Compiled by Naomi Larkin Photographs Naashon Zalk, supplied SUPREME SECLUSION WHAT: At the Beach WHERE: Golden Mile, Britannia Bay, West Coast, Western Cape, perfecthideaways.co.za WHY WE LOVE IT: With the whole house opening out onto generous wooden decks, a plunge pool, sand dunes and the roaring sea beyond, At the Beach holiday home in Britannia Bay is a dream escape. All glass and wood, it’s a showcase of modern architectural design, with contemporary furnishings that complement the exterior. X-FACTOR: A designer kitchen, high-tech sound and television systems, hand-woven rugs and great art mean your expectations of a seaside hideaway will go up a notch. You won’t want to leave. SWEEPING BEAUTY WHAT: Makweti Safari Lodge WHERE: Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg region, Limpopo, 011-837-6776, makweti.com WHY WE LOVE IT: This exclusive lodge is set in a hugely diverse landscape so you can view the glossy-pelted game and abundant birdlife against a range of breathtaking backdrops, taking in hills and mountains, grasslands, rivers and cliffs. The (unfenced) lodge is sensitively integrated with the surrounding landscape; its luxurious interiors lead onto teak decks on stilts with sweeping views over a gorge. The suites are secluded and extremely comfortable, each with a private deck, and outdoor showers, of course. Needless to say the food’s excellent, too… X-FACTOR: For an all-out, Big Five safari experience just three hours from Joburg, and even fewer from Pretoria, you can’t do better. SPA OF THE MONTH Set on the Umngazi River in the rural Wild Coast, the Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa is a special destination. The spa areas branch off a decked pathway that snakes through the indigenous forest, making for a tranquil lead-in to your treatments. Enjoy the signature Izandla Ezine treatment – a simultaneous rhythmic massage by two therapists, combined with one of the Africology body wraps and topped off by a spa bath – or opt for the Umoja, an Elemis deep-tissue couple’s massage, which ends in a spa bath, with a spectacular view and a bottle of bubbly or iced tea. The spa is for guests only, but it’s worth checking in for the experience. The Ntabeni Deluxe Spa Suite is the ultimate romantic luxury, with a double outside shower and breakfast in bed. Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, 047-564-1115, umngazi.co.za. WEEKEND AWAY WHAT: Hebron Guesthouse WHERE: Piekenierskloof Pass, Citrusdal, Western Cape, 022-921-2595, hebron.co.za WHY WE LOVE IT: Just under two hours from Cape Town, Hebron is the perfect long weekend escape. The hospitable owners, Steve and Caro Oldroyd, will make you feel at home. The area is popular for the hiking and mountain trails, so it’ll appeal to active guests as well as those seeking a more relaxed stay. X-FACTOR: Steve prepares delicious meals, all made from locally sourced or home-grown produce – he even makes his own bread, smoked chorizo and salami. CAPITAL COMFORT WHAT: 131 on Herbert Baker WHERE: 131 Herbert Baker St, Groenkloof, Pretoria, 012-751-2070, 131.co.za WHY WE LOVE IT: This Pretoria boutique hotel is elegant, yet down to earth, with open interiors and glass panelling to take in spectacular views of the city. Its terrace overlooks the Groenkloof Nature Reserve. It’s enough to make you fall in love with the capital city all over again. X-FACTOR Enjoy high tea on the front lawn, especially in spring when the street is lined with the area’s distinctive jacarandas and the city below is like a purple carpet. C’EST LA VIE WHAT: Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards WHERE: Dassenberg Rd, Franschhoek, 021-876-2770, montrochelle.co.za WHY WE LOVE IT: This boutique hotel is a perfectly gracious spot to base yourself during a Franschhoek sojourn, and in summer the sparkling pool, with its splendid views, is the place to be. The suites are luxurious and dinner at fine-dining eatery Mange Tout is a romantic affair. X-FACTOR: Stroll to the winery and tasting centre to sample Mont Rochelle’s wines, followed by lunch at the Country Kitchen. OFF THE GRID WHAT: Seagull Cottage WHERE: Churchhaven, West Coast National Park, Western Cape, perfecthideaways.co.za WHY WE LOVE IT: With warm water, few visitors and lots of white sand, Churchhaven is one of the most wonderful beach spots in the Western Cape. It’s also hard to find a more beautiful getaway than Seagull Cottage in this cove. With unrivalled views of the lagoon, cosy vintage decor, comfy couches, beds for 10 people and a blazing fire for winter nights, it’s perfect for either a romantic weekend or a family holiday. X-FACTOR: This is nature at its best, with sparkling blue waters, fynbos surrounds and absolute quiet (completed by candlelit evenings), all only one hour out of Cape Town. This article was originally featured in the March 2012 issue of House and Leisure.