs, single track, Jeep track and grassy stretches. There’ll be live music, food stands, craft beer and artisanal coffee. Warning: the 15-kilometre route requires a strong level of fitness (or a bloody-minded I’ll-show-you attitude). R90 (5km), R100 (10km), R130 (15km).


Things to do for Valentine’s Day near Cape Town

For the lovers

1. Tobago’s Bar & Terrace

This casual outdoor venue has sweeping views of Granger Bay and the bar is next to a heated rim-flow pool, so bring a cozzie for night-time dipping. Cocktails from R60.
Contact: Tel 0214413000,


2. The Grand Café and Beach

This café is grand and chic and the prices aren’t cheap, but it’s worth it. There are tables in the sand and experimental cocktails. Cocktails from R45.
Contact: Tel 0214250551,


3. On the Rocks, Cape Town

Go for the views of Table Mountain and the sound of the Atlantic Ocean washing onto the shore at restaurant’s edge. This spot in Bloubergstrand is self-described as specialising in romantic evenings … so, there it is. Cocktails from R29.
Contact: Tel 0215541988,


For the haters

1. Silvermine Mountain XL 32km

This trail-running event on 13 February will put paid to any thoughts of loneliness or love-rat revenge. Individuals or teams can tackle the rugged terrain at Silvermine Nature Reserve, near Noordhoek. The relay race sees the first runner covering 14 kilometres and six kilometres, and the second runner completing 14 kilometres. If you’re on your own, you get to do the entire 32 kilometres. R300 pp (relay) and R490 (solo).


Photo by Dylan Haskin.

Photo by Dylan Haskin.


2. Love Run, Klapmuts

Run for your love (and your life) in this trail event at Warwick Wine Estate. Distances are five, 10 and 15 kilometres, and everyone is encouraged to wear red. R80 (5km), R110 (10km) and R125 (15km).


3. 27 For Freedom, Paarl

Lace up your tackies on 13 February and follow in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela in this run/walk, which takes in the route Madiba walked when he was released from prison 26 years ago. There’s a 27-kilometre distance, symbolic of the number of years Mandela spent in jail, as well as a 10-kilometre race, a five-kilometre run/walk and a 50-metre toddlers’ event. Entrants are encouraged to dress up to best honour Madiba. R15 (5km junior runner), R30 (5km adult), R75 (10km) and R110 (27km), excluding temporary licence.


Things to do for Valentine’s Day on the East Coast

For the lovers

1. Elements Café Bar, Umhlanga

The cocktails here compete with the view through massive sliding doors that give way to panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. The decor is luxe with heavy chandeliers, and the grand chairs and sofas are pure comfort. Cocktails from R60.
Contact: Tel 0315612211,


2. The Sandbar, Plettenberg Bay

They’re known for their mojitos but there’s plenty of other signature cocktails ‒ to be sipped in plush surrounds of white leather, oak and long marble tables. Expect locals and holidaymakers. Cocktails from R50.
Contact: Tel 0445332030,


3. Café Z at Conrad Hotels, Knysna

Café Z is an eclectic bistro with bright jewel hues and textured fabrics. The views are great, so nab an outside spot. Cocktails from R55.
Contact: Tel 0443023333,


4. East Head, Knysna

The café is an airy, white room with colourful accents and stupendous views of the Knysna Heads. If you like including the kids in your Valentine’s celebrations, this is a perfect family spot. Cocktails from R42.
Contact: Tel 0443840933,


For the haters

Aaarg, we couldn’t find any! Please put any suggestions in the comments section below.

East Head, Knysna


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