Live like a local while travelling

Mar 17, 2020, Author: Bianca Spinner

We’re not sure what possesses Joburgers to travel offshore when we can take advantage of our own unique landscapes. It’s not just our country’s scenery that’s captivating, but its culture too. As you begin to meander through South Africa’s diverse paths, you’ll too realise why there’s no place like home. Sweetly put, local is always lekker! These are two top local picks for the month. 


Melville’s muse – Pablo House 

If you’re looking for: An unforgettable staycation where you’ll escape the city and Monday blues 

Transport required: Order an Uber 

Pet-friendly: Yes 

This mini breakaway is an absolute must-do for 20 plenty. Not only is this a truly rare hidden Jozi gem, it’s also beautifully designed with intricately architecture. Nestled in what seems like a treehouse, the seven suites are smartly intended to blend in casually with the evergreen environment. Cascading trees, palms and plants envelope the structure and with walkways down the Melville Mountain to make it feels as if you’re rooted deep in nature. It’s rustic and charming and has a calming and tranquil ambience. 

Each room has its own unique view and large windows maximize this, with gorgeous bathrooms fitted with a rain shower, Nespresso coffee machine, trendy Marshall speaker and UHD smart TV with Netflix and YouTube. And, yes, Pablo House has all-over Wi-Fi connectivity that actually works throughout! Suite 1 and 2 are both standard double rooms, suite 3 offers a deluxe double room and is more spacious, suite 4 and 5 are deluxe twin rooms and accommodate up to two guests each, suite 6 is a superior double room and suite 8 is the crème de la crème where we recommend you book – this deluxe loft accommodates up to four guests and is a double story dream. There’s a kitchen and fridge, which allows for a self-catering option, as well as a beautiful dining room, self-contained workspace, lounge area and expansive bathroom. This self-contained oasis boasts its very own private terrace too, so you’ll have your very own little nook with a north-facing city view that could easily melt hearts (especially over sunset). Plus, throughout your stay you’ll be kept company by Jana Hamman and Pauline Gutter, whose artworks decorate the walls handsomely. 


You won’t want to miss the hotel’s pool and chill zone. Surrounded by rich and lush greenery, the pool is down at the bottom of the property and is molded around the existing environment with an unbelievable view of the Melville Koppies. When you’re basking in the sunshine on a lounger, you’ll feel as if you’re in a five-star resort in the bush. This fantastic slice of paradise is where we recommend you spend hours until your tummy starts to grumble – then visit the restaurant on site. Dos Manos offers hotel guests and regular Joburgers a private dining experience beneath the stars. While the sky is being painted rose gold, pink and sweet orange, order one of the famous cocktails: A gin sling, a lemongrass ginger mule or a kiwi martini should do the trick, accompanied with a flavour bomb of puff-puff pizza that’s all handmade and prepared on site. The simple menu also offers salads, Greek style lamb chops, chicken wings, panko prawns and delicious nachos with guac. It ticks all the taste buds – humble food that’s excellently priced and all created beautifully. The restaurant is open six days a week for lunch and dinner but for breakfast you’ll grab a tuk-tuk and head on over to sister eatery Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar. 

What you’ll remember: The exquisite depiction of local art celebrated all over the property. Gloat to friends about art by South African artists Richard Smith and Julian Venter and South African photographer Fausto Becatti. 

3 4th Avenue, Melville 

066 215 0993 

Facebook: @pablohousemelville 

Instagram: @pablohousemelville 

The Karoo’s crown jewel – New Holme Country House 

If you’re looking for: An adventure outside your comfort zone to explore nature and all her raw beauty 

Transport required: Seven-hour self-drive from Joburg 

Pet-friendly: No but you’ll meet their rescue meerkat upon arrival 

The natural world is the focus in this location with stupendous caramel coloured desert landscapes, thirsty scenery, unparalleled beauty and small-town hospitality. This marvellously casual style accommodation is a member of Cape Country Routes portfolio (members compromise owner operated and managed accommodation and activity establishments). New Holme is situated in the mesmerising Karoo Gariep Nature Reserve alongside the Seekoei River and is completely secluded and tucked away far from civilisation. 

Lapping up this this secret sanctuary is a fortuitous leap into a simpler life. Once you enter the nature reserve, over the dusty road there’s a diamond waiting to be discovered. There are five accommodation options to choose from, consisting of the Mieliefontein Karoo Guest Farm, Wolmade self-catering cottage, Stoffels Rus self-catering log cabin, Karoo Gariep tent and the incredibly extraordinary New Holme Karoo Guesthouse. Hands-on owners PC Ferreira and his wife Marisca have one secret ingredient to the success of this guest farm, and that’s that everything they’ve created radiates with love. Combining his outdoor talents and her culinary skills in the kitchen, this small country escape is impeccably brought to life. 


The comfortable, farm-style en-suite rooms are all individually decorated and have electric blankets, air-conditioning and tea and coffee stations. If you’re visiting in summer, be prepared for scorching sun-filled days, but you’ll be pleased to know there’s a gorgeous pool on the property. During your stay, activities include a Karoo ‘Shy 5’ Night Drive where you can see aardvark, aardwolf, black footed cat, porcupine and bat eared fox as well as daily birdwatching drives, sundowner trips to the hippo pool and an after-breakfast walk to see the Koi San etchings where PC regales stories on the history of the region. 

Our top pick when it comes to this nature reserve is the canoeing safari, which is offered by New Holme and run by mastermind PC and the Doornkloof Nature Reserve. To get there, you’ll pass through 80km of undulating mountainscapes dotted with kudu and warthog and thus begins your aquatic escapade. You’ll be demanded to relax, wind down and spend two days on the Gariep River (formerly known as the Orange River), canoeing and revolving around the untouched, unspoiled beauty. The trip’s drawcard is the colossal rocky gorges climaxing out of the aquamarine waters, which you’ll gently steer through. After day one of canoeing, you’ll sleep over in a tented camp where the tawny and untamed river will be your bathtub. Once it seems you couldn’t possibly become any more content, you’ll fall asleep to the songs of the kingfisher. All camping and canoeing equipment as well as food and drinks are included and set up for you. 

What you’ll remember: The mouthwateringly delectable braai broodjies made on the campfire along with a pot of freshly brewed ‘moerse lekker koffie’ whilst absorbing intoxicating sunset skies. Also, the sensational home-cooked Karoo-style feasting that takes place at New Holme, from freshly baked caramel bread to homemade carrot and brandy pudding. 

New Holme Country House 


Facebook: @capecountryroutes 

Twitter: @capecountryr 

Instagram: @capecountryroutes 

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