MINI-ESCAPES NEAR SA’S CITIES

As a working parent, we know your time is precious, especially time spent with your family. With a few public holidays coming up soon, you probably want to maximise these few days of leave – we know we do! With this in mind, here are some popular family getaways near enough to the main cities to be convenient, but special enough to offer you a true escape from traffic, the school runs and work deadlines.

Western Cape

You’re spoilt for choice if you live in Cape Town, with great destinations as close as an hour’s drive away from the city centre. A hugely popular family getaway in this area is Frog Mountain in Swellendam, set on a family farm amid the Langeberg mountains. This special place offers self-catering accommodation (it can accommodate up to 45 guests) in a rustic setting at affordable rates.

“Of all the places we’ve been with our kids, Frog Mountain always comes out tops because of its beautiful surroundings and low-tech facilities. Being able to switch off and truly unwind is pure magic for us and our kids. And the gorgeous play area and strolls through the cow paddies don’t hurt either,” shares Mummy blogger Nikki Lincoln.

Gauteng

Need to escape the City of Gold? You may have to drive a bit further, but it’s well worth it. Just a three-hour drive from Joburg, Dullstroom is a great weekend escape with a charming small-town feel in the pristine Mpumalanga countryside. You can explore the scenery on various hiking trails and mountain biking paths, or do a bit of fly fishing and soak up the scenery and crystal clean air.

Business owner and mother of two boys, Catherine Black, says she loves staying at Walkersons when she visits Dullstroom. “With its own trout dams for fishing enthusiasts, this lodge feels like you’re staying in a manor house in the Scottish Highlands, except with far better weather!”

You can choose to either stay in the five-star lodge, or in self-catering cottages, which are perfect for families. As well as fly fishing, Dullstroom also offers wonderful hiking trails and mountain biking paths.

KwaZulu-Natal

A perennial family favourite, The Cavern is consistently popular for a number of reasons. Camilla Blomfield, family photographer and mum to two boys, says: “One of my family’s favourite holiday choices is The Cavern, which is nestled in the Northern Drakensberg and lies adjacent to the Royal Natal National Park. We love how you can put on your hiking shoes and then simply hike straight into the mountains. The food is incredible, and our boys love the horse rides and extensive gardens. We adore the hotel’s charm, that there is a story of family coupled with tradition and of course, its excellent wine selection!”

Besides hiking, you can try your hand at trout fishing or lawn bowls, or let your young kids play in the playroom where nannies are available to watch over them. Daily rates include a sumptuous dinner and generous breakfast, with separate kiddies’ menus.

Wherever you plan your family getaway this year – bear in mind that many medical aid companies offer travel rewards programmes, such as Fedhealth’s Sanlam Reality . You can enjoy great discounts on local flights, car hire and hotels.

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