It’s a really special experience to explore or go on an adventure with the one you love. Since it’s the month of love, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite romantic escapes in the Eastern Cape. These places are ideal for couples seeking tranquillity, privacy and a spoil!
If you are looking for a relaxing forest retreat, The Fernery will exceed your expectations. The main lodge is perched on the edge of a cliff above a 30m waterfall overlooking the Indian Ocean. There is no better setting for a romantic candle-lit dinner. The log cabins are located all along the river and offer a king size bed, crisp white linens and an exquisite bathroom with doors that open out onto the lush forest. Underfloor heating, a blazing fireplace and comfy bath robes make the cabins luxurious yet super homely. For the outdoorsy types, there are numerous hiking trails as well as mountain bike routes to choose from. For those who just crave a lazy afternoon chill-out, relax in the jacuzzi with a sublime view and a glass of bubbly. You’ll never want to leave.
Romance tip: Order their ”DIY Braai” for dinner. Meat, salads and drinks are delivered to your door and all you have to do is cook the meat on the open fire on your private deck overlooking the riverine bush. And the best part is that you don’t have to worry about doing the dishes!
It’s very difficult to describe how your soul feels upon arrival at Emily Moon. It’s as though you feel lighter as you walk through the rustic doors to reception. You are greeted with big smiles and uninterrupted views over the serene Bitou river. The suites are beautifully furnished with antique wooden furniture and other unique décor pieces (I’m smitten with all those old maps!). I think what makes this place special is all the little touches; I love the extra-large white fluffy towels, soft gowns and slippers, a cosy fireplace in each room (which awaits you after dinner) and the gorgeous private deck. Go for a leisurely afternoon paddle on the river and soak up some sun before feasting on a delicious lamb shank dinner in the restaurant glowing with soft candlelight. Pure romance. Everything about Emily Moon is exquisite; the suites, the views, the food, the service. You will just have to go and experience it for yourself! (We stay at Emily Moon on our Signature Soul Safari – it’s perfect for a girls getaway as well!)
Kuzuko Lodge is situated in the Greater Addo region near Jansenville. It’s quite a drive (maybe we were just slowed down by the scenery) but it’s totally worth it. If you are fortunate enough, you’ll be greeted at reception by a little meerkat mob. Leave your car behind and get whisked off to the lodge in an open game vehicle. Upon arrival, you will immediately be awed by the beauty of the lodge’s location overlooking the majestic Winterberg Mountains. It’s best to arrive in the early afternoon so you don’t miss the sundowner game drive. Most guests are excited to look for the famous escape artist, Sylvester the lion. Other animals that inhabit the reserve include cheetahs, elephants and graceful giraffes. Kuzuko also has a buffalo breeding project. Meal times certainly won’t disappoint you; the restaurant serves superb Karoo cuisine made with love. Kuzuko, Place of Glory, truly is a glorious hideaway. Go on, spoil yourself!
Romance tip: Kuzuko offers great ”love” packages which includes a romantic turndown with rose petals and champagne and blissful spa treatments.
Ok, I know Prince Albert isn’t in the Eastern Cape but I love this cottage too much not to share. The wide, welcoming porch has a comfy day bed, a cosy braai corner and overlooks the neighbouring olive orchard. When you walk through the wooden, double doors you feel like you’ve arrived home. The open-plan concept and wooden floors make the cottage so inviting. From the singing kettle to the mohair blankets; the décor is so typical Karoo you’ll be inspired to make some design changes at home! In true Karoo hospitality fashion, you may find a vase full of fresh rosemary, a bowl full of oranges and a juicer in the kitchen. The cottage is ideally located to use as a base to explore charming Prince Albert. There’s a fab fresh produce market on a Saturday morning and don’t miss a visit to Gay’s Guernsey Dairy for a delicious variety of cheeses. Stock up on snacks and take a drive along the Swartberg Pass. If you need an escape from the big, bad city, Prince Albert is the perfect place to kick off your shoes, rest and revitalise.
Here’s hoping that you are able to experience one of these escapes for yourself one day. Do you have any great romantic escapes to add? Comment below! I’d also love to hear about your experience at any of the romantic spots mentioned. I still have a few hideaways on my bucket list so if you have any recommendations in Hogsback, along the Wild Coast and in the Great Karoo please feel free to share. A