Wintry Weekends

Tintswalo Atlantic is a great intimate venue for a winter break.
Caroline Hurry

Cosy up with a roaring fire or wood-burning stove this winter. Caroline Hurry suggests six gorgeous getaways to relish the winter chill

  • Tintswalo Atlantic, Table Mountain National Park 

Located at the foot of Chapman’s Peak with dramatic views of the Hout Bay and Sentinel mountain peaks, Tintswalo Atlantic is a treat with its log fires and views of the stormy winter seas.

With log fires and cosy interiors, Tintswalo Atlantic is a great intimate venue for a winter break.

Each suite in this boutique lodge has a balcony or terrace on the ocean’s edge so you can breathe in the fresh Atlantic air as the waves crash below. Think luxury and serenity in one of the world’s most exquisite locations. You’re within easy distance of Camps Bay, Cape Town’s CBD and the Constantia Valley wine estates.

Tintswalo Atlantic has teamed up with South African National Parks (SANParks) to offer South African Wild Card holders 15% discount on accommodation at the award-winning lodge. Its restaurant is open to the public by reservation, and here too South African Wild Card holders will qualify for a discount (10%) on breakfast, lunch and dinner for up to 10 people (excluding drinks which are billed at full price).

  • Motseng, Lindani Private Reserve
A crackling fire in the Motseng lounge area, one of the Lindani lodges in a private Waterberg Reserve.

Offering total wilderness immersion in the Waterberg’s 3000ha Lindani Reserve, Motseng can accommodate 18 people, making it perfect for three-generational gatherings. Four separate dwellings provide relative solitude, while communal areas encourage bonding.

Days can be spent mountain biking, hiking, game spotting, or playing backgammon in front of a crackling fire in any one of their eight lodges ‒ all spaced at least 3km apart.

Motseng’s four separate dwellings provide relative privacy while communal areas encourage bonding.

Encounter giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, kudu, zebra, baboon, monkey, and warthog on every drive. Staff will deliver handmade meals on request or you can self-cater for complete privacy. Just three hours north of Johannesburg by car, Lindani is a malaria-free, child-friendly bolthole.

  • Quiet Mountain, Hekpoort
A crackling fire in one of the lounges at Quiet Mountain.

Needing a break from the children? An hour’s drive from Johannesburg or Pretoria, Quiet Mountain in Hekpoort, just west of the Hartbeespoort Dam, is the perfect adult retreat. Set in 100 hectares of indigenous bush all the way to the top of the Magaliesberg, the homestead and adjoining buildings hark back to the late 1800s. Quiet Mountain has been attracting couples seeking together-time for more than 30 years.

One of the Quiet Mountain cottages set within a tranquil garden

Staying here is like kicking back in the country estate of two slightly eccentric but always entertaining uncles who make returning guests feel like family. There’s a library crammed with books, croquet on manicured lawns, rugged hikes, romantic walks in perfumed gardens, and gourmet food that could put a Michelin chef to shame. Many of the ingredients are sourced from Quiet Mountain’s own gardens. There’s a crackling fire in the dining room and booking is recommended to procure one of the three in-suite fireplaces prepared daily with wood kindling and dry pinecones. If you feel like venturing out, the Sterkfontein Caves are just a 20km drive south.

  • Lethabo Estate, North West
Crackling fire at Lethabo Estate near Lanseria

Sink into the laid-back Lethabo experience from a spa bath with a glass of red wine, your eyes drawn across the winter veld to the changing light on the Rhenosterkop Mountain beyond. Set within the Crocodile River Reserve off the Pelindaba Road, or R512, between Lanseria and Broederstroom stylishly eclectic accommodation features six romantic suites for two, three lodges that can accommodate four or more, and a self-catering farmhouse that can sleep 10 sharing.

Dine overlooking the Crocodile River at Lethabo Estate

All the Lethabo Estate lodges have fireplaces in the bedroom or lounge and secluded wrap-around bush, waterfall, or river views. Close to the Cradle of Humankind, activities include picnics, horse-whispering join-ups, or fire dancing. You can self-cater or dine in the restaurant overlooking the river, where Nguni cows, horses, and the resident impala come to quench their thirst.

  • The Potato Patch, Greyton
Potato Patch cottage in Greyton

Reached via the narrow R406 that snakes between the Overberg’s canola, wheat, and sheep meadows, Greyton makes a great weekend getaway for market browsing, and thrift shopping while children can cycle along the oak-lined main road.  About 140km from Cape Town, Greyton markets itself as “pure country, no additives” and the Potato Patch, a self-catering, original farmer’s cottage that sleeps six, supplies long life shopping bags, solar lights, and biodegradable soaps.

Kitchen in the Potato Patch cottage in Greyton

Potatoes are grown on the property — a five-minute stroll from the village centre — and guests are gifted with a basket of organic seasonal veggies.  With three double en-suite bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen, and separate entrance leading to a secluded patio and garden, the cottage is a unique riposte to generic hotels. In winter the Baby Godin cast-iron stove ensures the entire cottage is toasty warm.

  • Maliba Mountain Lodge
Spectacular views from Maliba Mountain Lodge

Set in a pristine sub-alpine wilderness valley in the heart of Lesotho, 5-star Maliba Mountain Lodge   offers 5600 hectares of rugged wilderness mountain terrain within one of the few remaining indigenous woodlands, dominated by mature Che Che trees.

Cosy logfire in one of Lesotho’s Maliba Mountain Lodge suites

Six exclusive luxury Basotho-style chalets each offer private viewing decks stretching into the heart of the scenic woodland mountains.This award winning lodge has a spa, Bana Kids Club, 5-star gourmet restaurant and amazing staff that cater for every need. Maliba is a two-hour drive from Maseru International Airport.