We’re keeping it closer to home (and heart) for this year’s ultimate romance-inducing list of destinations.
Valentine’s Day makes February the ‘official’ month of love, but in reality, there are no rules when it comes to romance.
While gestures of heart-shaped chocolates and bouquets of flowers are always appreciated, you might just discover that the ‘thing’ your partner loves most is simply spending quality time with you, somewhere new.
With that being said, here are a few of our favourite romantic destinations that you can book for you and your sweetheart this month, or any month of the year.
#1 Sneak away to Stellies
We’ve long been fans of Stellenbosch, quietly nestled within the Cape Winelands, and we recently asked Jeanneret Momberg, General Manager of Visit Stellenbosch, to pinpoint exactly what makes it so heart-meltingly romantic.
Her response says it all: “Think about it as an epicurean fantasy coming to life with delicious wines and award-winning restaurants like Eike by Berus Basson. Eike pays homage to some of our favourite South African dishes like Snoek and appelkoos, Asparagus “sout tert”, and Springbok Denning Magwinya.” If you’re a couple that loves to wine and dine together, we’re certain that sums it up.
The activity we love most: Art-lovers assemble! The Stellenbosch Triennale kicks off just in time for Valentine’s weekend. At this event, artists from all over the continent will showcase their oeuvres in four different exhibitions around town, with unique spaces to escape into and explore with your Valentine.
#2 Go play along the Garden Route
“If you’re buckling under the pressure of what to gift your partner on the 14th, why not treat him or her to a getaway along the Garden Route?” asks Peter Dros, Sales & Marketing Director of Fancourt Estate in George.
“Aside from farm-to-fork cuisine and beach views galore, there are hiking trails to trek and farmer’s markets to peruse. There’s also whale watching later on in the year, spa days, and sightseeing road trips. It’s just the place for couples to have some fun together this year,” he says.
With Fancourt’s hotel running for just over 25 years and the estate featuring some of the country’s top-rated golf courses, we’ll happily take his word for it.
The activity we love most: We love the idea of strawberry picking together at Redberry Farm, up the road from the estate. There’s a restaurant and a bar where you can order smoothies, milkshakes and daiquiris in the flavour of, you guessed it, strawberry!
# 3 Days exploring the Drakensberg
‘The Berg’, as we love and know it, is a real beauty with towering mountains and meandering roadways brimming with isiZulu villages, padstals and coffee shops.
Our accommodation expert for this region, Sharmila Ragunanan, Marketing Manager of Dream Hotels & Resorts pinpoints Little Switzerland Resort as the place to stay. And when we saw its charming wooden cottages, indoor log fires and a stable filled with horses and ponies, we knew we had to add it to the list.
We also love how she explains it, “nestled at the foot of the Northern Drakensberg, this Alpine-style accommodation feels as though you’ve stumbled upon a little Swiss village somewhere in the Alps.” It sounds like your very own little European holiday right here in Africa!
The activity we love most: The Royal Natal National Park is an addictively chilled-out sort of place where you can walk, hike, climb, and ride horseback to your heart’s content. But, we also absolutely love the concept of The Draken’s Burger Diner as a lunch date idea, located just outside the resort.
#4 Make a break for Mozambique
“Mozambique is ideally suited for a romantic getaway, not just for the Valentine’s Day weekend but also over one of South Africa’s long weekends later on in the year,” explains Natalie Tenzer Silva, Director of Dana Tours in Maputo.
She’s right about it being a hotspot for romance. Most luxury Mozambican properties boast private splash pools, outdoor tubs, open-air showers and private spas. Love a good date night? Think private, sunset dhow cruises followed by candlelit dinners on the beach or picnics on a secluded stretch of sand with no one else in sight.
The activity we love most: If you’re not a couple that just wants to fly and flop, culture- and arts-loving duos can join one of Dana Tours arts and culture itineraries, or their delicious foodie experience through the streets of Maputo.
#5 Explore the fab and glam romance of Jozi
As the economic hub of South Africa, Johannesburg is unfortunately often overlooked when it comes to romance. “The city might not have ocean views or mountain sunrises, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer incredible and romantic outings,” says Raylene de Wet, Director of Event Sales at Hyatt Regency Johannesburg.
“From rooftop bars where you can see the sun set over magnificent Jozi, to vibey bars and thrilling bungee jumps, Johannesburg is unlikely to disappoint, especially on Valentine’s Day,” she adds.
The activity we love most: If you are a fab and glam power couple, the Royal Valentine Extravaganza at the Hyatt Regency Johannesburg is the perfect experience for you. You’ll be treated like celebrities the moment you step into the Hummer limousine for your transfer to the five-star Hyatt in Rosebank on Friday afternoon.
On arrival, you will walk the red carpet to the hotel’s presidential suite, your room for this unforgettable night. You will experience true celebrity status with a grooming and beauty
treatment session, before you dress up for a seven-course private Valentine’s Day rooftop dinner, complemented with wine pairing and smooth saxophone melodies.
To sum it up, if you do want to participate in the Valentine’s Day celebrations this month and really want to give him or her something meaningful, you can’t go wrong with the gift of travel. We hope this list has helped, but if you have any romance-inducing suggestions of your own, please feel free to comment below.