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PERSONAL REVIEWS BY LEILANI - FOUNDER OF DATE NIGHT SA

February 24, 2019
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"Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler" - Albert Einstein  

ACROBRANCH 
My husband and I like to push the boundaries a little when it comes to couple's outings. After all, dinner and a movie may be fun, but there is something wonderfully delicious about challenging yourself a little. The past week we went to the Acrobranch near our hometown and has an absolute blast! Acrobranch offers tree-top adventures and obstacle courses for young children and adults alike at locations in Centurion, Melrose, Constantia, Rosemary Hill & Huddle Park, as well as the Garden Route and Pretoria. They also recently opened a new branch in Stellenbosch - excellent news for active couples and families in the Boland and Winelands area.  

There are various difficulty levels to choose from - Roelie and I selected the second most challenging and it really pushed us to overcome our fears. After getting my hands dirty myself, I can now honestly say that an Acrobranch outing is a wonderful option for a couple's adventure. It's great for new couples who want to see how they work together in trying circumstances, for established couples who need to be reminded of the wonderful attributes of their little team, or simply those who are in it for a bit of fun. If you enjoy watching Amazing Race or Survivor, this is the couple's activity for you! 

It's also a great family activity, especially over the holidays when we can feel a little cooped up and need to blow off some steam. Get ready to push some boundaries - look out for the nearest Acrobranch in your area and go challenge yourself to leave that cushy comfort zone.  

IVORY MANOR BOUTIQUE HOTEL - PRETORIA  
Ivory Manor Boutique Hotel recently earned a spot as one of my top ten accommodation destinations in this area. I'd booked a room to share with a long-time friend who was visiting from Dubai, and we were in the mood for some girl gossip and downtime. As such, we decided to stay in, order room service and have a fat chat while we relaxed in our fluffy robes and slippers. This was a very fun alternative to a restaurant dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  

In fact, I enjoyed my stay so much that I decided to book another night. The service, food, and ambience were excellent from start to finish; Ivory Manor has clearly earned it's coveted 5-star rating. Their rooms boast a nice DSTV bouquet and a huge bath, which is ideal if you're visiting with your partner. The hotel is also well-situated in terms of traffic - you won't ever hear any passing cars, which makes for a calm and serene experience. If you're ever looking for a date night idea in and around Pretoria, have a look on the Ivory Manor Boutique Hotel Facebook page and related social media platforms - the hotel plays hosts to plenty of events that are tailor-made for romantic outings.  


FOREVER HOTEL @ CENTURION - PRETORIA
As one of four hotels that form part of the Forever Resorts Group, this luxurious venue comes out tops in terms of location, service, accommodation offering, activity options and more. We enjoyed seamless service throughout our stay and would highly recommend the hotel for couples and families who insist on a well-maintained, courteous environment in which the customer's needs are always placed first. The hotel is ideally situated for guests from Pretoria, Centurion, and Irene who want to indulge in a short getaway to keep things fresh with their spouse or partner, but don't necessarily want to go to far away from home (e.g. parents with young children who arranged babysitters, but would prefer to stay close by). If there is one thing we love, it's a multi-faceted accommodation destination, and Forever Hotel @ Centurion certainly is one of those. 

It also happens to be quite close to Loftus, which is perfect for rugby-loving couples, who can simply Uber to the game, enjoy a beer or two and make their way back without paying through the nose for transport. Alternatively, use it as your base when you next visit Centurion to take part in a running or cycling race - it's nice and close to all major sporting routes and arenas. Forever Hotel @ Centurion is now the proud recipient of the Date Night Ideas seal of approval. 

TOMJACHU BUSH RETREAT - MPUMALANGA
Tomjachu Bush Retreat near Nelspruit has received our seal of approval as a top-notch Mpumalanga date night destination. On a recent visit to this gem of a nature reserve, we could immediately tell why it has only grown in popularity over the years. 

First of all, the view is absolutely incredible. If you and your partner enjoy a scenic outing, this is the spot for you. Tomjachu offers everything from picnics to bush dinners and nature drives that all make for excellent date outings, proposal options and more. We also enjoyed truly wonderful service throughout our stay - we encountered one of the three brothers who run the lodge and his passion for their business is tangible, which also explains why their staff members are so happy and good at their jobs, spilling over into a lovely visitor experience from start to finish. As for the accommodation - it's 100% tailormade for quality time with your partner. From the double shower heads in the honeymoon suite to the self-catering cottage with a private pool for double-date getaways, romance is top of mind at Tomjachu. 

Book your spot now & get ready to enjoy a 10/10 date night destination. 


FUSIONISTA SUPER SPA, BEAUTY SALON & RESTAURANT - GAUTENG
Fusionista Super Spa, Beauty Salon & Restaurant in Randburg is now the proud recipient of the Date Night Ideas seal of approval. We are always on the lookout for romantic venues that go above and beyond to exceed all expectations, and Fusionista ticks all of our boxes. Aside from its central location that makes it an exceptionally convenient destination for couples from all over Johannesburg, it's also a hidden gem. It is wholly apparent that the owner put a lot of care and attention into the design and conceptualisation of the spa, which features a variety of singular rooms, each decorated according to a different theme - Bamboo, Candle, Wind Chime, Crystal and Garden , as well as the totally unique, one-of-a-kind Koi Mist Room. 

The latter is something truly astounding - it really feels like you are enjoying a treatment in a forest atmosphere. The Chill Room takes relaxation to another level, with thoughtful touches like a couple's bed where you can relax and unwind together after your treatments, as well as a recliner with built-in music that allows you to feel the relaxing chords as well as hear it. The food at the restaurant is also remarkable (the crispy duck comes highly recommended!), and the ambiance is tailormade for romance from start to finish. 

A great spot for a date, anniversary, and even a proposal!


QUATERMAIN FAIRCITY HOTEL - GAUTENG
If you’ve ever had the notion of slipping out on a school night to enjoy a bit of alone time with your partner, the Quatermain Faircity Hotel in Morningside, Sandton is a hidden gem that you have to add to your must-visit list in Gauteng. Perhaps better-known as one of the city’s go-to business accommodation venues, this conveniently situated hotel actually has quite the romantic side if you take the time to let management know that you’re visiting with your partner. 

The chef Tristan is very talented, and the food was amazing. Because the restaurant staff knew we were there on a date night, we had a nice private table in a cosy nook, scattered with rose petals. The room, similarly, was tailored for romance – from the rose petals on the bed, to the stunning turndown service that included a cheese board, a selection of sweet treats and sparkling wine. Suffice it to say, the stage was set for some bonding… 

The Quatermain Faircity Hotel now officially carries the Date Night Ideas seal of approval and is a great option for busy couples who want to take advantage of its central location to ensure that there is some cuddle time in the morning before you both get on with your day.


TRANQUIL NEST - MPUMALANGA 
If you adore a scenic destination with a gorgeous view, Tranquil Nest in Hazyview should be at the top of your must-visit list in the Mpumalanga region. This self-catering accommodation venue is incredibly well priced, so if you're keen to enjoy a luxurious time but you don't want to pay an arm and a leg, this is the spot for you! The owner is incredibly hands-on and fastidious about the cleanliness of the accommodation, so you can rest assured that the presentation will be spotless. 

Tranquil Nest offers 6 individual self-catering units, each with its own private jacuzzi, so it's tailormade for romantic weekends and even proposals. Visiting with the family? No problem - there are special family units for larger groups. The venue also offers clean, spacious stands for caravans, each with its own ablution area and braai facilities - ideal for couples who are travelling the country in search of adventure. Tranquil Nest gets two thumbs up from Date Night Ideas and has earned a spot among my personal Top 10 self-catering spots in Mpumalanga as well. 


CASTELLO DI MONTE - PRETORIA
Castello di Monte in Waterkloof Ridge, Pretoria is the ultimate date night destination if you long to make your way to Italy to chase la dolce vita, but don't really have the time to do so. Having visited Italy myself fairly recently, I can attest that the likeness is truly uncanny! We'd let management know that we were visiting for a romantic evening, so they prepared a special, secluded dining space with a cracking fire - something that can be requested if you'd prefer to do so yourself. The venue often plays host to smaller weddings of up to 35 guests, so they really know how to turn on the charm. 

The food was wonderful and when we made our way to our room we were met with a lovely interior and an indescribably beautiful view, which we marveled over even further the next morning while enjoying our breakfast that was set up and presented on our private patio. Personal attention to detail is evident at every turn and we enjoyed excellent service throughout our stay. I would highly recommend Castello di Monte for couples living in Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Rustenburg who are pining for a getaway, but simply don't have the time to get on a plane or take a long road trip - all you need to do is book a room and take a breather with all the luxury of Italy right there at your fingertips. 


HANDS ON RETREAT - CRAIGHALL, JOHANNESBURG 
Hands On Retreat 4-star Guesthouse & Spa in Craighall, Johannesburg is a wonderful option for Joburgers and visitors who want the option of stepping out of the bustle of the city into a tranquil environment, without having to make their way to the countryside. During a recent visit, I was just once again reminded how important it is to have a space where you can escape the hectic pace of Jozi for an hour or two. Situated on a wooded property near Johannesburg Botanical Garden, this upscale guesthouse and spa is the perfect spot for picnics, proposals and anniversary celebrations. Not to mention dates with the girls and pre-wedding get-togethers with your troupe of bridesmaids. The moment the gate closes behind you at Hands On, you are swept into the dappled green calm of their intimate willow-lined property. 

This cosy destination is the very antithesis of a big, commercial spa - everything is contained and personal. The owner is extremely detail-oriented and takes great pride in creating a welcoming space for women and promoting the holistic wellbeing of every individual who crosses her threshold. Best of all - they offer frequent specials that are promoted on their social media channels, so follow them on Facebook to make the most of these exclusive offers. 

Hands On Retreat gets a big thumbs up from the Date Night Ideas team, so make a point of visiting the next time you're in Sandton and in need of some TLC.

BONA BONA GAME LODGE
Bona Bona Game Lodge is situated along the N12 Treasure Route between Klerksdorp And Wolmaranstad in the North-West, approximately 2.5 hours' drive from Johannesburg. If you've ever wanted to get out of the city but didn't want to spend up to 4 or 5 hours reaching your destination, this wonderful lodge should be at the top of your list. Getting there is simple, fun and scenic - the roads are in great condition and there are plenty of interesting attractions along the way. 

This makes for a wonderful little road trip - simply pack a cooler and make frequent stops to enjoy the local hospitality. Arriving at Bona Bona is like stepping into a zone of tranquillity - it's so quiet and serene that you immediately feel relaxed and content. This four-star lodge sleeps up to 118 guests at a time, so it's a great option for weddings and bigger get-togethers with family and friends. It's also tailormade for proposals, honeymoons and anniversaries. The on-site restaurant prepares wonderful food (the lamb shank comes highly recommended!) and there is a spa as well! Bona Bona also plays host to wine tastings, bridal fairs and other events, so keep an eye on their social pages to see what's cooking in their neck of the woods. All in all - a great experience and an excellent date night destination.


KLEIN-KARIBA - BELA-BELA 
ATKV Klein-Kariba is a family-orientated resort situated in the beautiful Bela-Bela area, less than two hours from Pretoria. This is the ideal destination for families who want to break away without breaking the bank, as well as couples who enjoy an outing that brings them closer to nature. The resort features a wide variety of accommodation options that range from log cabins and duplex apartments to tented houses, caravan and camping sites, as well as the ultra-luxurious Diamanté honeymoon suite with a private jacuzzi and outdoor shower.  

There are also plenty of activities to enjoy - join in on everything from swimming competitions to talent shows, netball games, and cricket matches; or pay a little extra to go horseriding or rent a boat for the day. ATKV Klein-Kariba also caters for weddings, with a choice of two venues for the ceremony - a sweet little chapel or an outdoor location next to a waterfall. 

TOP TIP: Planning a day visit? Go on a Sunday - R99 gets you in for the whole day PLUS you'll get a very tasty breakfast. 

Our Date Night Destination rating for ATKV Klein-Kariba is a solid 7/10. Put it on your must-visit list for 2019. 

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