Orient Boutique Hotel Courtyard

HJ let us prove to you why local is lekker. Long haul flights, 20kg of luggage, dreaded delays, changing currency, ain’t nobody got time for that, right? We prefer to venture locally because although we’re a little biased, we have the most beautiful country and weather in the world. Just saying.

So here are our top 5 hotels and locations to go to within SA – the real heart of the countryside.

1.Walkersons Hotel & Spa - Dullstroom

For the novice connoisseur
Walkersons lakeside suite view hello joburg

This is a location that we keep returning to, it’s the type of destination that deserves an annual visit. This exclusive 5-star, 27-room boutique hotel near Dullstroom located on 800 hectares of peaceful countryside has a wonderful feel the second you drive into the picturesque grounds. And we all deserve a spoil at least once a year so if you’re hunkering down this autumn season, its best you do it luxuriously. The hotel’s The Flying Scotsman and Terrace restaurants cater for both fine dining and light meals for guests and day visitors and there is a glistening pool overlooking the surroundings as well as a fabulous spa.

Allow the staff to serenade you, as you sip on a G&T alongside the fireplace with your favorite novel in hand, this is what dreams are made of.

2. Kagga kamma Nature reserve - Cederberg Mountains

For the millennial

HJ what could be more of an adventure than staying inside a cave suite in the middle of the Western Cape Mountains? With panoramic views of the breath-taking landscapes surrounding this nature reserve you’ll be able to enjoy and focus on the little things. Like the Elephant Shrew, the Scrub hare and the Rock Hyraxe, plus you can enjoy a perfect view of the sunset. The suites are skillfully constructed to integrate with the natural Sandstone formations.

We recommend booking the honeymoon suite, it is the biggest and most romantic unit oh and for the brave, try the open-air suites where the Milky Way is your ceiling.

3.Omega Luxury Mountain retreat - Clarens

For the economiser
Omega Clarens mountain view

Stay inside a cabin and be offered absolute isolation and seclusion. Just a short drive from Clarens main town lies this exclusive mountain retreat. It’s as superb as it sounds with gorgeous surroundings, a blissful environment and a romantic setting. The cabins are all self-catering and offer a quirky, colourful, eccentric interior and when you pour yourself a glass of bubbles and lie in your very own private Jacuzzi, the city woes drift on by.

Also important to note there are fantastic hiking and mountain bike trails.

This little gem is one that’s rather difficult to share because its that special and ridiculously affordable. So go on get lost in the Maluti Mountains and the scenic views, you wont regret it.

4. The Orient - Pretoria

For the trust fund baby
Orient Boutique Hotel Courtyard

There are nine exclusive suites inside this Francolin Conservancy and if you’re looking for an unforgettable staycation, this ticks all the right boxes. Expect Colonial and Moorish décor, eclectic plush interior and a romantic ambience.

Here you’ll be treated to true authentic, South African hospitality and you’ll fall in love with the manicured gardens and intricate touches of luxury. There is also a Tienie Pritchard Museum on site, 280 hectares of strolling walkways and you can even have a dabble in one of Europe’s most popular games- Petanque.

5. Dalmore Guest Farm - Drakensberg

For the weekend warrior
Dalmore Guest Farm Garden View

Andrew and Pippa Blackburn certainly chose a beautiful spot to create this little slice of paradise on and its an immaculately run guest farm. It’s a home-away-from-home and possessing a maniacal obsession for character and charm, it will soon become your firm favourite getaway.

Just 3 and a half hours from Jozi, entering the gorgeous farm grounds (greeted by harmoniously mooing cows of course) you’ll understand why they’re almost always fully booked. A morning workout is mandatory followed by a lazy afternoon, lounging around, preparing to watch a majestic sunset.

This is a picture perfect space with a communal dining area and swimming pool and endless mountain bike and hiking trails. Also you’re just a 5-minute drive from the nearest dam where you can enjoy a picnic, attempt fishing or even treat yourself to a swim.

We opted to stay in the rondavel accommodation, which we highly recommend, it’s charming and cozy and pretty darn cool sleeping in the Drakensberg Mountains in a rondavel. Bucket list- tick!

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