5 bespoke family-friendly destinations to retreat to this Easter

The lounge and bar area at &Beyond’s Phinda Vlei Lodge. Picture: Instagram

The lounge and bar area at &Beyond’s Phinda Vlei Lodge. Picture: Instagram

Published Mar 15, 2023


Just like Christmas, the Easter holiday period is much loved and widely celebrated.

For South Africans, it’s a time to take a breath and enjoy some much needed time with loved ones.

When it comes to destinations, South Africa has plenty of gems to explore it’s no surprise the country is at the top as a travel destination.

If you are looking for family friendly destinations to explore on home ground, then here are five bespoke destinations you and your family can retreat to this Easter.

Akademie Street Boutique Hotel – Franschhoek Western Cape

The hotel’s signature baths found at the Vreugde and Oortuiging cottages. Picture: Instagram

Set in the Western Cape, this 5-star hotel in Franschhoek exudes as much of a sense of luxury with it’s nine suites.

There is plenty to do in South Africa’s Valley of dreams from exploring wine farms to enjoying delicious cuisine from the regions impressive restaurants.

Some of Akademie’s suites have their own plunge pools, fireplaces, and have private hot tubs for a relaxing soak.

Enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep at Gelatenheid A suite. Picture: Instagram

According to the boutique hotel’s website, hospitality and comfort lie at the heart of the Akademie Street experience.

“Our luxurious property, complete with wood fired hot tubs and fragrant landscaped gardens, is designed to be a haven of sumptuous tranquillity with attention to detail throughout.

“The discreet, personal service is warm and welcoming, attentive and unlimited,” it said.

A stay at one of the boutique hotel’s cottages starts from R9 000 a night.

&Beyond Phinda Game Reserve – KwaZulu Natal

Phinda Vlei Lodge, a secluded, plantation-style, hideaway on the edge of a rare sand forest. Picture: Instagram

When it comes to luxury, &Beyond is no rookie. &Beyond’s Phinda Private Game Reserve is an impressive 29 866ha of protected wildlife land in between the Mkuze Game Reserve and the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal.

It is home to Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino), as well as 436 bird species.

The reserve is particularly well known for close-up sightings of the elegant yet elusive cheetah, as well as the rare black rhino.

Often described as ‘Seven Worlds of Wonder’, Phinda is a magnificent tapestry of woodland, grassland, wetland and forest, interspersed with mountain ranges, rivers, marshes and pans.

A romantic and intimate room at Phinda Phinda Vlei Lodge. Picture: Instagram

The reserve is also in close proximity to the unspoiled beaches and spectacular coral reefs of the Indian Ocean, offering an unmatched combination of bush and beach adventures.

Guests can experience interpretive game drives, in open 4×4 safari vehicles, led by professionally trained &Beyond rangers and Zulu trackers, as well as a wide range of optional adventures at the beach such as snorkelling and scuba diving.

Phinda is home to six magnificent lodges, each with its own individual charm and character: Mountain Lodge, Rock Lodge, Forest Lodge, Vlei Lodge, Zuka Lodge and Phinda Homestead.

A stay at &Beyond Phinda Mountain Lodge family cottage starts from R46 800 a night.

Cape St Francis Resort, St Francis Bay – Eastern Cape

One of Cape St Francis’s beach break villas. Picture: Instagram

Cape St Francis, and its sister town the canal side ‘Little Venice’ of St Francis Bay, is one of the most inspiring places to spend downtime on the Eastern Cape coastline.

Swimming is one of its major attractions as the sea remains warm for most of the year and the wide beaches stretch from seal Point to Shark Point, with a sheltered tidal pool for kids.

Bordering the beach at Cape St Francis and just 90 minutes from Port Elizabeth airport, Cape St Francis Resort ticks all the boxes as a perfect beach holiday destination.

A room with a beach view at Cape St Francis Resorts. Picture: Instagram

The Resorts' unique setting with a selection of accommodation options from conventional hotel rooms, three and four bedroom cottages or luxury beach villas appeals to couples, families and anyone who loves a beach holiday. All are suitable for either a bed and breakfast choice or a self-catering option.

The region is renowned as a water sport paradise with surfing, kite-surfing, surf ski and canoe paddling on the beautiful waters off both Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay’s as well as on the nearby Kromme River.

For golfers, the top ten rated St Francis Links offers the keen golfer an excellent challenge of links golf with the nearby St Francis Bay Golf Club offering an easier but still challenging round of golf.

A stay at one of the resorts sea facing villas, Nautilus Place, starts at R6 500 a night.

Nkomazi Private Game Reserve – Mpumalanga

Nkomazi Private Game Reserve boasts beautiful luxury tents with views of Komati River. Picture: Instagram

Described as a family glamping destination, Nkomazi is a five-star hotel alongside the Komati River in Mpumalanga.

The hotel has 14 glamping tents, each furnished in an “Out of Africa” style with all the comforts of luxury accommodation and the tents blend into the natural landscape and are linked by stoned pathways through the bush.

The six Deluxe Tents offer panoramic views of the reserve whilst six Luxury Tents are surrounded by nature, but offer extra proximity to the soothing surrounds as they are river-facing.

Enjoy a game drive at the reserve. Picture: Instagram

The hotel offers activities such as picnics along the Komati River and fishing excellent fishing opportunities for guests to enjoy.

The Komati River is home to numerous species of freshwater fish. This is a fantastic way to wind down, relax and enjoy being a part of the reserve, taking in the sights, sounds and scents of the local flora and fauna.

Nkomazi Private Game Reserve also offers incredible game-viewing opportunities, with four of the Big 5 – lion, cape buffalo, leopard and elephant – as well as a wide variety of antelope, giraffe, zebra, cheetah and other species.

A stay at Nkomazi starts from R7 911 for 2 a night.

Amalfi Cove - Knysna (Garden Route) Western Cape

Amalfi Cove on Knysna’s coast on the Garden Route. Picture: Airbnb

If you are looking for a beach and forest escape, this retreat is for you. Amalfi Cove is on the cliffs of the picturesque Knysna coastline and boasts panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.

Knysna has a lot to offer travellers including beaches where you can participate in water activities such as kiteboarding, boating, windsurfing, sailing, canoeing and swimming.

Amalfi Cove is a magnificent find on Airbnb and perfect for a family seeking privacy at the self-catering villa.

A bedroom with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean at Amalfi Coves. Picture: Airbnb

Whether you're here to work from home or spend time with family and friends, everyone will appreciate the tranquility of the area, breathtaking views and further indulge in the true beauty of nature, comfort, and relaxation.

It boasts undisrupted 180-degree views from all 3 en-suite bedrooms and each bedroom is designed with large closet space, a dual vanity, and an ocean-facing relaxation bath for some much needed recharging.

A stay at the villa starts from R7 100 a night.

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