Forget the cliched rose petal bubble bath routine – if it’s romance you’re after, you need to take your partner to one of South Africa’s swoon-worthy travel destinations.
South African couples are realising what international travellers have known for a long time – we live in a destination that offers something for everyone. As travel patterns remain changed by the pandemic, more travellers are booking budget-friendly alternatives on home soil, says Diana Granoux, travel expert and founder of boutique travel consultancy Leopard.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, Diana has jotted down some of the most scenic romantic getaways for you:
Do you like piña coladas?
After the lockdown period, statistics from Tourism South Africa showed that the first holiday more than a third of South Africans wanted to book was an escape to the beach.
And it’s obvious why: Is there anything more romantic than a long walk on the beach with the one you love? Or sipping cocktails as you watch the sunset over the ocean?
If your love of the waves is surpassed only by the feeling for your partner, then dip your toes into one of these beach destinations:
- Knysna: Between sipping champagne and tasting oysters in the Knysna harbour, there are plenty of romantic moments waiting for you in this seaside town. Stroll along the lagoon, watch the sunset over the Knysna heads or take a cruise out to sea – you’ll be spoilt for choice when planning your date night.
- Cape Town: The magnificent Table Mountain and pristine beaches of Cape Town have made this a firm favourite among South African travellers. Between October and December 2021, more than 700 000 of the 850 000 arrivals at Cape Town’s airport were locals. From sunsets on Camps Bay, penguins at Boulder’s Beach and the rugged scenery in Scarborough, there’s a beach just waiting for you to explore with your loved one.
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park: This is the only remaining major nesting site in Africa where Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles still lay their eggs. The World Heritage Site boasts three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests and Africa’s largest estuarine system. Between turtle tours, snorkelling and birdwatching, you’ll soon lose yourself in the romance of the natural world.
Have you thought about a Bush Break?
Bush breakaways were the second most popular choice for South Africans tired of being cooped up during Covid-19. With South Africa’s incredible natural and wild spaces, these holidays continue to be firm favourites.
With wide-open spaces, spectacular sunsets and unforgettable wildlife encounters, safari holidays are one of the most popular honeymoon packages.
Set your sites on one of these spectacular safari spots:
- Phinda Private Game Reserve: If you love the bush and the beach, you won’t have to choose between them at Phinda. Showing off the best of KwaZulu-Natal, this reserve is nestled on the coastline and gives you a Big Five experience combined with a coastal holiday. Despite boasting several luxurious lodges, this reserve remains dedicated to the conservation of species such as rhino, cheetah and pangolin.
- Sabi Sand Game Reserve: Renowned for unbeatable leopard sightings, the Sabi Sands also boasts some of South Africa’s most luxurious safari lodges. Expect to come up close with some of nature’s most magnificent wildlife while under the care of experienced guides and trackers and to be pampered in elegance. If you’re planning to woo your partner, there is no other place to do it.
- Madikwe Game Reserve: Nestled against the border of Botswana, this nature reserve offers a rugged terrain that is home to a healthy elephant population. You’ll completely leave the hustle and bustle of your daily life behind as you escape to this bush destination, with lodges providing a romantic escape for every budget.
Taking the relationship to the next level?
There’s nothing quite like the tranquillity that comes with cuddling up with your partner while enjoying a majestic mountain view. Instead of splurging on holidays in the Alps, more and more South Africans are choosing local mountain escapes to reconnect as a couple and take their relationship to new heights.
Whether you love being active outdoors or just want to relax among spectacular nature, South Africa boasts some incredible mountain retreats.
Let these destinations climb into your heart:
- Cederberg: If you love being active, there is no shortage of adventures waiting for you in the Cederberg. Explore the numerous hiking trails, take a dip in natural pools and wonder at centuries-old cave art – this is a destination that is sure to rekindle the romance.
- Drakensberg: This World Heritage site has captured hearts for hundreds of years – and it will be yours to rediscover while hiking, abseiling rock climbing, or mountain biking. Besides the picturesque peaks of the Drakensberg, there are also waterfalls, rock pools and caves to explore – hand in hand with the one you love.
- Jonkershoek: This mountain range envelopes the historic town on Stellenbosch and is the ideal spot to explore between sipping on some of the region’s finest wines. Stellenbosch was recently ranked 23rd on the Top 100 most loved destinations in the world in 2021, and you and your partner are sure to fall in love with this historic region while exploring incredible mountain meanders.