Travel

Yasmeen Sewnarain
3 minute read
31 May 2019
4:15 pm

Riverside Sun on the Vaal River is the ideal country getaway

Yasmeen Sewnarain

The spectacular and tranquil country atmosphere will have you unwinding in no time.

Riverside Sun. Picture: Abishek Sewnarain

Whenever I have thought about a weekend getaway, the Vaal has never come to mind. But little did I know what I was missing out on.

My husband and I recently had the opportunity to visit the Vaal and stay at the Riverside Sun in Vanderbijlpark for a quick romantic break. And we enjoyed every minute of it.

Long drives are time-consuming and tiring, so I was more than happy with the short drive; about an hour, or 45 minutes from central Joburg.

Tucked away in a quiet residential area, the beautiful countryside welcomes you out of nowhere once you enter the property.

View from room at Riverside Sun. Picture: Abishek Sewnarain

Check-in was a breeze and once in the room, we found a welcome platter of snacks accompanied by a bottle of wine and a message from the hotel staff wishing us a pleasant stay.

The room is tastefully decorated and embraces minimalism, which means the space isn’t cluttered, as is usually the problem in hotel rooms.

A comfy bed, tea and coffeemaking facilities, an air conditioner and a big shower are more than enough to satisfy guests. The backlit smart TV and built-in power sockets are the cherry on the cake, especially since I haven’t seen such features in some of the fancier hotels.

Deluxe river facing room at Riverside Sun. Picture: Abishek Sewnarain

A one-hour sunset cruise by Liquid Lounge was first on the agenda. We admired the stunning scenery and mansions on the riverbank while enjoying drinks on the upper deck – a perfect sundowner spot.

This was followed by champagne and starters in the wine cellar. The venue comprises a bar to accommodate extra patrons (there is another bar on the ground floor) and seating for 40 people in the case of events.

On a chilly autumn night, it made for a great cosy setting to socialise and dig into exquisite dishes, such as ostrich carpaccio, smoked salmon with cream cheese and caprese skewers.

Vaal River cruise. Picture: Abishek Sewnarain

Dinner was served in the Heron conference room. While the adults enjoyed a buffet dinner, the kids were treated to a movie next door in the Bishop conference room.

Some of the items on the menu included pasta, beef fillet, seasonal vegetables, curried chicken and garlic prawns. The selection of desserts, ranging from chocolate brownies and tiramisu to cheesecake and panna cota, would appease any sweet tooth. In short, there was something for everyone.

The rest of the night was spent taking a stroll in the lush gardens among the streams and lounging on the terrace overlooking the pool area below.

Lush landscaped gardens at Riverside Sun. Picture: Abishek Sewnarain

The hotel is family-friendly as it features a playground and outdoor chess set for children. Don’t forget to check out the Wild Cats Bistro where you can meet the fluffiest and friendliest felines if you’re a cat lover.

Our day began early the next morning with breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant. You can never go wrong with a buffet spread. The kitchen also has a separate vegetarian station.

After breakfast, we made our way to the boathouse at the edge of the river for a speedboat ride. Despite being nervous because I had never done it before, the cold air and the adrenaline rush got my blood pumping. I only wished the ride could have been longer.

Speedboat ride on the Vaal River. Picture: Abishek Sewnarain

Apart from speedboat rides, which cost R850 for 10 minutes, the boathouse offers a range of other water sports, including flyboarding, wake boarding, tubing and water skiing.

If you are ever in need of a short romantic or family getaway, Riverside Sun in the ideal destination. The spectacular and tranquil country atmosphere will have you unwinding in no time.

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