View of the pool at Pablo House Melville

Let us introduce you to three diamonds on our doorstep.

We’re not quite sure what possesses Joburgers to travel off shore when we can just take advantage of our own unique landscapes. It’s not just our countries scenery that’s captivating but it’s our culture too. As you begin to meander through our countries diverse paths you’ll too realise why there is no place like home- sweetly put, local is always lekker.

So whether you’re up for a long haul self drive journey or a ten-minute drive, we’ve chosen our top local picks to give you some domestic travel ideas.

Pablo House

Your Melville Muse

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 break away is an absolute must do. Not only is this a true rare hidden Jozi gem but also it is also beautifully designed and intricately architectured. Nestled in what seems like a tree house their 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, it feels as if you’re rooted deep in nature. It’s rustic and charming and has a calming and tranquil ambience.

Where you’ll stay: each room has its own unique view and large windows maximize this, with gorgeous bathrooms fitted with a rain shower, a Nespresso coffee machine, a trendy Marshall speaker and a 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 each a standard double room, 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 then the crème de la crème, where we recommend you book is suite 8- the deluxe loft, which accommodates up to four guests and is a double story dream come true. There is a kitchen and fridge, which allows for a self-catering option and a beautiful dining room, a self-contained workspace, lounge area and expansive bathroom. This self-contained oasis boasts its very own private terrace; 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 hotels 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 yes you guessed it, an unbelievable view of the Melville koppies.

What you’ll remember: the Dos Manos restaurant pizzas (on site) and the exquisite depiction of local art celebrated all over the property. Gloat to friends about art by South African artist Richard Smith, South African photographer Fausto Becatti and South African artist Julian venter.

3 4th Ave, Melville


New Holme Country House

The Karoo’s crown jewel

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

Transport required: 7 hour self-drive from Johannesburg.

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 type 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 mesmerizing Karoo Gariep Nature Reserve, alongside the Seekoei River and is completely secluded and tucked away far from civilization. Lapping up this this secret sanctuary is a fortuitous leap into a simpler life. Occasionally we’re drowned with frills and fancy trappings well this is where you’ll find solitude and exclusivity and appreciate that you cannot buy atmosphere.

Where you’ll stay: once you enter the nature reserve, over the dusty road there is a diamond waiting to be discovered. There are 5 accommodation options to choose from consisting of: the Mieliefontein Karoo Guest Farm; the Wolmade self-catering cottage, Stoffels Rus self catering log cabin, the Karoo Gariep tent and the incredibly extraordinary New Holme Karoo Guest House. Hands-on owners PC Ferreira and his wife Marisca have one secret ingredient to the success of this guest farm and that’s everything they’ve created radiates with love. Not only will all the natural beauty bewitch you, squealing piglets and sprawling landscape but so too by this husband and wife power duo. Combining her culinary skills in the kitchen and his outdoor talents, this small country escape is impeccably brought to life.

The comfortable en-suite rooms are all individually decorated, farm style, have electric blankets, air conditioning and tea and coffee stations.  If you’re visiting in summer be prepared for scorching sun filled days so you’ll be pleased to know there is a gorgeous pool on the property too. 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, daily birding drives, a sundowner trip to the hippo pool and an after breakfast walk to see the Koi San etchings, while owner PC regales stories on the history of the region.

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

Nyati Safari Lodge

The Kruger's best kept secret

If you’re looking for: a luxurious all-inclusive family vacation in the wild.

Transport required: 6 hour self-drive from Johannesburg.

Pet friendly: There plenty fluffy animals upon arrival to keep you company.

Nyati Safari offers the most stunning accommodation on the water in the Greater Kruger National Park. We’re not sure you’ll find a better location because the entire lodge and restaurant rests on the rivers edge. This means that you wont even need to go on the two daily game drives included in your stay because you have the best view in town right from your villa.

Where you’ll stay: as you arrive you’ll most probably be greeted by the grunts of the warthogs and the hippos bellowing laughs below. This is nature in her finest form, untouched and unspoiled. So wild in fact that this safari lodge is located within a private 10,000 ha Big 5 reserve. So when you’re basking in the sunshine on a lounger in your eight-sleeper villa, alongside your own private pool with a pool bar, you’ll know you’re in a five star resort in the center of the bush. This fantastic slice of paradise is where we recommend you spend hours; unless your tummy starts to grumble then visit their restaurant on site. (Bonus: they have a kiddie’s menu too). Just a short walk from your villa is where your daily dining experience occurs and while the sky is being painted rose gold, pink and sweet orange, order a glass of wine and relax.

Because the land begs to be explored ensure you go on at least one game drive a day. Undulating mountainscapes await you dotted with kudu and zebra and thus begins your wildlife escapade. You’ll be demanded to wind down and spend quality family time staring into this organic beauty. The game drives draw card is the sunset bush dinner, set among the colossal rocky gorges climaxing out of the landscape. Once it seems you couldn’t possibly become any more content, you’ll fall head over heels with the view and the traditional braai style cuisine.

Each family has their own experienced ranger and tracker on all game drives and remember they’re family friendly so if you need a closed vehicle for extra safety or kiddies car seats, they have it all upon request. They also offer cots in the villas, which have a self-catering option too.

The rates are all-inclusive and offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and two daily game drives. Children of all ages are welcome.

What you’ll remember: staring directly into your toddler’s eyes, him ogling the glazed hazel eyes of the male lion, it’s truly an unforgettable adventure!

Note: The lodge is currently offering a 50% discount to RSA residents!

30 minutes from Hoedspruit, Limpopo


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Wendy Carstens
5 months ago

Hi Bianca and Justin, So rewarding to see you back in the travel business!

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