Travel – Es­cape the city

Less than an hour’s drive from Joburg lies a hid­den gem on the banks of the Vaal River. The River­side Sun Re­sort is the place to go for a stress-free fam­ily get­away.


Pack the car with your favourite good­ies and se­lect some sing-along tunes on the phone for the fam­ily and you’re good to go. Al­though the River­side Sun is just 45 min­utes out­side of the city, it’s a gen­uine treat for the chil­dren – from play­ing punch-buggy in the back­seat to spot­ting cows and mar­vel­ling at the amaz­ing beauty with which South Africa is blessed. As the re­sort is tucked away in a lit­tle sub­urb of Van­der­bilj­park, you are shocked when the GPS chimes, “You have ar­rived at your des­ti­na­tion.” The ser­vice is im­pec­ca­ble as a concierge meets you at the door to take your lug­gage and sur­prises the kids with a treat. The rooms have re­cently been re­fur­bished with mod­ern fin­ishes and views that will blow you away.

Af­ter check­ing in, there are var­i­ous op­tions to choose from. A light drink at the bar be­fore din­ner or tak­ing a stroll on the well-lit paths of the venue. Din­ner is in the cel­lar. A re­fur­bished wine cel­lar trans­forms into a ro­man­ti­cally lit din­ing space. The food takes you on a Tus­can jour­ney – from home-made br­uschetta, moor­ish pas­tas and, of course, fab­u­lous red wine on a chilly even­ing. The kids are en­ter­tained with movies, pop­corn and pizza in a pri­vate con­fer­ence area – the per­fect way to keep them busy till

they’re ex­hausted enough to long for their beds when you col­lect them af­ter din­ner.

The fol­low­ing day be­gins with an early start – a break­fast cruise on the Vaal Dam. It’s su­per-safe and steady on the boat so you don’t even feel it bob­bing on the wa­ter. You are treated to an ex­quis­ite tour of what is known as the “mil­lion­aire mile.” It is lit­er­ally a mile of phe­nom­e­nal man­sions, uniquely built ac­cord­ing to each mil­lion­aire’s taste. Af­ter break­fast, all the guests have the af­ter­noon to ex­plore. We opt for a lit­tle loung­ing and drinks around the pool, while the kids en­ter­tain them­selves in the kids’ play­ing area that has jump­ing cas­tles, ar­rows and wa­ter sports.

You can choose to or­der from the ex­ten­sive room ser­vice menu or you can sit at the bistro, which of­fers a world­class buf­fet and a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. It’s per­fect for a fam­ily meal, where you can sit around the table and catch up and have the added bonus of choos­ing what you’d like to eat. The River­side Sun also boasts a health hy­dro for those in desperate need of RnR and is seven kilo­me­tres from the Em­fu­leni Golf Es­tate for golf lovers. As the end of the week­end creeps up on us, we’re sad to leave this tran­quil re­treat be­hind to drive back to the hum­drum of the city.

Rates start from R1250 per room (sleeps two adults and in­cludes break­fast) to R4 085 for a suite. Chil­dren un­der the age of 18 stay for free. For more info, visit tso­go­­side-sun.■

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