Where to go for the ultimate SA girls’ weekend this August

Not only is a short break a chance to reset, but there is scientific evidence to prove that travel can be good for your health, too.

Sharmila Ragunanan, Dream Hotels & Resorts Group Marketing Manager, explains: “Research by the University of Pittsburgh’s Mind-Body Centre showed that taking leisure time out leads to more positive emotions, lower levels of depression and more satisfaction.”

Think about it – your friends are funny at the best of times, and on a girls’ trip, removed from the daily routine, they can be downright hilarious!

This Women’s Month, why not celebrate with the girls on one of these hassle-free, fun local getaways you may not have thought of. It’ll be good for you…

1. Franschhoek

Less than an hour from Cape Town, the quaint French-founded Wineland town of Franschhoek is one of the Western Cape’s gourmet hotspots. This August, it is time for some indulgence and a foodie adventure with the girls.

For fun: The Franschhoek Wine Tram hop-on-hop-off tour is one of the best ways to discover the Franschhoek Valley and its local wine farms. A combination of tram and tram-bus will transport you around a loop of stops allowing you to hop-off at each stop and experience the activities on offer, from wine tasting to cellar tours, lunch or a stroll through the vineyards.

For the mind: Forget about your everyday routine over a bottle of bubbles at Haute Cabriere. Pay close attention when the top of the bottle is sliced open neatly using a sharp knife or even a sword. This is also an excellent spot from which to watch the sunset over the beautiful Franschhoek Valley.

For the body: For some pampering, head to Babylonstoren Garden Spa. Set in a forest of bamboo with tranquil greenery and running water, it is the ideal place to soothe those tired city muscles.

For the soul: There is nothing like good food and great company to invigorate the soul. La Motte offers the perfect blend for a girls’ weekend with its interactive food and wine pairing experience offering a fusion of wine, food, art and your five senses. The experience starts by waking up your taste buds before learning more about the nose, flavour and winemaking process of their wines… then you will be served a series of small meals, plated on artworks by local potters and ceramicists. For more details visit www.la-motte.com/pages/food-wine-tasting

Stay: Enjoy the perfect getaway at Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa, close enough to town to indulge in day-to-day village life, but far enough away for a tranquil retreat. Walk through the beautiful gardens, recline by the pool or visit the on-site Camelot Spa and enjoy your treatment in the outdoor massage garden.

2. Sea Point

Location is everything and the cosmopolitan seaside suburb of Sea Point in the Western Cape ticks more than a few boxes for the ultimate girls’ getaway.

For fun: With Cape Sidecar Adventures, feel the wind in your hair on a two-hour tour of Cape Town, Signal Hill, Maiden’s Cove and the Atlantic seaboard. Choose from two-hour, half- or full-day chauffeured options, or self-drive.

For the mind: Clear your mind on the open sea. Based in Sea Point, at Three Anchor Bay, Kazkazi Kayaks and Adventures specialises in guided kayak experiences and kayak training.

For the body: Make your way to the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa. Individual treatments and spa journeys are available, personalised according to each guest’s preferences.

For the soul: Round up the girls for a sunset hike up Lion’s Head. The summit has spectacular 360-degree panoramic views over the city of Cape Town, Table Mountain and the beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton. To hike up and down Lion’s Head takes two to three hours.

Stay: At The Peninsula All-Suite Hotel you can choose between comfortable accommodation in a modern suite, or opt for one of the two- and three-bedroomed luxury self-catering apartments, and really have a fun-filled getaway with the girls.

3. Greater Pilanesberg

It’s time to get active with the girls as you bike and paddle, with bush walks, game drives and sunset barge cruises to keep you happy in the Greater Pilanesberg, North West province.

For fun: At Finfoot Lake Reserve, hop on a two-wheeler Segway – it is the perfect fun, easy activity for everyone. Finfoot offers short, 15-minute training sessions to get you started.

For the mind: Soar above the Pilanesberg National Park on a hot air balloon ride. This adventure takes approximately four hours and includes an early morning pick-up from your hotel, a guided drive to the launch site in the centre of the Pilanesberg National Park. On landing, enjoy a glass of sparkling wine, followed by a game drive to a private lodge for a full English breakfast. Participants will leave with a first flight certificate to mark the occasion.

For the body: Diving at Miracle Waters is an experience like no other. There are no corals or tropical fish but you can expect visibility to around 10 metres, in warm water, and the chance to see numerous Kurper, Black Bass and other species and strange objects, including a submerged bus, aircraft, Puma helicopter and other smaller household objects. Previously an open-cast chrome mine, divers can reach depths of up to 33 metres, with five training platforms at various intervals. Suitably trained divers may enter the aeroplane and bus.

For the soul: Learn to play a djembe drum with Mankwe Gametrackers. Custom made experiences are available.

Stay: Just a short drive from Jozi, you’ll find Finfoot Lake Reserve providing the ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Self-catering villas are available for the girls to enjoy a soulful and mindful weekend together over a glass of red wine and some game viewing.