The Easter break is upon us, but if you’ve left it ’til the last minute there is still time to book a quick escape!
Have a look through these 10 places to spend Easter, we think you’ll agree they’re the perfect spot…
Cape St Francis
Cape St Francis, and its sister town the canal side ‘Little Venice’ of St Francis Bay, is one of the most inspiring places to spend downtime on the Eastern Cape coastline.
Swimming is one of its major attractions as the sea remains warm for most of the year and the wide beaches stretch from seal Point to Shark Point, with a sheltered tidal pool for kids.
There’s an historic lighthouse, nature reserves on either side of it that include coastal hiking trails, bird watching and boat trips up the Kromme River. Did we mention that the sun shine hours on this part of the coast are of the longest in the country?
The Wild Coast
Nothing beats the Wild Coast for getting away from it all.
Stretching between East London and Port Edward this coastline is an enviable collection of remote, wild, ragged cliff-lined beaches, valleys, local Xhosa seaside villages, and vast expanses of undeveloped wilderness that beg for photographs and hiking boots.
The further north you go, the more wild it gets.
Another Sunshine Coast option, Port Alfred might be known as a beach town but it’s dominated by the Kowie River, which flows through its centre leaving either side of town to describe itself as the West or East Bank. At its mouth, just beyond the town’s houseboats, are a series of man-made canal developments known as the Royal Alfred Marina and described as ‘laidback waterfront living’ by property agents.
The islands are linked by arched bridges that allow sail craft to pass beneath, except for Lady Hamilton’s Isle which doesn’t have a bridge at all and is reached only by water. Visitors go for the year-round sunshine and beaches, the outdoor lifestyle, and the access to game reserves.
Kasouga beach is something of a surprise. Hardly anyone knows the place exists (it lies between Cannon Rocks and Port Alfred), and most of the beach houses are second homes, monopolised by a locally run website that hires them out to those in the know.
Do an Internet search and you might stumble upon the drone-produced video of Kasouga, which vividly depicts the long stretch of unspoilt beach, the forested sand dune that acts as a breaker between the little beachside village and the sea, and the enviable skyline.
An all-time favourite, it’s possible that you’ll spend a rain-soaked couple of days in Knysna (pronounced ny-znah) over Easter, but if you’re escaping Cape Town, you won’t mind a jot given the drought that city is experiencing. Regarded as the heart of the Garden Route, Knysna lies on the edge of a lagoon, its cliff-like heads famous.
Surrounding the popular town are ancient forests thick with yellowwood and stinkwood trees through which hikers wander along well-trodden paths, and elephants are rumoured to wander, within the deeper regions. There’s an arty, laidback atmosphere to town, despite the recent spate of development (it does get busy during high season).
The misty Magoebaskloof, or ‘mountain republic’, is an area of lush forests and misty peaks in the reaches of the northern Drakensberg, awash with hiking and MTB trails, sensational scenery, wilderness, rain forests rich with fungi, ferns, and mountain streams, and early morning mists.
At its heart is the artsy little village of Haenertsburg, and the Wolkberg Wilderness Area where there are no distinct hiking trails and you can tramp for days.
Hluhluwe, right up the coast from Durban, in the heart of the Elephant Coast is best known for its Big Five game reserves (especially the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, where you can also see wild dogs), St Lucia wetlands, pineapples, fever trees and hot summers (which is why Easter is perfect timing).
Cape Vidal is close by and gives access to 30 km of unspoilt beach, huge sand dunes and a tidal pool. And the night skies are incredible around here.
The interior of KZN is awash with important battle and war-related sites that lend themselves to a Battlefields self-drive route to over 80 battlefields, museums, historical forts and memorials. But it’s an extensive route, subdivided into eras and wars.
To do it justice choose a specific era, war or campaign and visit the corresponding sites. Best is to go with a guide from the area and a good road map, as a fair bit of the route is on dirt roads.
One of the most magnificent mountain ranges in the world, photographers on Instagram claim this is as one of the undiscovered photographic wonders of the world. The table top peaks of the escarpment form an amphitheatre that serves as the boundary between South Africa and Lesotho’s mountain kingdom.
It’s a hiking paradise, one of the world’s richest archives of San rock art, and a scenic sight for sore eyes wherever you find yourself. Easter is one of the best times of year to visit.
An unusual choice? Perhaps. But there is something about this little off-the-beaten-track Karoo town that draws return visitors. It’s true that the mornings and evenings will be chilly over Easter; this is not beachside accommodation by any stretch of the imagination.
But the heat of summer will have abated, and the star strewn night sky, the Compassberg and the tranquillity of the village are why people visit.