Have you ever wondered why travel people speak so fondly and fuzzily about winter as the secret season? The fabulous truth is that winter in South Africa is a super-special time to get away, for all sorts of excellent reasons: during the secret season – May to September – prices plummet dramatically to super-affordable value for money; locals can sightsee without having to jostle huge holiday-making crowds; daytime temperatures are soothingly moderate (but wrap up warm in the early mornings and evenings); game viewing up north is extraordinarily tops; and the Cape’s country landscapes are greener than green. It’s also the time of year when whales visit our coastal waters to breed and calve, and parts of the Cape explode with flowers. Here are our suggestions about where to snap up some of these secret-season advantages and great prices …

Shangri la Entrance

Lovely Shangri-La in the Waterberg is offering a special package to celebrate the opening of its new spa. Pay R995 per person per night sharing, inclusive of accommodation on a gorgeous country estate; sparkling wine in your room on arrival; a bouquet of flowers and a gift; a 3-course dinner; a herbal-heated hot stone massage; and full English breakfast. The offer is subject to a two-night stay and is valid for travel until end September 2014. View Special.  Mail us.

Clifftop Safari Lodge Bathroom with Jacuzzi

The secret season is riddled with grand last-minute price drops if you book fairly close to the 11th hour. At Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway in Welgevonden, for example, South African residents booking within five days of travel and booking a minimum of two nights each, can snap up a midweek luxury safari in a Big Five reserve for as little as R1620 per person sharing per night. Stay in an idyllic bush suite perched high up in the reserve, with views to die for. The rate covers all meals and guided safari drives. Over weekends, the last-minute rate is R1875 per person sharing per night. This offer is valid for travel until end of August 2014. View Special.  Mail us.

Mabula Boma Dining

Here’s another magnificent safari deal for locals, this one at Mabula Game Lodge at Bela Bela (Warmbaths) in Limpopo: South African residents pay just R1300 per person sharing per night, inclusive of three meals and two game drives daily. AND you also receive a Winter Value-Add Booklet per family which includes 10% discount voucher on selected spa treatments, one complimentary bottle of house wine and one free soft drink per child at dinner. The kids in your party receive free welcome packs on arrival. A minimum 2-night stay applies over weekends and the offer is valid for travel until 31 August 2014. View Special Mail us.

Isibindi Beehive Rooms

KwaZulu-Natal-dwellers, here’s your chance to slip away for three nights to Isibindi Zulu Lodge in Zululand, getting your third night scot-free. Stay in a fabulous beehive suite perched right at the pinnacle of a verdant 4000-acre nature reserve, and enjoy fabulous nature drives to view birds and wildlife, picnics in a reserve free of large predators, tours of the battle sites, and lively cultural experiences. View Special.  Mail us.

Or, grab a pay 2 / stay 3 special at the divinely romantic Kosi Forest Lodge in KwaZulu-Natal. Forest rooms, starlit bathrooms and placid lakes set the scene for a superb nature getaway. View Special. Mail us.

Abalone House View from Roof Deck

Catch the whales on the Cape’s West Coast (viewing is fantastic in the West Coast National Park) and stay five-star at gorgeous Abalone House, right beside the sea in cute Paternoster. There’s a secret-season special up for grabs – R1395 per person per night sharing, inclusive of luxurious accommodation, a West Coast-themed 2-course dinner at the famed in-house Reuben’s Restaurant each night; breakfast daily; a 1-hour spa treatment each day; and a romantic butler bath service turndown each night. If you go during August, you will see bright displays of Spring flowers all along the West Coast. The special offer is subject to a minimum 2-night stay and valid for travel until 31 August 2014. View Special.  Mail us.

To book: mail us or call us on 0860 102 907 / 021 797-7122. We’d love to point you in the direction of the best secret season getaways.