We asked South Africa’s most influential bloggers to name their favourite hidden gems in South Africa, ranging from iconic nature reserves to sleepy little towns. This is part two of four.
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Bear in mind, these off-the-beaten-track places won’t stay a secret for long.
Recommended by Dawn Jorgensen – @DawnJorgensen
- Darling in the Western Cape: The Darling of the Swartberg is found an hour drive from North of Cape Town. Darling is a quaint and progressive village, home to a famous Evita Se Perron theatre, Darling Brew’s craft beers, a few art galleries, book shops, restaurants, museums, inspiring community projects and walking trails into the surrounding nature known for its wild flowers. You won’t want to leave. Nearest Airport: Cape Town
2. Pongola Game Reserve in Northern KwaZulu Natal: Pongola Game Reserve in Northern KwaZulu Natal is where I fell in love with elephants. Located alongside Lake Jozini and surrounded by the Lebombo Mountains, the reserve is home to the gorgeous White Elephant Lodge. Offering safari drives, sunset cruises and elephant monitoring activities, it’s also home to the Space for Elephants program- a program responsible for reintroducing orphan elephants into the reserve.Nearest Airport: Durban
3. Matjiesfontein, along the N1: Set 2,5 hours north of Cape Town on the N1 highway that joins the Cape and Johannesburg, Matjiesfontein is more of a hamlet than a town. Home to a hotel that will make you feel like you stepped back in time, a railway station and number of fascinating museums, this is a must visit if you’re in the area. I visit every year, each time making a new discovery. Walk out to the hill (koppie) across the tracks where 10000+ English soldiers were stationed during the Anglo Boer War. Nearest Airport: Cape Town
Recommended by Kim Gray – @kimgray
- Akasha Mountain Retreat: My favourite hidden gem! If it’s out of this world scenery and a little R&R you’re looking for, you can’t beat Akasha Mountain retreat. It will revive your soul. The beautiful courtyard-entertainment area will have you feel like you’re sitting in Morocco! Watch out for the wild horses and enjoy a kayak on the river. Chris & Elena are the most gracious hosts too! See Kim’s pics from Akasha Mountain here. Nearest Airport: Cape Town
3. Gelukkie in Paternoster: If you’re looking for an intimate wedding/party venue – Gelukkie in Paternoster is the place. A short drive from the beach and town centre, you will feel instantly relaxed and secluded in a mini sanctuary. Banquet under the stars in an enclosed private courtyard. Nearest Airport: Cape Town
Recommended by Sarah Khan – @BySarahKhan
- Mo & Rose in Robertson: Mo & Rose is an absolutely stunning sanctuary, with chic contemporary design and lovely views over a cactus garden.Nearest Airport: Cape Town
2. Le Petit Karoo Ranch in Oudtshoorn: Le Petit Karoo Ranch is a quirky little place to stay in Oudtshoorn, a collection of lovely tented suites with outdoor baths, set high atop a hill with spectacular Karoo views. Nearest Airport: Cape Town
3. The Owl House in Nieu Bethesda: The Owl House in Nieu Bethesda is just a completely otherworldly place, straight out of a surrealist painting — the kind of place that has to be seen to really be believed. Nearest Airport: East London