With its mountains, oceans, forests, vineyards, Big Five game reserves, exciting cities and more, South Africa really does have it all. And with so many options available to us within a short drive from our major cities, South Africa makes it easy to head out on weekend getaways.

Did you know? Long weekend getaways are good for your health and well-being. Taking a mini-break benefits you mentally, physically and emotionally. The anticipation of planning a local getaway not only gives you a mental boost but also motivates you to set reasonable, short term goals. So, do what’s good for you, and plan more local getaways!

Need inspiration? Here are some of our top picks near you:

Escape to the country in Clarens

A popular destination for weekend getaways near Johannesburg, the small town of Clarens, situated in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains is nicknamed the "Jewel of the Eastern Free State" for good reason. This gem of a village inspires all who visit it. Just a 3-hour drive from Jozi, Clarens is the mecca of local getaways for those in search of an artsy hideaway.

Your Free State accommodation at the Clarens Country House places you within easy reach of the area’s highlights. Stroll the tree-lined streets of the village; peruse its art galleries and enjoy a long, lazy meal at one of its restaurants. Explore the great outdoors on horseback or go fly fishing, abseiling and white water rafting. There are caves to discover, rocks to climb and a gorgeous golf course to play.

Altogether not a bad way to spend a weekend getaway.

Meander down to the Vaal River

Just 25 km from Potchefstroom, Raaswater Lodge on the banks of the Vaal River is another great option for weekend getaways near Johannesburg. Put foot for Potch, a short one-and-a-half-hour drive from the City of Gold before taking a Sho’t Left to your quiet and relaxed weekend accommodation.

You won’t need to do much more than hang out at the lodge. Some of the fun things to do on your long weekend getaway include getting your adrenaline fix on a fun 4×4 trail or a galloping good ride through the bushveld on horseback. For a slower pace, enjoy bird watching or playing a game of bowls. Fishing, golf, squash, tennis and watersports are also on the menu.

Much “addo” about Sundays River Valley

Set in the heart of the Sundays River Valley and just 4 km from the Main Gate of the Addo Elephant National Park on a working citrus farm, the Addo Dung Beetle Lodge is a fantastic choice for a country-styled weekend getaway near Port Elizabeth.

Take your pick from luxury chalets, rustic self-catering bush cabins and a handful of delightful suites. Enjoy a sundowner before tucking into traditional South African cuisine around a fire in the thatched lapa. This is the perfect accommodation for a couple’s getaway.

Spend some time in Simons Town

Tucked away in the Southern Peninsula, near to Cape Point and home to its own colony of African Penguins, Simons Town is a delightful weekend getaway destination near Cape Town. The main road of this historic naval town is lined with quaint eateries, galleries and boutiques, while the establishments at the small boat harbour are famous for serving up fresh seafood.

Your Simons Town accommodation at Magellans Passage Guest House features uninterrupted sea views from its sea facing suites and luxury loft. The ships of the S.A. Navy and Submarines sail past daily, and Navy Dockyard tours can be arranged.

Heading out on a local getaway soon? Download the AA App for roadside rescue and emergency medical assistance in the palm of your hand. Safe travels!