It’s time to come out of hibernation and leave winter behind with a spring break close to the big smoke. There’s plenty to do just a short drive away from Joburg. Enjoy a relaxing weekend in nature at one of these great places to stay.
1. Pilanesberg Private Lodge, Pilanesberg
Pilanesberg Private Lodge is a new private retreat nestled on the foot of the majestic Pilanesberg Mountains, in the Black Rhino Private Reserve, just two hours drive from Johannesburg. The lodge is uniquely positioned in a part of the Pilanesberg National Park wilderness area that has previously not been accessible to any visitors, where guests enjoy nothing but spectacular views of the world-famous Pilanesberg Alkaline Ring Complex. The lodge was designed to incorporate the views to ensure that even when you are not on game drives, you still have the opportunity to see any of the animals from the lodge, and elephant, Black and White rhino, lion and leopard have been spotted from the lodge in the last few months. We offer five sleeping units that are connected via paved pathways and bridges to the communal area.
Activities in the area include hot air balloon safaris over the park, elephant-back safaris with elephant interaction where kids get a chance to get up close and personal with the elephants, as well as special safaris tailor-made for photographic, walking and bird safaris. Take a day trip to nearby Sun City where you can swim at the Valley of Waves or play a round of golf on the world-famous Gary Player Golf Course or The Lost City Golf Course.
Rates: from R 1450
2. Mount Grace Country House and Spa, Magaliesberg
Find this luxury accommodation in the picturesque Magaliesberg Mountains, just over an hour out of Johannesburg. The spa is the highlight of this spot and is definitely worth a visit. The Spa, Bush Spa and Hydrotherapy Spa Gardens feature a liquid flotation pool, heated outdoor Jacuzzi, rock pools and waterfalls. Relax in one of the 121 rooms available and enjoy a walk in the extensive English country gardens between spa treatments.
While in the area, go for a hike in the Mountain Sanctuary Park nature reserve and cool off in one of the crystal clear mountain pools.
Rates: from R 1067 a night for a room (sleeps two people)
3. Stonecutters Lodge, Dullstroom
The lodge lies between Dullstroom and Lydenburg, in the heart of South Africa’s fly and trout fishing territory, just two and a half hours from Johannesburg. The recently refurbished lodge is nestled in a beautiful setting between the mountains and crystal clear river. Stonecutters can sleep up to 22 guests on the estate in the family houses, Stone Cottage, Trout House and The Cobbles studios, which are ideal for couples.
Rates: from R750 a night for a studio (sleeps two people)
4. Vaalnest Boutique Hotel, Vaal Marina
Just an hour out of Joburg, this guest House in the Vaal Marina offers luxury accommodation on the banks of the Vaal dam, South Africa’s second biggest dam. This accommodation includes a swimming pool and a special garden designed to attract birds. The perfect spot for water sport enthusiasts, the area offers sailing, motor boating, skiing and swimming.
Rates: from R499
5. Stonehouse Mountain Lodge, Hartbeespoort
The Stonehouse Mountain Lodge is a unique stone and thatch getaway situated on 50 hectares of land overlooking the Hartbeespoort Dam and Magaliesberg mountains. Choose between the three big private lodges – the Sky Lodge, the authentic Stone Lodge and the new Blue-Sky Lodge, or one of the various cottages scattered around the farm. There is plenty do do in the area – enjoy water sports on the Hartbeespoort dam, admire the view from the top of the mountains in the area and see elephants up close at the Elephant Sanctuary.
Rates: from R300
6. Pumula Log Cabins, Muldersdrift
Located in the heart of the Cradle of Humankind, Pumula Log Cabins offers guests comfortable accommodation in beautiful surroundings with breathtaking sunsets. The elevated log cabins are placed in a forest of trees, with a waterfall and river running through it into a splash pool. Tranquil and peaceful for an ideal break away, each of the four log cabins are equipped with two single beds and camping chairs on the patio. There are mountain bike and hiking trails nearby, and other activities within the area includes hot-air balloon rides, paragliding and game drives.
Visit the world-famous Sterkfontein Caves and the award-winning Visitor Interpretation Centre at Maropeng, where you can learn about human beginnings where it all began.
Rates: from R130
7. Welgedacht Game Reserve – The Bush Camp, Cullinan
A small village trapped in time, Cullinan has the distinction of being the location of the discovery of the world’s largest diamond. Just an hour out of Johannesburg, Welgedacht Private Game Reserve can be found between the Bobbejaans mountains and the Boekenhout Spruit. The Bush Camp runs off solar electricity and gas-heated water, and includes a main entertainment area where guests can get together and enjoy braais.
Rates: from R175
8. Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, Bela Bela
Rich in bird and wildlife, including Africa’s Big Five, and spread over more than 12500 ha of malaria-free, unspoilt bushveld, Mabalingwe Nature Reserve nestles in the shadow of the majestic Waterberg Mountains. There is a large variety of activities on offer, from game and bird drives to lion feeding drives and horse back safaris. Guests are also allowed to enter the game viewing area with their own vehicles. After an activity-filled day, relax at the Tshukudu Restaurant and Kanniedood Ladies Bar and listen to the nocturnal calls of the wild .
Rates: from R255
9. Metsi-Metsi Guesthouse, Modimolle
Metsi-Metsi Guesthouse is situated on the banks of the Donkerpoort dam near Modimolle, about an hour and a half’s drive from Gauteng. Metsi-Metsi is the ideal holiday destination that offers both young and old the chance to rejuvenate and relax among surroundings of breathtaking natural beauty. Enjoy the outdoors by taking a hiking trail, rowing on the dam, fishing, birdwatching or just by having a delicious sundowner observing a beautiful sunset. The Country House offers six double en-suite bedrooms and you can choose between self-catering and bed and breakfast accommodation.
Rates: from R 280
10. The Cavern, Bergville, Northern Drakensberg
Named after the Cannibal Cavern, it is situated on 3000 hectares of private mountain reserve adjacent to the Royal Natal National Park Amphitheatre – a World Heritage Site. Superior suites, family rooms and standard accommodation options are available, all with spectacular views of the surrounding valleys, forests and mountainside. The thatched accommodation and facilities blend beautifully with their natural surroundings. Take a guided walk to see numerous bushman paintings, 213 species of birds, 150 species of trees and a great variety of wild animals. Guided horse riding trips are available for beginner and expert riders.. Enjoy breathtaking scenery in a temperate climate and tranquil surroundings.
Rates: from R790