The grasslands of South Africa in and around Gauteng have a certain charm in winter. It’s warm and dry, to the extent that your skin cracks up. And at night, it’s bitterly cold.
But when you’re sitting in the afternoon winter sun, basking like a rock rabbit, the heatwaves of summers’ past couldn’t be further away. And during those cold nights, a fireplace and a bottle of red are all you need for ultimate bliss.
Winter is a magical time of year, when everything takes a break from growing and blooming and just settles in. And you should too.
In Gauteng, the prospects of taking a break are often overshadowed by having to travel far distances and having to dish up big bucks for flights and fuel, in addition to accommodation. But why travel out of this winter wonderland if you can have a break right outside the Big City?
Kievits Kroon Country Estate lies less than 30km outside Pretoria, in the Kameeldrift-East region. Up until you reach the driveway leading up to the stately Cape-Dutch inspired major house which personifies the estate, you wouldn’t say you’re heading to a luxury retreat.
Fittingly, crowned lapwing, or crowned 'kieviets', greets you as you step out. They’re about the only feature which reminds you that the estate is actually situated in Gauteng. Judging by everything else, it’s truly the Winelands of Gauteng – without the winter rain.
Save for the staff who operate like worker-bees behind the scenes, Kievitskroon can at first seem deserted – a quality you very quickly learn to appreciate, especially if you’re craving a real escape from city life.
Even over a jam-packed weekend, there’s a quietness and serenity. The road rage and city buzz coming from Pretoria is only just audible if you listen hard enough.
It’s only at night, when you migrate to the communal bar and restaurants that you realise there are actually a lot of other people staying at Kievitskroon.
And it’s understandable why people come out of hibernation from their suites – the in-house fine dining restaurant, Granita’s six-course food and wine pairing menu is scrumptious. It’s fine dining with gusto – not the type where you leave feeling hungry, ripped off and dissatisfied. Think big-boy portions of cripsy confit duck, Karoo lamb, grilled quail and seared scallops, washed down with down with some of the Winelands’ most trusted vintages.
Oh, and did we mention the two fireplaces in the restaurant? It’s the only way to end a tiring spa day of soaking in one of the multiple Jacuzzis and sauna.
No winter break is complete without a spa day, and the spa at Kievits Kroon can rival any Thai or Japanese establishment. The spa complex, consisting of temperature controlled pools, Jacuzzis, a steam room and sauna, might be older… but it still provides the complete luxury experience and kick-ass masseuses on your beck and call.
When taking a winter break, it’s important to realise you don’t need to take off two weeks to rejuvenate.
You only need a couple of days of complete ‘switching off’ – from your cell phone and laptop, especially.
If you’d like to indulge in an all-inclusive winter break, the estate caters for weekend winter lovers especially. Keep an eye on the winter specials on the site.
Explore Pretoria: Things to see, do and taste
Staying in line with a classic country escape, we love the following things to do on a winter escape...
Granita is highly recommomended, and it's a plus that you won't have to leave Kievitskroon to experience it.
If you're looking to venture out, however, try the Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient in Elandsfontein, Pretoria.
It's was rated the seventh-best restaurant in South Africa for 2015, so we can guarantee you won't be disappointed.
Do and See -
A drive out to the Magaliesberg never fails to impress and elevate your senses. There's a plethora of hiking trails in the area too, so pack your hiking boots if you're looking to pump some fresh air into those lungs.
This Magaliesberg Protected Natural Environment lies at the heart of a beautiful region of mountains, valleys, rivers and indigenous woodland, which is home to a variety of birds.
In June last year, the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve was also recognised by Unesco for its incredible natural beauty. It now makes up part of SA's eight recognised biosphere reserves.
Disclaimer: Louzel Lombard for Traveller24 was hosted as media by Kievits Kroon Country Estate, including meals, flights and accommodation.
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