* This article first appeared here in VIEW Magalouge
If you’re in a need of a well-earned vacation – or working holiday – here are three of my new favourite escapes.
1. Bush Break at Tshukudu (Pilanesberg National Park)
Although I’ve always known that Pilanesberg National Park is a short drive from Johannesburg (a recent road upgrade has shortened the journey to two hours) I’ve always bypassed it for other parks. My recent trip has given me firm reason to add the reserve to my repeat-visit list.
Where many of the lodges skirt the outside of the park, Tshukudu Bush Lodge is in the heart of the reserve itself, built on a secluded hilltop. Ten luxury stone-clad suites sit atop the small koppie, providing for a quiet and exclusive bush break.
At the top of the koppie rests the lodge itself. I found myself regularly sitting on the couches staring out at the green plains spread out below, including a waterhole where there were constantly animals gathered. Shortly before dusk on my last evening, I enjoyed a duet between two jackals across the valley – sadly a short-lived exchange as the resident herd of Zebra very quickly chased them away.
The park is around 55 000 hectares in size and so abounding in wild space for exploring on safari. Our guide CF’s knowledge was incomparable, and held us captive with his valuable bush insight. Game drives include visits to the park’s various dams, and also a drive to one of the many vantage points. legacyhotels.co.za
2. Beach Break at Bordeaux on Britannia (Britannia Bay)
For well over a year I’d poured over the photos of what was surely one of the most beautiful beachfront homes in the country. When a photographic opportunity led me to visit, I jumped at the opportunity hook, line and sinker.
Britannia Bay is a quiet West Coast village with a 5-kilometer beach, lined with pristine white beach homes. Bordeaux on Britannia is one of these beachfront homes. Think Mykonos meets Marrakesh, with classic West Coast simplicity. The home is casual and laid back but with no compromise to a sophiticated styling.
This exclusive 4-bedroom home is endowed with an extraordinary flow of space which both frames the view of the ocean and also creates beautiful spaces of sanctuary and connection. Even from the heated courtyard pool the large sliding doors mean that the ocean is only a glance away. Supremely relaxing mere meters from the quiet beach – accessed by your private walkway.
Best of all, included in your stay is the service of the charming and ever-helpful house manager Joseph. He refuses to let you do any dishes – a privilege not easily turned down on a well-earned vacation. The home is ideal for up to three couples, or one or two active families looking for a luxury getaway. bordeauxonbritannia.co.za
3. Boat Break at South Hill Vineyards (Elgin)
Lastly, for something utterly unique, South Hill Vineyards is the first estate to offer accommodation in a traditional house boat. The 6-8 sleeper once graced the shores of Langebaan but is now completely at home at this Elgin wine estate, one hour from Cape Town.
The House Boat offers two queen rooms and then a bunk room with four beds. There’s a shower, separate toilet, and then an open-plan kitchen with dining room. I couldn’t help smiling as I walked into the kitchen, spotting the same Le Creuset coffee mugs as mine at home. Just because you’re in a home floating on a dam it doesn’t mean there’s no room for style.
In addition to the comfy interior – there’s plenty of outdoor space. A staircase leads you to the roof of the boat where you can languish away the day on the cushions, and then there’s a private deck and jetty – replete with SUP boards, kayak, and pool pillows. The dam is safe for swimming and perfect for cooling off on warm summer days.
There’s also an outside braai/fire fit with table for alfresco dining. Don’t forget that the House Boat just happens to be on a wine estate. After a short walk or drive, you’re in the South Hill tasting room ready to taste your way through their range of wines – complimentary for boat guests. southhill.co.za