6 tips for a South African staycation sensation

Not leaving your home city this December? No worries – we’ve got what you need to have great fun anyway

15 November 2017 - 08:11 By Avukile Mabombo

Visitors from around the world are gearing up to climb aboard long-haul flights, bucket lists in hand, and head to South Africa for a dream holiday. They’ve pored over online searches and drooled over social media pics that capture this land of beauty and contrast.

Here in South Africa, we’re aware that we don’t always get to see the world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a remarkable staycation, enjoying what the globetrotters do.

Here are some hot tips to get you started this summer.

Cuisine-hopping from Thailand to France in a day

The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
Image: Supplied/Protea Hotels

Around the urban hubs of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban – and, increasingly, within smaller towns – you can find world-class menus dishing up local flavours, fusion delights and dishes representing tastes from all over. Why not make a list of places you’ve never been to and take your very own foodie tour?

Did you know that for example, the menu at Fire & Ice! Cape Town focuses on traditional African food, or that at African Pride, found at 15 on Orange, chef Tamsyn Wells recently won a trip to Singapore as part of a halal cooking course?

Get a friend to join you, take notes and see how your reviews match up.

TOP TIP: Before you book, check out the restaurants’ specials on their social media accounts – you could be enjoying a two-for-one deal or a complimentary cocktail. Bangers for breakfast and sushi for supper!


An amazing race in your home town

There’s so much to see that often we never get around to it. Take all of the places you can think of across your city and do a mini road trip.

Make it a competition with some mates: each friend makes up a clue about the next thing to see, and each person must post a photo of it to social media to prove he or she was there – for example, getting from the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban to the Bluff via uShaka Marine World by visiting a number of spots in between. The winners get to decide how you’ll spend the evening, whether it’s a traditional or exotic bunny-chow feast or sharing scoops of artisanal ice cream.

Here's some inspiration for Joburg too:

Horsing around

Image: 123RF/pixbirdz

The beauty of South Africa’s urban lifestyle is that you’re never more than a few minutes away from rural spaces, be they rugged hill tops or horizon-spanning vistas. Put yourself into those views by exploring in a different way: on horseback. 

In the Cape, for example, you can take a horseback tour in Tulbagh that comes with wine and a picnic, or you can gallop across the sands of Noordhoek Beach. There’s nothing to rival this energetic, natural adventure that puts you ahead above car-window level.


Pretend you’re a guest for a day

Image: 123RF/arinahabich

Did you know not all hotels require you to be a booked-in guest to enjoy many of their facilities? Some will allow you to use their swimming pools for a nominal fee or enjoy a spa treatment or massage (pro rata), and many will welcome you to their bars and restaurants – bear in mind that great hotels have professional chefs and bar staff, so you’ll be getting top-notch treatment.

Even in the busy season there will be meal specials and crazy cocktails to entice you. Just phone your local hotel and see what it has on offer. Some host public events such as performances by comedians or musicians. You can travel like an international guest, right here at home.

TOP TIP: Enjoy a legendary and decadent milkshake at Fire & Ice! Menlyn.


Street art gallery

Johannesburg is more than a city; it’s an art gallery.

That’s right, from the iconic murals depicting the Soweto String Quartet on the Orlando Towers to internationally acclaimed street artist Faith47’s zebras near Gandhi Square, you can capture some of the city’s celebrations of life for a virtual gallery of your own on your Instagram account. Some art recalls the power of the struggle years, while other creations bring the city to life with splashed of colour.


A bird’s-eye view

Image: 123RF/gongzstudio

Experiences are where it’s at for travellers right now, and you can embark on some bucket-list adventures without trekking to another country.

Hot-air ballooning in Clarens or Hartbeespoort is a great way to start the day, drifting in the dawn air as the sun rises. If you’ve always wanted to know how an eagle feels, take a calming paragliding trip off Signal Hill in Cape Town or in the Drakensberg. No bucket list is complete without skydiving either.


You could be enjoying this summer’s top experiences in an affordable way that’ll leave you with plenty of memories and stories to tell.

Avukile Mabombo is group marketing manager at Protea Hotels by Marriott.

This article was paid for by Protea Hotels by Marriott.