Whether you’re about to embark on your honeymoon or celebrate that big birthday or anniversary, South Africa has a romantic nook or breathtaking space to ensure it’s an unforgettable occasion. Choose from the rose gardens of Chart Farm, the barren Karoo beauty of Graff-Reinet, picnic spots atop Table Mountain and hot air balloon rides over the Magaliesberg – we’ve found a place that’s perfectly fitting for your moment.
1. Table Mountain at Sunset
With sweeping views over the Atlantic Seaboard and Cape Town’s city lights switching on to signal the day’s end, Table Mountain at sunset is incomparable. Pack a picnic of your own or sit down for a meal at the restaurant on top. Be sure to find your front-row seats as the red globe drops into the Atlantic Ocean. Breathless summer evenings are best and carry a special price, but off-season can be just as wonderful depending on the weather. Check the forecast before you head up and take warm clothing to ensure cool clouds don’t spoil the moment.
2. Fine dining at La Colombe
Consistently voted one of the world’s top fine dining restaurants, you’ll definitely be set to impress when surprising your loved one with a romantic dinner here on the Silvermist Estate high above the valley of Constantia. With 4 course lunches, a Chef’s menu and an entire menu dedicated to vegetarians; there is truly something for everyone. Spoil your person of the moment and your taste buds.
3. Picnic at Kirstenbosch and Summer Sunset Concert
With sprawling lawns and beautiful botanical gardens showcasing the Cape’s unique floral kingdom, Kirstenbosch Gardens is the perfect place to celebrate something special. Pack a picnic, a blanket and some wine and make a whole day of it when Cape Town comes alive in summer. From December to March, local and international acts take to the outdoor stage in the gardens. Choose the artist you’d love to see, book your tickets and find your space on the lawn for an atmospheric pre-show picnic. Tickets go quickly and space on the grass goes even faster, so come early to lay your blanket and prepare to dance to the beats as the sun goes down.
4. Hot Air Balloon Ride
Want to pop the question or celebrate a significant anniversary? We can’t think of a better way to do it than on a hot air balloon ride in the lush Magaliesberg just outside of Johannesburg. Float up in the air as the sun rises and clink glasses to each other and life with panoramic views below you. Come down to earth with a delicious breakfast and a romantic tale to share with your friends and family.
5. Meander through Babylonstoren’s Garden
Inspired by the mystical gardens of Babel as well as the Cape’s first fresh produce market in the Company Gardens, Babylonstoren’s Garden is a magical maze that features over 300 species of plants, each one either edible or usable in medicine. Laze on the fragrant chamomile lawns with your loved one, cycle through the orchards, stroll alongside the streams and go on a tour of the medicinal patch where everything that’s planted has a purpose. Enjoy a spa treatment together, brunch or lunch at the restaurant where chefs pick their produce straight from the garden or simply lie down in your favourite corner and contemplate all that is right with the world.
6. Hike the posh Green Mountain Trail in Elgin
If you’re active and your idea of celebration includes physical pursuits, head out on the guided Green Mountain Trail, a four day slackpacking trail around the Green Mountain in the Overberg. Instead of the usual hiker huts you’ll sleep in 4-star country guesthouses and dine on delicious meals along the way – sounds like our kind of hike! Dip into rock pools and dams when it’s hot and soak up the history and biodiversity knowledge from your guide as you wander.
7. Valley of Desolation in Graff-Reinet
Sitting on the edge of the cliffs in the Valley of Desolation, staring out over the piled dolerite columns that stand like sentries against the plains of the Great Karoo, you’ll find the most splendid opportunity to touch on a special moment (hint: this is the place to propose!). A product of erosion and volcanic forces, these knobbly pillars form what is often called the ‘cathedral of the mountains’ and, like a cathedral, the valley has a stately aura that is perfectly expressed by the roaring silence. Add to this some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see and you’ll struggle to find a place this special.
8. Rose picking at the Chart Farm
Enjoy a scrumptious alfresco lunch in the garden before grabbing a bucket and cutters and meandering through the farm to pick your own roses. It’s a lovely touch to pick roses together as you get to choose your favorite colours, plus you take home the day’s memories. This definitely beats saying it with store-bought flowers.
9. Galileo Open Air Cinema
We aren’t kidding when we say that Cape Town comes alive in the summer months. Locals drum on the beach, the sun lingers longer for the party and the Galileo Open Air Cinema begins. Surprise your partner with an evening alfresco treat watching a golden oldie or a latest release on an outdoor big screen. Bring your picnic blankets and settle in for a romantic evening beneath the stars at various venues throughout South Africa.
- Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris: balloon.co.za