Pack up the kids and the dogs, and head out of the city for a weekend. We’ve found an ideal country haven you can enjoy with the whole family.
The Secret Valley, Cullinan
Less than two hours on the highway from Johannesburg and 12km outside Cullinan – the last few kilometres is on a dirt road and not recommended for sports cars – is this charming stone and thatch cottage. It is self-catering and sleeps four – one double bed upstairs and two sleeper couches in the lounge. The upstairs bedroom has magnificent views over the valley. The only problem is getting up and down the steep staircase. Perhaps it was designed to discourage children and dogs from disturbing your sleep? Accommodation is rustic, with dust covers on the furniture so everyone can relax. There is a fully equipped kitchen (including dog bowls) and all you really need to bring is food and drinks. Oh, and don’t forget the CDs and DVDs. There is a TV, but sports fans note there is no reception for that all-important rugby match. Afternoons were spent on the lounge chairs in the treed garden which is enclosed so the dogs can’t wander off, and in the evenings we gathered around the outdoor braai. Wild animals roam freely on this fenced 26-hectare farm in the valley of Zonkolol, which was ours exclusively for the weekend. There are several trails including a rocky hike down to the river, as well as shorter walks to sundowner and picnic spots. My best friends Tombi and Mango had a fine time running free and were out for the count on the drive home.
Words Nita Hazell
The SA Pet-friendly Directory is an invaluable guide to pet-friendly venues. Accommodation, as well as places such as cafés, pubs, markets, malls and hiking trails are included. The directory also supplies a wealth of info about services such as doggie daycare and training, kennels and catteries, vets and groomers, even pet-friendly car hire.
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