20 incredibly romantic destinations in South Africa

Posted on 26 February 2022

From breathtaking views to spas and places that offer some of the most delicious food, we have the ideal list on how to spoil your partner and celebrate love.

Here’s our list of some of the best in South Africa. Although many of these are luxury spots, most are posting special rates so there’s no better time to book.

Not your scene? Try one of these affordable weekend breaks near Joburg, or 23 self-catering getaways near Cape Town.

Gauteng

1. Quiet Mountain Country House, Hekpoort Valley, Magaliesberg

quiet-mountain-country-house
The pleasures are many at Quiet Mountain House, located in the Hartebeestfontein Conservancy. There’s the food, prepared with quality ingredients, including milk, cream and butter produced from resident cows, and eggs from their obliging hens; the rambling gardens; and the excellent service that John and his partner Terence have given guests for more than 22 years.
Cost: From R1 450 per person sharing which includes an early morning tea/coffee service, breakfast and a four-course dinner. Minimum two-night stay on weekends. No children under 12.
Contact: quietmountain.co.za

2. Valley Lodge & Spa, Hekpoort Valley, Magaliesberg

valley-lodge-and-spaHere you really have the best of both worlds: a serene view from your veranda, combined with the pleasures of being in a large hotel. These include an enormous resort-style pool, that fabulous spa (heated mineral pool, Jacuzzi, saunas, great treatment menu), a very convivial pub, tennis court, babysitting and a few dining options, including wood-fired pizzas delivered to your room.
Cost: From R4 210 for two sharing. Check online for specials that include spa treatments – it’s worth booking these in advance.
Contact: valleylodge.co.za

3. Saamrus Guest Farm, Hekpoort Valley, Magaliesberg

saamrus-guest-farmThe website does Saamrus no justice – this 500-hectare farm offers by far the most private and romantic collection of self-catering cottages in the area and the best views. The only drawback is the 4×4 required to reach hillside cottages, or you’ll have to brave it on foot: it’s a 200 – to 400-metre trudge uphill, but two strong men are always on duty to help carry for a tip.
Contact: From R980 per cottage on weekends for singles or two sharing; R300 per extra guest/child in the lounge.  Weekends minimum two-night stay.
Contact: saamrus.co.za

4. African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa, Magaliesberg

mount-grace-hotelExperience the luxury of time at African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa. Nestled amongst the ruggedly beautiful Magaliesburg Mountains, merely an hour’s drive from Johannesburg or Pretoria. Here you can indulge in a massage at their on-site spa, or dine in style at the acclaimed Rambling Vine Restaurant.
Cost: From R2 395 for a room per night.
Contact: booking online.

Limpopo

5. Umvangati house, Hoedspruit

umvangati-houseNothing can really prepare you for the view from this house, perched high above a carpet of dense vegetation rising steeply towards the pink cliffs, their rounded mounds dusted in green. It’s surreal, the 360-degree surrounds uninhabited and unmarred, and all perfectly framed by the monumental scale of the architecture. umVangati is a luxury purpose-built lodge reached via an increasingly steep road that winds deep within the Moholoholo reserve. It’s not cheap but this is a very special place, the kind where you propose, make amends, celebrate, or simply blow your partner away with a surprise weekend.
Cost: From R6 695 for two sharing B&B for the Standard King room or R8 995 for Luxury rooms which have private entrances.
Contact: umvangati.co.za

6. Bushriver Lodge, Hoedspruit

bushriver-lodgeThis is one of those places that make your heart soar. There is the location at the end of a long track that takes you through a variety of gates and situated on the banks of the Olifants River, so the water lullaby is a constant soundtrack. Enquire into the bush dinners ‒ a very romantic set-up in a dry riverbed.
Cost: From R1 250 for self-catering (sleeps a maximum of three) and R1 900 for the kingfisher cottage (sleeps four). They are running specials until 31 March 2022 where you could save up to R650 on the kingfisher cottage and R150 for the self catering cottage.
Contact: bushriver.co.za

Western Cape

Also read: 22 lovely spots in Paternoster for a summer break and 12 lovely places to stay in Stanford

7. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, Walker Bay

Nothing says I love you quite like flowers, and the multi-award winning Grootbos will never disappoint on this and many other factors. This private reserve is unique in that its focus is on the protecting and showcasing the local fynbos, much of which is endemic to this region, as well as the fauna that relies on it. Chalets in Forest Lodge are separated by ancient milkwood forests – secluded, charming and cosy. Each has extensive views over the colourful fynbos and the sweeping expanse of Walker Bay where whales abound in season. The food is outstanding, paired with carefully picked local wines. the hospitality, legendary. Think spa treatments under the trees, romantic horseback rides among the fynbos and sand dunes, beach picnics and much more.

Grootbos has a Summer Sun Special of R4 950 per person sharing, this is excluding Easter holidays.

Contact: grootbos.com

8. De Hoop Collection, De Hoop Nature Reserve

For active couples and concerted nature lovers, De Hoop Nature Reserve is a must visit – the only place in the Western Cape to see a successful breeding colony of Cape vultures, while minutes away, southern right whales swim close to shore where they rear their calves between June and October. Think romantic picnics on sand dunes while whales frolic in the water, warm fires on chilly nights, wonderful hospitality and access to mountain bike and walking trails among the eland, bontebok and reedbuck in this remarkable reserve.

De Hoop Collection has a variety of options from self-catering bungalows to large cottages, and our recommendation for couples would be one of the catered luxury suites all from R2 900 pp per night. They are currently running various honeymoon specials, we think that a two night stay in their rondawel for R5 455 that includes delicious dinners, a breakfast and picnic is a good pick.

Contact: dehoopcollection.com

9. La Cotte, Franschhoek

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A jewel in the winelands crown, this old farm is a quiet retreat in the world famous Franschhoek village. Set among large, beautiful gardens with grand views of the mountains, the bustling tourist village of Franschhoek disappears the moment you enter. Savour fine wines and exquisite food in La Cotte Restaurant.

Our choice would be a quaint one-bedroom Forest or Orchard Cottage from R3 529 per night or one of the beautifully appointed Manor House Pool Rooms from R3 700 per night. From April to October, La Cotte is running low season rates from R3 207 per night in the Forest or Orchard Cottages with the special running at the same rate for a Manor House Pool Room.

Contact: lacottefarm.com

10. Haesfarm, Stanford

haesfarmThe two spacious en-suite bedrooms on this40-hectare organic fynbos farm perched atop the rolling hills east of Stanford share a lounge/library/bar, warmed with underfloor heating, a combustion fireplace and a profusion of books and art, plus a covered terrace (with braai) from which to enjoy the sweeping valley views.
Cost: From R2 550 for two people, including B&B.
Contact: haesfarm.com

11. Springfontein Sleeps, Stanford

springfontein-sleeps

A few minutes out of town, off the gravel track that skirts the Klein River estuary, are three recently renovated cottages and a river lodge spread across Springfontein Wine Estate. The accommodation offers a variety of views including Milkwood Forests, the Klein River and Maanskynkop mountain. The wine magic happens at the Ulumbaza Wine Bar(n), where the award-winning wines can be enjoyed with local cuisine.
Cost: From R2 100 for a room that sleeps two to R4 500 for an apartment that sleeps six.
Contact: springfontein.co.za

12. Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel, Paternoster

strandloper-hotel
This hotel is tucked away on a prime Mosselbank location right at the northern edge of the village, and the owners also purchased a further three kilometres of the coast to protect the untrammelled views and halt further development. It’s listed as a B&B on TripAdvisor, but Strandloper is very much a boutique hotel, offering a full spectrum of pampering to guests
Cost: From R3 980 in the Courtyard Room for two sharing B&B. The Nature King Suites take kids aged 14 and up in the loft for R950 per child.
Contact: strandloperocean.com

13. Gelukkie, Paternoster

gelukkie
Spacious and very private, each cottage has its own landscaped garden, both offer a complete escape from the world. On spring and autumn days you can while away lounging on the swinging alfresco double beds, but come the really hot months you will, however, need to take a drive to the beach.
Cost: From R1 350 for each self-catering cottage (both sleep two).
Contact: gelukkie.co.za

14. Lanzerac Hotel & Spa, Stellenbosch

With a recent upgrade to all accommodation, the variety of rooms is astounding at Lanzerac. Each has its own unique theme of décor; five of the suites have their own private plunge pools and some have their own steam rooms – wonderful for winter, and romance of course. The spa is one of the finest in the southern hemisphere, and well its well worth pampering yourselves with couples massages.

Stay for R9 000, including breakfast, wine tasting and an R250 per person food & beverage voucher. There is a special running until September 2022 where if you book two nights you will get a third night free.

Contact: lanzerac.co.za

 

KwaZulu-Natal

Also read: 16 mountain cabins for getting far, far away in the Drakensburg

15. Montusi Mountain Lodge, Bergville

montusi-lodge-drakensberg-june-2016-issue
Montusi Mountain Lodge opened in 2000 and offers luxuries such as a nightly turn-down with homemade chocolates and haute cuisine dinners that are a real highlight. Having rehabilitated the 1000-hectare farm to encourage the return of birdlife and antelope, the hosts are extremely hospitable. There are lots to do on the farm, plus All Out Adventure Centre is just down the drag.
Cost: From R2 570 pppn for the Garden Suite DBB.
Contact: montusi.co.za

16. Morgan Bay Hotel

morgan-bay-hotel
Apart from a handful of beach bungalows erected here during the First World War, the Morgan Bay Hotel was the first development in the bay. Yet when you sink into the white sheets and listen to the ocean beyond your balcony, you wouldn’t believe it’s almost a century old. The sound of crashing waves follows you to the Milkwood Spa, where the treatment rooms are built to face the ocean.
Cost: From R1 165 for the deluxe rooms that sleep two, and R875 pp for rooms with no sea views.
Contact: morganbayhotel.co.za

Mpumalanga

17. Summerfields Rose Retreat Spa

summerfields-melanie-van-zyl
The luxury retreat is geared for romance and you can choose a king-size bed unit on the gurgling river or a quieter forest option that’s great for birding. The two on-site restaurants use only vegetables grown on the 1 000-hectare macadamia farm. Expect luxury details such as Charlotte Rhys toiletries, macadamia nut snacks and homemade shortbread, filter coffee and plush downy duvets.
Cost: R2 990 for a luxury Double Suite, including a two-course gourmet breakfast and complimentary welcome drinks
Contact: 0137376500, summerfields.co.za

North West

18. Mamagalie Mountain Lodge, Mooinooi

mamagalie-mountain-lodge-melanie-van-zyl
Roughly 100 kilometres from Joburg the landscape transforms from highveld to bushveld near Buffelspoort Dam. Here, five lodges, cleverly nestled in a secluded valley, make up the Mamagalie self-catering collection. Expect to find hornbills floating from the trees and hartebeest, wildebeest, zebra and gemsbok roaming the slopes. Walk in the bush and explore the rock pools in the protected Magaliesberg green belt.
Cost: From R400 per person sharing for cottages that sleep up to four.
Contact: Tel 0845139480, mamagalie.co.za

Eastern Cape

Also read: 15 cherry-picked accommodation spots in Kenton-on-Sea

19. Sibuya River camp, Kenton on Sea

sibuya-river-camp
The adventure starts when you board the boat moored outside the reception on Eastbourne Road, and slowly head down the Kariega, stopping to identify birds en route. It’s a magical stretch of water, a deep turquoise-green ribbon twisting and turning its way through steep banks, the blue-sky horizon sculpted by euphorbias and aloes. Skimming across the river while watching the play of light on the water, you feel a million miles from civilisation.
Cost: From R5 370 per person for a luxury tent that sleeps two. Upon arrival, guests are transported on a relaxing 45-minute boat cruise up the Estuary to arrive at Sibuya River camp.
Contact: Shibuya.co.za

20. Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, Port St Johns

umngazi-river-bungalows-and-spa
Umngazi River Bungalows punctuate the peaceful banks and give the best of river and sea views. Civilisation is miles away and the surrounding hills are only sparsely dotted with colourful Xhosa huts. The resort is geared for family vacations so while you get your far-from-it- all holiday, the children won’t be complaining of boredom as the area offers plenty of outdoor activities.
Cost: From R1 620 per person including all meals – in low season.
Contact: 0475641115, umngazi.co.za

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