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Seven spectacular weekend trips from Durban

It’s no secret that the KwaZulu Natal coastline is dotted with gems from north to south, so when it comes to needing to get away from it all and indulge in a spot of luxury, you really don’t have to travel very far from Durban. The best part has to be that because it’s an area known for its subtropical climate that keeps it warm all year round, you can enjoy a little R&R any time. Here’s where we reckon you should head…

The Gorge Private Game Lodge & Spa

If it’s a combination of beautiful natural surroundings, sublime cuisine and the very best in spa pampering you seek, then The Gorge is that place for you. Opt for one of the villas perched on the cliff that offers spectacular views across the Oribi Gorge through their floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and treat yourself to revitalising treatments at The Clivia Day Spa (the Marula Sensation signature treatment is out of this world). Enjoy daily game drives or explore the various hiking and mountain biking trails. And the food? Straight out of MasterChef.

If you dare: Fly across the gorge on a 4.5km zipline – the highest, longest and fastest on the continent.

11 on Fairway Beach Villa

You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped right into the pages of a glossy lifestyle magazine the moment you arrive at 11 on Fairway. Looking over Southbroom Golf Course’s third hole and with the glistening Indian Ocean beyond, it’s essentially a hybrid between the ultimate luxury beach escape and a golfer’s paradise. Available as either a self-catering or fully serviced exclusive-use villa, you can expect contemporary and spacious interiors, fabulous entertainment areas (including a boma area), an incredible pool deck, as well as a Jacuzzi. 11 on Fairway is all about delivering a stylish holiday experience.

Tailor-make your dream holiday: A personal butler, chef and chauffeur can be arranged to ensure that you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Fordoun Hotel & Spa

Set amid the rolling hills of the KZN Midlands, Fordoun Hotel & Spa’s main purpose is to leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed and stress-free. Originally an 1860s dairy, homestead and farmyard, restored and beautifully appointed rooms offer all the comforts. There are also five suites available with the most gorgeous Drakensberg views that provide the cosiest of hideaways for a romantic getaway. Refined luxury collides with the tranquil pastoral countryside to bring you an experience that speaks to all the senses: the Skye Bistro tantilises the tastebuds, while the country air clears the mind and nourishing spa treatments using unique African products help to heal the body and mind.

A must-do: Arrange an appointment with traditional African healer and Inyanga Dr Elliot Ndlovu for a healing experience unlike any other.

Montusi Mountain Lodge

Sweeping views of the legendary Drakensberg Amphitheatre combine with personalised service, mouthwatering cuisine and genuine mountain tranquillity at Montusi Mountain Lodge. The 1000 hectare estate offers a range of activities, from hiking to horse-riding and mountain-biking, with the rehabilitated conservation area brimming with indigenous trees, abundant birdlife and various buck. A total of 16 suites make up the family-run lodge, each with a private patio and gas operated fireplace – this way you can stay toasty in the winter and always appreciate the spectacular panoramas. Space, comfort and peace take centre stage at this exclusive lodge.

Trust us: You’ll want to try their homemade bread and chocolates – they’re simply addictive.

If you’re thinking of self-catering…

Rock Shandy Beach House

Fancy having the beach as your front garden? Well then you’re in luck when choosing Rock Shandy. Situated on the South Coast, this contemporary and chic beach house is the epitome of beachside living. The spacious living area spills out onto the wooden deck with its inviting pool and uninterrupted sea views, with three out of the five bedrooms boasting the very same vistas from the balcony. A short walk and you’ll find yourself on your own private beach, complete with rock pools and miles of golden sand ideal for sunbathing or that morning run. With the whole place to yourself, it’ll feel like your own slice of beachy heaven.

Satisfy that sweet tooth: Pop by The Waffle House in nearby Ramsgate for a sugary fix.

For something more unique…

Thonga Beach Lodge

Thonga Beach Lodge is like something out of a storybook: think lush coastal forests, shimmering lakes and pristine beaches. Tucked away in the dunes of the iSimangaliso World Heritage Park, you’ll stay in a thatched bush chalet raised on wooden stilts, complete with its own deck. Wood, glass and a range of natural materials combine to create a space that is relaxed, comfortable and fresh. Water babies will love it here as the diving and snorkelling opportunities are not only amazing, but close by as well. You can also enjoy a guided kayaking trip or a unique Ocean Safari where you’ll spot bottlenose dolphins and whale sharks in the summer, and Humpback whales in the winter. For a getaway with a difference, escaping to this Robinson Crusoe-esque hideaway doesn’t disappoint.

Something special: Between November and February you get to see the laying and hatching of turtle eggs – a rare and memorable experience.

Safari Lodges

Amakhosi Safari Lodge: Fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the Mkuze River as you kick back in your luxury riverside suite after a day of Big Five spotting, seasonal frog safaris, bush walks and pampering massages. Known as the “Place of the Kings”, you’ll experience the royal treatment here.

Dinner under the stars: Enjoy dinners around the campfire under the African sky in the traditional cattle kraal – definitely a special part of your stay.

White Elephant Safari Lodge

Luxurious safari tents offer you a taste of colonial times mixed with the romance of Africa. The Lebombo Mountains make for a picture-perfect backdrop with the private verandas being the ideal spots from which to take them in. Outdoor showers and Victorian baths round out this luxury bush experience.

Unique to White Elephant: The lodge’s close proximity to Lake Jozini makes it the only one in South Africa to offer Kariba-like, water-based safari activities such as tiger fishing and boat cruises. Also take part in Black Rhino tracking and elephant research.

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge

Calling Africa’s oldest proclaimed game reserve, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, home, Rhino Ridge allows you to experience all the natural wonder of the bush in the lap of luxury. Positioned on top of a ridge, you’ll be able to survey the endless landscapes before you from the private viewing deck of your bush villa, with game drives and bush walks providing the opportunity to get up close and personal with the rich wildlife of the area. The infinity lap pool is ideal for cooling off in the afternoons before tucking into a delicious meal served in the glass-fronted dining area or fireside in the boma.

Up the romance: Two exquisite honeymoon villas each with a plunge pool offer complete privacy and will ensure that you and your special someone enjoy the most romantic of breaks.

From safari lodges to mountain escapes and luxury villas, if you’re after a super spectacular weekend destination on Durban’s doorstep, then Portfolio’s got it. Drop our amazing res team a line so that they can help you make that blissful getaway happen.

Peruse Portfolio’s entire range of KZN properties here.

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Indulgent pamper spots less than 5 hours from Jozi