Travel South Africa
7. Elephant House, Addo
A 45-minute drive from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape brings one to Addo Elephant National Park. In the picturesque Sunday’s River Valley just eight kilometres from the main entrance of the park, is the well established and privately owned Elephant House. It’s an intimate property of just eight rooms, including a useful family suite. More like a rambling farmhouse, under thatch, the deep furnished verandas are a joy and are set around courtyards and lush gardens, plus it serves one of the finest gin and tonics in the land. There is also the more reasonable, lovely The Cottages. Owners, the Reads, will leave you to do your own thing, but happily will organise for you too – they have their own in-house field guide and offer a host of activities in the area.
8. The Twelve Apostles, Cape Town
The Twelve Apostles’ amazing positioning next to a tract of otherwise undeveloped mountainside – the Table Mountain National Park, a World Heritage Site – is what makes it so unique. It’s just above the lovely Oudekraal beach. Inside, it is luxurious and infinitely comfortable. We love its two pools, one positioned seaside under an old tree, another behind the hotel looking out onto the imposing apostles of Table Mountain – an early morning dip in this heated water with the mist flowing down the mountainsides is just magical. The hotel has 70 rooms. All of them are lovely. Most people would opt for the sea-¬facing, but we’d choose mountain-¬facing, away from the busy road that winds along the coast.
9. Cathedral Peak Hotel, Drakensberg
Just 250 kilometres from Durban and 400 kilometres from Joburg, this sprawling resort boasts a 2015 TripAdvisor award and emits an old-school traditional hotel feel – guests have enjoyed the hospitality since it opened in 1939. The area is a great escape for couples or an active family – there are 18 walking trails traversing the World Heritage Site (guided options are also available if you have a special interest in the local rock art), plus an endless log of ways to excite kids: archery, horse and pony rides, mountain-bike trails, a marked jogging route, tennis, squash, bowls, outdoor chess, beach volleyball, badminton, floodlit mini-adventure golf, a climbing tower, plus heated and cold outdoor swimming pools. There are a variety of accommodation options – from homely thatched, stonewall units to interleading family rooms – for a variety of budgets, but ask for a room that faces the mountains.