Whether you favour safaris and wildlife, or long mountain walks you don't need to travel far from Joburg to find some great places to stay. Here's a look at fabulous getaways to visit over a long weekend that lie within easy enough reach of Joburg.
DullstroomDriving time from Joburg: 3 hours (via the N4)
A 270km drive east of Joburg, at 2,097m above sea level, Dullstroom is one of South Africa’s highest towns. The area is endowed with a sub-Alpine climate and the forested landscape with its rolling hills and rivers rich in trout bear a strong resemblance to the Scottish countryside. This is a popular destination for anglers and birdwatchers, although if you prefer to just kick back and enjoy the view, it's also an ideal spot.
Where to stay in DullstroomWalkersons Hotel and Spa
Walkersons is a five-star private estate that offers awe-inspiring views of a sky-filled valley. Choose from one of the spacious lakeside suites or opt to stay at a charming self-catering cottage dotted on the property. The lakeside suites are kitted out with a working fireplace, an indoor and outdoor shower and a patio from which you can walk into the valley along paved pathways traversing the 800-hectare estate, perfect for a romantic weekend away. FIND OUT MORE AND BOOK HERE.
Dunkeld Country & Equestrian Estate
This expansive resort has a broad choice of accommodation options including a luxury lodge and self-catering cottages. There are no fewer than 19 dams and ponds filled with trout to fish. Being an equestrian estate of course horse riding is also a major attraction, with treks for both novices and experienced riders, as well as hiking trails if you prefer to explore the area on your own two feet. FIND OUT MORE AND BOOK HERE.
Sun CityDriving time from Joburg: 2.5 hours
The massive Sun City resort opened back in 1979 and is probably South Africa's most famous casino resort. This kitsch wonderland in the middle of the bushveld was designed as a casino and resort to rival the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, complete with a totally over-the-top 'lost palace'. At the centre of the vast resort is the Valley of the Waves artificial lagoon and water park, a very popular attraction with day visitors as well as overnight guests. Sitting right next to the Pilanesberg national park, Big Five game drives are also a major attraction.
Where to stay at Sun CityThe Sun City resort has a wide range of accommodation options. The most extravagant is Palace of the Lost City, Sun City's luxury hotel offering with a huge pool, grand dining options and utterly over-the-top decor. One step down in terms of luxury, the Aztec pyramid-shaped Cascades hotel's rather bland rooms are made up for by its lovely shaded gardens and pools. The original Sun City Hotel is located right next to the casino and the Gary Player golf course, while the 3-star Cabanas is great for families as it is situated right next to the Waterworld Lake and Kamp Kwena kids club. FIND OUT MORE AND BOOK HERE.
Pilanesberg National ParkDriving time from Joburg: 2.5 hours
Set in the crater of an extinct volcano and nestled within the ecologically rich transition zone between the dry Kalahari and wetter Lowveld vegetation, the Pilanesberg National Park is home to not only the Big Five, but also the endangered African wild dog. If you are hoping to see rhino you usually have a good chance to spot them here and there is even a dedicated Black Rhino reserve, situated on the western border, that is unfenced to the rest of the park. There are a few pricey accommodation options inside the park, while staying at one of the resorts just outside the gates is also a very viable option if you want to self-drive.
Where to stay in PilanesbergThe Kingdom Resort
If you can't face the immense size and overwhelming bling of the Sun City resort, The Kingdom Resort is a smaller affordable alternative to Sun City, that is also within 15 minutes drive of the park gates. There are hotel suites as well as self-catering villas to choose from and for young kids, there's a great pool complete with slides. For larger families the resort has two four-bedroom villas that come with their own private plunge pool, fire pit and braai area. FIND OUT MORE AND BOOK.
The Bakubung Bush Lodge
Operated by Legacy Hotels The Bakubung Bush Lodge has a lovely location inside the park with a restaurant and swimming pool that overlook a busy waterhole that sees activity throughout the day. Rooms are spacious and if you're mindful of the budget there's also the option of booking a self-catering chalet. Early morning and evening game drives leave directly from the hotel and if you want a break from the wildlife spotting, the hotel also has a spa. FIND OUT MORE AND BOOK.
MagaliesbergDriving time from Joburg: 1.5 hours
Bordering on the Hartbeespoort Dam, the Magaliesberg mountains form a beautiful natural border between the Gauteng and North West Provinces. By far the most popular activity in this part of Gauteng is hiking and there are loads of great trails to choose from. Staying over in the area also gives you the chance to get up early and admire the mountain top views from the Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway or take a hot air balloon ride with Bill Harrops Balloon Safaris.
Where to stay in the MagaliesbergDe Hoek Country Hotel
This 5-Star countryside boutique hotel is just as popular with couples as it is with city executives in search of quiet time and space to recharge. The spacious rooms in the main Manor House-style hotel building and the more contemporary sandstone suites are all set amid extensive gardens near the Magalies River, with a view of the enclosing mountains. FIND OUT MORE AND BOOK.
Steynshoop Mountain and Valley Lodge
A secluded country hotel nestled in a game farm that sits on the slopes of the Magaliesberg mountain range. Choose from one of five cottages in the self-catering Steynshoop Valley Lodge or book into a room at the upmarket Steynshoop Mountain Lodge hotel just up the hill, where four-poster beds and sweeping views make for a grand setting. Set across a spacious Cape Dutch style farmstead linked by pretty wide open courtyards (or 'quads') there are plenty of amenities including tennis courts, volleyball, billiards, a large swimming pool, and croquet. FIND OUT MORE AND BOOK.
The Drakensberg EscarpmentDriving time from Joburg: 2.5 hours
Head east out of Joburg following the road towards eSwatini and you will find yourself in the Drakensberg Escarpment, an under-appreciated corner of South Africa that offers some great opportunities for hiking. The town of Waterval Boven (or Emgwenya) sits on the banks of the Elands River and while the town itself is little to look at, the countryside around this area has some great places to go hiking or mountain biking and reconnect with nature.
Where to stayTegwaan Country Getaway
A charming eco-friendly escape located on a working farm from where you can enjoy getting back to basics with a choice of camping, glamping and self-catering cottages. Accommodation options include the three-bedroom Stone and Pine cottages or the super petite studio-style Acorn Tiny House. The property has its own spring-fed swimming pool and a choice of hiking trails lead right from your door including the three-hour Rock Fairies waterfall trail. FIND OUT MORE AND BOOK.