Great Escapes

Need a break? Here are some fabulous, affordable destinations and experiences that the whole family can enjoy, be it for a quick break or a proper holiday.

Waterford Estate

Stellenbosch

For the perfect day-long getaway, nothing beats a visit to a genuine working wine estate that simultaneously offers an unspoilt indigenous fauna and flora experience. This is what you get at Waterford Estate, situated in the picturesque Blaauwklippen Valley, in the world-renowned Stellenbosch wine region.

The owners of Waterford Estate have chosen to use only half of the total 120 hectares of their land for the planting of vines in order to preserve and maintain the natural fauna and flora on the estate. Waterford Estate is owned by the Ord family and has since 1998 been developed under the watchful eye of Kevin Arnold, cellar master and managing partner.

The Waterford Estate winery offers a relaxing setting where guests can sit and enjoy various tasting options. With the wine cellar built  to surround the courtyard, guests can observe the workings of the winery and get a true feel for the wine-making process without disrupting the tranquillity of their tasting.

In addition to the cellar experiences, guests can also enjoy two vineyard experiences – the Wine Drive Safari and Porcupine Trail Walk. This is in line with the Estate’s stated mission of giving their guests  an experience that explores all the senses– sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. In this way they believe their guests can best experience both what is inside and outside the bottle. They call it, ‘the Waterford Way’.

The Wine Drive Safari is a unique three-hour trip on their safari-type vehicle through the 120-hectare Estate on the beautiful slopes of the Helderberg mountain. The Cape is home to the largest and most spectacular concentration of flowers and plants found anywhere on earth, and the Estate intends to play a small role in preserving the Cape Floral Kingdom by using only half of the property for the planting of vines, while showing guests some of the Cape’s natural beauty. The Wine Drive Safari allows guests not only to experience the natural beauty of the estate, but also provides the chance to taste their award-winning Estate wines amongst the vineyards of their origin wh8ile being expertly guided through all the aspects of what makes this area so biologically diverse and viticulturally unique.

The idea of the Porcupine Trail came from the fact that Waterford Estate is situated in one of the world’s most visually arresting pockets of paradise which the owners wished to share with their guests. As a result they designed three different hiking routes at different levels of intensity, which explore both vineyards and the natural fynbos.

They also offer guests the superb Wine and Chocolate Experience… a unique flavour experience. Working closely with Greyton chocolatier, Richard von Geusau, Kevin Arnold meticulously developed the Waterford Estate Wine and Chocolate Experience, where guests are given extra special attention upon arrival and during their time at the Estate. There are three inspired pairings – the Kevin Arnold Shiraz with a Masala Chai Dark Chocolate, the Waterford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon with Rock Salt Dark Chocolate and the Heatherleigh Noble Late Harvest paired with Rose Geranium Milk Chocolate. Don’t delay, book your stay and these experiences now!

The Waterford Way is to be prosperous. To flow with nature’s cycles, seasons and chapters, and to achieve longevity by continuing and perpetuating what has worked before. You’ll find the Waterford Way in the citrus, lavender and rosemary aromas that welcome you as you drive up to the entrance. You’ll find it in the gravel that connects you to the earth, and in the sky above the Mediterranean courtyard where you sip your wine.

In this way Waterford Estate welcomes you to their world, a world where the passing of time and the change in seasons only add rich layers of character and charm to the total living experience.

  • Contact Details: Tel +27 (0)21 880 5300; email info@waterfordestate.co.za; or website waterfordestate.co.za. For Wine Drive Reservations and Porcupine Trail email isabelle@waterfordestate.co.za or Tel +27 (0)21 880 5308; and for wine tastings cellardoor@waterfordestate.co.za or Tel +27 (0)21 880 5316.

aha Alpine Heath Resort & Conference Centre

Northern Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal

 

Tucked away in the foothills of the Drakensberg – South Africa’s highest mountain range – the aha Alpine Heath Resort & Conference Centre, an award-winning four-star, self-catering mountain village, is the perfect getaway destination. It’s also ideally situated midway between Durban and Johannesburg.

The resort gives families and nature-lovers the opportunity to explore their surroundings with luxury Drakensberg accommodation as a home base, whether it’s for a day, a weekend or even longer.  All of its newly refurbished 100 Deluxe Chalets are self-catering, superbly equipped and offer breathtaking views of the majestic Drakensberg mountains. Each chalet has private braai facilities, a comfortable lounge, kitchen dining area, a fireplace and patio, plus the convenience of a telephone, satellite TV and good cellular reception.

“My chalet was luxuriously appointed, fitted with all  amenities and everything one might need,” said Zainab Achmat of Mzanzitravel’s team who spent an unforgettable weekend there. “When I woke up after my first night there I was greeted by nature’s own canvas – an absolutely amazing view. It made me itch to get out there and explore the resort and its surroundings.”

If you don’t feel like cooking, head over to Gruyéres Restaurant or Pizza Inferno Pizzeria – their menus are known for delicious meals that cater to all tastes. And in case you need groceries or trinkets to take home, pop in at the unique Village Market. After a day’s activities out in nature, you can relax at Muzo’s Studio Bar or the Pool Bar where you can also order snacks.

The resort also boasts superb, fully equipped conference venues. Choose from a variety of thrilling and relaxing teambuilding activities, as well as unforgettable dining experiences at the on-site restaurants or the Umziki all-weather boma on the dam. And should you book all 100 chalets, exclusive use of the resort and its facilities are guaranteed. From hosting your dream wedding to a prestigious gala dinner, team-building weekend or year-end function, the resort and conference venue come with the scenic mountains, an all-around unbeatable, majestic backdrop to any occasion.

“Exploring the resort took my breath away. I stood there absorbing the beauty of nature all around me and felt all the stress and anxiety of city life just disappear. I felt completely at peace with myself,” said Zainab.

“On the way back to the reception area I spotted the pool area, a mini gym, mini golf centre (putt-putt) and tennis courts. Looking for the restaurant, I came upon a beautiful peacock walking through the building as if he was a regular guest. After he displayed his feathery beauty for us I found the restaurant which, for me, included the bonus of being halal friendly.”

On-site activities include board games, miniature golf, tennis, and trampolines to fishing, volleyball and swimming. There’s also a Wow Kids Zone. To relax in the true sense of the word, you may treat yourself to an experience at their stunning Be Spoilt Beauty Salon and Spa. For those who are more active there’s horse riding, hiking and mountain biking.

 

Hotel Deutsches Haus

Swakopmund, Namibia

 

Whether you are looking for something different for your next holiday, or you have never been to the wonderful experience that is Namibia, or you have but want to return for more, the 3-star Hotel Deutsches Haus in the coastal city of Swakopmund is the ideal base for an unforgettable visit.

 

Located within the town centre of beautiful Swakopmund, Hotel Deutsches Haus offers a charming ambience and prides itself on excellent service, their lovely spacious and comfortable rooms,  and their widely renowned restaurant and popular bar.

In addition they offer a full in-house laundry service, conference facilities catering for up to 25 persons, fast and free internet throughout the hotel, and a reception desk that is open 24/7. Their friendly reception assistants are always happy to assist with flight confirmations, bookings or other assistance.

Their refurbished rooms comprising of single, double and spacious family rooms are all en suite and come equipped with satellite television, direct dialling telephone, room safe and heater, as well as a tea/coffee station. Hair dryers are provided in each bathroom.

The hotel’s restaurant opens daily at 6am for breakfast. The lunch menu is available from 12h00 and dinner starts at 18h00. Their meal specials as well as a range of delicious cocktails are available daily and can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors on their rooftop terrace, which is perfectly suited for those warm African summer days. It is truly recommended that you try their delicious range of both international and local cuisine. There is an a la carte menu, as well as a gluten-free menu, a kiddies menu and a wine and cocktails list.

The hotel has limited secure parking available inside the premises and a security guard on duty all evening to watch over the cars and busses parked in the street in front of the hotel. Looking for a gift to take home for someone or a souvenir for yourself? You are sure to find it in their small souvenir shop in the reception area. There’s also a small beauty salon on site.

Enjoy a relaxing drink in the hotel’s cosy bar after a long day of exploring the town, coast and desert. Swakopmund is Namibia’s second city and is truly a bustling, cosmopolitan centre with lovely shopping malls, restaurants, pubs, beaches and more. Enjoy fascinating guided tours in the sand dunes of the Namib Desert or explore the coast up to Cape Cross with its enormous seal colony.