What are you doing for the most romantic weekend of the year? Break away to these romantic and serene spots for the perfect Valentine’s Day weekend. By Gaynor Siljeur

Bontebok National Park

Nestled between the picturesque Langeberg mountain and the Breede River lies South Africa’s smallest national park: Bontebok National Park. Home to bontebok, red hartebeest, grey rhebuck, several smaller mammals and remarkably around 200 species of birds, this tranquil park just outside of Swellendam has plenty to offer visitors.

Wake up early to have a long morning drive through the park and try and spot some animals. Spend the afternoon relaxing on  the banks of the Breede River with a romantic picnic. In the evening you can relish the magnificent view of the sun setting over the river while you sit on the stoep of your cosy, open-plan chalet. Whatever you decide to do, Bontebok is a dreamy setting for romance.

Rates: R1,342 for 2 people

Contact: SANParks Central Reservation office at +27 (0)12 428 9111 or book online at www.sanparks.org.

Put your feet up and enjoy the sunset from the deck of your cosy wooden cabin in Bontebok National Park. Picture by Bridgena Barnard

Stone Camp, Mkhaya Game Reserve

Find romance in the Swazi bush when you stay at Stone Camp in Mhkaya Game Reserve, Eswatini (Swaziland). These semi-open cottages with thick stone pillars all boast spectacular views of the indigenous forest. You will have a good chance of spotting guineafowl, suni, nyala and warthog as Stone Camp is alive with wildlife.

Choose the dinner, bed and breakfast package and you and your partner will be spoilt with game drives and a delicious buffet breakfast. Dinner under the stars, at private tables next to a roaring campfire, sets the romantic scene from the get-go.

Rates: R5,640 for 2 people

Contact: Big Game Parks Central Reservation office at +268 2528 3943/4 for more information. Make a booking online or email [email protected]

Dining under the stars at Stone Camp in Mkhaya Game Reserve, Eswatini (Swaziland). Picture courtesy of Big Game Parks.

Also read: Camp with musician Jimmy Nevis in the Cederberg this Valentine’s weekend

Nature’s Valley, Garden Route National Park

In Nature’s Valley you have the best of both worlds: the forest and wild beaches. Immerse yourselves in the serene environment and stay in an open-plan, wooden forest hut while you and your partner enjoy secluded bliss.

If you are looking for romance mixed with adventure, this is the perfect location. Take a canoe from the rest camp to the Groot River mouth for a romantic morning paddle or hike one of the numerous day trails such the Groot River Trail, the Kalander Trail or the Salt River Mouth Trail.

Rates: R550 for two people.

Contact: SANParks Central Reservation office at +27 (0)12 428 9111 or book accommodation online at www.sanparks.org.

The Garden Route National Park is perfect for couples looking for romance and nature combined.

Goukamma Nature Reserve

Wake up with exquisite views of Groenvlei lake when you stay at the charming two-bedroom Blacktail cottage.

Goukamma Nature Reserve is any nature lover’s dream. The reserve covers more than 2,000 acres of dense coastal forest, including yellowwood, candlewood and milkwood trees. With more than 200 bird species, keen twitchers will be spoilt with enviable birding opportunities. At this magical location surrounded by forest and water romance is always in the air.

Explore the Goukamma River in a canoe for two and discover how in sync you and your partner are. Picture by Romi Boom

Rates: R950 for four people.

Contact: Book accommodation online at www.capenature.co.za.

Also read: Stay alone by the water