Accommodation Bela-Bela-(Warmbaths) South Africa

Popular Destinations

Popular destination Cape Town : Accommodation in Cape Town as a popular destination

Voted Favourite Foreign City by the UK Telegraph, Cape Town is one of the places you just have to visit before you die. It's an awesome city. All the vibe you want - great parties, great shopping and loads of galleries and other cultural attractions can't detract from the fact that what makes Cape Town special is the fact that it is set in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Even Sir Francis Drake, who'd pretty much seen it all, called Cape Point the 'fairest cape in all the circumference of the world'. It's a needle-sharp promontory, which - contrary to marketing hype - does not divide the Indian Ocean from the Atlantic. But Capetonians claim it does and you can often see a line of foam heading straight out from the point - possibly all the way to Antarctica - which certainly divides the False Bay Coastline on the east from the Atlantic Seaboard on the west. And the Peninsula Mountain Chain forms a high-lying spine all the way from Cape Point to Table Mountain above the city. Most of this high lying ground is part of the Table Mountain National Park, which also includes Boulders Beach and its penguins, and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens that showcases South Africa's fabulous floral heritage as well as hosting some great concerts among the flowers. Table Mountain is the soul of Cape Town - its emotional heart and touchstone. Many Capetonians escape to the slopes of the mountain on weekends and after work as a regular - well, it's almost a pilgrimage. There are literally hundreds of walks on the mountain. Cape Town is the epicentre of the Cape Floral Region, which is a world heritage site. Another great thing about the Peninsula and its mountains is that Cape Town has virtually two different climates in one city. When the wind is blowing on one side, the beaches should be warm and sheltered on the other - and even when it's raining on one side, you may get bright sunshine on the other. It's all a kind of yin yang thing - opposites balancing - the dark and light side of the mountain and all that esoteric stuff. And speaking of which - Cape Town is not just a beautiful city with fantastic beaches, a national park, an awesome mountain and beautiful flowers. No - it's also a great city. It's a place where residents and visitors alike work hard and play even harder. Cape Town accommodation is plentiful and there's something to suit every budget but it is highly advisable to book ahead, especially over the Christmas season (December to mid-February) and during the Argus Cycle Tour (usually mid-March). The greatest density of Cape Town hotels, boutique hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, guest houses and self catering apartments and holiday villas are situated in the City Bowl area and immediate South Atlantic Seaboard belt, all within a 10 minute drive from Cape Town City Centre and the V&A Waterfront. Highly desirable suburbs like Tamboerskloof and Oranjezicht spill down the slopes of Table Mountain towards Gardens, Cape Town City Centre, De Waterkant and the exclusive Waterfront. From the Waterfront the dazzling Atlantic coastline curves south, fringed by the seaside suburbs of Green Point, Sea Point, Bantry Bay the ultra glamorous suburbs of Clifton and Camps Bay. Unless you tie on a blindfold and lock yourself in your hotel room, there is absolutely no way you can get bored in Cape Town. There are so many things to do. If you're into shopping, the V&A Waterfront is just one of many shopoholic's dream venues but it stands out as it has so much more - boat trips, the embarkation point for the Robben Island ferry, the Two Oceans Aquarium, loads of interesting historical buildings and some of the city's best hotels with possibly the best views in the world. Cape town offers a whole range of exciting adventure activities, great birding, awesome whale watching, historical buildings, and dozens of museums outlining the city's fascinating history and its many cultures. An easy day trip from Cape Town, the Winelands offer great scenery, white-washed gabled farmhouses nestling in bright green vineyards, lovely little restaurants, great coffee shops and - of course - wine tasting sales and cellar tours. When the sun goes down you can choose between hundreds of great restaurants and a huge range of funky pubs, vibey clubs and a wide selection of movies, theatre and live music. Cape Town is also home to one of the most outrageous parties in the world. The Mother City Queer Project is a themed costume party in December that is fast becoming one of the most popular gatherings - certainly in South Africa - and possibly the world. And shortly thereafter, the traditional Kaapse Klopse minstrel dancers take over parts of the city streets in a tradition that stretches back hundreds of years to the era when slavery was legal in Cape Town. Don't forget to pack your dancing shoes. Other areas close to Cape Town you may like to explore include the dramatic West Coast, which offers great birding along the shores of Langebaan Lagoon, Namaqualand, which has even more spectacular spring flowers, and the Overberg, famous for land-based whale watching. It also features lovely flowers in spring. Cape Town is not the best game viewing destination in South Africa, but there is some small game at Cape Point and there are a few game farms a short distance from the city, but they're not really up to the standard of the game reserves further north and east.

Popular destination Durban : Accommodation in Durban as a popular destination

High up on the east coast, Durban is South Africa's sub-tropical beach getaway. The city centre overlooks a long, golden beach that is probably the single most culturally diverse spot in Africa. Here you will find frolicking families of every hue, busy executives out for a quick lunchtime jog, teenagers in full breeding plumage, elegant sari-clad matrons strolling the sand, buff surfers running into the waves, and bead-bedecked sangomas collecting therapeutic sea water in bottles. Durban is actually all about the beach. It is home to South Africa's only surfing museum, and is one of the most surf-friendly cities in the world. Frustrated wage slaves can look out of their office windows onto awesome breaks - and then shed the tie and jacket or the high heels and paddle out straight after work. Durban is the closest seaport to Johannesburg and is also an integral part of the city. As well as all the usual container docks it has not one, but two yacht clubs and a great little cultural spot right in the middle of the harbour - the BAT centre. Short for the Bartle Arts Trust, the BAT Centre is a hotbed of local visual art and musical creativity mixed in with some good restaurants, coffee shops and pubs. All overlooking the small boat harbour so you can sip cappuccino while watching stubby-nosed tugs coming in to rest after a hard day pushing supertankers around. Durban Bay is one of the better natural harbours on our coastline. Its narrow opening is protected by a huge headland, called the Bluff, on one side and, on the other, a point called Point - granted not the most imaginative of names, but it's a cool place. Here you'll find another batch of fun eateries where you could - if you were sufficiently anti-social and quite strong - pitch a beer bottle onto a passing container ship as it enters or leaves harbour. Close by is the newly built uShaka Marine World - a state of the art aquarium, wet playground and shopping mall, where children of all ages can ooh and aah at the sharks in the predator tank, snorkel with the fishies (the cute little ones, not the sharks) and watch dolphins performing. The whole Point area is the most interesting part of Durban. At one stage it must have been very fashionable indeed, but then - well, you know, cities are living things and they grow and change - it went downhill. A drive along Point Road will reward you with the sight of row upon row of abandoned art deco warehouses and factories - but not for much longer. Already the developers have set their sights on this little treasure, and there'll pretty soon be loft-style apartments, boutique hotels and designer malls. The beachfront is lined with multi-storey hotels and restaurants, with unashamdely kitsch attraction, like a huge pool complex and a snake park. Curio sellers line the walkways and dramatically outfitted rickshaw-wallahs offer rides and photographic opportunities. The best part about Durban's beachfront, though, is the water temperature. It's rarely below 20°C, which makes ogling those tanned, buff surfers just so much more interesting, as they don't wear wetsuits. Accommodation in Durban itself is conveniently concentrated along the beachfront or Golden Mile, close to the Durban central business district. Slick, high rise Durban hotels with sea views and swimming pools proliferate along this lively strip. Another area that's close to the beachfront and CBD with more hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts and affordable self-catering apartments and villas are the leafy suburbs of Berea and Morningside, well endowed with exceptional restaurants and shopping malls. It is highly advisable to book accommodation in advance during peak season (December and January) as scores of holiday makers descend upon all the beach locations in Durban. Durban North is also an extremely popular choice with holiday makers. Durban is in the middle of a vast sugar-growing area that was originally worked by indentured labourers from India, many of whom stayed, started businesses and built homes. Durban has the largest population of Indians outside of India. There is a vibrant Eastern feel to the city, a huge spice market, decorative mosques, fantastic temples and - best of all - great food. You'll find dozens of good curry restaurants and you just have to try a bunny chow while you're there. It's a half or quarter loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with curry. Eaten with the hands in the street, it's an obligatory Durban experience. There's lots to do in and around Durban City. Many people just park off on the beach, especially on the North Coast, or South Coast, both of which are within an hour's drive of the city, and there are loads of restaurants, some excellent theatre and music, and wild and funky nightlife. The surfing is great right in the city and also up and down the coast. There's some reasonable diving in Durban Bay but the South Coast has some truly world class spots - and it's a great place for pretty competent and confident divers during the annual Sardine Run. If you spend much time at all in the sea, you should consider a visit to the Sharks Board in Umhlanga, just north of the city, where you can learn all about these fascinating creatures. They're not the bloodthirsty killing machines they're made out to be in American movies. There are a couple of fun river trips, some nice abseiling, awesome sport climbing and small game farms not too far off and the North and South Coasts boast an almost indecent density of championship golf courses. Durban's cultural attractions are perhaps its most appealing diversions. There are Zulu cultural villages to visit, township tours and visits to mosques or the beautiful Temple of Understanding, which has an excellent, inexpensive vegetarian restaurant. Another interesting spot to visit is Inanda, which was the birthplace of both the Shembe religion and Natal Native Congress, which later became the African National Congress. It was also where Mahatma Ghandi, who lived there at the same time these two other movements were starting, pioneered the concept of Satyagrah, or passive resistance. Truly, a little crucible of world history.

Popular destination Margate : Accommodation in Margate as a popular destination

Margate is a delightful, surprisingly exciting, sub-tropical paradise of a town situated on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. It is the ideal base from which to explore the wealth of activities available here. Try your hand at deep sea fishing, enjoy the perfect diving conditions, revel in pleasure boat trips, go scuba diving, golfing, birdwatching, or just relax on the over four kilometer Blue Flag Status beach. Afterwards visit top restaurants, and experience the amazing nightlife. Margate has been a favourite holiday destination in South Africa for over 100 years. Its idyllic long, sandy beach is made safe by shark nets and the permanent presence of professional lifesavers. Close to the main beach is a lovely children's pool, a freshwater Olympic pool, and there are many pleasure crafts for hire.

Popular destination Ballito : Accommodation in Ballito as a popular destination

On KZN's North Coast, Ballito is a mega-tourist-friendly seaside resort with wonderful, safe, shark net-protected beaches. Tidal pools ranging from kiddies' paddling numbers to a full Olympic-sized pool offer safe bathing for all levels of swimmer and even non-swimmers. There is a lovely long boardwalk offering easy scenic beach walking and a more rugged trail all the way up to Salt Rock includes a short tunnel best attempted at low tide. The surfing is great at nearby Salmon Bay. Ballito is a great family destination with a sophisticated infrastructure – which means wall-to-wall development and loads of beachfront hotels. And, if that's not enough, it's less than an hour away from Durban, if you need a big city fix. Great shopping, wonderful restaurants and a vibey nightlife should keep the whole family occupied when they're not on the beach. There are microlight flips on offer for a bird's eye view of rolling sugar cane fields and dolphins frolicking in the waves. For grass addicts, there are four excellent golf courses close to Ballito – and they had nothing to do with the name of the town – which means little ball. But it is apt, isn't it?

Popular destination Bela-Bela-(Warmbaths) : Accommodation in Bela-Bela-(Warmbaths) as a popular destination

The small town of Bela Bela was previously known as Warmbaths – and for good reason. The town owes its existence to the immense hot spring that gushes to the surface at 53°C. There are a number of family resorts complete with waterslides, play parks and all the usual child-friendly facilities, some small game farms, and a range of wellness centres and spas. As Bela Bela is about an hour's drive from Pretoria and only a bit more from Johannesburg, its constant sunshine and a range of wellness facilities make this the perfect place to hide out for a while and recharge your batteries. But, if it's relaxation you're after, choose one of the less child-friendly resorts. You have been warned. And – in case you're wondering – the new name means "water that boils on its own".

Popular destination Hartbeespoort : Accommodation in Hartbeespoort as a popular destination

Hartbeespoort, also known as "Harties", is a small resort town in the North West Province of South Africa. It is situated on the slopes of the Magaliesberg Mountain and on the banks of the Hartbeespoort Dam. The resort is filled with quaint brick houses surrounding the large man-made dam. The small town is ideal for family day outings or a long-weekend holiday. There are enough adventure activities, restaurants and markets in the area to keep you entertained for days on end. Hartbeespoort Dam is the main attraction and it is perfect for water sports activities such as canoeing, para-sailing, windsurfing, jet skiing, tubing, and river rafting. The dam is sued for supplying irrigation water to the surrounding farmlands on which tobacco, wheat, lucerne, fruit and flowers are produced. Other exciting activities in the area include paragliding, hang-gliding, and hot air ballooning. There is a lovely, well-marked 15 km mountain biking trail which crosses over a Jeep track and a cattle farm. The trail runs alongside the Hennops River and there is an entrance fee which allows visitors to enjoy the braai facilities and swimming pools. There is also a two-day hiking trail and an off-road 4x4 trail alongside the river. The Hartbeespoort Dam Snake and Animal Park has live reptile shows, chimpanzees and a variety of cats, as well as a tea garden offering delicious light snacks. If you want to experience the majestic views of the Magaliesberg mountain range and the Hartbeespoort Dam with your loved ones, then the aerial cableway is sure to give you a thrill. There are several golf courses in the area, craft markets and Jasmyn Farmstall which sells fresh vegetable produce, cheese, rusks, nuts, and other goodies to spark up your palate. There are also many restaurants to choose from, most of them with lovely views of the dam and mountain.

Popular destination Johannesburg : Accommodation in Johannesburg as a popular destination

Johannesburg is about money. It's a city built on dreams of great wealth - literally built on gold. And while the gold mines are now on the outskirts of the city itself, it is money that drives this vibrant city that is widely accepted to be the economic powerhouse of Africa. Not many visitors actually put Johannesburg on their itineraries but most end up spending a day or two here anyway, as it is the main air traffic hub of southern Africa - in fact, of Africa. And guess what? After initially whingeing to their travel agents about having to spend a whole day here, many want to stay longer. Johannesburg has had very bad press. Sure - it's not Utopia, and it's a city where you need to keep your wits about you and preferably not much else, but it's not the criminalised war zone that's been portrayed in the media. And it's a truly vibey place. If you like cities, you'll love Johannesburg. It's been through a number of incarnations and - at the moment - it's poised on the brink of becoming a truly cosmopolitan African city. While most business moved to the leafy northern suburbs from the CBD (Central Business District) in the 80s and 90s, the inner city is slowly reviving and within a few years it's likely to be a thriving urban environment. The Newtown District, with the Market Theatre, Museum Afrika and the newly constructed Nelson Mandela Bridge, is the epicentre of the urban revival. There is a lot to do in Johannesburg - mainly of the urban and cultural bent but there are plenty of outdoor escapes. One of the most popular day trips in Johannesburg is a tour of Soweto, where you can visit struggle monuments, artists in their studios or a range of informal taverns and music venues. A similar tour, but offering a glimpse into a totally different type of urban community is that of Alex - or Alexandria Township. While also a black township, Alex is on the fringes of the very fashionable and expensive northern suburbs and grew organically to become the place it is now, which is in stark contrast to the engineered Soweto with its rows and rows of identical houses. There are loads of interesting museums, the most notable of which are Museum Africa and the Apartheid Museum at Gold Reef City, which is an otherwise rather kitsch, but fun, theme park centred on an old gold mine. Golf courses aplenty will keep even the most avid grass addict happy. You could watch the dancing Lipizzaner stallions at Kyalami - the only operation of its kind other than the Spanish Riding School in Vienna . It's a great outing on a Sunday morning. Or you could go for a ride in a hot air balloon , take a scenic flight in a vintage aircraft, or even do a short paddle on the Crocodile River. You could try your hand at skydiving, sandboard down a mine dump (big artificial dune made of mine tailings) or rapp-jump a skyscraper. You see - adventure doesn't really need the great outdoors. And - this is Johannesburg, after all - you could go shopping. Big Time! And if your credit card survives the many tantalising malls and you have money to throw away, you could have a flutter at one of a number of casinos. And Sun City , a world renowned gambling complex with one of the best golf courses in the country, is only about an hour's drive away. But the best thing about Johannesburg is its central position. It's just a hop, skip and a jump to the marvellous game lodges of Mpumalanga, Pilanesburg or Madikwe, the fascinating Cradle of Humankind, where you can muse on your origins, or the lovely relaxing and scenic Magaliesberg Wilderness Wilderness. Pretoria, with its many museums and historical buildings, great restaurants and even more interesting peripheral destinations, is just a half hour's drive away.

Popular destination Port Elizabeth : Accommodation in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is a great little coastal city with loads of great things to do, and a whole host of fantastic attractions right on its doorstep. It's big enough to have everything you'd really want from a city but small enough to occasionally feel like a village. There are wonderful beaches, good diving, excellent kitesurfing and windsurfing, and good surf. There are sailing trips from the harbour, as well as good whale watching. Among the many golf courses is Humewood, which is regularly voted in the top five courses in South Africa and is our only true links course. Transport buffs will enjoy a ride on the Apple Express, a narrow gauge steam train, or a visit to the St Croix Motor Museum with over a hundred vintage cars. Calabash Tours, which offers enlightening cultural trips all around the city, was one of the first South African companies to be FTTSA-accredited (Fair Trade in Tourism - South Africa) so you can be assured that, as well as being exposed to a different way of looking at the world, you'll be spending your money wisely. Bit of a win-win, don't you think? If you're into beautiful old buildings and history, you'll have a field day in PE. There is a self-guided walk round the central part of the city taking in some great old buildings and monuments but it's probably not a good idea to walk it alone. Go in a reasonable sized group or just chicken out and drive it. You could also do it as a guided trip, if you like. Among the interesting things you'll see are an early 19th century settler home, the Victorian Feather Market that was built during the ostrich feather boom, a beautiful Victorian library, presided over by a statue of good old Queen Vic herself, and a fascinating monument to Prester John - believed to be the only one in the world. Well, that's not really surprising as the only people who believed in his existence anyhow died out a few hundred years ago. In case you didn't know, Prester John was the mythical white ruler of a Christian republic 'somewhere in Africa' that led the early Portuguese explorers to proceed with (relative) confidence that they'd find a Christian, probably Catholic, ally on the 'dark continent'. There are also a host of museums in the city and an aquarium that is home to two captive dolphins. But there's more to Port Elizabeth than museums, memories and marine mammals. It's a great sun, sand and sea destination, with lovely weather and a beach for every reason, ranging from highly developed urban playgrounds to wild stretches of virtually deserted strand, where you can walk for miles or go for a long canter on the ocean's edge. While the surfing in the city is pretty good, it's nothing compared to that of the nearby towns of Jeffreys Bay and St Francis Bay. There is an active mountain biking community and a number of good mountain biking trails, including one along a green belt that cuts right through the middle of the city, and - a bit further afield - one in the Van Staden's Wild Flower Reserve, which is just awash with beautiful blossoms in spring. There is excellent hang gliding and paragliding, scenic flights in a whole range of aircraft and a dedicated flying school, where you can do a pilot's course at a pretty reasonable price (when compared to some venues in the northern hemisphere, anyway). There is some excellent game viewing within an hour's drive of Port Elizabeth, the most notable being the Greater Addo Elephant National Park, near the town of Addo, and Shamwari, halfway between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown and bordering on the town of Alicedale. Keen to get up close and personal with elephants at Addo? Check out accommodation near Addo Elephant National Park.

Popular destination East London : Accommodation in East London< as a popular destination

East London is a pleasantly laid back little city with lovely beaches and great surf. Pretty little seaside resorts stretch out to the north, eventually culminating in the fabulously scenic Wild Coast, where you can do coastal hikes - on your own or supported - horse trails, some gentle river paddling and awesome surfing. There are some small game farms nearby and fantastic hikes in the not too distant Hogsback Mountains. East London has some great cultural attractions, including a wonderful natural history museum, where you can see the only dodo egg in existence - but don't expect Jurassic Park, it's a bit dodgy. What isn't dodgy, though, is the fact that it was this museum that identified the first specimen of a coelacanth - there's a great exhibit outlining the history of this awesome prehistoric fish. Previously known only from the fossil record, it was assumed to be extinct, and is believed to be the missing link between aquatic and terrestrial animals. OK - one of the missing links - it's quite a long chain. East London has all the facilities you'd expect in medium sized city - good hotels, sufficient shopping opportunities, yummy restaurants and an airport - while still retaining the sleepy charm of a village.

Popular destination Langebaan : Accommodation in Langebaan as a popular destination

Langebaan is a smallish town on the edge of the immense Langebaan Lagoon, about an hour's drive north of Cape Town on the West Coast. The Lagoon is a water sports enthusiast's paradise with wonderful kayaking, fun snorkelling and some of the best windsurfing and kitesurfing in the world. In summer, migratory water birds arrive in their thousands from as far away as Russia. Schaapen Island, in the middle of the lagoon, is bird sanctuary so it's strictly off limits, but you can paddle really close to it and watch the gannets, gulls and cormorants squabbling amongst themselves. The West Coast National Park borders on the town and sweeps down to the southern end of the lagoon. It's a good place for spotting small game but the major attraction is the colourful spring flowers. The small settlement of Churchhaven, and the pretty Kraalbaai are both easily reached by paddling or sailing across the lagoon, or by road through the national park. Kraalbaai is noted for its many houseboats, some of which are for rent. There are bicycles and canoes for rent in the town, and the national park is a great place to cycle. There is a large casino resort close by, golf courses and numerous guest houses, some excellent restaurants and a fun beachfront pub.

Weekend Getaways

Weekend getaways Magaliesburg : Accommodation in Magaliesburg on your weekend getaways

The Magaliesberg is a beautiful low range of hills not far from the city of Johannesburg and close to the town of Magaliesburg. Note the spelling. Magaliesburg is the town, Magaliesberg is the range. But, hey, what's in a name? Magaliesberg is a fun little centre with a very countrified feel to it and loads of bucolic pleasures. Pick up a copy of the Magalies Meander map. It's a snazzy little marketing initiative that has linked together loads of fun products such as guest houses, museums, craft shops, restaurants and attractions as varied as South Africa's first gold mine, a hot air balloon trip, spas and wellness centres, and a cheese factory. It's also really close to the fascinating Cradle of Humankind. Now the Magaliesberg is even more inviting. Although not very high, it's a beautiful range with lovely flora, some small game and loads of beautiful streams, pools and waterfalls. It's a real escape from the frenetic urban conurbations of Pretoria and Johannesburg, and it's hard to believe it's so close. The hiking is legendary, there are some fun kloofing trips and some good climbing, too. There are horse trails in the area and South Africa's largest gliding club is situated nearby.

Weekend getaways Dullstroom : Accommodation in Dullstroom on your weekend getaways

Explore Dullstroom with it's exquisite fishing, fly-fishing, hiking trails, horse riding trails and picnic spots beside breathtaking waterfalls. Walk through an abundance of wild flowers and catch a glimpse of elusive fauna. Dullstroom dates back to the early 1880's when Dutch Settlers made their way to the place of "eternal mist". The town is situated at 2100 m above sea level, making this one of the highest towns in the country. The architecture in the town is a mixture of 19th and 20th century building designs. Dullstroom is halfway between Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park, making it the ideal stop over situated in the heart of the Highlands Meander, a beautiful part of Mpumalanga, noted for it's clear streams, lakes and beautiful scenery. Visit the fine dining restaurant at Peebles, an exquisite family owned boutique hotel situated in the centre of Dullstroom, with Rivendale Spa & Relaxation Centre situated on their grounds. Dullstroom boasts a Whiskey Bar with the largest selection Whiskeys in the southern hemisphere. It is also the host of a specialized clock shop with the largest collection of clocks in the southern hemisphere. Dullstroom is most notably known as South Africa's premier trout fishing area, it is also the only region in South Africa where you will find the endangered Blue Crane, Crowned Crane, and the endangered Wattled Crane. Named after a picturesque town in the Scottish Highlands, Dullstroom settles comfortably into the rolling hills which surround it.

Weekend getaways Hermanus : Accommodation in Hermanus on your weekend getaways

This lovely town, on the coastal area of the Overberg, is most well known for its awesome land based whale watching. Most of Hermanus' shoreline is rocky cliff, quite high above Walker Bay so it offers fantastic viewpoints from which to observe the huge southern right whales as they come into the bay to mate, calve and just hang out in the (relatively) warm water. (It's warmer than Antarctica.) A whale crier blows a horn made from kelp and informs locals and tourists alike where the whales are to be found at any given time. The whales usually arrive in late winter – towards the end of June or beginning of July – and stay until autumn, with the last stragglers heading back down south in November, or even December. The town holds a whale festival every year from the end of September to the beginning of October. There is a fabulous path, most of which is wheelchair-friendly, along the cliff top. As well as the lovely sea views and sightings of whales, there are many pretty and fragrant flowers. It is a wonderful path and it's generally safe but use your common sense and don't walk alone on it when there are hardly any other people about. There is also a boat based whale watching operator based in the New Harbour. Other attractions in this lovely town include a wine tasting cellar, a museum, in which you can see many exhibits pertaining to whaling and fishing, and a golf course. The nearby Hermanus Lagoon is a great place to sail or paddle, and the paragliding is excellent. The diving is great and Hermanus is a popular beach destination, even though there is only one beach. For nature lovers a visit to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve is a great way to get up close to the dainty montane coastal fynbos which attracts scores of jewel bright sunbirds and elegant sugarbirds which flit about the proteas. There are loads of marked trails for strolls or long walks taking in the extensive views of Walker Bay. Hermanus is just bursting at the seams with good restaurants, lovely guest houses and characterful hotels.

Weekend getaways Parys : Accommodation in Parys on your weekend getaways

Parys, a cosy agricultural country town, is situated in the Northern Free State about 120 km from Johannesburg. It is based within the Vredefort Dome Area, a well-known world heritage site where The Parys Dome Adventure Festival is held every year. It is one of the most exciting South African outdoor festivals, with the Dragon Boats race as one of the top highlights. The Vaal River stretches for about a kilometre into the town itself and visitors can enjoy fly-fishing, mountain and quad biking through the valleys, and hiking through the indigenous forests, streams and scenic mountains. Other activities include abseiling, bird watching, sunset drives in the wildlife conservancies, hot air ballooning, and horse riding. There are three beer breweries in the area where fresh honey beer, buchu beer, stout and porter beer are brewed. If beer is not quite up your alley, perhaps the brandy and liquor distillery will suit your taste buds better, offering 52 different types of traditional South African mampoer. If alcohol isn't your thing, then the famous Bon Af Berry Farm is only 20 km from Parys and you can pick a variety of fresh berries straight off the bushes. The Parys Golf and Country Estate is a championship golf course and boasts magnificent views of the Vaal River. Bree and Water Street are well-known for their arts and crafts shops and art galleries selling the artworks of well-known South African artists. There are many traditional restaurants around the town, offering a variety of South African culinary dishes as well as coffee shops serving delicious cakes and drinks. Parys won't leave you disappointed!

Weekend getaways Bettys Bay : Accommodation in Bettys Bay on your weekend getaways

City Trips

City trips Bloemfontein : Accommodation in Bloemfontein on your city trip

Bloemfontein is sort of the Cinderella city of South Africa. It's stuck out there on the N1 between Cape Town and Johannesburg. It has no Table Mountain, no ocean, and no big-city vibe. And no rush hour traffic, no road rage and no urban sprawl. It's just a nice little city in the middle of the country. The name, Bloemfontein, means Spring of Flowers - a rather pretty name that it does actually live up to. The city is planted with thousands of rose bushes, which makes for a fabulously colourful roadside display. A small nature reserve, strangely enough called Naval Hill, right in the middle of the city carries the green theme a bit further. Still on the floral and green theme, the Orchid House is a must for lovers of this beautiful plant family, of which South Africa has numerous species, and the Free State Botanical Gardens, on the outskirts of the town, is a real delight. Covering 70ha, large areas have been left in a close to natural state, showing the indigenous vegetation of the area, and creating a habitat for small game. There are lovely walks, a lawn to chill out on, a dam with a bird hide, a restaurant, an environmental education centre and an indigenous plants nursery. The more formal section of the garden includes a medicinal plants display and a garden highlighting water-conserving ways of gardening. There's the usual smattering of art galleries and some interesting museums, including the War Museum and the National Women's Monument - a poignant reminder if ever there was one of the futility and downright stupidity of war. OK - so Bloemfontein is not exactly the tourist mecca of the universe, but it's a good stopover place if you're driving the N1, and it's probably worth spending a day there if you have the time. There are decent restaurants, some nice pubs and some good live music venues. It's also the closest city to the Kingdom of Lesotho.

City trips Port Pretoria (Tshwane) : Accommodation in Pretoria (Tshwane) on your city trip

Affectionately known as the Jacaranda City for all the purple blossom-bedecked trees, which line its thoroughfares in summer, Pretoria is an elegant, quiet city that's a perfect contrast with its more frenetic neighbour, Johannesburg, just half an hour away. Pretoria has a long, involved and fascinating history - first as the capital of the independent Boer republic of the Transvaal, then as one of the three capitals of South Africa, it became an international synonym for apartheid. But that all changed in 1994. With Nelson Mandela's inauguration, the Union Buildings morphed overnight from a symbol of white, neo-colonial domination to one of true unity. And it's only one of the many landmarks in this cultural city. The Transvaal Museum boasts excellent natural history displays and is the home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at Sterkfontein in the Cradle of Humankind. Artefacts from the Iron Age state of Mapungubwe are exhibited at the Mapungubwe Museum at the University of Pretoria. The famous golden rhino, golden sceptre, golden bowl and various gold, ivory and copper ornaments, trade beads and Chinese ceramics are on display. Also worth visiting are the Cultural History Museum and the Smuts Museum, in Irene, just outside Pretoria. The fact that the iconic Voortrekker Monument still stands is a tribute to the inclusiveness of the new regime in South Africa. More adventurous travellers could do a short horse trail at the Voortrekker Monument or through the Premier Game Reserve, taking a careful look at some white rhino and a number of eland. Or perhaps a tandem skydive or a first jump at the Pretoria Skydiving Club, which is the largest in the country. The nearby town of Cullinan is the site of the discovery of the biggest diamond in the world. It's worth a visit; there are mine tours, lovely restaurants, beautiful stone buildings and - best of all - an on-site manufacturing jeweller where you can buy a stone from the mine and have it mounted in a custom -designed piece.

Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escapes

Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escapes Amanzimtoti : Accommodation in Amanzimtoti on your Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escape

Amanzimtoti is renowned for its awesome sandy beaches and an amazing selection of things to do. This vibrant family destination on the South Coast offers safe swimming, outstanding shore and deep sea fishing and incredible natural beauty along with great shopping facilities, restaurants and entertainment. Along with angling, Amanzimtoti is a popular place for surfing, paddle skiing and windsurfing. Between June and August the largest migration on Earth takes place, the Sardine Run. This incredible natural spectacle lures locals and tourists to the South Coast beaches to observe or scoop up the tiny fish. The ocean and sky above teams with birds, dolphins, game fish and sharks diving for their catch. Not too far South is the legendary Aliwal Shoal, one of the top spots in the world for diving with sharks.

Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escapes Umhlanga : Accommodation in Umhlanga on your Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escape

Just north of Durban, Umhlanga is the gateway to the KZN North Coast. Renowned for its fabulous beaches and party atmosphere, it's a great family holiday destination. Although they tend to get top billing, hyped up attractions like a casino and the Gateway, which is an enormous but rather fabulous mall, are the least of Umhlanga's attractions. Although the Gateway has supermarkets, boutiques, movie theatres, restaurants and hundreds of other retail therapy outlets, it's far from your average mall. The Rock – a 22m-high freestanding climbing wall – is the highest on the planet, and a cooking wave machine has a hectic tube and the only artificial double point break in the world. A mini 4x4 course, complete with mini four-wheel drive vehicles, completes the adventure collection. And – for the more erudite – the MTN ScienCenter is an adventure of the mind – exploring the outer limits of human knowledge. This is shopping with a difference! For a really interesting educational and entertaining outing, a visit to the Sharks Board is a real eye opener. Here you'll learn that sharks are not mindless killers but you'll also be reassured by the measures the Sharks Board takes to protect beach users from these rather maligned, but beautiful predators. But, more to the point, Umhlanga, which means "Place of Reeds" in the Zulu language, is a great beach and nature destination. The lovely old lighthouse, which still flashes out its warning signal every night, stands proud up on the beach, which has been awarded a Blue Flag for cleanliness, environmental standards and facilities. The O'Conner Promenade, which is a great place for a beach-front jog or leisurely stroll, leads on to the lovely Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve Nature Trail – a one-and-a-half-hour ramble through coastal forest, where you may see lots of birds, some vervet monkeys, and even the odd antelope. Other nearby nature destinations include the Hawaan Forest and Umhlanga Ponds, which are a magnet for water-fowl, and hence also a magnet for keen birders. Umhlanga, like the rest of the North Coast, is very well endowed with hotels, guest houses, shops and restaurants.

Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escapes Port Edward : Accommodation in Port Edward on your Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escape

Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escapes Richards Bay : Accommodation in Johannesburg on your Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escape

Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escapes Scottburgh : Accommodation in Scottburgh on your Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escape

Scottburgh is a tranquil seaside town overlooking the warm Indian Ocean and only a 30-minute drive from south of Durban. The town is situated on the mouth of the Mpambanyoni River and is well-known for its large surfing community. The stunning sub-tropical vegetation acts as a beautiful backdrop to the Indian Ocean and the warm weather all year around makes it the perfect holiday destination anytime. There are a few golf courses in the area, nature reserves and long stretches of sun-kissed beaches stretching from Scottburgh to Mtwalume, covering the towns of Umzinto, Kelso, Park Rynie, Pennington, Bazley, Elysium and Ifafa. Scottburgh is an excellent place for bird watchers, boasting more than 300 bird species. The restaurants in the area all serve a variety of delicious food and offer stunning views over the ocean. The Scottburgh Shopping Mall is your best bet for shopping for groceries in Scottburgh itself, however, there are other malls in the surrounding towns with various chain stores to choose from. Local events in the area include the annual Golf Tournament, the Africa Marine Expo, the Blue Marlin Bowls Tournament, Diwali, Scottburgh Mardi Gras and the Scottburgh Classic Car Show.

Wildlife Adventures

Wildlife Adventures : Accommodation in Kruger Park serounding areas

Wildlife Adventures : Accommodation in Kruger Park serounding areas

The small town of Bela Bela was previously known as Warmbaths – and for good reason. The town owes its existence to the immense hot spring that gushes to the surface at 53°C. There are a number of family resorts complete with waterslides, play parks and all the usual child-friendly facilities, some small game farms, and a range of wellness centres and spas. As Bela Bela is about an hour's drive from Pretoria and only a bit more from Johannesburg, its constant sunshine and a range of wellness facilities make this the perfect place to hide out for a while and recharge your batteries. But, if it's relaxation you're after, choose one of the less child-friendly resorts. You have been warned. And – in case you're wondering – the new name means "water that boils on its own".

Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escapes Johannesburg : Accommodation in Johannesburg on your Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escape

Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escapes Johannesburg : Accommodation in Johannesburg on your Kwazulu-Natal Beach Escape