Where to travel! South African travel news and inspiration – April 2024

10 Apr 2024
We're always on the lookout for fresh and interesting places to stay and what's new in local travel news. In our latest travel update we share the rundown of hotel news, trends, new venues, and enticing local travel offers you don't want to miss. Here are some places we're adding to our travel wishlist. 

Polo in Plett

A polo match unfolds at the Plettenberg Bay Polo Club. Photo: Plettenberg Bay Polo Club via Instagram.

We zip right into our round-up of the latest travel news with the Plett SA Opentaking place until Sun, Apr 14 at the Plettenberg Bay Polo Club (considered the leading polo club in the country). A showcase of some of the best equestrian expertise, the polo tournament draws players and teams locally and internationally as they battle it out for top honours in a spectacle of tactics, skills, and elegance that avid fans, enthusiasts, and newcomers will enjoy against the backdrop of one of South Africa’s most picturesque coastal resort towns. If you’re looking to catch the last of the action, The Plettenberg hotel is running a 10% discount for the duration of the tournament with the discount code PoloSA2024. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to experience this tasteful hotel that forms part of the Liz McGrath Collection, we daresay the time has arrived!

De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience

The scenic De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience. Photo: Supplied.

For a different sporting experience – this time on the back of a bicycle – the De Hoop Vlei MTB Experience takes place from Fri, May 17 – Sun, May 19. The three-day race or ride (decide what thrill you’re seeking) provides the opportunity to see parts of De Hoop Nature Reserve not easily accessed on foot or by vehicle, making for a picturesque mountain biking experience that traverses the beautiful reserve boasting World Heritage Site status. The idea for the route is that it’s physically challenging but not exhausting, allowing you to savour the coastal track between the fynbos, dunes, and rocky coastline. And for those who come along for the ride (not literally), there’s plenty to do, with activities for the kids, wine tasting, good food, and exciting marine activities on your doorstep. The De Hoop Collection is offering a special rate with 40% off for a two-and-a-half night stay over this time.

Wellness in the Winelands at Brookdale Estate

Brookdale Estate's The Manor House. Photo: Supplied.

The Manor House at Brookdale Estate in Paarl has been hot on everyone’s lips since it opened in 2021, and now that it’s won the accommodation category in the Best of Wine Tourism Awards for 2024, it seems the destination is only heating up. If you’ve been wanting to find the time to visit, we might have just the thing for you: a wellness weekend from Fri, May 17 – Sun, May 19. The experience kicks off on Fri night with a massage to set the tone for the rest of the weekend’s activities: a yoga session with sound healing, a cook-along experience with Executive Chef Gary Coetzee, and sip and paint with Mason Road wines. Being a destination for gourmands, you can expect no less than daily breakfast, a two-course lunch, and three-course dinners as part of your stay to fuel you for exploring the estate or taking a tranquil swim between activities. The Wellness Weekend costs R11,790 p.p.s. and includes two nights’ accommodation, all meals and activities as specified, and non-alcoholic beverages.

City Lodge Hotels have a few things up their sleeve

Book a stay at Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City. Photo: Supplied.
Travelling is a time for rest and relaxation – unless you’re doing it for work. Knowing the demands of constantly jetting off and operating in high-stress environments places on working professionals, City Lodge Hotels has taken the courtesy of a wake-up call a step further by introducing Bedtime Stories for Business PeopleStruggling to fall asleep? Scan the QR code on your phone or tablet or connect to the website via your laptop to access the tongue-in-cheek stories that speak to the familiar experience of working life. And if that doesn’t do the trick, try the white noise option.
Looking to travel over the upcoming Freedom Day and Workers' Day long weekends? With their Quarterly Break special, you can get up to 30% off on last-minute bookings at participating Courtyard Hotels, City Lodge Hotels, and Town Lodges for stays from Fri, Apr 26 – Sun, May 5. If you’re travelling to Joburg during this time, we highly recommend snatching this deal and booking a stay at the lovely Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City. The rooms are stylish and The Highline Restaurant is great for a sundowner. You also can’t beat the location if you want to do a spot of shopping at the Mall of Africa.

FlySafair’s new route between Cape Town and Kruger

Want the best of both worlds with the beach and the bush? FlySafair has launched their newest route between Cape Town International Airport and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, connecting two of the country’s biggest tourist hubs in a sweet and short two-and-a-half hours. The route operates twice a week on Tues and Sat and one-way tickets start from R1,851 p.p.

Why winter is the best time for safari – and where to go

The timing of the launch of FlySafair’s new route could not be better. Given the cold Joburg experienced this week, it’s safe to say winter is on our doorstep. But it need not be doom and gloom as the icy weather settles in. If you love a good game drive, you’d know that winter is a great time for embarking on a safari. The drier months make for decent game viewing as animals seek out watering holes and the grass is low. And if you’re armed with a jacket and blanket for chilly morning drives, the milder temperatures during the day are a reprieve from the scorching days the bush serves up in the middle of summer. The Kruger National Park is always a top choice but if you’re travelling from Gauteng, we have a few ideas of where to go closer to home with our list of Five safari destinations near Joburg.

Dusk and Nocturne in Stellenbosch

“Second Hand Shellfish” from Dusk restaurant. Photo: Dusk via Instagram.

If you’re planning a trip to Stellenbosch and have not yet popped into Dusk and Nocturne, we suggest adding it to your itinerary. The names are enough of a cheeky temptation on their own. First opened in 2022 by restaurateurs Darren Badenhorst and Executive Chef Callan Austin, Dusk restaurant is the kind of place gourmands and oenophiles come to be dazzled. The 13-course fine-dining menu is described as “explorative”, “avant-garde”, and “boundary-breaking” and features items like Japanese milk bread, a dish called “19 Species of Tomato”, and “Second Hand Shellfish” made with squid, an aerated shellfish bisque, chorizo, and a potato nest. For the full experience, opt for the wine pairing crafted by sommelier Bafana Zondo. The restaurant is intimate, seating only 30 diners at a time, so you might want to book in advance.
The "Katch-Up Kid" cocktail from Nocturne. Photo: Nocturne via Instagram.

First, there was Dusk; then there was Nocturne. In July last year, the restaurateur duo opened Nocturne – a fusion of restaurant-meets-bar where the pair work to “blur the lines between gastronomy and innovative mixology”. With a food offering from the Dusk test kitchen setting the scene, guests can delve into the impressive cocktail menu of featured, classic, rotational, perfect-serve, and non-alcoholic cocktails. A must-do for any drink aficionado. We visited earlier this year and were blown away by the unique cocktails and excellent small plates. If you have a taste for fine dining but prefer a more relaxed time out, this is your spot. 

Fine dining and luxury estates bucket list: Summerhill Guest Estate

We're adding luxury living and fine dining at Summerhill Guest Estate to our bucket list. Photo: The Living Room at Summerhill via Instagram.

Like any respectable traveller who enjoys the pleasures of discovering fine foods, our bucket list doesn’t end in Stellenbosch. Summerhill Guest Estate in KwaZulu-Natal, home to The Living Room (named 2022 Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant of the Year) is high on our list of must-try destinations. As far as the reviews go, this is a fine-dining luxury destination we can’t wait to try – and we’ll be sharing our experience with you soon.

Other reviews to keep an eye out for

The delectable pool deck at The Maslow Time Square in Pretoria. Photo: Supplied.

We’re firm believers in not just telling you about where we think you should be travelling – and where we would like to be travelling – but getting out there ourselves and sharing these experiences with you. We’ve found the time to enjoy a relaxing hike at Ezemvelo Nature Reserve in Bronkhorstspruit, have worked in a hotel stay at Sanctuary Mandela in Houghton and The Maslow Time Square in Pretoria, and will soon sample the new Lefika Villas that opened at Sun City last year. Watch this space…

Where we've been roaming

If you’ve missed out on our Roaming Office adventures, we’ve found the best way to make Mondays fun as we visit hotels and workspaces around the city to get a taste of what they offer. We recently visited The Great Gatsby guesthouse – a most charming venue on Houghton's Munro Drive – and will next be sharing our experience working at Fynn Studio in Parktown North so keep an eye out for next week’s newsletter.


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