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iol travel dec 6 plett INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Enjoy the sun and surf at Plettenberg Bay. Picture: Enrico Jacobs

South Africa has it all. From beautiful beaches to gorgeous countryside, why not explore your own backyard this summer holiday?

Explorers Club, Franschhoek

An hour’s drive from Cape Town leads to the vineyards of Franschhoek. Here, adventurer and antiques collector Jo Sinfield has designed a group of stylish self-catering rentals dotted throughout the town. The main one is Explorers Club, which sleeps six adults and four children in a mixture of doubles and bunks. It has vintage maps on the walls, recycled furniture and subtle African accents throughout. Three other properties – The Library, Cook’s Cottage and The Map Room – are available for smaller groups.

Explorers Club, 18 Wilhelmina Street, Franschhoek (072 464 1240; explorersclub.co.za). Nightly rental R5 900. Sleeps 10.

Wilderness Haven, Wilderness

The coastal town of Wilderness is known as a top whale-watching spot. Here, you can stroll the shore for a close-up, or spot tail fins flicking from the sun deck of this four-bedroom villa. The outdoor space at Wilderness Haven is exceptional, with dining tables, a pool and sunbeds around a series of wooden decks. Sliding doors channel the cool sea breeze inside, where the double-height reception room looks up to thick bamboo beams.

Wilderness Haven, 51 Ocean Drive, Wilderness (bookings: 044 535 9073; plettvillas.co.za). Nightly rental R5 700. Sleeps eight.

Soul Arch, Plettenberg

Soul Arch stands behind the sweeping dunes of Plettenberg Bay – a key stop along the coastal Garden Route. Built from reclaimed timber, it resembles an upscale beach hut from the outside, with stacked surfboards and a pool adding to the laid-back feel. Tribal fabrics, handwoven rugs and well-stocked bookshelves lend texture, while the high-spec kitchen and leather dining chairs bring a touch of modern class.

Soul Arch, Gemini Drive, Plettenberg Bay (bookings: 021 790 0972; perfecthideaways.co.za). Nightly rental from R6 200. Sleeps seven.

Seahorse, Bakoven

This whitewashed bungalow stands on the shores of Bakoven, just up the road from Cape Town’s Clifton. Everything here is geared towards the sea – with a lofty lounge, airy bedrooms and several outdoor spaces all facing out towards the mighty Atlantic Ocean.

Inside, nautical furnishings and dark oak floors blend with draped white curtains and freestanding tubs.

The beachside cafés of Camps Bay and the spectacular scenery of Table Mountain are within reach.

Seahorse, Beta Road, Bakoven, Cape Town (bookings: 021 438 3416; capeportfolios.com). Nightly rental from R4 000. Sleeps eight.

Richard’s House, Durban

This quirky artist’s residence rests high above Durban, on the Berea. The outdoor spaces at Richard’s are leafy and green, with lush lawns and a small palm-shaded pool. Shelves inside brim with paintings, books, sculptures and CDs, with colourful cushions and couches filling the space with character. The Botanical Gardens and Essenwood market are a walk away.

Richard’s House, Rorvik Avenue, Berea, Durban (bookings: airbnb.co.uk; property ref 231279). Nightly rental from R1 428. Sleeps six. – The Independent

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