- 10 Feb 2017
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8 Romantic Getaways – With a Twist
Cost per night: From R3 100 per night for two.
Why you should go: The barren plains of the north-western interior may not seem like your typical romantic getaway spot, but that's exactly the drawcard here – blissful isolation. Aside from wild-flower season, there's absolutely nothing except the spectacularly desolate scenery to distract you from quality time with your bae.
Unusual feature: Definitely go for the Naries mountain suites. They're beautifully built from thatch, and provide inspiring views of the Namakwaland below.
Best car to get you there: Something to soothe the tricky Cape-Namibia leg of the journey – the Mercedes-Benz GLC 350d should do nicely.
Cost per night: From R4 665 per night for two.
Why you should go: A suite at Tsala Treetop Lodge means a childhood fantasy realised. Cantilevered on stilts, adjoined by elevated walkways, not only are they architectural marvels – they're also fitted with every modern luxury convenience imaginable.
Unusual feature: Soak away the afternoon in your private infinity pool, lulled by soothing birdsong. This is idyllic bliss only an enchanted forest can deliver.
Best car to get you there: No trip up the Garden Route would be complete without the ultimate open-top indulgence, the Mercedes-Benz S 500 Cabriolet.
Cost per night: From R3 535 per night for two.
Why you should go: It's an easy hour's drive from Jozi, but once you alight at this lavish country estate the Big Smoke feels a million miles away. Best come hungry for the five-star dining accompanied by signature silver-service in chef Michael Holenstein's restaurant.
Unusual feature: What's more romantic than a once-in-a-lifetime hot-air balloon trip over the Magaliesberg from the lawn of your hotel? Very little, frankly.
Best car to get you there: Leave the big city behind in no uncertain terms with something truly awe-inspiring – the Mercedes-AMG GT S.
Cost per night: From R1 285 per night for two.
Why you should go: This unlikely game reserve on the outskirts of Bloemfontein boasts a range of Basotho-inspired en suite accommodation and – thanks to the rolling veld, wide-open skies and unforgettable sunsets – has all the romantic charm for a perfect surprise Valentine's getaway.
Unusual feature: Visit the Emoya "shebeen" in the safe environment of the game reserve. Glugging on a zamalek as nyala and giraffe saunter by the stone veranda provides a unique South African experience.
Best car to get you there: For unsurpassed luxury travel through the Free State interior, you'll want the effortless Mercedes-Benz GLS 350d.
Cost per night: From R995 per night for two.
Why you should go: Nothing says unusual like an authentic lighthouse sleepover. Only four lighthouses offer overnight accommodations in SA – and Cape Columbine, situated within the Columbine Nature Reserve, is hands down the best for canoodling couples who love to curl up in front of the fire.
Unusual feature: The self-catering cottages were once the homes of former lighthouse keepers who maintained the beam before automation took over. It's still the brightest light on the Diamond Coast.
Best car to get you there: Opt for the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Coupé and take the scenic R27 route through the sleepy hamlets of Saldanha and Paternoster – it's the best for uncompromised luxury over gravel.
Cost per night: From R1 050 per night for two.
Why you should go: A little slice of heaven awaits at this rustic avocado and herb farm in the indigenous Limpopo forest. Opt for the Herb Cottage accommodation, and you and your sweetheart get a fireplace and pool – just perfect for watching the monkeys and bushbuck from an idyllic terrace.
Unusual feature: For real isolation, the solar-powered bush camp on the plateau of the forest is a must. With its own bath-with-a-view, you can bird-spot to your heart's content. Most importantly, cellphones definitely don't work down there.
Best car to get you there: This hideaway deserves an equally stealthy and environmentally friendly car – the Mercedes-Benz C 350e plug-in hybrid is just the ticket.
Cost per night: From R2 500 per person per night, including meals, game drives and more.
Why you should go: Not only is this 27-hectare estate the leading private conservation project in the Great Karoo, it also made Hello! magazine's Twelve Most Romantic Places in the World list.
Unusual feature: The recently introduced Milky Way Star Bed Experience is the stuff of true romance. Delight in a night under the stars in a bespoke four-poster bed complete with luxe sheets, mohair blankets and hurricane lamps. An elegant seating area near the river, mosquito nets and upmarket bathroom facilities ensure your al fresco experience is both memorable and comfortable.
Best car to get you there: The always restless Mercedes-Benz GLA 220 CDI 4MATIC offers total assurance on gravel roads.