You don’t have to venture far to enjoy an adventurous holiday. In a new House and Leisure miniseries, we’ve consulted a few of South Africa’s coolest creatives to compile the ultimate staycation guide, bringing you the best, lesser-known summertime activities in and around Durban, Joburg and Cape Town. In week one, we’re exploring the top spots to stay for a December staycation.
December is the best time to be in Johannesburg, according to co-director of Whatiftheworld gallery, Londi Modiko. ‘It’s quiet and the weather is gorgeous,’ she says, and we couldn’t agree more. Sunshine-filled days punctuated by refreshing afternoon rain make for a large variety of summer activities and the perfect excuse to stay in a home away from home.
Designer and artist Jana Hamman thinks that the best place to stay is Pablo House in Melville. ‘I suspect I’ll be spending a significant amount of the holiday season on the terrace of Pablo House – the guest house and sister of a breakfast favourite, Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar in Melville,’ she says. You shouldn’t forget, however, that Joburg is host to a number of five-star hotels and world-class spas – such as Sandton’s The Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, and Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa – that provide a perfectly luxurious retreat. ‘Although they’re not necessarily affordable options for long-term stays, there’s nothing wrong with one night in heaven every once in a while,’ she adds.
Lifestyle blogger, media entrepreneur and producer of the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair, Cassandra Twala prefers to live on the more homely side of life. ‘I’m an Airbnb fan, so would definitely book an apartment with friends,’ she says. Top spots to stay? Maboneng: for its easy-going inner-city Johannesburg experience. ‘With incredible restaurants and vibey nightlife as well as galleries and markets to visit, Maboneng offers a wonderful cosmopolitan experience. Plus the Airbnbs rates are a steal,’ Cassandra enthuses.
There’s a reason why tourists flood into the Mother City en masse over the summer season. While Cape Town is known for its infamous Southeaster wind, when it abates, and the sun shines and the ocean beckons, it’s just bliss. Even if you live in the coastal city, there are always new sights to see and places to stay.
Designer and illustrator Daniel Ting Chong has a similar idea. ‘If you want to get away from the busy city and beach life, take a day trip to Bosjes Wine Estate to see the chapel, which is an architectural phenomena and an Instagrammer’s dream,’ he recommends. ‘I also suggest you walk in its gardens and have lunch at Kombuis, which is situated on the estate.’ Even better, spend a night in Bosjes’ cleverly converted old barn that now serves as a guesthouse. Designed by Liam Mooney, the interiors are refined and contemporary with natural accents – an ideal spot to relax outside of the city.
Seaside city Durban also offers a range of golden beaches – with warmer water and slightly humid weather. If you don’t live close to the sea, summer is the perfect opportunity to rent an Airbnb or stay in many of the luxurious hotels on the beach. Slightly north of Durban is Umhlanga Rocks, which has the feel of a tropical seaside resort and is a sublime destination for a staycation.
Durban-based singer and songwriter, Red Robyn gives us her top place to stay in Durban this summer. ‘Located smack bang in the middle of Durban, Curiocity Backpackers provides a middle ground for exploring Durban,’ she says. Situated within walking distance of the beach, the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre Complex, the thriving Rivertown Precinct’s 8 Morrison Street and the harbour, it’s a great place to experience the best the city has to offer.