Ease into 2022 with a dip in one of Mzanzi's best bubble baths
These lodges, hotels and hostels take chilled-out getaways to the next level with unique bathtubs in incredible locations
Few things say self-care like shutting yourself off from the rest of the world and sinking into a steaming hot bubble bath, with time to lie back, take a few deep breaths and clear your mind. Add a glass of wine (better yet, bubbly) and a spectacular view, and you have a winning combination. To start the new year, we’ve rounded up some of SA’s best bubble baths to add to your wellness travel bucket list for 2022.
AWAY WITH THE FAIRIES
One of the baths with the best view in SA can be found at Away with the Fairies, a hostel in the mountainous village of Hogsback in the Eastern Cape. The outdoor bath is perched on the edge of a cliff with sweeping views of the Auckland Nature Reserve.
The bath is communal but guests must book a time slot with reception. They will be given a bottle of cleaner and a sponge to wipe down the tub before use.
Away with the Fairies has self-catering apartments and cottages, private en suite rooms, dorms and camping facilities, and is a popular springboard from which to explore the dense forests, pristine waterfalls and hiking trails of the Amatola Mountains that are home to the toughest trail in the country — the Amatola Trail — and a setting that is rumoured to have inspired JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books.
It is unsurprising that a hotel built on a bridge straddling the Sabie River should have a bucket list-worthy view from its bath. Opened a little more than a year ago, Kruger Shalati — the Train on the Bridge is a destination on its own; a bath in one of its carriages is an added pleasure.
Located a few minutes from Skukuza airport in the Kruger National Park, it offers a luxurious alternative to a sunrise or sunset game drive. The river flowing below acts as a waterhole, luring animals looking for a tall drink of water in the sizzling bush.
The 24 carriage rooms are stretched along the Selati Bridge with windows on one side of the carriage revealing the lush spectacle below, meaning your viewing pleasure can continue as you hop out of the bath and into bed, or head to the main carriage with its striking swimming pool.
If you’re a Thalassophile (lover of the sea) looking for the ultimate bath with a view, Tintswalo Atlantic is the place for you. This five-star boutique hotel is situated at the foot of the bends wrapping around Chapman’s Peak, on the doorstep of the Atlantic Ocean.
Each of the nine island suites is individually decorated and comes standard with a luxury bath and shower but it’s the vista from the Elba and Corsica suite that really blew us away.
Here you can slip into a bath with a sublime view of the Hout Bay harbour and the Sentinel mountain peak while you watch the waves crash on the shoreline before you — a beautiful experience on moody, rainy or sunshine-filled days.
The Elba and Corsica suite can sleep four while the Robben, Antigua, Cousine, Saint Marie, Sicily, Lamu, Ithaca and Zanzibar island suites offer a more private stay for two.
MORUKURU FAMILY MADIKWE
When the sun sinks and the night unfurls, a magnificent song starts up in the bush. Here, under the darkest navy skies and glittering stars, you’ll find one of the most romantic settings for an outdoor bath.
A stay in Morukuru’s exclusive use two-bedroom Owner’s House or three-bedroom River House in the Madikwe Game Reserve is easily complete without this luxe touch. Spacious rooms and stunning en suite bathrooms connect to a main house with lounge and pool deck. But it’s the addition of the outdoor bath that makes the stay unforgettable.
Upon your request, a member of staff will draw the bath for you just as the sun starts to set. Once ready, you can make your way down the footpath to a secluded nook of the bush where you’ll be greeted with dozens of candles and glowing lanterns and a bath gurgling with bubbles. You’ll easily want to stay the night — and will no doubt risk falling asleep in the calm of the night.
Since it opened in 2017, the swanky, five-star Silo Hotel has been a showstopper in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront with its signature “pillowed” windows. Designed by architect Thomas Heatherwick, the windows create the idea of a crumpled pillow as a result of triangular glass panels that form a protruding dome.
Behind these iconic windows the hotel is home to 28 individually decorated suites built above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. Each room has its own collection of contemporary African art, a private balcony and glamorous en suite bathroom with a free-standing bathtub and a backdrop with spectacular views of the city beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows stretching from Table Bay harbour to Table Mountain.
LEPOGO LODGES NOKA CAMP
Lepogo Lodges Noka Camp in Limpopo’s Lapalala Game Reserve is perched on a cliff rising 30m above the Palala River where the breathtaking views surrounding the lodge feature front and centre in each of the five villas on the property.
During the day, guests can enjoy a swim in their private, heated, infinity plunge pool or lounge on the deck built onto a platform in the cliff.
For those daring enough, at night the villas take on a special atmosphere on a glass-enclosed sky bed under open skies.
The idea of merging the indoors with the magnificent outdoors is also mirrored in the villas’ bathrooms with beautiful sunken baths that overlook the river and valley below. To fully appreciate the view, you can draw a bath at sunrise, or even during the day, but a special treat awaits at night when you’ll find the bubbles waiting for you after dinner.