Johannesburg – Dezemba, as they say, is a lifestyle – beach, fun and sun.
But with Covid-19 and the new Omicron variant, that dream holiday is just that, a dream.
Many borders remain closed and travelling out of your province may not be the safest thing to do.
But all is not doom and gloom as Gautengers and neighbours on the outskirts have options to keep safe and spend the day or weekend frolicking in
several fake beaches that have sprung up in recent years.
One such place is Altitude Beach in Fourways, Johannesburg. More like a big pool with zero waves, the vibe and setting can have you imagine that you’re enjoying a sundowner at the coast.
It has become more of a party venue where A-list deejays entertain the crowds.
You can book packages with guaranteed seating in their sunken lounge, which include food and drinks. Something to look forward to is their New Year’s Eve Shutdown.
If partying is not your scene, you can check out Happy Island Water World in Krugersdorp, which opened in 2019 and is the biggest water amusement park.
It boasts the largest wave pool in Africa. Bigger than the original wave pool of Sun City’s Valley of the Waves.
It has 15 different slides, including the Typhoon and various pools for those looking for a hydro massage.
However, it’s a day visit park and no picnic baskets or cooler boxes with alcohol are allowed.
Out in Vereeniging, near the Vaal River, is the Family Fun Beach comprising a “sea pool”, slippery slides, splash pad and jumping castle rides all surrounded with real beach sand.
Ideal for the little ones to enjoy their December break, you can braai, picnic and dance to the multitude of deejays on set, but no drinking is allowed.
The Beach Island in Graskop, Mpumalanga, is fairly new, having opened in September last year.
Owners of the establishment, Andrè and Maryna Viljoen, said they wanted to bring the sea to the province.
“The idea behind the sea effect was to create something unique. A place where families can enjoy themselves. Our visitors get to experience Maldives or Mozambique vibes,” said Maryna.
Their ocean-looking pool, surrounded by beach sand, is the main feature of attraction. They also have a baby pool.
To localise the vibe, they incorporated a shisanyama where day visitors and longer-staying guests can buy and braai meat.
Besides the water features, they also have a play park for kids, quad bikes, go karts and a shooting range.
Accommodation is a dream with tented units nestled high up between the trees overlooking the “beach”; waterfall cabanas that allow you to walk from your doorstep into the water; beach house and camping tents.
If the idea of waking up to the beach is more of a permanent dream, yet you still crave city living in Gauteng, then lagoon estate living may just be up your alley.
The multibillion-rand establishment, The Blyde in Pretoria, opened two years ago in a luxury lifestyle estate with a crystal-clear sustainable lagoon for swimming, kayaking and paddle-boarding. Other facilities include a restaurant, gym, spa, concierge, laundromat, and multi-purpose sports fields.
But to enjoy all this luxury, you have to be a resident as no day visitors are allowed.
Public relations manager for Balwin Lisa Sinclair said their upcoming Munyaka development in Waterfall, near Midrand, will be the largest crystal lagoon in the southern hemisphere, measuring about seven rugby fields.
There is also The Steyn City Clearwater Lagoon near Fourways offering resort living in Johannesburg.
Being a resident there gives you access to 300m seaside-style water slides, beach volleyball, sandpits, paddle boats and kayaks.