IF you and your loved one are fans of nature, there’s no better place to visit in Gauteng than Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden. No, really, the garden has been voted the best place to get back to nature in Gauteng for nine years in a row, and that run doesn’t look like it’s ending any time soon. Founded in 1982, the garden has over the years grown into one of the most popular picnic spots around. Not only can couples enjoy the chirping of its bird population, they can also revel in sightings of various other wildlife, such as reptiles, arachnids, butterflies and other insects, frogs, mammals, small buck species, South African hedgehog, black-backed jackal, bats and Cape porcupine.
Northcliff Hill, Johannesburg
Located at one of the highest points in the city, Northcliff Hill is an enchanting spot. Beautiful birds can be seen flying across the skyline that overlooks the northern suburb mansions and the Johannesburg CBD. It’s a serene setting that’s ideal for privacy and relaxation with your special someone. Its walkways are ideal for a romantic walk as the sun sets over the horizon. You’ll also be glad to know that there’s generally good security with regular patrolling.
Swissland Cheese MIDLANDS, KwaZulu-Natal
Swissland Cheese isn’t your typical picnic spot. Set in the heart of the Natal Midlands, this spot is surrounded by the most scenic hills and valleys, and landscaped gardens. As you’d expect, the picnic basket on offer here is ideal for the cheese lovers among us – the cheeseboard includes six Swissland cheeses, Midlands cold meats, chicken liver * âté, olives, pickled eggs and two preserves. This will cost you R160 for two. You may also sample and purchase a variety of cheeses in the quaint Swiss-style shop. Their range includes chevre, St Maure, Isinyani, cream cheese, Brie, feta and pecorino.
Contact: 082 418 3440
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town
There are few places anywhere in the world more ideal for a summertime picnic than the Western Cape. With its views of the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is an almost unmatched location if you’re searching for serene natural beauty. All of this coupled with a delicious picnic basket make for a special Valentine’s Day experience. This is definitely one for lovers of exploration and adventure. If you’re in Cape Town, you simply have no excuse not give Kirstenbosch a visit.
Contact: 021 799 8783
Jack’s Picnic Site Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape
The park’s picnic area, which has a total of 18 sites, is located in the botanical reserve of the park. Available for picnics and braais between 8am and 5pm each day, its remote location offers an authentic bush experience that one simply can’t replicate in the city. Each site has a braai area with grid, table and benches, toilet facilities and a small roof for shade. What was previously a small sanctuary to 11 elephants is now home to over 600. Apart from the elephant, the park is also home to the other members of the Big Five, namely black rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo. As if that isn’t enough, there are 13 species of antelope including eland, kudu, red hartebeest and 22 species of carnivore.
Contact: 042 233 8600