We’re lucky enough to live in a country with the most incredible romantic getaways, often just a short road trip away. Here’s a round-up of some of our penny-pinching favourites.
Words Jill Kayton and Zainab Slemang
Die Rondekraal, Papkuilsfontein Guest Farm, Northern Cape
Best for wide, open spaces that burst into a riot of colour in spring, and stargazing at night.
Situated on a private farm outside Nieuwoudtville, ‘the bulb capital of the world’, Die Rondekraal is a stone and thatch cottage that oozes charm.
Who goes there? Nature lovers with a taste for culture and heritage.
Must try Sundowners overlooking the waterfall at the edge of Papkuilsfontein’s spectacular 180m canyon and an informative guided tour of the San rock art on the farm.
Good to know The cottage is well equipped for a self-catering honeymoon, but you can also order two- or three-course dinners delivered piping hot to your door (and judging by the rave reviews on TripAdvisor, we’d suggest you do!).
Rates R395 pp sharing; two- and three-course dinners from R180–R240 pp
Papkuilsfontein Guest Farm, Nieuwoudtville
+27 (0)27 218 1246
Little Willow Brooke, Franschhoek, Western Cape
Best for a romantic bolt-hole within walking distance of Franschhoek’s culinary hub.
Situated above a bubbling stream in a thicket of willow and oak trees, Little Willow Brooke is a Cape-styled country cottage with all the trimmings: think tin roof, wonky terracotta paving and rough whitewashed walls.
Who goes there? Foodie couples who want to experience the buzz of Franschhoek, with somewhere quiet to cosy up at the end of a busy day of eating and drinking.
Must try A dip in your own private plunge pool and a picnic on the grassy verge down by the river.
Good to know Pop into the surrounding wine farms for a leisurely tasting and bring home your favourite vintage to enjoy with a braai on your stoep or next to the fireplace inside.
Rates R750 per couple per night
Dassenberg Road, Franschhoek
+27 (0)83 321 7008
Crawfords Beach Lodge, Chintsa, Eastern Cape
Best for a four-star beach honeymoon.
Situated in the seaside village of Chintsa, 40 km from East London on the Wild Coast.
Who goes there? Honeymooners looking for an all-inclusive tropical escape, without having to board a plane.
Must try Long beach walks, lazing by the pool with sweeping views down to the beach, dining on delicious, fresh seafood at the lodge’s restaurant … there’s no end to activities for post-wedding relaxation. Top of our books is a visit to Senses @ Crawfords, where the professional therapist will banish any residual stress with a Swedish massage, to be followed by a glass of bubbly in the jacuzzi.
Good to know Choose a sea-facing, front-row room for the best views.
Rates Seven-night, all-inclusive honeymoon packages start at R4 975 pp. While that’s a little over our pocket-friendly minimoons benchmark, it does include unlimited local drinks and three meals a day, which add up to a pretty sweet deal.
42 Steenbras Drive, Chintsa East
+27 (0)43 738 5000
Platbos Log Cabins, Rawsonville, Western Cape
Best for a peaceful and secluded waterside getaway.
Situated on a private farm, cradled by mountains in the breathtaking Slanghoek Valley in Rawsonville, just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town.
Who goes there? Eco-travellers who don’t want to sacrifice style and comfort.
Must try Fishing for bass from the outside deck of your cabin, with a cold drink in hand and nothing but the call of the fish eagle to break the silence.
Good to know There is no electricity, but the kitchen is fully equipped with gas appliances and the cabin has battery-operated solar lights. To get to the cabins, you need a 4×4 or raised vehicle (something with decent ground clearance).
Rates R1 380 per cabin per night
Slanghoek Road, Rawsonville
+27 (0)23 344 3138
Ndiza Lodge & Cabanas, St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal
Best for the incredible diversity of wetlands and wildlife
Situated near the Umfolozi River mouth in St Lucia, a World Heritage Site.
Who goes there? Adventure-loving couples.
Must try A sunset boat cruise on Lake St Lucia estuary, home to an abundance of wildlife, including hippos and crocs.
Good to know Ndiza really knows how to treat newly-weds – apart from a complimentary three-course seafood meal served with wine at a private candlelit table, honeymooning couples will also receive a voucher for a two-night stay on their first anniversary.
Rates From R495 pps per night, including breakfast
153 Hornbill Street, St Lucia
+27 (0)35 590 1113
Magoebaskloof Getaway, Haenertsburg, Limpopo
Best for a rustic and relaxed mountainside escape
Situated in Magoebaskloof near Haenertsburg and Tzaneen, a three-hour drive from Pretoria. Book one of the three self-catering log cabins on the dam, backed by indigenous forest. Camping and caravanning sites are also available.
Who goes there? Active couples keen on hiking, fly-fishing and birdwatching.
Must try Pick up a map at reception and follow the two- to three-hour trail to the top of the farm, stopping en route for a refreshing shower under a crystal-clear waterfall.
Good to know Fly-fishing permits are available free to guests staying over – you only pay for the trout or bass you take home.
Rates From R650 per cabin per night
R71, Haenertsburg, Limpopo
+27 (0)83 449 7024
La Roca Guest House, Nelspruit, Mpumalanga
Best for exploring the nearby Kruger National Park and the incredible natural wonders of the Panorama Route.
Situated in a large subtropical garden adjoining Nelspruit Nature Reserve, La Roca is a four-star boutique guest house providing luxurious accommodation in tastefully decorated rooms.
Who goes there? Discerning travellers who appreciate value for money and above-par hospitality.
Must try Take a self-drive tour of the Panorama Route, stopping to marvel at the awe-inspiring Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window and the Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Unwind after a day’s sightseeing with G&Ts at La Roca’s glorious pool, with uninterrupted views over the reserve.
Good to know Mpumalanga’s capital city, Nelspruit, hosts the popular InniBos arts festival every year in July, attracting more than 200 musicians, actors and artists and some 100 000 spectators.
Rates From R1 000 per room per night, including breakfast.
56 Van Wijk Street, Nelspruit
+27 (0)13 752 6628