Looking to escape the craziness of Joburg for a bit of a year-end break? If you haven’t managed to book any accommodation yet, you might be in a bit of a pickle. But all hope is not lost. Here are a few open-road getaways that’ll help you get your holiday fix.
Just over an hour outside of Pretoria, the Magaliesberg Mountains are said to be older than Everest. From Big 5 game farms, to quiet health spas, to some of the best hikes in the country, the Magalies Meander has something for everyone and every budget. One of the biggest attractions is the hot air ballooning – a quiet, yet breathtaking adventure floating above the mountains.
Another incredible stretch of untamed Africa lies only a few hours outside of Joburg. The Dinokeng region is diamond country. Cullinan Diamonds offers tours of their mine, which certainly makes for an interesting day out.The Dinokeng Reserve is also the region’s only free-roaming Big 5 game reserve, so you’re bound to be treated to some incredible sights.
Named after the Transvaal suikerbos (sugarbush) found all over the reserve, this little gem is a little over 13 000 hectares of wildlife-spotting opportunity. Drive along the miles of well-maintained roads for glimpses of cheetah, zebra and kudu. And for the ornithologists amongst you, there are thousands of bird species to enjoy. If you’re not up for the driving, then you can make use of the myriad of hiking trails, along which you’re sure to get a closer look at the diversity of fauna.
Purchase one of the many used cars in Gauteng for under R40 000, and drive a little over 3 hours out of Egoli. There you’ll find the Golden Gate National Park – a region famous for its sandstone cliffs and caves. The small town of Clarens is also a cultural hub, with arts and crafts markets dotted around the streets and some delicious small town cuisine. You’d do well to take a guided tour of the Cathedral Caves or a short hike up the Ribbokop. Or try your hand at some horse riding or mountain biking through the countryside.
These are just a few suggestions for the nature lovers amongst us. And all a proverbial stone’s throw from Joburg. So if you’re looking for the perfect end to your 2016, South Africa offers so much to do and there’s still time to prepare.