Compiled by Naomi Larkin Photographs Supplied TRUE NATURE WHAT: Monate Conservation Lodge WHERE: Boekenhout St (near Modimolle/Nylstroom), Limpopo, 014-718 7000, monatelodge.com WHY WE LOVE IT: A two-hour drive from Joburg, Monate Conservation Lodge is an ideal weekend getaway. There is a large variety of game, including leopard, cheetah, rhino and buffalo, and the area boasts 46 per cent of South Africa’s bird species. And, in conjunction with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, Monate Lodge is part of a cheetah rewilding programme. X-FACTOR: On the game drives, prepare to get out on foot and track wildlife a little further. Our tracking turned up four rhino standing just 15m away. HIGHVELD HOSPITALITY WHAT: Hoëveld House WHERE: 65 5th Ave, Inanda, Johannesburg, 011-447-0751, hoeveldhouse.co.za WHY WE LOVE IT: The glorious garden setting, with an ancient tree shading the double-storey mansion, makes visitors feel as if they are in the country while being just a quick drive from the buzzing Sandton shopping precinct. The swimming pool and tennis court are an added bonus. X-FACTOR: The French-inspired decor, spacious living areas and bedrooms, along with the elegant fabrics and luxurious bedding, are fit for royalty. SPA OF THE MONTH Driving into the gates of Kievits Kroon, it’s hard to believe Johannesburg is only 45 minutes behind you. The tree-lined driveway leads up to a majestic Cape Dutch manor, whose rolling lawns and country atmosphere belie the estate’s proximity to the city. The Spa was designed according to the classic European spa experience, and boasts one of the most advanced thermae facilities in Gauteng. Treat yourself to the signature trio of massages, which includes a full-body massage, hot-stone reflexology and a hot-oil scalp massage. The comprehensive treatment menu also includes custom-designed half-day and full-day packages. Kievits Kroon Country Estate, Plot 41, Reier Rd, Kameeldrift East, 086-054-3848, kievitskroon.co.za BULL’S EYE WHAT: Gorah Elephant Camp WHERE: Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape, 044-501-1111, hunterhotels.com/gorahelephantcamp WHY WE LOVE IT: With its classical charm, the manor house captures the romantic mystique of colonial life of centuries past, while the 11 tented suites offer all the fine comforts expected of a Relais & Châteaux luxury camp. Every meal is an occasion, be it an alfresco spread under the stars or a candle-lit affair in the dining room. X-FACTOR: The thrill of watching an elephant bull pass 6m from your tent’s private deck. This heart-racing experience is a regular occurrence at Gorah. A CLEAN BREAK WHAT: Hip House WHERE: 186 Loop St, Cape Town, 021-447-1902, amazingspaces.co.za WHY WE LOVE IT: This fully equipped, open-plan penthouse with roof terrace and swimming pool is the latest go-to spot for the event industry. Suitable for anything from small, intimate dinners to cocktail parties for 150 guests, the all-white ‘blank canvas’ provides a perfect backdrop for your imagination. X-FACTOR: Sip your sundowner in style while enjoying the 180-degree panoramic view of Table Mountain. WARM WELCOME WHAT: Hawksmoor House WHERE: Matjieskuil Wine Farm, off Klipheuwel Rd, near Stellenbosch, Western Cape, 021-884-4815, perfecthideaways.co.za WHY WE LOVE IT: Watching the sun set over the sprawling farmland, taking tea on the stoep, wandering through the gardens, or cuddling up in front of a roaring fire all serve to make this one of the most relaxing spots in the Cape. With antique-decorated rooms in the Cape Dutch manor house or garden cottages, it’s a place you’ll return to when you need to simply unwind and relax. X-FACTOR: The perfect spot for a scenic, historic, romantic wedding with packages that include accommodation for guests This article was originally featured in the May 2012 issue of House and Leisure.