Best City Destinations for a Weekend Getaway in South Africa: Top 10 Picks
Are you craving a refreshing escape but unsure where to find that perfect weekend getaway? South Africa is a treasure trove of hidden gems, offering everything from tranquil mountain retreats to vibrant city escapes.
This article unveils the top 10 picks for must-visit South African destinations that cater to your wanderlust and promise unforgettable experiences. Discover where adventure awaits—and let's get started!
South Africa has many great places for a weekend getaway, like quiet mountain spots and fun cities.
You can stay in unique places like wagons or houseboats and do cool things like see wild animals or go fishing.
There are spots near big cities for quick trips, and most have nice rooms with TVs and ways to make hot drinks.
Many places are not far from Johannesburg or Cape Town, so you don't need much time to travel there.
Whether you want adventure or just to relax, there's a perfect spot in South Africa waiting for you.
Top 10 Weekend Getaways Near Johannesburg
Mabalingwe Nature Reserve." title="A couple enjoying the scenic view at Mabalingwe Nature Reserve." class="awimage" />
Escape the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg with a weekend getaway to Thabela Thabeng Mountain Retreat in Parys or the tranquil Mistique Waters. For adventure seekers, Hollybrooke Adventure Farms is the perfect destination, while Cherry Grove Luxury Apartments in Dullstroom offer a boutique hotel experience.
And don't miss out on the natural beauty of Mabalingwe Nature Reserve in Bela-Bela for an unforgettable weekend escape.
Thabela Thabeng Mountain Retreat, Parys
Thabela Thabeng Mountain Retreat beckons you to a peaceful hideaway nestled in the heart of the Vredefort Dome, just a short drive from Johannesburg. With its scenic views and quiet charm, this retreat is a perfect mix of adventure and tranquility.
Here, guests enjoy splashing in an outdoor swimming pool or wandering through lush gardens. Free private parking makes arriving stress-free.
This mountain haven promises a break from city life with limited connectivity, inviting you to unplug and immerse yourself in nature's beauty. You can explore the surroundings or simply relax to the sounds of the countryside—either way, Thabela Thabeng offers an idyllic setting for those looking for weekend getaways that refresh both mind and body.
Mistique Waters, Parys
Mistique Waters sits gracefully on the Vaal River's edge in Parys, offering guests a peaceful place to stay. The rooms are clean and comfy, perfect for snuggling up after a day of adventure.
Parys is not just about calm days by the river; it invites thrill-seekers too. You can go white-water rafting or kayaking down the fast-flowing Vaal River.
Parys charms visitors with its lovely streets and stunning buildings. Mistique Waters makes sure everyone has a quiet spot to kick back close to nature's beauty. This guesthouse is ideal for those who want to escape the busy city life and enjoy some outdoor fun by the river.
If you're heading here, be ready for both relaxation and excitement around every corner!
Hollybrooke Adventure Farms
Hollybrooke Adventure Farms is a place of fun close to Hartbeespoort Dam. You can ride horses, zip through trees, and shoot clay pigeons. They have comfy stone cottages where you can sleep and cook your own food.
The farm sits in the Skeerpoort Valley, just a short drive from big cities like Johannesburg and Pretoria. Go on exciting quad bike trails with a guide who knows the area well. Hollybrooke makes it easy to enjoy time away from busy life while getting to know farm life by the Magalies River.
Cherry Grove Luxury Apartments, Dullstroom
Discover the charm of Cherry Grove Luxury Apartments in Dullstroom. The apartments feature cozy fireplaces and underfloor heating, ensuring a comfortable stay during chilly evenings.
With private balconies overlooking the Italian-inspired "village," complete with a paved piazza and fountain, guests can enjoy picturesque views and a tranquil ambiance. These self-catering rooms come equipped with double bedrooms, fully en suite facilities, bouquet DSTV, and fireplaces for added comfort.
Providing an inviting retreat for couples within the Tuscan-style complex Andalusia Villa, Cherry Grove 3 promises a relaxing getaway experience.
Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, Bela-Bela
Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, situated in the southwestern part of Limpopo's province, is about 40 km from Bela-Bela. Covering more than 8,500 hectares of bushveld, it offers abundant opportunities for game-viewing and experiencing South African wildlife.
The reserve is known for its big five (elephant, lion, rhinoceros, leopard, and buffalo), as well as hippo, giraffe, and hyena, making it a prime destination for wildlife enthusiasts.
Visitors can engage in various activities such as game drives and horseback riding while enjoying accommodations like clean houses and a caravan park restaurant serving delicious food.
Best Weekend Escapes in and near Cape Town
- Experience ultimate relaxation in the Winelands at Lekkerwijn, Groot Drakenstein, or enjoy a nature-filled escape at Wolfkop Camping Villages in Citrusdal. Take in the beauty of Ladybird Vineyards Guesthouse in Stellenbosch or unwind at Sea Star Lodge in Gansbaai for a coastal getaway.
And for a rustic retreat, consider Wolfkop Cottages also located in Citrusdal.
Wellness in the Winelands – Lekkerwijn, Groot Drakenstein
Wellness in the Winelands at Lekkerwijn, Groot Drakenstein offers a serene day spa experience amid the stunning Franschhoek Valley. Surrounded by the majestic Simonsberg Mountains, this location provides an idyllic setting for relaxation and renewal.
The retreat is budget-friendly, making it an ideal choice for those seeking to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Western Cape without overspending. In this picturesque region near Cape Town, visitors can revel in peaceful vineyards and mountains while indulging in spa treatments and leisurely activities during their weekend getaway at Lekkerwijn, Groot Drakenstein.
Wolfkop Camping Villages, Citrusdal
Wolfkop Camping Villages in Citrusdal offers a serene escape from the city, just 21km away. The site provides four Bedouin villages, with three dome tents under each, and outstanding toilet and shower facilities.
Near the Wolfkop Nature Reserve, it presents privately-appointed cottages and outdoor activities for a peaceful and scenic nature immersion. Additionally, visitors can make use of kayaking facilities and enjoy fishing along the Olifants River during their stay at this beautiful retreat.
Situated close to the Wolfkop Nature Reserve, Wolfkop Camping Villages in Citrusdal is an ideal destination for those seeking a tranquil break to connect with nature. Its provision of four Bedouin villages further adds to its allure, enhancing visitor experience by offering superb toilet and shower facilities alongside opportunities for kayaking as well as fishing along the Olifants River.
Ladybird Vineyards Guesthouse, Stellenbosch
Conveniently located just 40 minutes from Cape Town, Ladybird Vineyards Guesthouse offers five spacious self-catering apartments. The guesthouse features an outdoor swimming pool and provides free private parking for its visitors.
Set among the breathtaking scenery of Stellenbosch, this establishment not only offers a comfortable stay but also easy access to other popular destinations in the area. Guests can enjoy wine tastings and relax by the stunning pool and braai area surrounded by vines.
Sea Star Lodge, Gansbaai
Located in De Kelders, a quaint village between Stanford and Gansbaai, Sea Star Lodge offers luxurious 4-star accommodation. Nestled in a sub-tropical garden, the lodge features an air-conditioned Conference Center.
The Bay View Room provides stunning vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and Hermanus skyline, offering elegant furnishings and amenities such as a lounge chair and coffee. Additionally, Sea Star Lodge presents updated prices and exclusive hotel deals with round-the-clock customer support for hassle-free bookings.
With its prime location on the Atlantic Ocean coast, Sea Star Lodge is an ideal destination for those seeking relaxation amidst natural beauty while enjoying top-notch accommodation with convenient access to reputable local attractions like whale watching excursions.
Wolfkop Cottages, Citrusdal
Nestled in the 450ha Wolfkop Nature Reserve, just 5km from Citrusdal, are privately-appointed cottages and camping villages that offer a unique African experience through their décor and colors.
The reserve provides self-catering options for accommodation, making it suitable for various preferences. Positioned at the foothills of the Cederberg with views of the Oliphants River, it offers a serene setting for outdoor activities and relaxation.
Close to Citrusdal's thriving farming district and its evolving tourism offerings, Wolfkop Nature Reserve is an ideal weekend escape with a blend of cultural immersion and natural beauty.
Best Mountain Destinations for a Weekend Getaway
The mountains of South Africa offer breathtaking landscapes and serene destinations perfect for a memorable weekend getaway. Here are some top mountain destinations to consider:
Majestic Drakensberg Mountains: Explore the stunning beauty of the Drakensberg, home to soaring cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and diverse flora and fauna.
Rustic Charm of the Cederberg: Unwind amidst the rugged beauty of the Cederberg mountains, known for its ancient rock formations, unique fynbos vegetation, and opportunities for hiking and rock climbing.
Quaint Retreat in the Magaliesberg: Enjoy a peaceful escape in the Magaliesberg mountains, offering tranquil valleys, scenic hiking trails, and charming country lodges.
Adventure in the Outeniqua Mountains: Discover outdoor thrills in the Outeniqua mountains with exhilarating activities like ziplining, mountain biking, and exploring indigenous forests.
Recommended Destinations for a Winter Getaway Near Johannesburg
Escape the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg with a winter getaway to Royale Marlothi Safari Lodge, Thulani Game Lodge & Eco Estate in Waterberg, Monte La Vue Hotel, Damview Holiday Apartment in Hartbeespoort, and Sun Deck Lodge in Port Shepstone.
Experience the beauty of South Africa's natural landscapes and wildlife during the cooler months at these top destinations.
Royale Marlothi Safari Lodge
Situated in Marloth Park, Royale Marlothi Safari Lodge offers self-catering chalets to provide guests with an authentic African bush experience. The lodge is positioned in the Mpumalanga region, just past the Crocodile River, forming a natural boundary with Kruger National Park.
Here, visitors can witness free-roaming indigenous wildlife amidst the serene nature conservation estate. An ideal time for a visit would be during autumn and winter when game sightings are more frequent.
Additionally, for those looking for some city exploration or beach relaxation, guided day tours to Maputo are available from the lodge.
The accommodations at Royale Marlothi Safari Lodge feature private splash pools that provide guests with luxurious and relaxing experiences during their stay. This unique offering ensures that visitors have a comfortable and secluded space while immersing themselves in the beauty of the South African wilderness.
Thulani Game Lodge & Eco Estate, Waterberg
Thulani Game Lodge & Eco Estate, nestled in the Waterberg's pristine bushveld, offers a luxurious wildlife experience. This Limpopo getaway boasts 4 private African Bush Chalets for a serene break amidst nature.
The lodge's five elegantly appointed bedrooms, ensuite baths, and falling waters pool ensure a lavish vacation escape. For those seeking a winter city escape near Johannesburg, Thulani is an ideal choice and ranks among the top 15 weekend getaways near Johannesburg during winter.
In the northernmost province of Limpopo, this exclusive retreat provides upscale accommodations within a Private Nature Reserve for an unblemished Bushveld experience. Boasting privacy and luxury amidst the African wilderness makes it an ideal destination for tourists visiting Waterberg or seeking to explore South Africa's natural beauty while enjoying some time away from urban life.
Monte La Vue Hotel
Monte La Vue Hotel, situated in Sandton, Johannesburg, offers 13 luxurious guest rooms and boasts an outdoor pool and fitness center. Perfectly located near popular attractions like Monte Casino and Fourways Mall, the hotel caters to both business travelers and those seeking a weekend escape.
Surrounded by a serene garden, it's an ideal spot for a winter getaway in South Africa. Whether you're visiting for business or pleasure, Monte La Vue Hotel provides an inviting retreat with its convenient location and excellent amenities.
The hotel is also equipped to cater to guests looking for relaxation or leisure activities during their stay - from the tranquil garden setting to the outdoor pool where visitors can unwind amid nature’s beauty.
Damview Holiday Apartment, Hartbeespoort
Damview Holiday Apartment in Hartbeespoort offers air-conditioned accommodation with a balcony and access to a terrace. Situated within 5 kilometers of shopping malls, restaurants, and amenities, the property provides various room options for a comfortable self-catering stay.
With its proximity to Eagle Canyon Country Club and Voortrekker Monument, the area offers opportunities for nearby activities and sightseeing. Providing tranquil countryside escapes near Johannesburg, Damview Holiday Apartment boasts uniquely decorated units with stunning views along with access to pool facilities.
This makes it an ideal destination for a winter getaway, offering both convenience and serenity.
Sun Deck Lodge, Port Shepstone
- Sun Deck Lodge, Port Shepstone offers a unique 1-night stay for two people worth R999. Nestled under a rock, the rooms feature glass doors that open onto a wooden deck with hammock chairs and breathtaking views of the Drakensberg Mountains.
Known as one of the top B&Bs/inns in Hartbeespoort, this lodge is an ideal choice for couples and families seeking a scenic and relaxing winter getaway near Johannesburg. The lodge provides an affordable option for those wishing to escape the city for a weekend filled with tranquility and stunning landscapes.
Sun Deck Lodge conveys an exceptional accommodation experience through its distinctive setting amidst nature coupled with attractive deals, making it a highly recommended destination for travelers looking to rejuvenate and unwind.
Additional Destinations for a Weekend Getaway in South Africa
Explore the tranquil beauty of Tussen-i-Bome Guest Farm in Cullinan, or indulge in luxury at Villa Paradiso Country Manor in Hartbeespoort. For a peaceful retreat, consider the scenic Brookwood Estate and Trout Farm near Krugersdorp, or opt for a unique experience on a houseboat at Cruise-N-Snooze in Vanderbijlpark.
And for a nature-filled escape, New Horizons Farm in Magaliesburg offers an idyllic getaway surrounded by lush landscapes.
Tussen-i-Bome Guest Farm is nestled in the tranquil Bobbejaansberg Mountains, offering a serene escape surrounded by nature and wildlife. Located on the Dinokeng tourist route, just 26km from Montana, Pretoria, this guest farm provides a peaceful retreat ideal for a relaxing weekend getaway with family or friends.
Accommodation options include 4-6 sleeper ox-wagon camps and self-catering choices at Geluksfontein Game Farm. Visitors can partake in various activities such as golf, game drives, lion camp visits, and horseback riding while enjoying the malaria-free environment of the area.
Situated amidst breathtaking natural scenery and providing an array of activities to enjoy, Tussen-i-Bome Guest Farm offers an idyllic setting for those seeking a rejuvenating break away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Villa Paradiso Country Manor, Hartbeespoort
Villa Paradiso Country Manor, located in Hartbeespoort, is a boutique hotel offering stunning views of the Magalies Mountains and Hartbeespoort Dam. Situated on the eastern outskirts of Hartbeespoort Dam, it’s just 20 minutes away from Pretoria and 50 minutes from Johannesburg.
The hotel provides 53 double rooms equipped with amenities like television with DSTV channels and tea and coffee making facilities. Additionally, it serves as a conference venue and estate, providing a tranquil setting for events and gatherings.
With its excellent service and beautiful location, Villa Paradiso is an ideal choice for a weekend getaway.
Brookwood Estate and Trout Farm, near Krugersdorp
Brookwood Estate and Trout Farm, near Krugersdorp, is situated in the Kromdraai valley within the Cradle of Humankind world heritage site. It offers a tranquil setting with five well-stocked dams for fishing, making it an ideal spot for anglers.
Families and children can enjoy the outdoors with a small dam for fishing. The estate also provides accommodation nearby, making it perfect for a weekend escape from city life. This popular fly-fishing destination is known for its peaceful atmosphere and is only an hour's drive from Johannesburg or Pretoria.
Cruise-N-Snooze, a family-owned business since 2006, provides houseboat vacations on the Vaal River. Additionally, they offer two self-catering Rondavels units for an added touch of comfort during your stay.
This location is popular for couples seeking romantic weekend getaways in Vanderbijlpark and offers activities such as birding, water sports, fishing, and relaxation. It's the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy quality time with loved ones amidst beautiful natural surroundings.
In addition to houseboat vacations, Cruise-N-Snooze also gives visitors a chance to engage in various water activities on the Vaal River while taking in picturesque views of the surrounding landscapes.
New Horizons Farm, Magaliesburg
Located 7 kilometers from Magaliesburg, New Horizons Farm provides self-catering accommodation ideal for families or small groups. Set in a natural environment, the farm offers relaxing walks and a tranquil ambiance for weekend getaways.
The creatively designed accommodation is nestled within a beautiful 22-hectare setting and requires a minimum stay of two nights, making it an attractive choice for those seeking bush retreats or holiday resorts in Magaliesburg.
With its picturesque surroundings and diverse options available across South Africa, New Horizons Farm stands as a vibrant alternative for those yearning to explore various regions of the country.
South Africa showcases a wide array of destinations for an enchanting weekend escape. Whether it's the coastal allure of Cape Town, the scenic vistas near Johannesburg, or the serene mountain retreats, there's something for everyone.
From thrilling adventures to romantic getaways and family-friendly spots, South Africa offers an ideal blend of beauty and diversity. So pack your bags and indulge in some much-needed relaxation or exhilarating adventures at these top 10 city destinations for a memorable weekend getaway in South Africa!
1. What makes South Africa a good choice for a weekend getaway?
South Africa offers unique experiences for every traveler, from exploring the history of apartheid in vibrant cities to relaxing at stunning beach resorts. Its diverse attractions make it perfect for short trips like Easter weekend or Youth Day.
2. Can I visit game reserves during my city getaway in South Africa?
Absolutely! Kololo Game Reserve is one example where you can witness wildlife up close—a perfect day trip complementing your city adventures and making your getaway memorable.
3. Is there a peaceful town worth visiting in South Africa away from busy cities?
Clarens is known as the "Jewel of the Free State" because of its beautiful landscapes and artsy vibe. It's an excellent spot if you're looking to unwind and enjoy nature over long weekends like Good Friday or the Day of Reconciliation.
4. Are there any historical sites related to apartheid that I can visit?
Yes, many cities have museums and tours dedicated to educating visitors about apartheid's impact on the nation, offering deep insights into South Africa's past struggles and triumphs towards equality.
5. How does social media help find top city destinations in South Africa for getaways?
Social media platforms are fantastic tools for uncovering hidden gems based on real travel experiences—just be mindful that third-party cookies could influence what you see online!