Staycation activities that should be on your to-do list

December 24, 2023 (Last Updated: December 21, 2023)
staycation

Staycations are not, as many would believe, just spending time at home while everyone else is getting their summer on somewhere else. A successful staycation is in the details – as much planning must go into your activities as for a holiday elsewhere. And if we’re honest, a staycation is a must in most homes at the moment – fewer people have the money to travel, but they all still need a holiday. So reframe your idea of a holiday and start with a straightforward concept: your holiday begins when you shut the front door – no commute, no visas or check-in nightmares or someone’s kid kicking your seat for ten hours straight. Your staycation starts now!

Johannesburg

It might not be near the ocean, but Jozi feeds the soul. It has been hailed as the cultural capital of South Africa and is home to fashion publications, renowned galleries, famed brands and art collectives. So if you live in Joburg, your staycation will be anything but boring.

There’s nothing like a red bus tour to make you feel like a tourist. So hop on and experience your city from the open deck of a city sightseeing tour. The Johannesburg Green Tour departs from Rosebank, and you’ll explore the leafy suburbs around Zoo Lake, stopping at the Johannesburg Zoo, Zoo Lake, the Military Museum and Constitution Hill. Here you can change to the Red City Tour to visit the James Hall Museum of Transport, Gold Reef City Theme Park and the Apartheid Museum before returning to Constitution Hill via Newtown and ultimately back to Rosebank.

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If a bus tour doesn’t quite take your fancy, you can join one of the exciting walking tours operated by Main Street Walks. Their Maboneng tours provide an exclusive opportunity to learn more about the eastern side of the inner city – informative, fun and active. What more do you need?

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You also have to experience the beauty that is the Keyes Art Mile. Restaurants, art galleries and design stores vie for your attention on this strip in Rosebank. You can easily spend a day here.

Momo Kuro is the newest little sister in the Momo group of restaurants and exciting new addition to the dining scene on the Mile. A must-visit for date night.

And those who love a fancy night out should book a table at Marble, the restaurant that embodies South Africa’s love of cooking with fire – a quality that distinguishes our food culture. Meat, fish, poultry, vegetables and bread are all cooked on coals by chef David Higgs and his team. A delight!

If a staycation means taking a much-needed breather, head to The View Spa on the 10th floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sandton. This spa is the perfect escape from Jozi’s concrete jungle, with stunning views of the city skyline.
Their signature Vichy shower provides a multi-sensory experience enhanced by steam, ice and heat and their massages are the most relaxing way to spend a staycation.

 

Pretoria

The Jacaranda City has the perfect vibe for a staycation – more laid back than Johannesburg, not as expensive as Cape Town, and with a dining scene that seems understated but will leave you longing for more.

The dishes on your table at Forti Grill & Bar at the Times Square Casino in Menlyn Maine are sure to delight while you take in the spectacular views from their outside seating area. If you plan on only one indulgent restaurant visit during your staycation, this should be it.

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Capital Craft Beer Academy is your best bet if you’re looking for something more family-friendly. The burgers and ribs will please the most discerning diner, and they offer a selection of the best craft beers in South Africa.

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Chocolate fans will love Jack Rabbit Chocolate Studio in Waterkloof Heights. Nothing says ‘staycation’ like luxurious chocolates and a bubble bath, and their dark chocolate peanut butter bar is what dreams are made of.

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A morning spent at Freedom Park should also be on your itinerary. Situated on Salvokop, the Freedom Park museum depicts South Africa’s history, including colonialism, the industrial era and the freedom struggle. It is a humbling experience that history buffs will love.

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Families will enjoy the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History. The museum houses amphibians, fish, reptiles, birds and plants from the Karoo. It also has a discovery centre for children, including a dinosaur collection and
a reconstruction of a Deinonychus dinosaur.

ditsong.org.za

 

Cape Town

Ah, the Mother City. If you’re lucky enough to live there, deciding what to include on your staycation bucket list will be tough.

A City Sightseeing Tour is definitely recommended for Cape Town as well. Their classic package gives you one full day on the bus covering all of their hop-on, hop-off tours, including the Red City Tour to the Table Mountain Cableway, the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour, the Purple Constantia Valley Wine Tour, and the Yellow Downtown Tour. You’ll see the city in a whole new light.

citysightseeing.co.za

A fun day trip to Cape Point is a must for young and old. Rugged rocks and sheer cliffs towering more than 200 m above the sea and cutting deep into the ocean provide a spectacular background for the park’s rich biodiversity. Cape Point falls within the southern section of Table Mountain National Park. The natural vegetation of the area – fynbos – comprises the smallest but most prosperous of the world’s six floral kingdoms. So take your camera and enough water and download the free audio guide from their website before you go – it enhances the experience!

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You’re spoilt for choice when looking for dining options in Cape Town. We love Obz Café in Observatory for unassuming but flavourful meals to enjoy with the family.

Date nights should be spent at Grub&Vine, where chef Matt Manning serves refined bistro-style fare in a relaxed, contemporary space. This is no-nonsense food done really well and presented as tiny works of art.

 

Gqeberha

The city with a big personality has some of the coolest bars and eateries. Gqeberha is becoming more remarkable by the minute, and a staycation here will be a creative and tasty endeavour.

Gqeberha is famous for Route 67, an art journey that celebrates the years Nelson Mandela devoted himself to the freedom struggle. In addition, the route is a proud celebration of the city’s heritage and history. Guided tours of Route 67 are available at the Donkin Visitor Information Office inside the lighthouse building.

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The café culture of Stanley street is excellent in the daytime, and when you return for a night out on the town, the vibe is entirely different. We love Mella’s Dim Sum & Noodle Bar – especially their crispy wontons. And add Griller’s Diner to your bucket list if you like a typical roadhouse diner – this is the place for milkshakes and burgers. Finally, book a table at The Granary in Richmond Hill for a fancy dinner where casual sophistication meets mouth-watering food and a great wine list. Their Granary Boards are lovely sharing options for hungry groups.

ALSO SEE: Restaurants to visit in the quaint town of Great Brak River

Restaurants to visit in the quaint town of Great Brak River

Written by Mart-Marié du Toit, as published in Food&Home Summer 2022.

Feature image: Pexels

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