February is the month of love, and I’ve taken up Travelstart’s challenge to write about South Africa’s most romantic cities! Since most of my thoughts revolve the three cities I’ve lived in, I thought for each of them I’ll offer three date options, ranging in price and experience. Oh, and if you’re single like me, why not gather a couple of friends and share the love together!
Zoo Lake stroll and Cocktail
Even as a KZN boy used to my green spaces, Zoo Lake did have something of a charm about it. Why not take your partner for a leisurely around the lake, and finish off at Moyo for a sundowner. Their chocolate-moose cake is to die for!
Picnic at Walter Sisulu
Often neglected by Joburgers, the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens are well worth the visit. A roughly 30-minute drive from Sandton, and a R45 entrance fee gets you into the gardens. Take a picnic basket with, and a visit to the waterfall – and climb to the top – are a fun addition to the outing.
Thaba Eco Hotel: Spa and Game Drive
A mere 15 minutes from the city and you’re in the ‘Green heart of Joburg’ at the beautiful Thaba Eco Hotel. I’d recommend either a massage at the spa, a game drive on the reserve, or a meal and drink at the snazzy E|Bar. Why not just make a day of it and go for it all! A quick reminder to those outside of the City of Gold, it’s possible to get cheap flights to Johannesburg.
Botanical Gardens Stroll
Just outside the city, the Botanical Gardens offer a scenic way to spend the afternoon. The avenue of Plane trees have also seen their fair share of engagement shoots! Follow the visit with tea and cake at the Botanic restaurant on site.
Picnic at Karkloof
The mountains and kloofs that surround Pietermaritzburg are filled with some spectacular waterfalls. Surely the most impressive of these is Karkloof Falls, standing at 105 meters high. Take a picnic to enjoy along the banks of the river, then enjoy a swim and the bum slides. Just be cautious at the edge of the falls – it’s quite the drop!
Harford House Experience
The penultimate KZN dining experience must surely be a visit to Hartford House. Take your partner for a dinner at the restaurant – the menu changes every day, so you’ll undoubtedly have a unique experience. I’d recommend you spend the night at the boutique hotel, and enjoy the full country experience – you get the chef for the second time at breakfast, and I guarantee you won’t want to leave!
3. Cape Town
Chapman’s Peak Sunset Picnics
It’s one of the most beautiful drives in the world, and you can also enjoy it for free! Drive from the Hout Bay side, and at the ticket gate let the teller know you’re going to the picnic spot. A few hundred meters down the road you’ll see the picnic sign and take a right turn. Pack some snacks and enjoy the sunset from this great vantage point. Remember to time it well – arrive an hour before sunset, and take a warm jacket in case the wind picks up.
Constantia Wine Tasting
Eagle’s Nest Wines are only a 20-minute drive from the city, and they have a gorgeous garden setting for tastings. There’s plenty space for you to enjoy your own little piece of the garden. Surprise your partner and arrange one of the farm tours, or winetasting at their elevated private tasting spot! Their cheese and charcuterie platters are a mouthwatering addition.
Muizenberg meets Venice
Since we all know that the Italians know a thing or two about love, and Venice may be a little out of the budget, why not head to the Cuccina Labia – an ocean-facing restaurant set in a Venetian-themed villa. Make sure your visit combines with the live classical music on a Saturday and Sunday.