Select Page

WORDS: LOUISE LIEBENBERG IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK & SUPPLIED

Since February is the month of love, we’ve picked three destinations for a quick, romantic coastal getaway: the Bay, Port Alfred and Plettenberg Bay.

NELSON MANDELA BAY

If Port Elizabeth draws holidaymakers from all over the world, it’s time for a staycation to rediscover its charms with your loved one.

What makes it special

PE’s friendly people are its heart and if you live here you’ll already feel warm and fuzzy about that! Add world-class beaches, plentiful attractions and accommodation for every budget.

Best time to go

February is a fantastic month to make the most of PE’s fine beaches and it’s when the city gets its best weather. The holidaymakers are gone and you’ll have the beaches largely to yourselves. Pack a picnic basket and head to Schoenmakerskop for a lazy day of snorkelling and sun with your mate. Or scale the dune at Sardinia Bay and find the perfect secluded spot to feel like a pair of island castaways.

Splash out with a difference

  • Spend a night at No 5 Boutique Art Hotel in Summerstrand, an art-deco styled gem where you will surely rekindle the romance. Book a tailor-made screening, with food and drinks, of your favourite romantic movie in No 5’s Mountbatten Theatre.
  • Thunzi Bush Lodge is set in indigenous coastal forest and they do brilliant picnics. You don’t have to be an overnight guest – simply book, choose from their menu, collect a basket, then head to one of Thunzi’s secluded and dreamily comfy picnic spots. You can take your own wine or bubbly and corkage is minimal. Enjoy a hike afterwards or try your hand at bass fishing.
  • Go for a couple’s massage at one of the Bay’s excellent spas. Try Shambala Wellness Spa in Walmer or Isango Gate in Summerstrand.

Don’t miss

  • This February at Sanccob, the marine rehab centre at Cape Recife, adopt a penguin pair and “name” your penguins in a two-for-one special with a difference. Penguins pick their mates for life, after all.
  • Book for a wine tasting with De Liefde at Life is Grape in Main Road on 29 February.
  • For other events visit nmbt.co.za

PORT ALFRED

“The Sunshine Coast has more sunshine days than anywhere in SA,” says Ditte Humphrey, Kowie River Guest House. “It’s just 1,5 hours from two major cities with airports, and its stunning beaches and river allow for beautiful, romantic sunrises and sunsets, and a large variety of activities.”

What makes it special

Helen Crooks of pet-friendly The Mythical Aardvark, says “PA” is small enough to enjoy alone time and big enough to offer all-you-need amenities.

“Centred around a beautiful marina and featuring a large number of unspoilt beaches, it’s easily accessible from both PE and East London,” Helen says.

Best time to go

Port Alfred enjoys a mild climate year round. In the month of love, enjoy long beach walks; drink in the sunset (or sunrise) at Kelly’s Blue Flag Beach; or take a sunset cruise up the Kowie River. You could even overnight on a houseboat, dropping anchor at any one of a number of secluded coves.

Splash out with a difference

  • Explore the Kap River Conservancy either on foot or by canoe. Sunday lunch is offered from time to time. What could be more romantic than spending a weekend in the conservancy in an off-grid stone cottage? Specials apply for the month of love.
  • Order a picnic basket from Rise Courtyard Cafe and enjoy it on the private patio at Kowie River Guest House to watch the sunset.
  • Visit the Thistle Restaurant at Royal St Andrews Hotel for a formal dinner.

Don’t miss

  • Easter sees the Amanzi Challenge return to Port Alfred from 10 April to include the world surfing league, SA champs bodyboarding, national inflatable boats, an 8km trail run, a one-mile swim, and more.
  • PA is hosting the SA Standup-paddling champs from 17 April to 20 April.
  • For other events visit sunshinecoasttourism.co.za.

PLETTENBERG BAY

Plett is known for its brilliant beaches and moderate climate. “Then there’s the relatively new Plett Winelands – SA’s smallest wine of origin region, with boutique wine farms all within a 15km radius,” says Patty Butterworth, Plettenberg Bay Tourism.

What makes it special

“With its beautiful pink sunrises over the bay and orange-pink sunsets, combined with the other natural beauty so plentiful in Plett, it’s very well suited for a romantic getaway,” says Patty.

Best time to go

Plett gets busy in summer, so optimal time to enjoy a tranquil visit is April to October. “This is during our whale season and what are considered our cooler months,” says Patty. “There are several festivals and events then, cycling and running events, and it’s a beautiful time of year for iconic sunrises.”

Splash out with a difference

  • Barrington’s Brasserie is Plett’s new brewery and smokehouse; Nguni Restaurant does authentic SA cuisine with a twist; and the Grand Africa Lookout Beach is Grand Africa’s new gem.
  • Tour the Plett Winelands with Hog Hollow Horse Trails; ride on an antique horse-drawn carriage and visit three wine farms to enjoy wine and olive oil tastings, and a light lunch.
  • Enjoy a leisurely hike on Robberg Nature Reserve (contact Cape Nature, 044 533 2125) or take a romantic walk along one of Plett’s six Blue Flag beaches.

Don’t miss

  • The Plett Truck & Vine Festival (26 April, Kay and Monty Vineyards)
  • The Plett Food & Film Festival (dates to be confirmed – pletttourism.com)