If you haven't figured it out for yourself just yet, we have some pretty cool news:
Women's Day (9 August) falls on a Sunday this year, which means that the Monday following it is a public holiday. In, other words... NEXT WEEKEND IS A LONG ONE!
How great is that? Especially since I think we can all agree that August really is the most awful month of the year. While June and July are traditionally considered to be mid-winter here in South Africa, the truth is that August always winds up being the coldest by far.
So, the least you can do is get it off to a good start by grabbing whoever you'd consider to be your travel companion(s) of choice right now and hit the road.
We've hand-picked nine perfect breakaway spots not too far away from Cape Town, Joburg and Durban that definitely won't break the bank:
Where: Lakenvlei Forest Lodge, Belfast, Mpumalanga
Accommodation type: A cosy wooden cabin complete with a fireplace and a large Victorian bath.
Surrounds: Lakenvlei is located in the heart of a 4 500ha pine forest about 10km norht of Belfast. The quaint wooden cabins look out over a beautiful lake, which is great for fly fishing. There are plenty of walks to do in the area and also the option of horse riding. Pretty romantic, right?
Distance from Joburg: 230km
Cost: R800 for two people per night
More info: Visit the Lakenvlei website
Where: Dove Cottage, McGregor
Accommodation type: Simple and stylish cottage located in the heart of McGregor.
Surrounds: Located on a working olive farm called Rhebokskraal just 2km outside of the picturesque village of McGregor, the historical Dove Cottage overlooks the farm dam and contains classical old furnishings. Head to town to enjoy a meal at one of the quaint restaurants or coffee shops and be sure to check out the wine farms in the area!
Distance from Cape Town: 176km
Cost: From R250 per person per night
More info: Check out the Rhebokskraal website
Where: Sun-Sea Dream House, Palm Beach
Accommodation type: Raised wooden cabin overlooking the ocean, with a white-washed beach house interior
Surrounds: Located on the balmy KZN south coast, you can spend lazy days on the beach (weather-permitting) or just enjoy the view from the house. If you're into golfing as a couple, there is a whole range of top quality courses to choose from in a 20km radius. Head to the legendary Mac Banana farm stall for a delicious pancake breakfast one morning.
Distance from Durban: 153km
Cost: R800 per unit per night
More info: Visit the Sun-Sea Dream House website
Where: Forever Resorts, Badplaas
Accommodation type: There's a whole range - from camping/caravan spots to self-catering cottages and even a hotel, so it's really up to you!
Surrounds: The resort is pretty much what children's dreams are made of - there are waterslides and trampolines, you can play a game of putt putt or hop on a horse, there are game drives and quad bikes. There is even a fufi slide. While there are lots of activities to enjoy with your kids, the fact that everything happens inside the safety of the resort, also allows you to have a little bit of time to yourself while your kids are off having the time of their lives.
Distance from Joburg: 303km
Cost: Depending on the accommodation type, anything between R140 per person per night to R1 850 per unit per night.
More info: Visit the Forever Resorts website
Where: Stanford Hills, Stanford
Accommodation type: Refurbished, historical labourers cottages overlooking a gorgeous lake and vineyards.
Surrounds: With wide open spaces and a lake just begging to be canoed on, Stanford Hills is the perfect spot for outdoorsy families to enjoy. Guests are welcome to explore the farm to their heart's content, but there are also a number of great hikes and mountain biking routes to try out in the area. Stanford town itself also offers a wide range of restaurants, coffee shops and pubs to choose from.
Distance from Cape Town: 143km
Cost: R700 per night for a 4-sleeper cottage. There are a couple of other accommodation options as well, ranging in price from R500 per unit per night to R2 600 per unit per night.
More info: Check out the Stanford Hills website
Where: Wits End Mountain Resort, Champagne Valley
Accommodation type: Family chalets, 4 to 8 sleepers
Surrounds: Located in the heart of the central Drakensberg, Wits End offers guests a respite from city life with its unspoilt natural surrounds. You can enjoy a range of outdoor activities, including fly flishing, hiking, mountain biking and even horse riding. If you're lucky you may also catch the Drakensberg Boy's Choir's weekly term time concert, with the school located right across the road.
Distance from Durban: 228km
Cost: From R1 170 per unit per night
More info: Visit the Wits End Mountain Resort website
Weekend with friends
Where: Mamagalie Mountain Lodge, Mooinooi
Accommodation type: Large 12-sleeper thatched roof lodge-style house
Surrounds: If you're looking to spend some quality time reconnecting with your girlfriends or bros, this is a great spot! While the self-catering lodge is nice and spacious, the surrounding area is a game reserve, meaning it's tranquil and quiet. Perfect for enjoying lengthy meals on the front porch and good conversation/upbeat card games inside. Also be sure to set one day aside to explore some of the Magalies Meander - there are great restaurants, breweries and coffee shops to try!
Distance from Joburg: 101km
Cost: R325 per person per night
More info: Check out the Mamagalie website for more details
Where: Snyderskloof, Matjiesfontein
Accommodation type: A stone cottage with a pool overlooking the Karoo 'vlaktes', 2 bedrooms, sleeps 6
Surrounds: Just secluded enough, this cute cottage is a great spot to just relax with friends. The bedrooms are all delightfully cosy, but it's really the communal areas that got our attention - a lovely outside braai area, a generously sized stoep with a large picnic table and a quaintly furnished living room. Perfect for long evenings of chatting over many glasses of wine. Matjiesfontein is located about 24km away, so pop over to check out the historical town and have a drink at the Lord Milner Hotel.
Distance from Cape Town: 235km
Cost: R850 per night for two people, R190 for every guest thereafter
More info: Check out the Snyderskloof website
Where: Kosi Bay Casitas, Kosi Bay
Accommodation type: Rustic, Mozambican style reed huts, ranging in size. But we'd suggest staying in the 6-8 sleeper Beira cottage
Surrounds: Located in the very northern-most tip of KZN's Elephant Coast, it's wild and rustic and full of adventures waiting to happen. There are loads of outdoor activities to enjoy in the area and it is quite a hot spot for scuba divers. So if you're into that, gather your friends and hit the (relatively long) road for the weekend.
Distance from Durban: 410km
Cost: R300 per person per night
More info: Visit the Kosi Bay Casitas website