Welcome spring at these breathtaking Mzansi destinations

Flower season is upon us with blooms showing off in Namaqualand. Picture: Unsplash

Flower season is upon us with blooms showing off in Namaqualand. Picture: Unsplash

Published Sep 1, 2023


With the country having experienced one of its coldest winters, including snow in some parts of the country, South Africans have welcomed the arrival of spring.

As such, it’s time to kick back and enjoy the outdoor life.

Spring is the perfect time to travel and explore the country as tourist attractions are also less crowded ahead of its peak season in December and you don’t have to shove your way or bump into people when enjoying your time out.

If you want to soak up the outdoors and enjoy all the blooms and wildlife the country has to offer, here are six local destinations where you’re sure to enjoy spring.

Namaqualand, Northern Cape

Wild flowers blooming in Namaqualand. Picture: Instagram

Since spring is all about new beginnings and a fresh start, Namaqualand is the best place to get into the spirit of the season. The region experiences colourful wildflowers and blooms from August to September.

Anthophiles can visit Namaqualand National Park, which was created to protect the natural biome of succulents and flowers growing in a semi-arid region.

Namakwa Mountain suites at Naries Namaqua Retreat. Picture: Instagram

Where to stay:

Naries Namaqua Retreat is a beautiful and romantic hideaway on the edge of the Spektakelberg between Springbok and Kleinzee.

The retreat offers 3 luxurious en-suite Namakwa Mountain suites, family self catering cottages, a manor house and a Gemsbok Lapa, making it well positioned for exploring the greater Namakwa Region.

During the wild-flower season, they are right where the action is, situated on a 6000ha piece of semi-desert (Namakwa-) land, making it the perfect place to be.

A stay at Naries starts from R3 325 a room per night.

Storms River Tsitsikamma, Eastern Cape

The Storms River Suspension Bridge in Tsitsikamma Reserve. Picture: Instagram

Storms River is a scenic, powerful river that winds its way through the Tsitsikamma Mountain Range and into the Indian Ocean.

The river is a key attraction for tourists wanting to experience adventure sports and the natural splendour of this South African water feature in the stunning Garden Route region.

Storm River’s banks are flanked by tall indigenous trees and are frequented by the bird life that calls this home.

The river makes its way through the Tsitsikamma National Park, which is one of the oldest marine reserves in the country, as well as one of the biggest.

Travellers delight in conquering their fears and taking pictures at Storm’s River Suspension Bridge, and they can also take a scooter tour or Segway ride through the park, zipline, raft or tube Storms River and snorkel and scuba dive.

The Fernery Lodge & Chalets. Picture: Website

Where to stay:

The Fernery Lodge & Chalets is the place to rest your head when in the region and is situated above a 30m waterfall with breathtaking views of the river gorge.

It is the perfect romantic and peaceful getaway for natural lovers, offering luxurious and opulent rooms in the lodge and the private chalets.

A stay at The Fernery starts from R3 834 a night.

Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga

Blyde River Canyon. Picture: Unsplash

The Blyde River Canyon the third-largest canyon in the world, offering spectacular views.

Unlike the Grand and Fish River Canyon, the Blyde River Canyon is a ‘’green canyon’’, which is dominated by subtropical vegetation, and the canyon forms part of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve.

The Blyde River Canyon passes a rock formation known as the ‘’Three Rondavels’’, named as the formation resembles three African-style houses or rondavels.

The canyon is also part of the Panorama Route, which starts at the town Graskop and includes God's Window, the Pinnacle and Bourke's Luck.

The region is also close to the Kruger National Park for those who also want to experience the African bushveld.

umVangati House with mountain views. Picture: Website

Where to stay:

umVangati House is tucked away in the heart of the Blyde River Canyon, making it the perfect stay.

The lodge is 100% powered by the sun, so there is no loadshedding, and it offers three luxury suites with mountain views and four standard rooms.

A stay at umVangati starts from R 5460 for a standard room a night and R 10 780 a night for a suite.

Pilanesberg Nature Reserve, North West

A herd of elephants at Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Picture: Unsplash

With safari season just about to end, its not to late to take a dream safari vacation. Pilanesberg National Park, or Pilanesberg Game Reserve, is in the Bojanala Region of North West Province and relatively close to Johannesburg.

The park is the fourth largest park in South Africa, and the volcano crater in which the park is situated erupted 1300 million years ago.

Pilanesberg was originally owned by three of the local tribes, with many of the Stone Age and Iron Age sites around the reserve showing proof of the presence of man.

The Pilanesberg National Park exists in a transition zone between the dryness of the Kalahari and the wet Lowveld vegetation, and this rich transitional zone attracts an incredible variety of game animals, flora and fauna that are not often found living side by side.

Virtually all of the animal species native to southern Africa can be found here, including the Big 5, wild dog, roan, tsessebe, sable antelope and more than 360 species of bird.

A standard king suite at Bakubung Game Lodge. Picture: Website

Where to stay:

Bakubung Game Lodge, fondly translated as “Place of the Hippo”, is an ideal destination for solo travellers, groups and families.

A variety of facilities and activities are available to keep everyone entertained, including walking safaris, game drives, boma dinners, quad biking and world-class treatments at the Legacy Balance spa.

The lodge also offers luxury accommodation, and a stay here starts from R 5610 a night.

Hermanus, Western Cape

A southern right whale off the coast of Hermanus. Picture: Unsplash

Spring is the perfect time to visit Hermanus since its the best time for whale sightings in the region.

Whales are, without a doubt, one of the most mysterious and beautiful creatures in the ocean, with many people travelling hundreds of miles in the hope of spotting one of these gentle creatures.

There are 100s of whales to be viewed very close to land during the months of early June to late November in Hermanus.

The beautiful town on the South Coast of the Western Cape is a 90-minute drive from Cape Town and is famous for its incredible viewings of Southern Right Whales.

Every year, during late September and early October, the town hosts it’s annual Whale Festival, which attracts over 150,000 people and when the Southern Right Whales arrive in large numbers to breed, give birth and playfully frolic in the sea.

The Whale Festival will be held from September 29 - October 1.

The Thatch House Boutique Hotel. Picture: Website

Where to stay:

The Thatch House Boutique Hotel is located on the banks of the Hermanus Lagoon and boasts spacious and elegant suites with views of the lagoon, garden or mountain.

A stay at The Thatch House Boutique Hotel starts from R5 797 a night.

Tugela Falls, KwaZulu-Natal

Tugela Falls in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Unsplash

Tugela Falls is a complex of seasonal waterfall located in the Drakensberg (Dragon's Mountains) of Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu-Natal. According to some measurements, it is the world's tallest waterfall.

A revisited validation of waterfall measurements is not available, and there's still uncertainty about whether Tugela or Venezuela's Angel Falls is the tallest (both measurements were taken at a considerable distance from the two waterfalls).

For hiking enthusiasts, Tugela Falls is worth the exploration.

The best time to visit Tugela Falls is after the summer rainfall in March and April.

However, spring is the perfect time for hiking, with fewer crowds and lower prices. Climbing to the top gives you a view down to an epic landscape, like sitting on a throne above the entire world.

A room with views of the Drakensberg Mountains. Picture: Website

Where to stay:

Montusi Mountain Lodge is midway between Johannesburg and Durban and is one of the few destinations with a panoramic vista of Drakensberg’s most famous feature, the Amphitheatre escarpment.

It consists of a large and beautifully thatched main building and 16 free-standing accommodation units (suites) offering luxury and tranquillity.

A stay here starts from R2 675 a night per person sharing.