Local detours to make your Easter weekend extra special

By iol supplied Time of article published Mar 31, 2018

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Travelling up the N1 towards Limpopo? Why not stop over at Bela-Bela for some splashing good fun at the Warmbaths resort, where the kids can frolic in the hot pools and wave pools and on the water slides, and you can pamper yourself at the hydro spa? Day-trippers are welcome and there are also fantastic stay-over options available in this beautiful bushveld playground, where a good time is not just promised – it’s guaranteed.

If you’re travelling the other way down the N1, through the Free State, take a Sho’t Left and be bowled over by the charming town of Clarens – where you’re within a (sand)stone’s throw of the majestic Golden Gate National Park. Enjoy the many restaurants, craft shops and galleries in this artists’ haven, and if you feel the need to work off all that wining and dining, take a hike in the nearby mountains or explore them on horseback.

You may also want to veer off from the N1 once you hit Bloemfontein, to head out on the N8 past Kimberley and make your way to the Augrabies Falls National Park. The detour to the Northern Cape will be worth it: you’re in for a spectacular treat in the province that’s one of South Africa’s best-kept secrets. One of the jewels in SANParks’ crown, this stunning park offers a thundering waterfall and adventures galore, from river rafting to fly fishing, all washed down with the delectable fruits of the vine from the nearby Orange River Wine Valley.

If you turn off the N1 in the other direction, heading to the Eastern Cape via the N6, you won’t believe the spectacular array of sights, activities and experiences you can access for just R400 on a Nelson Mandela Bay one-day pass (you can also opt for two-day, three-day, seven-day or three-month passes). Enjoy free entry and discounts at 55 attractions such as Bayworld, the Donkin Reserve and Pyramid, a city or township tour, horse riding, putt-putt, ice skating, tuk-tuk rides, paintball, an ocean dive, golf, sandboarding, ferry rides, visits to game parks, a tour of Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, access to museums and art galleries, and so much more. No wonder Port Elizabeth is called the friendly city!

You may be visiting the Western Cape over the Easter holidays and mulling over whether to stop over in Cape Town. The Mother City is still very much open for tourism - just remember that when visiting the wine lands or taking a bracing dip in the Atlantic, be water wise and use it sparingly. But why not turn off from the N1 or the N2 and head over majestic mountain passes into the magical, mystical Karoo – perhaps take a meander along Route 62 that wends along a wine route dotted with quirky towns such as Barrydale, or head to the “world’s ostrich capital” of Oudtshoorn? There’s so much to explore in the province besides the major centers!

North West is not just the name of a Kardashian tot… it’s also one of the loveliest of South Africa’s nine provinces, located within easy access of Gauteng. And, of course, it’s home to the country’s premier leisure playground – Sun City, with its incredible assortment of activities and entertainment to keep the whole family in seventh heaven. Just around the corner in the Pilanesberg area is the Kingdom Resort – another winner with a waterpark, a putt-putt course and lots more. Relaxing has never been so much fun…

If you’re heading the other way along the N4 from Gauteng, why not allow yourself to fall in love with Dullstroom, in the province of the rising sun, Mpumalanga? This charming village is a popular weekend retreat that abounds with scenic hikes, horse-riding trails and picnic spots beside breathtaking waterfalls, with an abundance of wild flowers as well as shy fauna. Many know it as a fly-fishing mecca or as serving up the best trout-filled pancakes in South Africa! This tucked-away town has accommodation to suit all budgets, ideal for that family Easter vacay, but is also perfect for an exhilarating day trip.

There are plenty of holiday spots and day encounters just a Sho’t Left away, where you can experience that home-away-from home feeling while immersing yourself in something exciting and new. Make your Easter extra-special by visiting a local travel destination with your family and friends. Visit www.shotleft.co.za to book a trip and rediscover your own backyard!

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