Great winter breaks

Winter will soon be upon us, and with many people looking to take a mid-year break, we selected a few enjoyable winter getaways…from day trips to longer sojourns. So relax, light a fire and get your feet up, or take a cosy winter drive to some amazing places.

Lion & Safari Park

The Lion Park, an established tourist destination, well loved by locals and foreigners alike, became a popular experience for all over the last 50 years. Having moved to the Cradle of Humankind in July 2016, this new must-see world class facility, called Lion and Safari Park, offers guests a memorable experience.

The new park offers a wealth of exciting activities such as animal interactions, guided game drives and self-drives.  You are guaranteed to get super close to some of Africa’s favourite animals whether you go on an informative guided tour or self-drive.  Guests also have the opportunity to engage in the experience of hand feeding a selection of animals including giraffes, ostriches and various other antelope species that roam freely on the 600-hectare property and frequently visit the wetlands in front of ‘the Wetlands’ Bar and Restaurant.

The Lion & Safari Park is home to a vast selection of indigenous species such as lion (brown and white), cheetah, hyena (brown, spotted and striped), leopard (including black leopard), wild dogs, sable antelope, kudu, and nyala, to mention only a few.

Guests can enjoy a variety of different guided tours. The trained guides turn every tour into an informative and educational trip as they share interesting facts. Tour options include; Lion & Wild Dog Tour, Mini Safari, Night tours (with predator feeding), Private Exclusive tours, Alex Tour, Cheetah and Lion Walks. The 3-hour Safari is the flagship tour which includes snacks and drinks on the bank of the Crocodile River. The famous animal trainer Alex Larenty promises to provide a fun-filled experience as he interacts with fully grown lions on the ‘Alex tour’.

The park is a paradise for children. The beautifully designed playground next to the restaurants will keep the young ones entertained. This makes the perfect venue for kiddie’s birthday parties. A day visit to the park also provides the perfect opportunity for schoolchildren to learn about the animals and various research programmes that the Lion and Safari Park is involved in.

The Bull ‘n Buck grill provides a premier dining experience with a top wine list and a delicious menu, with venison of course being the Grill’s speciality dish, complimenting that true African sensation. Alternatively, the Wetlands Restaurant is a great family choice to enjoy a quick meal whilst enjoying the view of antelope grazing meters away. Take a short walk from the restaurants to visit the meerkat, porcupine and mongoose enclosures.

Apart from being a world class tourist destination, the Lion and Safari Park turns any conference, function or event into something unique. The park’s photographic centre will capture your memories with a great range of printing options such as photo books, mugs, key rings, puzzles and more. The ‘5 dome shopping experience’ offers a vast selection of unique hand-crafted curios, jewellery and clothing, which make great gifts for those back home.

Entrance to the restaurants, curio shops and kiddie’s playground is free, and guests only pay for activities. The cost of a visit to the Lion and Safari Park is well priced for both local and international guests. The park is open 365 days a year, and is certainly an experience not to be missed.

For more information: Tel Lion Park at +27 (0) 73 083 2358 or +27 (0) 87 1500 100; Email catherine@lionpark.com.

Safari magic at Tau Game Lodge

During any visit to the Tau Game Lodge, your expectations will be exceeded many times over. After the rains this malaria-free region is always clad in picture-perfect green. The spectacle of myriad game at the waterhole, which is visible from all room and hospitality decks, will prove highly addictive.

 

The newly opened Reception, Lounge, Dining Room, leisure decks, Bar, Boma and two pools, of which one is an infinity design, is the stuff leisurely safari dreams are made of.

 

A glimpse of the waterhole from your room’s deck will convince you that this is the place to relax after lunch. You will be captivated by the pecking order right up to twilight, when reflections in the water of game parading at cocktail hour make for magical photographic memories.

 

The lodge is enclosed within the reserve, resulting in humans being subtly fenced in, while game, including several crocodiles, roam free in this safari haven, including the prolific bird life. Dinner in the boma makes for convivial memories, complemented by wholesome South African food. Dietaries are catered for on request. After a gloriously deep and satisfying sleep, you will be well-rested for the 5:30am game drive.

 

The game rangers know their turf and have excellent knowledge of the game, to which you will come in close proximity. This offers ideal opportunities for photographing game, including the bull elephants delicately foraging and breakfasting on new green flora after the rains, as well as the white rhino and their young.

 

From a spot known as Ernie’s Golf Course where you will stop for refreshments, you will be able to observe more game while savouring Amarula coffee and delicious buttermilk rusks. On your return to the lodge for breakfast, you may come across lions sleeping in the road. Or you may encounter some wildebeest with their calves.

 

Breakfast will be a jolly affair on the modern ‘Out of Africa’ style dining deck with guests usually still on a high after the wealth of game sightings on their morning safari. Once more, from here the vistas of game at the waterhole will mesmerise you.

 

The Tau Cubz Club, Tau Spa Oasis and Tau Conference Centre make this an ideal destination for family, leisure as well as corporate travel. Tau Game Lodge opened its 5-star safari doors in 1995 and offers 30 rooms, from Standard to Luxury to Family Suites.

  • For more information: Call Tau Game Lodge at Tel +27-(0)11-466 8715/17 or visit their website at www.taugamelodge.co.za.

The Constantia Wine Tour

he Constantia Wine Tour is a leading wine touring company in Cape Town that provides tours in the Constantia Valley, the origin of South African Wines. They have a selection of tour options available which include premium tastings, private rooms, exclusive access high up onto the mountains that look over the vineyards, cellar tours, meeting the winemaker, sit-down a la carte lunches and photographs taken throughout your day!

Constantia Wine Tours have a team of wine-loving enthusiasts and enjoy sharing their knowledge of the Cape Winelands and its delicious wine. To provide an authentic wine-tasting experience, they often spend time with the farmers, getting to know the latest news and events, so that they can provide you with the best wine touring experience possible.

If you are short on time the Half-Day Tour is for you. Come and take the morning or early afternoon to relax and appreciate the award-winning wines, and be swept away by the breathtaking views this region has to offer. You will visit two wine estates with a tasting at each estate; lunch is included at the second estate. You can expect to taste between 5-7 wines at each estate. The groups are always small – no more than 9 guests per vehicle – thus making each half day tour fun and personalised.

Included in the tour are cold water in an air conditioned luxury vehicle; a sit-down one-course a la carte lunch; wine tastings; photographs taken for you throughout the day; a branded hat in the colour of your choice; and a local, knowledgeable guide ready to answer your questions.

With the Full-Day Tour the company seeks to encourage both wine connoisseurs and novices alike to have a good time and a well-informed overview of the winemaking traditions that are uniquely South African. This is an ideal day trip for wine lovers as well as anyone who can appreciate the Constantia Valley’s history dating back to 1685. Guests can expect to visit between 3 and 4 wine estates (a 4th if time permits) and they will taste anything between 4 to 7 wines per estate. Lunch is included at the second estate.

Included in the tour is pick-up and drop-off at your accommodation in and around Cape Town; cold water in an air-conditioned luxury vehicle; a sit-down 2-course a la carte lunch; accredited photographer sending photo’s to you after your tour; entrance to museums where applicable; a branded hat in the colour of your choice; local, knowledgeable guides ready to answer your questions; and a cellar tour (optional).

The Ultra Premium Experience tour is designed for the more serious wine connoisseur and novice alike. Guests are taken on a 4×4 tour through the historic vineyard, where they will enjoy a bubbly picnic whilst overlooking the beautiful vineyard. A personal guide and wine expert will talk you through the wine production process from the moment the grapes come in until bottling!

Included in the tour is pick-up and drop-off at your accommodation in and around Cape Town; cold water in an air-conditioned luxury vehicle; premium tastings at 3 to 4 chosen farms of the day; MCC (bubbly) tasting on a private balcony overlooking False Bay; private cellar tour and private room tasting; a sit-down 3-course a la carte lunch; accredited photographer sending photo’s to you after your tour; a branded hat in the colour of your choice; and a 5-star reviewed experience guaranteed.

 

Zebra Country Lodge

Zebra Country Lodge is hidden away in a lush bushveld setting, exuding a distinct country feeling. Comfortable country living in a tranquil setting has never been more accessible and breathtakingly beautiful than this. This 400-hectare nature reserve is located only a thirty-minute drive north-east of Pretoria, bordering Dinokeng Game Reserve, the first free-roaming Big 5 residential game reserve in Gauteng.

Zebra Country Lodge encompasses three lodges, namely Mountain Lodge, Stables Lodge and Bush Lodge, each with its own distinct ambience and features.

Mountain Lodge provides luxury accommodation and executive suites. Guests can expect crystal blue skies and manicured gardens all complemented by rock features and bubbling streams. The breath-taking scenery at Zebra Stables is bound to mesmerize guests. You can also pay a visit to the Ndebele Cultural Village and the Shebeen where themed events and corporate functions are held. The rooms are decorated with an authentic African theme, reflecting the African culture and tones of the bushveld.

Bush Lodge offers thatched accommodation in a natural setting, surrounded by lush indigenous trees, typical of the region. The lodge offers an informal dining area and boma and boasts conference facilities and a swimming pool.

Zebra Country Lodge offers a wide range of activities suitable for the whole family. Revel in the countryside and scenic bushveld surroundings with a nature drive or Big 5 game drive into Dinokeng Game Reserve. Take part in a bush walk or any one of three hiking trails that range from 45 minutes to 3 hours.  Enjoy the large outdoor chess board, volleyball or a romantic picnic for two people followed by horse riding experience. Relax and rejuvenate mind, body and soul at the Zebra Spa. Treat yourself to a variety of massage and beauty treatments, while you enjoy the tranquil backdrop. True South African hospitality awaits guests at Zebra Country Lodge.

  • For more information: Call Central Reservations at Tel +27 (0) 21 4243122 or the Camp Office at Tel +27 (0) 12 443 6700, or visit their website at https://zebralodge.com/ .

Mabula Game Lodge

Idyllically nestled in one of South Africa’s finest game reserves, with an extraordinary view of the Waterberg Mountains, lies Mabula Game Lodge, an iconic gem situated just two hours from the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg. This well-known and much-loved destination is one of South Africa’s longest running game lodges, and is a favourite with both local and international guests.  

The lodge has recently transformed itself to offer guests, both old and new, an out-of-this-world bush experience, making it a comfortable, luxurious and affordable home-away-from-home for those in search of a romantic escape or unforgettable family holiday.  

As you enter the Mabula Game Lodge Reception, you will feel as if you have been immediately transported to the heart of the African bush, as rich and authentic African textiles furnish the vast main lodge. You’ll be greeted with a welcome drink by one of the warm and friendly staff, who are eager to make your stay as wonderful as you will have anticipated.  

Once you’ve settled in, enjoy a quiet drink -perhaps an Amarula on the rocks or a great glass of South African wine – before dinner at the delightfully appointed Legothla Bar. The Ko Bojelong Restaurant, with its new cold wells, will whet the appetite with a buffet offering of traditional South African favourites, from scrumptious carveries to a diverse array of cheeses, crackers and of course, dessert to name a few.  

The terrace at Mabula Game Lodge, surrounded by towering Baobab trees, chirping birds and a tranquil waterfall, is the ideal venue for a spot of afternoon tea and treats. The Ndlovu Boma, an all-time favourite with guests, creates a festive ambiance and a dining experience like no other. Enjoy your dinner under an African sky, with stars jotted across a canvas of black, while the fire crackles and traditional dancing takes place.  

Mabula Game Lodge also boasts a wonderful spa, offering a variety of exclusive treatments such as soothing facials and relaxing massages. The spa team only use the best products from the world-renowned skincare brand, Africology.  There are also many wonderful activities for the children to enjoy, giving parents a well-deserved break.

For those looking for a bush conference getaway or romantic bush wedding, Mabula Game Lodge is fully equipped with all the modern conference facilities and amenities to make your conference or wedding a great success.

Apart from the superb accommodation, charming dining experiences and fun activities (horse riding, quad biking and trail walks), you’ll have the opportunity to look out for four of the Big Five on one of the magnificent sunrise or sunset game drives.  

Conservation is very important to all involved at Mabula Game Lodge, and the reserve is home to the Ground Hornbill Project. Launched in 1999, this conservation initiative strives to combat the declining number of the endangered Southern Ground Hornbill, of which there are only about 1500 left in South Africa. Mabula has also helped reintroduced cheetahs to the reserve, monitoring their patterns and population in order to help conserve these beautiful creatures.