Is it just me or is this year moving quickly past us. We are halfway through the year and winter arrived sooner than we had anticipated. The sun is setting earlier and there is a distinct chill in the air. I, personally, prefer winter over other seasons. Is it the idea of cosy sweaters? the smell of hot chocolate on a lazy Sunday evening or just the allure of a great time spent indoors? Winter isn’t all dark nights & cold mornings – but if it’s all too much for you, then I suggest you book yourself a getaway.
I’ve learnt that travelling in winter can mean one of two things: -you either go towards the cold, or run as far away from it as possible. I’ve discovered that these little jewels that would be welcome break from the cold or an adventurous run in with the snow. What’s more? they are within Southern Africa.
Phelwana Game Lodge – Limpopo:
Winter in Limpopo is not that cold as most of the country gets to be. Spending a weekend in Phelwana, a mere 5-hour drive from Johannesburg, is truly the definition of ‘a dream bush retreat’.
The route is charming and makes the drive well worth it. A 5* lodge with a difference – offering tented camps did someone say glamping and bush villas? Absolutely! Each tent boasts a private plunge pool and deck – imagine the sunrise one could wake up to. Activities includes bush walks, game drives, a hike through the Blyde River Canyon, hot air balloon rides and much, much more. Rooms range from R3750 pp/s for the tented camps and R4000 pp/s for the villas depending on the season.
Unembeza Boutique Lodge
Are you looking for budget friendly luxury in Limpopo? look no further than Unembeza Boutique Lodge. A quaint 4* boutique lodge located just in the corner of the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate. It does not offer a view of the big 5 but if that is your kind of thing, the Kruger National Park is but an hour away. The reserve is home to jackals, giraffes and leopards – which you get to see by bike or on horseback.
It comfortably holds 26 rooms with basic amenities that promise a luxurious stay (at a fraction of the cost) and personal attention from the staff. It boasts an on-site bush spa – take it all in with a hot stone massage to the sound of chirping birds – pure bliss! Room rates per night range from R2400 pp/s to R6000 for the 2-bedroom villa – also depending on the season.
Maliba Lodge – Lesotho:
Lesotho – the landlocked kingdom of the Sotho’s, with its majestic mountains (that get blanket covered in snow during winter). Maliba is about a 4-5-hour drive from Johannesburg, it is within South Africa, but you still need to bring their passport (think #PassportGang) to get in. A 5* lodge that offers both an all-inclusive and a self-catering option.
If skiing has ever been on your bucket list, the famous Afriskii (the only skiing resort in Africa) is just 2 hours away. Ilike the idea of Maliba for its all-inclusive activity list (even for the kids – think Dinosaur step hunting!) ranging from horseback riding, hiking, 4-wheel drives, spa, bird watching & so much more. Rooms rate from R1500 pp/s (3* lodges) and R3000 pp/s (5* lodges). Maliba makes for a great family vacation.
Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls – Zambia:
Why Zambia? Well, first of all it has an entire waterfall! Zambia is known for being home to the other half of Victoria Falls (the other half belonging to Zimbabwe). Technically – you could kill two countries on one single trip (again, think #PassportGang). The Royal Livingstone is a lovey luxurious hotel with the falls literally just a few steps away. One could watch the sunset and the waterfall on the veranda with a cocktail in hand. Who wouldn’t love that? Another unique fact is that wildlife is allowed to roam freely around the resort – tea with a Zebra gently galloping past your table.
There is a lot more to the resort than just the waterfall – activities include bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls bridge, kayaking or spending the day out on Safari. When planning your visit here – I suggest you plan way in advance as rooms get filled up quite quickly. Room rates start from R3500 pp/s upwards.
Whether you are looking for a break from city life or just to become one with nature – the Southern African region has a little bit of something for everyone. Winter time for me, means a time to settle down and evaluate how the year is going. A time to take all in and see how far you have come. What better way to figure things out than in front of a fireplace, a charming surrounding and a cup of hot chocolate in hand, to get things into perspective for the rest of the year.
Disclaimer: All images are sourced from Google