It’s Paul’s birthday this weekend, but I’m away for work. Naturally, I’m riddled with guilt and have been trying to think of ways to make it up to him. My solution, bribe him with travel.It’s no secret that Paul and I are lovers of travelling to those obscure little places in South Africa that were made for Instagram and romance. But, for a birthday break, I was thinking of something different and a little saucier than our usual haunts – plus, I really, REALLY want some grown-up time with my husband. Learning from mistakes of mini-moon past, I refuse to travel by car unless we’re going for a while – which is why my vacay absolutely has to include return flights to Johannesburg.
We are obsessed with old towns that are particularly off the beaten track, which is why Graaff Reinet is a perfect choice. Established in 1786, Graaff–Reinet is the country’s fourth oldest district and is aptly known as the “Gem of the Karoo”. The town is recognized as the home of Cape Dutch, Victorian and Karoo architecture, and has over 220 heritage sites.
Could it get any better for the antique-loving Collocott’s? I can think of nothing more romantic than a stroll down the lazy, tree-lined streets of Graaf-Reinet. Tucked away in the middle of the Karoo, the lush gardens and green shutters offer a startling contrast to its surroundings. You are guaranteed to find a building or two worth snapping for the ‘Gram and I’m certain you’ll be as smitten with the old-school charm as I am.
Being a budget-conscious pain in the butt, I’m on the hunt for a rustic, little B & B with more charm than WiFi signal. I don’t know how I do it, but I always manage to find the kind of accommodation that Paul and I fall in love with and reminisce about long after the last load of holiday washing has been done. Now while Graaf-Reinet doesn’t have a major airport to write home about, it does have an airstrip – for when you’re feeling especially fancy. But… fancy for us stops at 4-stars, I’d suggest the next best thing, Port Elizabeth airport.
I do recommend that you consider flights for a quickie weekend away without the kids, but the drive isn’t too bad if you split it between the two of you (and go for a few days). I’m officially on leave in March, so we’re putting off Paul’s birthday celebrations until then. That’s when we disappear to the Karoo and I switch my phone off.
I love hearing from you and your fave places to visit in South Africa. Leave your suggestions in the comment section below.
Until next time.
Disclaimer: This is a collaboration with TravelStart.