Great Escapes

By Staff Writer

Need a break? Here are some fabulous, affordable destinations and experiences for the whole family, be it for a quick day trip, a rejuvenating weekend getaway or a proper relaxing holiday.

Kusudalweni Safari Lodge & Spa, Limpopo

Kusudalweni Safari Lodge & Spa sits at the heart of the Guernsey Private Nature Reserve, a stretch of protected land within the world-renowned Greater Kruger National Park eco system in Limpopo and is home to an astonishing array of fauna, flora, numerous bird species as well as buffalo, giraffe, zebra, various antelope and much more. The nearest town is Hoedspruit, about 35km away.

Kusudalweni Safari Lodge & Spa was designed and built with one goal in mind: to provide guests with an authentic African safari experience in the midst of sheer luxury.

The Main Lodge is a spacious structure of warm, natural wood and thatch with ample verandas that wrap around our various dining- and entertainment areas. Here you will find a crystal-clear swimming pool, restaurant, curio shop, communal lounges and bar.

Stroll from your private luxury chalet down the meandering wooden walkways to enjoy a relaxing drink beside the pool as the heat of the day settles on the bushveld soil and take a moment to drink in the stark beauty of the African continent. Alternatively, get comfortable in the lounge and take advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi or learn more about the wonders of Africa in their well stocked library.

Meals at Kusudalweni are a relaxed affair and tailored to your individual requirements. Lunch is long, lazy and delicious and you can even choose to enjoy a special high tea in true Colonial tradition. Come dinner time and you are again spoiled for choice. The restaurant prepares a feast that can be served in the thatched dining area, on the open decking or around the campfire in the open-air boma. Settle in for the evening while their chefs prepare delicious dishes to tempt your taste buds. Afterwards while away the evening, enjoying drinks and catching up on the day’s adventures with your fellow travellers.

Sport enthusiasts will be happy to know that, although they steer clear of televisions and other distractions in their guest rooms, they do have a quiet lounge with satellite TV where big matches and other important events may be viewed. They also recently completed a stylish new cocktail lapa bar, where guests can watch the sun go down as they sip on a refreshing cocktail, expertly prepared by friendly barmen.

 

Contact Details: Tel Dave: +27 (0)63 302 6004, Maria +27 (0)63 302 5358 or +27 (0) 63 302 5358; email info@kusudalweni.co.za or bookings@kusudalweni.co.za; website kusudalweni.co.za/index.html.

Cape St Francis Resort, Eastern Cape

Situated 108km west of Port Elizabeth in the quaint village of Cape St Francis, you’ll find the Cape St Francis Resort and the luxurious beach villas, Beach Break. Privately owned and family run they provide accommodation in luxury beach villas set on the edge of the dunes.

The Resort is set in a unique setting with a selection of accommodation options from conventional hotel rooms, three- and four-bedroom cottages or luxury beach villas that cater to couples, families and anyone who loves a beach holiday. All are suitable for either a bed and breakfast choice or a self-catering option. You can choose between a sea facing or garden facing room or the entire villa which is ideal for families or friends travelling together. With a private swimming pool and direct beach access the villas are your ideal choice when looking for a beach destination.

For families they offer family-styled cottages a mere 200m from the beach. These cottages are tastefully decorated and have a strong beach theme and offer a fully equipped kitchen for those who wish to self-cater. Their one or two roomed apartments offer affordable accommodation set around a communal swimming pool and have all the facilities associated with a standard hotel room with complimentary Wi-Fi. Facilities at the Resort include Joe Fish Restaurant and bar, open daily, a Health and Beauty Studio as well as a convenience shop.

The area offers many activities such as walking and hiking, golf, surfing, cultural excursions, whale and dolphin excursions, visits to the penguin rehabilitation centre, or canal and river cruises to name but a few. Renowned as a water sport paradise with surfing, kite-surfing, surf ski and canoe paddling on the beautiful waters off both Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay’s as well as on the nearby Kromme River. For golfers, the top ten rated St Francis Links offers the keen golfer an excellent challenge of links golf with the nearby St Francis Bay Golf Club offering an easier but still challenging round of golf.

Contact Details: Tel +27 (0) 42 298 0054 or +27 (0) 82 494 3755; email seals@iafrica.com; website capestfrancis.co.za.

Hessequa, Southern Cape

Hessequa, the Khoi word for “people of the trees” is a part of the greater Garden Route that is still hugely undiscovered. It offers the adrenaline junkie and the nature fundi a treasure trove of delights. The region lies between the Langeberg Mountains and the Indian Ocean and stretches from the Breede River to the Gouritz River.

Whether it is warm hospitality, great adventures, surfing and diving, fishing or skiing on the Breede River, world class gourmet goods, unique aloe health and skin products or the world’s only Fijnbos Gin, it can be found in the Hessequa district. The area includes picturesque, historical towns and villages such as Gouritsmond, Albertinia, Stilbaai, Riversdal, Heidelberg, Slangrivier, Melkhoutfontein and Witsand. There is plenty of delightful and very affordable accommodation catering to all tastes to be found in these towns and in-between. There are many caravan and camping sites as well.

The biodiversity of the area holds a pleasant surprise for anyone with a wanderer’s soul. From water adventure and whale watching to biking and hiking, the opportunities to explore are endless. History and archaeology are in abundance and you can even experience how modern man survived the area with the help of the indigenous fauna’s unique properties and the ancient fish traps.

This is where the spirit of adventure kicks in. Forget about the outside world, equip yourself with a camera, a map (or rather GPS), water and something to nibble and set off on your own exploration journey and discover the hidden gems of this wonderful rural area. Visitors come to the area as tourists but leave as friends and ambassadors.

 

Contact Details: Tel +27 (0)28 713 8000; email info@explorersgardenroute.co.za; website explorersgardenroute.co.za.

Cango Wildlife Ranch, Oudtshoorn

Not a place where you can overnight, but a splendid place to spend the day with family and friends and meet some amazing animals. And there is plenty of very nice, very affordable accommodation nearby.

Located in the Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn on the famous Route 62, the Cango Wildlife Ranch, is home to over 90 species of amazing animals, the world’s first Croc-Cage Dive and a proud edu-tourism and conservation destination. Their aim is to educate visitors on their various endangered animals as well as to reconnect people with the wildlife.

The ranch boasts an impressive list of bird and wildlife species. The star attraction among the reptiles are of course the Nile crocodiles. Snakes include black mamba, emerald tree boa, boa constrictors, green anacondas, pythons and more. Birds range from the African spoonbill to the Australian rainbow lorikeet, Cape griffon vulture, greater flamingo, rose-ringed parakeet, ducks, hornbills and many more. Mammals, to name only a few, include African bush pig, blue duiker, pygmy hippopotamus, red-necked wallaby, meerkat, otters, foxes and more. There are also plenty of fish, lemurs, leopard, caracal, lion, and cheetah, tortoises and turtles.

The Cango Wildlife Ranch is celebrating 30 years of conservation efforts and success and guarantees a fantastic experience for all ages. They are open 365 days of the year. Included in your visit is an informative guided tour and full day access of the facility. They offer a unique encounter program which allows you a magic moment with one of their ambassador animals to help ignite awareness for their plight.

There’s also a KidZone that offers hours of entertainment for tiny tots, and their restaurant and tuck shop cater for all kinds of hunger pangs! At the Turtles Restaurant you can tuck into exotic meals like crocodile kebabs and ostrich steaks. For the more conservative diner they offer many more conventional meals and mouth-watering vegetarian meals. In addition the ranch offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences on their VIP tours, which include behind the scenes and personalized tours for those looking to learn more and get up-close and personal with their precious animals.

To find them, take the road that leads out of Oudtshoorn to the Cango Caves, but before you exit the town on the R328, you’ll find them nestled next to the Grobbelaar’s River on your left at 191 Baron van Reede Street.

Contact Details: Tel +27(0)44 272 5593; email info@cango.co.za; website cangowildlife.com.