6 unusual South African attractions to explore during the third wave
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This has been a whirlwind of a year for South Africans. In between the pandemic, the discovery of new variants and the slow vaccine roll-out, travel has been on the back burner for most.
If you are in need of a holiday and want to explore South Africa for a mid-year break, here are some off-the-beaten-track accommodations and activities worth adding to your bucket list.
Gnome Cottage, Free State
If you are a fan of The Hobbit, this Clarens property is for you. Tucked away in a picturesque setting, the property is cosy and offers mountain views. Ideal for two guests, the open-plan Gnome Cottage features a double bed, bathroom, shower, seating and dining area, and kitchen.
Your pet is welcome to join you, and there is ample space for them to explore in the gorgeous garden. With no wi-fi, spend your days at leisure, conquer the hiking trails 30 metres down the road, or take a stroll through the nearby town square. Rates start from R500 a night. Visit www.airbnb.co.za
Big Pineapple, Eastern Cape
You do not have to travel to Australia to see the Big Pineapple, there’s one closer to home. Bathurst in the Eastern Cape has a pineapple structure that people from all over come to climb.
The Big Pineapple on Summerhill Farm is a replica of Australia’s biggest tourist attraction on Sunshine Plantation in Queensland. The national attraction draws hundreds of people to the small town. Adventurous people can climb the yellow wonder. Rates start from R25 per person. Call 046 625 0515.
The Shoe, border of Limpopo and Mpumalanga
The Shoe, located 20km north of Ohrigstad in Limpopo, bringsto life the nursery rhyme, “There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe”. The property, created by artist Ron van Zyl, cements itself as an instaworthy destination.
It features a museum that highlights the history of the Ohrigstad Valley, a gallery where Van Zyl showcases his art, and a tea garden. There’s also a guesthouse for overnight guests with 10 self-catering or en-suite rooms available. All rely on solar power. Amenities include television, wi-fi, communal braai and swimming pool. Entry to The Shoe costs R5. Accommodation rates start from R450 per person. Visit www.theshoe.org/
Highest Pub in Africa, close to KwaZulu-Natal
The Highest Pub in Africa, on the border between South Africa and Lesotho, is a day adventure everyone should experience once in their life. The adventure starts in Sani Pass where you travel up the bumpy mountain to get to the pub perched 2 874m above sea level.
Make sure you bring your passport as you will need it to get through border control. Enjoy your beverage of choice while you admire the splendid views. Call 078 634 7496 or email [email protected]
The Owl House, Eastern Cape
Located in Nieu Bethesda in Graaff-Reinet, Helen Martins’s Owl House is a spot you don’t want to miss when you visit the Eastern Cape. Owl House showcases the work of art created by Martins between 1945 and 1976.
During the visit, you can learn more about her life and her work. The garden boasts a collection of more than 300 statues, including owls, camels, a giraffe, Mona Lisa reliefs against the walls, Adam and Eve, and a nativity scene.
Pop in at the gift shop for arts and crafts, literature and other souvenirs. Entry costs R60. Visit theowlhouse. co.za
Farm Sanctuary, Western Cape
Meet and snap a selfie with Pigcasso, the 750kg painting pig who released her signature abstract expressionist collection in 2019. Farm Sanctuary, located in the Franschhoek Valley, is Pigcasso’s creative ground.
Travellers can stay overnight in a barn housing rescued animals. Or they can visit for free between 11am and 3pm daily. Donations are welcome. The barn sleeps two with a king-size bed, indoor fireplace, dining area and other modern conveniences needed for a pleasant stay.
If you want to see Pigcasso in action, you have to get an artwork commissioned. Rates for accommodation (self-catering) start from R1 750 a night for two people, including a cleaning fee. Call 072 977 4521.