Indigo Fields Country House
Indigo Fields Country House
The view from Oulap's garden onto the Swartberg mountains is dramatic. Picture Myrtle Ryan
The view from Oulap's garden onto the Swartberg mountains is dramatic. Picture Myrtle Ryan

Durban - For laid-back relaxation and a chance to cosy up in comfort, a trip on a Shayamanzi houseboat at Jozini Dam (Pongolapoort) in northern KwaZulu-Natal is hard to beat.

Imagine lying on a spacious bed with the sun just over the horizon and the crew having lifted anchor after an overnight stop in one of the bays or dramatic gorges.

As the engine putters into life, the curtains billow gently in the slight breeze. Propped up against your pillow, cup of coffee in hand, you watch the houseboat’s wake slowly drift past your cabin.

You could spot some wildlife on the shore, dining on the dewy grass. They might lift their heads to watch your passage, or just continue grazing unperturbed.

It is all so chilled, it takes sheer determination – and the call of breakfast – to get you to lift yourself out of this lethargy and head for the upper decks.

You could frolic in the Jacuzzi on deck, and toast each other by moonlight. Maybe that ring in a little box might be something to take with you.

But if time is not of the essence, and dramatic settings hook and reel you in, Oulap near De Rust in the Western Cape takes some beating.

Guests drive ever upward on a road at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains.

Oulap’s small family-run guest house looks like a stone castle, complete with crenellations. The smell of fynbos lingers in the air. You can sit on the front lawn and drink in the mighty mountains, hang out in the swimming pool, which overlooks the farmlands, or take a walk.

During flower season, the area is transformed into a Yellow-Brick-Road moment, orchestrated by the Wizard of Oz.

Finally, hedonists might fancy Indigo Fields Country House and Spa near Nottingham Road, in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Getting a massage together is one way of sharing special moments. If your man has not yet proposed, a good moment to catch him off guard is when he is feeling all content and lethargic.

Each treatment takes place in a different destination on the farm – overlooking a small stream, in a forest or at the main house.

If it's lavender season, a gentle haze of purple hovers over the gardens.

If you do not stagger out of here all relaxed, you must be as hyped as a clockwork toy.

l Call Shayamanzi 034 413 2299; Oulap 082 829 9604; Indigo Fields 033 266 6101. - Sunday Tribune