I recently joined a few bloggers and shared some of my favourite hidden gems in South Africa on Cheapflights.co.za. Thirty gems were revealed between twelve bloggers and while some gems did some provincial overlapping every place mentioned still represented thirty different sides of South Africa. Bloggers picked places from the Cape to the Karoo to the Wild Coast and as I read the post I penciled a few hidden gems in my notebook under “places I still want to visit”.
When I picked my hidden gems in South Africa I went the traditional route and got my something old, something new and something blue. I picked were Bethulie in the Free State, De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape and Gamtoos in the Eastern Cape.
Hidden Gems in South Africa
Hidden Gem #1 – Bethulie, My Something Old
I spent one night in this small Free State dorpie last year; all it took was one night, one sunset and one hotel to win me over.
Bethulie is one of those small towns that will surprise you in the most unexpected way. The name means “chosen by God” and if you stand on the DH Steyn Bridge it all makes sense as the sun sets over the river. Bethulie is steeped in South African history, ghosts roam the streets, nature is ever-present and the town boasts incredibly talented local poets and singers. Bethulie is the chosen one indeed.
Read The Roaming Giraffe’s blog post on Bethulie.
Hidden Gem #2: De Hoop Nature Reserve, My Something New
I met De Hoop for the first time in 2016; the Overberg stranger quickly became a dear friend after I experienced its abundant bird and wildlife around the vlei, the beach at Koppie Alleen and the luxury of the Melkkamer Manor House.
The Melkkamer Manor House is a remote, old stone, house in the Overberg where luxury meets nature; the house is fit for a king, you can opt for an on-site chef, have complete privacy in a secluded setting and still experience all the activities offered by De Hoop Collection. It is a place where you can immerse yourself in nature, get active, relax and have a digital detox…all at the same time.
Keep your eyes open for my next blog post about my experience at the Melkkamer Manor House at De Hoop.
Hidden Gem #3: Gamtoos Valley, My Something Blue
The Gamtoos Valley is often overshadowed by its wilder brother, Jeffreys Bay. Cars rush from destination A to destination B on the N2 and people often miss the most magical area in the Kouga district.
The Gamtoos Valley includes the towns of Patensie, Hankey, Loerie and Thornhill and is often referred to as the “pantry of the Eastern Cape” because of its agricultural value and contribution to the kitchen table. The whole Valley is quite underrated with all of its natural beauty, history and Khoi San culture. Nothing beats a walk on the almost deserted golden-sand-blue-water beach. One of my favourite Gamtoos past times is watching the sun set over the lagoon; especially in the winter when the sun shifts closer to the Cockscomb peak to wave the day adieu.
And for my something borrowed…
If I have to choose one hidden gem from the article on Cheapflights to put on the top of my “places I still want to visit” I would choose Melanie Van Zyl’s choice of Leshiba Wilderness in the Soutpansberg.
To read all about the Hidden gems in South Africa as Discovered by Bloggers on Cheapflights’ blog, click here.
What’s your favourite hidden gem in South Africa?