While Easter may be top of mind for a much-needed mini-break, as South Africans we get to double-up on our dreams of a great escape at the end of April.
Between Friday 27 April and Tuesday 1 May, we are blessed with yet another opportunity to embark on a five-day mini break without digging into our annual leave.
“You may argue five days is not an awful lot of holiday days with which to work, but in five days you can retreat to the Kruger on a walking safari, raft down the Breede River or mountain bike through the Cederberg," says Sharmila Ragunanan, Group Marketing Manager Dream Hotels and Resorts.
“Thousands of international tourists travel long-haul to explore South Africa’s nature, culture and history. As South Africans, we have such diversity on our doorstep. Why travel overseas for your five-day mini break when there are so many wonderful local escapes on offer that won’t break your budget."
Inspired to travel locally this April? Here are some of Sharmila’s top local picks to enjoy:
Did you say road-trip?
If you love the open road and have a keen sense of adventure, you’ll adore the picturesque mountain landscapes, farmlands, quirky padstals and elegant Cape Dutch homesteads of South Africa’s Route 62.
Reminiscent of the iconic Route 66 in the United States, South Africa’s Route 62 is all about the journey. Take the N2 inland from Cape Town and follow this quirky ramble from Robertson to Oudtshoorn, through Ashton, Montagu, Barrydale and Calitzdorp, to name but a few of the highlights.
What to see and do:
- You’re in for tipple or two in the town of Robertson, renowned for its world-class wines and brandies. Visit the Klipdrift brandy distillery and gain first-hand insight into how this proudly South African beverage comes to life.
- In Montagu, channel your inner vegan and munch on the delicious dried fruits and nuts for which this town is so famous. Relax at the natural hot springs of Avalon Springs and restore body and soul against the backdrop of surrounding orchards and mountains.
- You’d better not slip past the world’s ostrich capital for insights into these quirky creatures, or explore the depths of the limestone Cango Caves.
Wild, wilder, wildest
There are few things more memorable than exploring the Kruger National Park, which has been one of the holiday icons for South African families, wildlife enthusiasts and birders for over 100 years.
The Kruger offers a quintessential bush experience – the thrill of seeing Africa’s wildlife in their natural environment.
A foodie extravaganza
Besides being one of the oldest and certainly one of the most beautiful towns in South Africa, French-inspired Franschhoek is where all the foodies want to escape to. Just as well since we’re heading into winter and there will be no need for your summer body for a while.
If you like your food paired with warm hospitality, head to Franschhoek and embrace excess – wines, cheeses and chocolate will be the order of the day… and night.
What to see and do:
Hop on the Franschhoek Wine tram, which is certainly one of the best ways to get around the area’s most popular wine farms. This hop-on, hop-off wine tram tour weaves its way through rolling vineyards with the promise of wine tastings and cellar tours at every turn.
Enjoy delicious pairings, sublime surrounds and a variety of award-winning vintages along several pre-arranged routes conducted by the tram operator.
Embark on a culinary adventure in beautiful surrounds at Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa’s Le Verger (The Orchard Restaurant) which provides an unforgettable setting for diners.
Enjoy familiar favourites like summer salmon, classic beef burgers and even malva pudding in a conservatory-styled environment so you get the full atmosphere of the Cape Winelands with the only element keeping from the area’s beauty being the walls of this exquisitely crafted glass house.