Keen on festivals but like to hide away at home, too? Popular events mean lots of lovely people, and while you may enjoy the masses on a mission, you might want to stay somewhere quiet and calm when the show’s over. These two-day getaways in or near towns with big festivals might be perfect for revelling and relaxing.
National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, Western Cape – 27 June to 7 July 2019
Heralded as “South Africa’s biggest and boldest celebration of the arts,” this is one winter stay you’ll want warm clothes for. If you’re into theatre, fine art, fringe events and wandering the streets of a small town, this one’s for you.
Why: As the name suggests, this stylish, cosy spot is a hideaway you’ll be happy to return to after shows, beers and laughs. You can walk to Kingswood College from it, and it’s only 1.6km drive to town. 15 minutes if you walk.
A guest suggests that “if you’re looking for a clean, stylish, yet comfy place to stay, this is the place for you. White percale linen, chocolates on our pillows, coffee, tea, milk, a bottle of water and a bowl of fruit were all things that made our stay comfortable. My favourite was the setting though… our room overlooked gorgeous fruit trees. We just loved that! “
Whale watching, Hermanus, Western Cape – June to November
Dubbed one of the world’s top 12 whale watching spots, Hermanus is the mating and breeding grounds of the Southern Right Whale during the winter and spring months. October is the most crowded time (on land and in the ocean) but you can visit most of the year. “The Southern Right Whales migrate from the Antarctic around June to calve and mate,” advises the Hermanus website, and “calving takes place in August and September and the males arrive for mating in October when the whale population peaks.”
Why: Quaint and affordable, it’s close to town but not in the heart of whale-watching central! All recent guests gave check-in 5 stars.
One guest gushed that, “Accommodation was spacious, private and comfortable. Safe secure parking puts your mind at ease. And the view. Just incredible! Very thoughtful, accommodating, and friendly hosts. I would stay there again in a heartbeat.“
Hilton Arts Fest, KwaZulu-Natal – 13 to 15 September 2019
This is the “largest theatrical event of its kind” in KwaZulu-Natal. It’s been running for 26 years. If you love the idea of lectures, workshops, talks, theatre shows, crafts and fine art, you’ll be in the right place.
Why: Angela is a superhost (gets top reviews consistently), and this secret spot in Hilton is nestled in a gorgeous 2-hectare garden. A great central base in the midlands and a piece of paradise when you’re happily worn out by the festival.
A guest called it, “a lovely place to refresh and recharge. Loved the country feel and the garden. The Gatehouse was clean and spacious, we really enjoyed our stay. We will definitely go back.“
Ficksburg Cherry Fest, Free State – 21 to 23 November 2019
Farm tours, baking comps, traditional cherry liquor, golf events, cycling routes, circus shows and LOTS of cherries for your belly… sound like your idea of a good time? This is the oldest crop fest in the country in the ‘Cherry Town’ of Ficksburg.
Why: It’s 12km from Ficksburg, with a majestic view of the magical Maluti mountains.
One guest said, it’s “a little paradise in the middle of the Eastern Free State, with the most amazing view, surrounded by wild animals, entertained and watched over by Lassie (a loving Border Collie), greeted by the most loveliest of hosts.”