We’ve spent years traveling the world, yet we have never truly discovered our own country. Travel within South Africa has become so accessible and cheaper than traveling abroad. Here are some reasons why you should commit to spending more time within South Africa in 2018:
- There are ‘close-by’ options for travel from each of the major city’s within SA. Look for neighboring towns within an hour or 2 hour from where you live and search for accommodation and activities in the area. You could potentially dedicate a weekend a month to traveling to these places either to stay or for day-trips (if permissible). Consider the places that you visited as a child and perhaps revisit them. Sometimes new discoveries can actually take you back to old ones!
- Aside from travel, there is no need to worry about applying for Visas or changing currency. In fact, travel within SA is just so easy, that all you need is a car, time and money. It’s fairly fuss-free and economical if you don’t travel too far out. Having your own car also means not having to spend hundreds on a rental.
- If you lead a fairly busy work schedule that doesn’t allow you much time to leave the country, traveling in your own country would mean that you could enjoy a weekend away without having to go too far for too long. It’s also an ideal opportunity to get together and travel as a family. Perhaps you have family in smaller towns that you’d like to visit. This is an ideal opportunity to learn about a new town just from family who have settled there.
- Consider what your interests are. Make a list of all the places within South Africa that you could practice your hobby or learn more about it. Work towards visiting these places and document them. There are likely hundreds other people who have similar interests and might benefit from your advice (examples: where to go fly-fishing, best places for bird-watching). These could be quick day-trips that don’t much into time or budget.
- Fresh air or a new experience can help you feel refreshed. It’s a wonderful way to take some time out from the city and not feel exhausted by the time that you return home.
Start by using Google Maps to search for places closest to you (perhaps an hour or 2 away from where you live). Look for hotels in the area that suit your budget. The next step is to go onto TripAdvisor and read the reviews to see if it’s suited to your style of travel. Reviews often provide a good indication of other activities that the travelers have done in the area. You can use Google to search for what the area is famous for producing or making and go off and make arrangements to see or taste that particular product. Be sure to look at the weather reports to make certain that the weather is favorable for travel.
Whether you are planning a weekend away or a day-trip, save recommendations from friends and family or do some research into places that can be traveled to within South Africa.
If you can, get out of the city and drive out towards Walkersons Hotel and Spa in Dullstroom on a Sunday.This is my first recommendation of places to see within South Africa that cater for children. (Childrens seating is separate).
Here is a recommended itinerary for your day out (if staying over might not be an option).
06.00am Leave Johannesburg
Travel time: Approx 2hr45m (depending on where you are currently located in Johannesburg). The drive is East bound, so travelers from Benoni/Boksburg/Springs have a shorter travel time to Walkersons.
I wouldn’t recommend packing any food other than grabbing some coffee on your way out. There are a few garage stops along the way (the first at almost 40m after Bedfordview).
The scenery gets nicer the closer you get to Walkersons, so if you’re in the passenger seat, you could nap for the first part of the trip.
Between 08.45am and 09.00am Arrive at Walkersons. Your GPS might suggest a slightly longer drive so slow down when it indicates that you have 13m left to go. The board comes up quite suddenly on the left and it’s a steep incline down, so make a note to slow down.
By this time you’re likely hungry, so the timing has worked out perfectly for breakfast on the terrace. If you are traveling without children, there is a private adult-only seating area to allow for more privacy. Menu is al a carte and we recommend the Egg Royale, French toast with banana and the yoghurt, meusli and fruit. Ask to speak to the Chef and mention your dietary restrictions. They are not halaal but are able to accommodate requests (if you are staying on the property)
10.30am If you have opted to travel without the kids, or if your partner takes care of the kids perhaps consider a treatment at the Spa.
Remember to make a reservation ahead of time by contacting the Spa directly: email@example.com
The treatment pricelist may be found here (December 2017): https://www.walkersons.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Spa-Menu-Walkersons-Spa-2017.pdf
If you are traveling as a couple, there is a couples room that overlooks the garden and water feature.
12.00pm Collect picnic (optional) and meet the fly-fishing instructor (or fish at the dam yourself if you are experienced)
A personalised catering experience may arranged with notice. We requested a vegetarian menu with seafood as an addition. The selection was varied and plentiful – in fact we were not able to finish it all. Drinks were included in in bag and also came supplied with utensils and crockery.
You can choose where you’d like to sit on the property. Find a shady spot near the dam as it gets really hot if you’re out in the open. Mats are provided but you can take a small pillow with for added comfort.
If it’s a special occasion, I’m sure you could discuss this with the Chef so they can make it super nice for you 🙂
14.45pm Depart Walkersons for Fatimas Kitchen. Order a take-away or sit down.
It’s a 5 minute drive from Walkersons through the town. Fatimas Kitchen is across the masjid (mosque, prayer house).
(If you are staying the weekend and doing the scenic route, we set the location as our first stop enroute to Three Rondavels. We planned to take our food away with us to have along the way but instead we decided to dine there. We recommend that you ask for your food to be packed as a take-away if you’re planning on doing the Panoramic route instead of relying on stops along the way. ).
Seating is informal but homely.
In the kitchen, you won’t find any traditionally trained chefs, but rather nanis and daadis food, is there anything better? Uncle Mahmood and Aunty Fatima run the kitchen with assistance. Their menu varies from takeaway ‘type’ food to traditional home-cooking.
If you’re staying at any of the nearby hotels in the area you may request that Fatimas Kitchen caters ‘Strictly Halaal’ from your reservations manager.
The menu is up on the wall but if you’re looking for a proper meal, ask them to see the menu. Meal preparation takes up to 30m so plan accordingly.
If you’d like to call in your order, contact: 013 254 0173 or 083 500 0333. Location: 255 Blue Crane Dive, situated at the Blue Shop.
Request the frozen marinated Masala Trout which you may take home to prepare yourself and/or cherries (season dependant).
Arrival in Johannesburg approximately 19.30pm.
1. Check the weather a week in advance and then again on Wednesday to make sure you’re getting clear skies for your drive.
2. Make sure the Spa and fly-fishing instructor is available. If you’re booking a picnic, email your dietary request through so it’s easy for the Chef to refer back to.
3. Consider what vehicle you take. There are a lot of potholes along the way and we don’t recommend night driving at all.
4. Contact Fatima to either keep your orders ready or request the trout or cherries.