Hartbeespoort, South Africa

Called “Harties” by the locals and named for the massive dam at its heart, Hartbeespoort provides Royal Holiday travelers with the chance to experience all South Africa has to offer from a home base in one of its most delightful resort cities. A wildlife wonderland, Harties possesses vast nature preserves and opportunities for safaris, while its proximity to Johannesburg and the country’s capital in Pretoria make it ideal for those who want a vacation that combines the rural and the urban. Royal Holiday members who’ve never enjoyed an African safari are in for a treat in Hartbeespoort.

The club affiliate in the town, Mount Amanzi, has won number accolades for its fine services and incredible charm. A condo-style resort with thatched roof chalets suitable for up to six adults, its rooms are equipped with full kitchens and outdoor braais for grilling and barbecuing. Of course, it may be difficult to find time to use these amenities; Royal Holiday members will find the on-site restaurant, with its excellent African-style cuisine, easy to love. Meanwhile, the resort’s bar and clubhouse offer friendly conversation with other vacationers, while the wealth of other diversions, including a pool and playground as well as a luxurious spa, make it impossible to be bored at this excellent destination resort.

South Africa has been the home to unique and diverse cultures for more than 170,000 years, when the first Homo sapiens began living in the region. When European explorers arrived in the 15th century, they found numerous cultures inhabiting the area; most were Bantu-speaking peoples. With the establishment of Cape Town as a settlement for the Dutch East India Company in the 1600s, the Europeans domination of the region officially began. South Africa fought against its colonizers for several hundred years, and it wasn’t until 1994 that the country fully dismantled the discriminatory practices of the colonial era by ending apartheid. Today, the country is undergoing the process of modernization, though through unspoiled country like that found in Hartbeespoort, Royal Holiday members will find a South Africa as ancient as human history itself.

A visitor’s first day in Harties should include a ride up the Cableway, which takes travelers to the peak of the Magaliesberg Mountains; from this vantage point, the entire region can be seen, from the teeming city of Johannesburg to the Hartbeespoort Dam. The dam offers numerous activities, whether one chooses to take a tour of the dam itself or a cruise on the water. Royal Holiday’s golfing enthusiasts will find plenty to do in Harties, which boasts several excellent courses, while those who love the great outdoors will enjoy a hike through the beautiful Mountain Sanctuary Park or the incredible Sterkfontein Caves. Those looking for a taste of South African history, as well as human history itself, will do well to take a trip to the World Heritage Site at Maropeng, the cradle of humankind; others will enjoy soaking up African culture at the Lesedi Cultural Village, which brings the tribal traditions of South Africa’s native people to life.

The rural setting makes it possible to enjoy African traditions like an old-fashioned safari; most of the best animal-watching opportunities are found at places like the Elephant Sanctuary or Ukutula Lion Park & Lodge. Royal Holiday members interested in seeing it all from high in the skies will enjoy a hot air balloon safari, a popular attraction. Those hungry for a little urban excitement, however, can make the short trip to Johannesburg, often just called “Jo’burg” by the locals. This city’s many attractions, from the peaceful Johannesburg Botanical Gardens to the bustling Newtown, will satisfy any Royal Holiday traveler looking to see an African metropolis.