KwaZulu-Natal is abundant in great spots for weekend escapes, and these are just 10 of our favourite value-for-money getaways.
1 Nutmeg Guest House
Looking for the perfect Midlands-based getaway? Howick is a great place to start. Its surrounds are made only more serene by landmarks such as the legendary Howick Falls, and it is jam packed with culinary attractions, such as Steampunk Coffee, The Farmer’s Daughter, and Yellowwood Restaurant. Accommodation-wise, we’d recommend Nutmeg Guest House, a lovely place catering to couples and families of up to five.
The Nelson Mandela Capture Site is both a cultural and commemorative must-see.
Six self-catering units make up Ingwenya Lodge, located on the Elephant Coast amid several natural treasures, including Ingwe Beach, the Umfolozi River and sprawling iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Of course, St Lucia itself is filled with numerous opportunities for an excursion, from hippo and croc boat safaris to night-time turtle tours. When you need a reboot, try Reef & Dune for a hearty meal and Thyme Square Coffee Shop for a pick-me-up.
Heritage Tours & Safaris offers numerous adventures in the St Lucia area. Perhaps the most rewarding is the full-day Big Five Safari through the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve.
3 Dolphin Point Bed& Breakfast
Dolphin Point is the perfect family stay in Amanzimtoti, and there’s plenty on offer in the coastal town that will appeal to weekend warriors of all ages. Parents can tee off at Amanzimtoti Country Club, the kids canhave fun at Go Bananaz Adventure Park, and the whole gang can mosey on to Funland Entertainment Centre, where dodgem cars, tenpin bowling and a good steak can all be enjoyed. Horse riding and diving are also available, offered by Gary’s Beach Rides and Aliwal Dive Centre respectively.
The whole family should visit Splash Water World, whose offerings include water slides, minigolf, an ice-cream station and wholesome meals at The Thirsty Whale.
4 Bancroft Bed & Breakfast
This elegant B&B is close to where Hilton meets Pietermaritzburg, specifically the area surrounding the Queen Elizabeth Park Nature Reserve. In the other direction are numerous highlights that represent Hilton’s impressive culinary and cultural output. These include Arusha Designs, a gallery showcasing art and design in various forms; eateries such as La Popote Restaurant and Taste of Thai (which also has a spa); and The Ellen Bird, a family-oriented centre partly comprising a gift shop and a cafe.
Hilton has its very own natural park, the Doreen Clark Nature Reserve, which is a wonderful place to take a stroll (or a hike) and have a picnic.
5 Durnford’s Lodge
Expansive lawns and an impressive swimming pool aren’t this lodge’s only selling points. It’s also based in Ladysmith, which brims with historical significance. Highlights include the Siege Museum, which offers some insight into the Anglo-Boer War; the awe-inspiring Soofie Mosque; and the Mahatma Gandhi statue. Don’t forget about Ladysmith’s natural surrounds, which encompass the Spioenkop Dam Nature Reserve, Nambiti Big 5 Private Game Reserve, the Klip River and (about an hour and a half away) the Northern and Central Drakensberg.
More than 10 battle sites are situated around Ladysmith’s outskirts, including Wagon Hill, where the Burgher Monument is now located.
For more of the best weekend escapes in KwaZulu-Natal, pages through your December issue of Escapes.