Are you planning a romantic getaway in South Africa for Valentine’s Day but unsure where to go?
Tourists ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over romantic European getaways like Greece and Italy, but well-informed travellers know South Africa warrants just as much attention. And with the Valentine’s weekend (in February) almost upon us, what better way to explore our accommodation and restaurant options to make your special person feel appreciated? While some couples enjoy relaxing on a secluded beach anywhere as long as it’s sunny, others prefer exciting adrenalin-rush activities.
Romance comes naturally to all the South African hotels listed below. We consider ourselves experts when selecting exquisite locations in South Africa based on unparalleled views, romantic sunrises or sunsets, and unique locations. We know that exclusivity, privacy, and tranquillity are key elements to enjoying the most romantic spots in South Africa.
Whether you prefer a romantic safari experience in the bushveld, a Winelands retreat, a pampering spa getaway, or the unspoiled coastline of South Africa, we have something for everyone. We hope you enjoy our meticulously curated list, which is always more enjoyable with someone special.
We also recommend reading our article “Top 6 countries to visit in 2024”
Where to find the most romantic weekend getaways in South Africa?
A romantic getaway means different things to different people, but few can resist the temptation of a unique weekend away in South Africa, even over Valentine’s weekend. South Africa is known for its natural beauty, untamed wildlife, and unspoiled beaches.
Conversely, few travellers need an excuse like Valentine’s to enjoy a romantic weekend getaway.
Most romantic weekend getaways in Johannesburg, South Africa
The Westcliff, a post-card-worthy iconic ‘pink lady’ is perched on a hillside, offering scenic views of the Johannesburg skyline. The views are made even more romantic when admired from a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ balcony or the multi-level terrace of their iconic Flames restaurant. Most stylish suites provide picturesque views of the hotel’s perfectly manicured gardens and Johannesburg’s Jacaranda trees. To make your weekend getaway extra romantic, book a treatment (before arrival) at their signature Apres spa (view our Instagram page for photos).
If you prefer only a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day, we highly recommend the on-site Flames Restaurant, which has exceptional nighttime views of the city. Don’t miss out on the best signature cocktails to whet your appetite. The cocktails are pleasing not only to the eye but also to the palette.
#2 Pablo House, Melville - Johannesburg
Pablo House is a boutique guesthouse in the legendary 7th Street in Melville, one of the oldest sought-after neighbourhoods in Johannesburg. Interestingly, it was nominated as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Time Out. Pablo House is the city’s best-kept secret. The boutique hotel has one of the best culinary on-site restaurants ‘Dos Manos’ and offers the most romantic setting. Here, you can expect lavish luxury with an affordable price tag.
The staff are super friendly and, with their exceptional hospitality skills, contribute to the exclusivity of the establishment. A staycation at Pablo House is necessary, even if only to ensure you get a reservation in their highly acclaimed fine restaurant – Dos Manos. Your love interest will be super impressed by your selection of this exquisite guest house.
Most romantic weekend getaways in the Klein Karoo, South Africa
The Klein Karoo is in the Western Cape and lies between the Langeberg and Swartberg mountain ranges. This magnificent landscape is known for its low rainfall, extreme weather temperatures, typography, and geology. Oudtshoorn (the world’s ostrich capital) is the Klein Karoo’s main town. Also read our article focussing on Oudtshoorn.
#3 Wildehondekloof, Oudtshoorn
We recently stayed at Wildehondekloof, a luxurious guest house on a private game reserve in South Africa.
Besides the unimaginable beauty of the area with several romantic walking trails, you are pampered by the staff from the moment you set foot on the reserve. There is so much attention to detail, you are guaranteed an unforgettable romantic weekend, as the staff will cater to your every desire and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure all your romantic needs are met. From their customised menus or breakfast, lunch, and dinner to informative game drives, you are in for a treat. You can read more about this magnificent weekend getaway by clicking here for our full article.
If you would like to venture out towards the direction of Oudtshoorn town, there are a magnitude of activities you can do to grab the attention of your loved one, from the world-famous Cango Caves to ostrich farm tours. In an upcoming article, you can read more about Oudtshoorn and nearby activities
Most romantic weekend getaways in the Lowveld near the Kruger National Park
The Lowveld is situated in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. Mpumalanga means ‘place where the sun rises’.
Here are our favourites in the Lowveld:
#4 The Kruger Gate Hotel, next to the main gate of the Kruger National Park
The Kruger Gate Hotel is our all-time favourite hotel, along with Lamula Lodge (only 5 km away — click here to read more about Lamula’s self-catering Lodge). Kruger Gate Lodge was selected for this article based on its magnificent setting, just outside the main gate of the Kruger National Park, and because it offers romantic dinners with incredible views over Kruger’s night sky.
This hotel can be a hit or miss, depending on the season. We stayed there several times over the years and sometimes experienced exceptional service and other times very disappointing. Nevertheless, we don’t know of another place with a magnificent setting, stunning rim-flow pool, and bush veld views. If you want to splurge to impress your loved one, consider staying in their presidential suite with a private pool and bush boma.
Most romantic weekend getaways near the Blyde River Canyon, on the Panorama Route
Blyde River Canyon is a green canyon on the world-famous Panoramic Route in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. The Panoramic Route starts in Graskop and passes through several unique rock formations called “The Three Rondavels”, God’s Window, and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. This breathtaking scenery is sure to create the most romantic backdrop.
#5 - Blyde River Wilderness Lodge
Blyde River Wilderness Lodge is selected for its ideal location on the Panorama Route and the many romantic activities on-site and nearby, from a scenic Blyde River boat cruise to hot air ballooning, horse safaris, and hiking routes.
This Lodge belongs to the Cape to Canyon group, so it’s worth checking out their website for exceptional nearby accommodation offerings. To learn more about the features of Blyde River Lodge and activities nearby, read our detailed article about this beautiful Lodge.
Most romantic weekend getaways in Kwa-Zulu Natal
As a child, we stayed in Umhlanga for a few years. I can tell you unequivocally that only a few places on earth can compare to the beauty of Natal’s luscious forests, pristine beaches, and tropical nature scenery.
#6 The Oyster Box Hotel, Umhlanga
It doesn’t get better than the 5-star Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga for a romantic stay that pulls out all the stops. The red and white colonial-style flagship hotel is not only one of Natal’s best but also that of South Africa. Besides having remarkable celebrity credentials, it signifies romance on a level not often experienced elsewhere.
In our opinion, it is the perfect setting for a blossoming romance! Although this 5-star hotel is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, there is nothing pretentious about this hallmark hotel. It offers the ideal location to rekindle old-school romance or ignite a new relationship. The hotel oozes romance and tranquillity combined with the utmost elegance and luxury. We highly recommend a destressing massage at their world-class on-site spa.
Suppose you want to spoil your princess with an unforgettable weekend. In that case, this is the place where you can expect royalty treatment from their expectational restaurants offering gastronomic Indian and seafood dishes to palace-like suites that provide excellent value for money.
The highlight of our stay is always the decadent (included in room rates) Champagne and oyster breakfast on the renowned red-and-white leisurely patio overlooking the iconic lighthouse. To read more about this iconic hotel, read our article “The ten best luxury destination wedding locations in South Africa”.
Most romantic weekend getaways on the Garden Route, South Africa
We recently visited the Garden Route and now understand the hype about this beautiful region of South Africa. Click here to read more articles about the Garden Route.
Although there are many outstanding hotels on the Garden Route, we believe the Plettenberg Hotel and St. James of Knysna deserve a listing as the most romantic hotel on the Garden Route.
#7 The Plettenberg Hotel in Plettenberg Bay
The Plettenberg Hotel has all the ingredients to ensure an unforgettable romantic weekend getaway from the lush tropical setting with two heated pools to the luxurious suites with exquisite 180-degree ocean views from your private balcony. Their on-site ocean-view restaurant serves exceptionally good food with unique twists.
Petra couldn’t get enough of their crispy-coated calamari. You can read more about our stay at The Plettenberg by clicking here. If the price tag is not a deciding factor, and you want to impress your love interest beyond words, this is the place to do it.
#8 The St. James of Knysna
We recently visited the St. James of Knysna and dedicated an entire article to this magnificent hotel on the Garden Route. Not only is the hotel’s interior and exterior super romantic, but they also offer a free lagoon cruise with their resident luxury barge. You are almost guaranteed to win your loved one over with this scenic Knysna lagoon cruise that allows you to enjoy ice-cold bubbly on a hot summer’s evening with a tastefully selected picnic basket.
And if that doesn’t ‘wow’ your special person, there is always the beyond-romantic sunset cruise through the Knysna Heads with a catamaran. We joined Ocean Sailing Charters on their sunset cruise, including champers and a barbeque on the catamaran. Visit our Instagram page for incredible footage of our cruise. You might even spot some whales or dolphins if you are lucky like us.
Most romantic weekend getaways in the Limpopo Province
In recent years, the malaria-free, Big-5 Welgevonden Game Reserve has become one of the most exclusive spots for a safari in South Africa. The private game reserve is best known for up-close wildlife spotting and exclusive stays at some of the finest and most intimate lodges in South Africa, like our favourite Sediba Lodge.
#9 Sediba Luxury Lodge
Romance is taken to the next level at Sediba Luxury Safari Lodge with its enormous private luxury thatched units featuring large, secluded patios with private jacuzzies overlooking the bushveld. Moreover, the Lodge features a generous-sized, unfenced rock pool for guests in the most romantic location. Each unit at Sediba Rock Lodge features standalone large bathtubs (with nature views) and private indoor and outdoor showers; each space at Sediba comes with a romantic, welcoming touch. We cannot imagine a more romantic sunrise spot than the one from your private patio at Sediba.
There are two lodges, Rock and Mountain Lodge. Mountain Lodge can be booked for exclusive use. What can be more romantic than a private game drive with an exclusive bush dinner for two? To read more about the features of this exclusive Lodge, click here for the full article.
Most romantic weekend getaways in the Western Cape
The western cape oozes romance due to its incredibly beautiful landscapes with coastlines bordering the Indian and Atlantic oceans. The Western Cape is well-known for the capital port city, Cape Town, at the foot of Table Mountain.
This region has some of the best Winelands, such as Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Durbanville, and Paarl, to name a few. You are welcome to visit our Instagram highlight for updates on our recent visits to these wine farms.
#10 Abalone Hotel & Villas, Paternoster
There is something irresistibly romantic about Paternoster. It is one of the oldest fishing villages on the west coast of South Africa and only 145km from Cape Town. It is worth venturing out of the city. The beautiful town is known for its west coast rock lobster and white-washed fisherman’s cottages. We stayed in one of the two exclusive Abalone Beach villas with direct beach access and the most picturesque ocean views from the private pool deck with a rim-flow splash pool.
We witnessed some of the most incredible sunrises from our main bedroom’s patio. Visit our Instagram page’s ‘highlights’ for photos and videos of our stay at Abalone Beach Villas. This is the place for you if you’re after a private and secluded (fully equipped) self-catering villa. The villas offer private braai facilities overlooking the white, soft sandy beach. For those who don’t enjoy making their food, the Abalone Hotel is within short walking distance from the villas. Click here to read our review of our stay at the villas.
#11 Verloren cabin, Touws River, Karoo
Verloren cabin is part of the Lifetree Collection, which spells romance in capital letters with breathtaking views over the Breede River district. This private cabin is ‘in the middle of nowhere’ as featured by Shane Williams, a travel buddy lifestyle correspondent. This cabin has everything for luxury, self-catering lovers.
From a fully equipped kitchen to your private viewing wooden deck with star-gazing scope, a wood-fired hot tub, private boma area, and outdoor bathtub and shower. Because the cabin is so secluded, you can make your stay as romantic as you wish without the glare of neighbours.
#12 The Silo, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
If you’re feeling particularly flush and wish to express your love in an over-the-top, sexy location, The Silo (part of the Royal Portfolio Collection) is your go-to place. Guest will tell you there is a lot more to the Silo Hotel than what meets the eye. Besides the incredibly romantic suites with views over the V&A Waterfront, this five-star hotel offers an unbeatable date-night spot at their finest roof-top bar.
The enormous glittering chandeliers, marble floor, and ceiling-to-floor windows provide the most romantic setting for a splurge weekend. This is the ideal location to get dressed and stay until the first morning light.
Most romantic restaurants in Cape Town
#1 Kloof Street House, Cape Town
For the most romantic dinner setting in Cape Town, you cannot go wrong with Kloof Street House. Although this restaurant is always crowded
#2 The Nines, Sea Point
The highly popular The Nines at Station House Sea Point is another excellent spot for a romantic dinner. Here, you can expect magnificent views in a classy setting. It isn’t easy to get a booking on short notice, so make sure you book well in advance.
#3 On the Rocks, Blouberg Strand
On the Rocks at Blouberg Strand is also good for the ultimate beach setting. We love this restaurant for its magnificent setting (on the rocks), excellent service, and magnificent food. Advance booking is highly recommended. They are on the ‘Dine Plan’ app, so you don’t have any excuse not to get the best seat in the house.
Most romantic activities in Cape Town
#1 Helicopter trip over Cape Town
There are once-in-a-lifetime helicopter trips over Cape Town for adrenalin seekers for very affordable prices. Nothing is more romantic than admiring breathtaking landscapes and experiencing over-the-top activities together. There are several helicopter touring companies offering trips from the V&A Waterfront. Visit our Instagram page for highlights of our trip with Sport Helicopters.
#2 Wine farms in Cape Town
The Cape Winelands is the largest wine-producing region in South Africa, offering unique routes for visitors. Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson, Durbanville, and Wellington are among the most popular.
Babylonstoren wine farm
Visiting the eight acres of cultivated fruit and vegetable gardens of the Babylonstoren farm is considered very romantic. Besides their luxurious boutique hotel, there are several organised tours daily, from cellar tours to garden tours, Olive tasting, and Balsamic tours, to name a few. Or what can be more romantic than attending a cooking workshop together?
Babylonstoren has three farm-to-fork restaurants, an Italian-inspired bakery, and a world-class garden Spa. The hotel offers guests farm walks and bicycles to explore the 200-hectare farm, rowing on the dam, bread-baking workshops, and access to the garden spa. Look out for our next feature article about Babylonstoren.
Conclusion of the most romantic getaways for Valentine's Day in South Africa
To conclude, our above recommendations will entice you to spoil your loved one, whether you’re planning a special Valentine’s weekend or birthday getaway, an anniversary, or simply celebrating life (always a valid reason). If you need more information about any place or activity listed, please comment below or DM us on Instagram. Don’t delay booking your romantic getaway immediately; they are all very popular and fill up quickly.
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