Now that watching series together on the couch counts as a date, the bar for romantic outings has been set way too low. You deserve better, your bae deserves better, so do something better.
We’re blessed to live in one of the most beautiful countries on earth, so what could be cuter than exploring it with your person on your arm? The next time it’s your turn to choose where to go on a date throw them a nature curve ball and take them to the great outdoors. Remember: your sneakers could get dirty out there.
Durban: The Durban Botanical Gardens
Botanical gardens aren’t just where your parents go to watch Johnny Clegg perform. They’re basically like a beautiful outdoor library of plants, and the Durban Botanical Garden is extra special because it’s the oldest one in Africa. Walk around and admire the sculptures dotted throughout the gardens, feed the ducks and pop into the orchid house. For extra cute-points pack a picnic basket and a blanket and have yourselves a feast among the plants (the croissants at Bread Ahead, just around the corner, are their speciality and are perfect for a picnic so pop in there first).
Cape Town: The Pipe Track
This route is way too often shadowed by the more popular Lion’s Head (literally, too). It’s one of the most accessible hike/walks to do in Cape Town as the MyCiti stops off close by. Skip the crowds and head to the Pipe Track for sunset instead of the usual lookout points. The best thing about this route is there is no definite ending so you can stop and turn back whenever and it won’t look like you’re too lazy to get to the top. While there is some uphill it’s pretty chilled, in case you guys aren’t at the stage where you’re comfortable with them seeing you drenched in sweat. Pack snacks to have along the way to enjoy while you look out at the sun setting over the sea.
Johannesburg: Zoo Lake
Grab a pack of cards, something to sit on and a picnic and take your boo to Zoo Lake. If playing a couple of rounds of Go Fish in nature while various cute dogs walk by isn’t your idea of a cute date then I don’t know what is. You can up the romance even more by hiring one the boats and setting off along the lake. If things are going well and you don’t want this date to end head to the zoo. Here you can go to the farmyard to pet some cute sheep and ponies, visit the reptile house and try and speak Parseltongue to one of the snakes and check out the Animal of the Amazon enclosure to see how they react around spiders.
Durban: Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve
Often described as Durban’s ‘best kept secret’, heading to this nature reserve feels like you’ve gone on a holiday to the peaceful countryside, when in fact it’s just a short drive from the city. You can walk through the reserve, just as long as neither of you are scared of zebra or impala because it’s likely you’ll run into a few of them. Good photo opportunities include a pretty castle, beautiful greenery for days and, of course, some wild animals. Take supplies for a braai and make a day of it at the braai facilities they have there.
Cape Town: Silvermine Nature Reserve
This trip requires a bit of driving but it’s well worth it. Pack your swimming things and some lunch and spend the day lazing on the bank of the dam. If you’re feeling energetic at any stage you can walk up to Elephant’s Eye, which is a relatively short hike to a cave on top of the mountain. What makes this spot so good for a date is the fact that there is no cellphone reception so quality one-on-one with no distractions time is guaranteed (don’t stress, you can post your nature selfies as soon as you have signal again).
Johannesburg: Emmarentia Dam
Life in Jo’burg is fun and exciting, but sometimes you need to get out of the city for a bit. The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens include Emmarentia Dam and are ideal for a day time date. When you’re done birdwatching by the dam, stroll through Shakespeare’s Garden (which is comprised of plants he referenced in his writing) followed by the succulent garden to get some inspiration for your next house plant. Just try not to get in the way of the inevitable wedding shoots.
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