Hidden Gems: The Top 10 Most Romantic Things To do in Durban and KZN.
We often overlook the romantic activities close by, and yearn for exotic or faraway destinations for the thrill of romance. However, Durban and KZN is certainly one of the most romantic places in the world – you just have to look closely.
There are a myriad of things to do with your special someone in this amazing Province. From breath-taking scenic views to incredible restaurants and iconic tourist spots, the possibilities for a romantic experience are limitless. To help you sort through those possibilities, we partnered with Avios, the travel rewards programme, to go on a “treasure” hunt to find the Top 10 Hidden Gems for Most Romantic Things To do in Durban and KZN.
1. Take a Gondola Ride
Did you know that you don’t need to go to the canals of Venice Italy to experience the magic and romance of a gondola ride? You and your sweetheart can enjoy a laid back hour or two on a romantic gondola ride, just floating down the canals without a care in the world, right here in Durban.
Departure for this is from Zulumoon Gondola Rides at Durban’s Point Waterfront next to uShaka Marine World, so once you’re back from your trip along the canals, you could spend some time at the water park, enjoying the rides or going on a sight-seeing tour.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: Make sure that you go when it’s cool, i.e. early or late in the afternoon as the midday sun can get pretty hot!
2. Hot Air Ballooning
The spectacular scenery of hot air ballooning in the Natal Midlands and Drakensberg region of Kwazulu-Natal, is definitely one for the romantics. Sky adventures also offer tailor made proposal and wedding packages on request.
Gently float up into the sky, and admire the spectacular aerial views, as you whisper sweet nothings to each other and sail among the clouds. Upon landing, you will also be treated to a champagne breakfast.
So… what is a hot air balloon experience really like? Well, not only is it romantic, but for many it is an adventure that not only offers the thrill of floating high up in the sky, but also the peaceful serenity of our beautiful province.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: Casual outdoor clothes are recommended, since you’ll most definitely go for a walk in the countryside afterwards. Thus good solid walking boots would be best.
3. Karkloof Spa
This is probably one of the best kept secrets in KZN and if your budget allows it, Karkloof Spa is the ultimate romantic spa getaway. They have after all, been voted the best safari spa in the world and are only a stone’s throw away from the city, hidden in the Karkloof Valley.
It’s a place where from the moment of your arrival, you know it’s going to exceed all expectations.
Built to embrace the natural environment, the world-renowned Karkloof Safari Spa features 17 generous treatment rooms, all with wonderful views over the native bush and surrounding gardens. The eco-design incorporates natural materials, with thatch and living roofs, which invite game to graze gracefully in full view.
Facilities include a glass-fronted, four-chair manicure and pedicure lounge, Moroccan-flavoured rassoul, floatation pool, Kneipp therapy pools, open-air Jacuzzi, saunas, steam rooms, and the Reflections Lounge.
Choose from an exotic list of natural treatments and signature spa journeys uniquely created to revitalise your body and mind. With a team of exceptionally skilled and hand-picked Thai therapists, you are quite literally in the very best hands.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: A section of the road to Karkloof Spa is dirt and gravel and we suggest you do not go with a low suspension vehicle. A 4×4 or SUV is the best.
4. Sunset Yacht Cruise with La Vue
A luxurious venue on water…La Vue is the only Floating Restaurant and Events Venue in South Africa. This 85-foot luxury catamaran offers a variety of recreational entertainment options. Set sail on this magnificent 200 seater passenger vessel, and live your own “romantic city experience.”
La Vue features 2 amazing decks, 2 full bars and a dance floor! Begin your journey topside and stroll the outdoor deck under the stars, taking in all the sights of the Durban skyline while sipping on one of their designer cocktails. On the deck below, you will find a cosmopolitan dining deck, which offers fine-dining cuisine. The cosy climate controlled decks are the ideal venue for romantic dinners (especially in the humid Durban summers)!
You will also be treated to a variety of performers who provide entertainment during your meal. Custom charters are available for those who would like to design their own special experience.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: Ladies, wear comfortable shoes, as it’s quite a task getting onto the yacht and down the spiral staircases with extremely high heels.
5. Helicopter Ride and Picnic on a Mountain
Turn an ordinary day into something special with an outing in a helicopter along the Umgeni River to a majestic cliff above Inanda dam, for a romantic picnic for two. This is the perfect idea for romantic proposals or just something extra special.
Upon arrival, you meet your pilot and get fully briefed before climbing aboard the helicopter and take off. Flying north – west you fly over and follow the Umgeni River as it winds its way through the hills out of the city. Enjoy the expansive view as you make your way to the breathtaking KZN countryside.
When you reach your destination near the edge of the Valley of a 1000 hills, you’ll land and be welcomed by a delicious picnic basket. After enjoying a romantic lunch overlooking the magnificent Inanda dam, you get back to the helicopter for the return trip to Durban.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: Bring your camera along for fantastic photo opportunities.
6. Moonlit Horseback Beach Rides
There is something magical about riding into the sunset with your sweetheart. Now you can experience the perfect Beach Sunset Rides with Horse Beach Rides on the beautiful Reunion beach in the south of Durban. They are one of the very few establishments in South Africa that does horse riding trails after dark!
Watch the sun setting and the moon rising on the beach from horseback. You will enjoy a magical adventure on a 12km horse trail bathed in the light of the moon. These specially romantic and magical rides take you along their regular beach trail, but leaving in the late afternoon when you are likely to see the magnificent changing colours of the sky as the sun is setting over the horizon, experience the magical sight of the moon rising over the sea, and to be able to ride through the bush with only the light of the moon showing you the way and learning to really trust your steed.
Horse Beach Rides always take the greatest precautions on safety levels, and therefore all riding in the dark is kept to a walk only. They also ensure that the horses and riders have high-visibility equipment when doing any riding in public areas after dark.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: This ride is suitable for advanced or novice riders, so if you have never been on a horse before, we suggest you go on a ride in the day before your attempt the moonlit ride.
7. Romantic Picnic at Makaranga
Just fifteen minutes’ drive out of Durban, you’ll find the breathtaking Botanical Gardens at Makaranga.
The main attraction at Makaranga is the garden. There are 18 ponds including Venus Pond and Long Pond, the latter being the largest waterway in Makaranga.
It is home to many beautiful statues in stone, bronze and marble, which have been imported from Italy and Zimbabwe. These include a wonderful hand carved reproduction of Michelangelo’s “David”, as well as the “Four Maidens”, who each carry the foliage of their respective seasons. These graceful statues keep a watchful eye over the “Blue Pond”.
Explore the authentic Japanese Garden; wind your way through the indigenous and exotic tree-lined avenues or head to one of the beautiful ponds set within the grounds. The Japanese Garden boasts original bridges; walkways, stone lanterns and hand carved figures, all imported from Japan and set out according to ancient traditions.
Spread out your blanket and unwind in the sun, to enjoy a delicious romantic picnic with your loved one. If you don’t feel like packing your own basket, Makaranga has a delightful picnic menu that you can pick and choose from.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: The freshly baked cakes are a must try. They also stock a wide selection of amazing wines.
8. Dinner at Roma Revolving Restaurant
Now this place is legendary in Durban, and is almost 43 years old! Back in the day it topped the list as one of the Most Romantic restaurants in the country. Since its recent renovation it has been restored to its former glory and is still a firm favourite amongst many.
The Roma was born from a concept pioneered by Bartholomeo Ribero, Comiso Turi and Gino Leopardi. Did you know that they are the only genuine revolving restaurant in the southern hemisphere and the 3rd of its kind in the world?
It also boasts the unique feature, as two others do, of a revolving window and floor area! The restaurant is situated on the 32nd Level of the John Ross House overlooking the whole of Durban and surrounding areas with excellent Sea and Bay views.
It has a speed control mechanism, which allows a revolution of anything between 60 and 90 minutes. They specialise in Italian cuisine. And their delicacies include continental dishes, seafood and fresh game dishes.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: Check your local weather forecast for a booking on a clear evening, as the views during rain and thunderstorms are not as spectacular.
9. Midlands Weekend Getaway at Granny Mouse
If you are looking for a romantic place in the countryside to enjoy a weekend of quality time with your loved one, then this is the place to be!
This charming country hotel and spa is situated in the Natal Midlands Meander at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains.
It offers accommodation as quaint as the name of the hotel implies. Old-world charm, away from the noise and hustle and bustle, complements the rural ambiance and modern comforts of the rooms and venues. The hotel has two restaurants and a spa. The food is outstanding – you can either eat in the Fine Dining Restaurant ‘Eaves’ or at the Bistro – both fabulous.
The views from the balcony are beautiful… Especially early morning and when the sun is setting. Every room has a fireplace, which adds to the romance and charm. The various open fires around the property are also lovely to sit in front of. This really is the perfect romantic getaway.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: After the long drive there, you should indulge in their back massage at the spa.
10. Sunset Walk to the Umhlanga Lighthouse
A sunset walk on the promenade in Umhlanga Beach is undoubtedly a romantic must do in Durban. Our pier is not too shabby either – it was recently voted one of the most beautiful Piers in the world!
The best route for a walk is to start at the Pier, and continue south towards the Lighthouse. A great idea for the romantics is to get your partners name written in sand on the beautiful sand art sculptures on the beach. It’s the perfect (and cost effective) way to declare your undying love for each other.
OUR RECOMMENDATION: On the way back, walk on the sand towards the Pier and you can end the evening with Dinner at the Oyster Box Hotel.
If you are looking to earn points, rewards and save money while you play and shop, check out the Avios Travel Rewards Programme and sign up for FREE. You can earn points when you pay for fuel at BP, shop at Pick n Pay, hire a car from Avis, and convert them into flights on British Airways or hotel stays at over 1 200 hotels and game lodges around the country. To find out more click here.