While the summer months are definitely more popular in terms of getaways, the chillier weather is no reason to stay indoors. It is the perfect excuse to cuddle up next to a fireplace, or take advantage of low off-peak rates. It is also one of the few times that you can be lucky enough to see snow in South Africa, if you know where to look. Here are some destinations and activities that are better in the winter than they are in the summer.
- Oaklands Country Estate
When it’s cold, there’s nothing better than enjoying good, wholesome food. At Oaklands, the real highlight is the food. The lodge is run by a family: 3 sisters, one of whom is the chef, and their brother, who takes care of marketing. The family is very much “hands on”, so a stay at Oaklands makes you feel like you’re a guest in their family home.
The food is rustic gourmet- upmarket but hearty. Expect to see dishes like guinea fowl ravioli, aged angus steak, chicken vindaloo and red thai curry on the menu. Food is packed with flavour and you can taste the freshness- meat is sourced from farmers in the area, while guinea fowl is from the property.
The common lounge has a divine fireplace, as do all the rooms.
2. The Highlander Dullstroom Country Estate
If it’s relaxation you’re after, Dullstroom is a great choice. This quaint town, well known for its fly-fishing, is the perfect stopover if you’re planning to go to the Kruger National Park.
Suites are spacious and comfortable, with private patios and wood burning fireplaces. The hotel also has a self- catering option, the Hobbit Cottage, which is a duplex unit with 3 bedrooms. However, there is no need to cook, because the hotel’s restaurant Chapter 1, is a key attraction. The executive chef ensures that produce is organic and free range as far as possible, aiming to create hearty, country style cuisine. Expect dishes like chargrilled beef fillet with spring onion mash, red onion jam, wilted spinach and a thyme red wine sauce for mains, and vanilla panna cotta with chocolate coated hazelnuts and candied orange zest for dessert. The hotel also stocks a range of over 200 single malt whiskies, which you can take your pick from for pre-dinner drinks, or for a night-cap, which will certainly warm you up
3. Shark Cage Diving in Cape Town
Winter is the best time to see sharks in Cape Town’s Gansbaai. Guides struggle to get sightings in the summer months, but in winter, it’s pretty much a guarantee. The diving happens in a 5 man cage, where you’ll be within touching distance of the Great Whites (although you might not want to do that!) There are also packages available for up to 7 days, where you can combine shark cage diving with a trip to the Cape Winelands, a safari, and a day of city sightseeing within Cape Town.
4. Tiffindell Ski Resort
You don’t have to wait until you can afford a trip to Aspen to be able to enjoy a ski resort. Tiffindell Ski Resort in the Eastern Cape Highlands area is one of the best winter adventures you can experience in South Africa. It is a fully equipped ski resort with its own snowmaking capabilities. This works out great for when the weather doesn’t play along and provide much snow fall. The facilities also include ski lifts and a ski school for those needing a little guidance. It is highly recommended that you have the proper ski clothing as the weather can change rapidly on the slopes. Tiffindell also offers chalets for accommodation which will certainly be the best place to relax and revive after a highly exciting day out on the slopes.
When searching for accommodation near to your chosen winter activity, a good idea is to look online to find the best winter hotel deals. After all winter is the perfect time to finally take advantage of all the off-peak rates. Enjoy your adventure.