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South Africa’s ho­tels and restau­rants are jostling for prime po­si­tion with splen­did of­fers in a bid to woo love­birds come Tues­day.

The Cra­dle of Hu­mankind and its of­fi­cial vis­i­tors’ cen­tre, Maropeng – sit­u­ated about 50km north­west of Jo­han­nes­burg – says it has at­tracted cou­ples from around the world to spend a mean­ing­ful Valen­tine’s Day there. At this World Her­itage Site, ro­man­tics can in­dulge in both aerial and un­der­ground pur­suits by em­bark­ing on a breath­tak­ing hot-air bal­loon ride and ex­plor­ing the fa­mous Sterk­fontein Caves, among other fos­sil sites.

The hour­long bal­loon ride will see cou­ples sip­ping fine Cham­pagne while hov­er­ing gen­tly over the tree­tops of the Ma­galies River Val­ley, or drift­ing ma­jes­ti­cally above the Ma­galies­berg to the faint call of birds or an­i­mals far be­neath.

In ad­di­tion, said Lind­say Mar­shall, cu­ra­tor of Maropeng, the venue was plan­ning a mouth-wa­ter­ing Valen­tine’s Day din­ner at the Maropeng Bou­tique Ho­tel. Its theme will be Love Your­selves as Hu­mankind, de­pict­ing the awe-in­spir­ing jour­ney that hu­mans have taken over mil­lions of years “to get to who, where, what and how we are to­day”.

She added: “Guests can still book for the ride on­line. Un­for­tu­nately, ho­tel book­ings are full. Help­ing your part­ner as you make your way through the caves is guar­an­teed to earn you some brownie points, so come and cel­e­brate love and hu­mankind.”

In its bid to make a mem­o­rable oc­ca­sion of Valen­tine’s Day, the One&Only Ho­tel in Cape Town is of­fer­ing love­birds a range of spe­cials, in­clud­ing spa treat­ments, a ro­man­tic din­ner and spend­ing the night lux­u­ri­at­ing in one of its rooms.

Reuben Rif­fel, South Africa’s celebrity chef and restau­ra­teur, has crafted a six-course tast­ing menu at R950 per per­son, with per­fectly paired wines to warm the heart. His restau­rants have also set up an ex­clu­sive ta­ble for R3 000 per cou­ple, which in­cludes a bot­tle of sparkling wine and a dozen red roses, in the heart of the loft. Cou­ples can also en­joy a deluxe pic­nic in one of the de­signer daybeds and sip sun­set cock­tails by the pool fea­tur­ing plush cush­ions, voile cur­tains and com­plete tran­quil­lity for R6 500 per cou­ple.

Mean­while, florist mar­kets, such as Jo­han­nes­burg-based Mul­ti­flora, are pro­vid­ing a va­ri­ety of flow­ers for in­di­vid­u­als to pick and pur­chase. With some 600 flower grow­ers on its books and some 400 florists and whole­salers, cou­ples can pur­chase their flow­ers of choice for the oc­ca­sion.

UP WHERE WE BE­LONG Take your boo on a ro­man­tic hot-air bal­loon ride

AND I OWE IT ALL TO YOU A pic­nic on the beach is a great idea

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