1. The Owner’s Cottage, Franschhoek
A haven of quiet taste and luxury on one of the finest wine estates in Franschhoek with a superb restaurant – what more could one want for a quiet weekend in the Winelands? The ‘cottage’ itself is beautifully furnished and has a very private pool area with an elevated Jacuzzi overlooking the vineyards – just the place for sundowners à deux. The generous lounge area with a dining room overlooking the lawns and pool is furnished in a quirky yet ever so tasteful style, a kind of colonial ‘Out of Africa’ ambience, low key and elegant.
The bedrooms are about as cosy as you can get, with a TV console that rises out of an ostrich skin-clad bureau, nice and discreet. The Cottage has four rooms that can be booked as one, so you can really be private, or maybe take some guests, as you prefer. There is also a delightful suite, set apart from the main building, called The Angels’ Suite, very private and romantic, and popular with newlyweds, which has been the choice of some very high-profile guests and celebrities over the years, so they tell me. Gracious! – Greg Landman
The Owner’s Cottage: 021 876 8600, [email protected]
2. Amakhosi Safari Lodge, Zululand
“Good design lies down quietly and behaves itself,” said Canadian photographer Freeman Patterson. How refreshing to find a bush lodge designed to behave that way – with elegant quietude. Situated under tall acacias on the bank of the Mkuze River, the main lodge has six luxury river and two romantic honeymoon suites, all with decks overlooking the river. A leopard’s leap away is the secluded, two-bedroomed, fully equipped IsiGodlo villa. With only the sounds of birds and the rushing river, this is a place to get into the rhythm of the bush while lazing in the lap of luxury.
At the heart of Amakhosi are the friendly and professional staff, the interesting and sometimes challenging activities and the gastronomic offerings. Whether it is breakfast after the early morning game drive or dinner around the campfire in the boma, the taste buds applaud with gusto. For the more adventurous of spirit, there are nocturnal frog safaris or game tracking on foot in this Big Six game reserve – cheetahs are added for their special appeal. Just make sure that the day ends with sundowners at AmaKhosi lookout point, to celebrate the incomparable view of Northern Zululand’s majestic mountains and hills. Amakhosi is situated 40km west of Pongola in a malaria-free zone. – Anita de Villiers
Amakhosi Safari Lodge: 034 414 1157
3. The David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa, Livingstone
Some 5km upstream from the grumbling Victoria Falls and 8km from the bustling centre of Livingstone, its most important distance is relative to the tranquil banks of the Zambezi. The David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa occupies an inimitable bend of the mighty river, overlooking Siloka Island and inside the quiet Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. The timber and thatch main building blends comfortably with the natural surroundings and makes an ideal spot for cocktails and meals on the patio, usually watching a sunset or train of elephants lumbering across the water from an expedition into Zimbabwe.
The lodge birding guide lists more than 150 species, several of which can be ticked off from any of the 77 rooms with private patio, or even the glistening pool and lawns that abut the waterside. Evening cruises on the Lady Livingstone, and a soothing hour or two at the in-house spa, are The Livingstone’s signature memories for most visitors. – Ian Macleod