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Last year, we shared our top spots to get into nature with our pick of 12 remote camps and cottages around South Africa. There was such a great reaction that this year we asked you to tell us about your favourite off-the-grid destinations in an online competition. Here are the results: 12 wonderfully remote South African havens.

Behind the scenes: gorgeous photos from the off-the-grid assignment

 
Please note that prices were correct at time of publication, but are subject to change at any time at each establishment’s discretion. Please be sure to check with them before booking.

 

1. Bakana Mountain Hut

Mountain Zebra National Park, Eastern Cape
Recommended by Debbie Cooper
 

Zebra at Bakana Mountain Hut. Photo by Debbie Cooper.

Zebra at Bakana Mountain Hut. Photo by Debbie Cooper.


Bakana is tucked into a saddle between granite koppies in unspoiled bush. The landscape is home to kudu, mountain zebra, buffalo and lion. There’s a massive hearth for indoor braaiing. You need a 4×4 to get there, or a high-clearance 2×4.

Amenities: Solar power and gas.
Cost: R773 for two, R162 per person thereafter (max 10), kids R80 each (park fees apply).
Contact: Tel 0488812427, sanparks.org

 

2. Dream Lodge’s Agama Cottage

Magaliesberg, Gauteng
Recommended by Deborah Staphorst
 

Agama Cottage in the Magaliesberg.

Agama Cottage in the Magaliesberg.


This cosy two-sleeper cottage (one of three cottages available at Dream Lodge) is a perfect spot to unwind, surrounded by beautiful mountains, scenic walks and, best of all, silence. There are no self-catering facilities; food is delivered at the time requested. A beautiful big bath with views of the Magaliesberg is the highlight. The cottage has no power (the geyser is solar powered) but 30 candles, set in niches around the walls, provide light, plus there’s an indoor fireplace as well. You’ll need a high clearance vehicle or transfers can be arranged.

Amenities: Signal and solar power for the hot water geyser.
Cost: From R880 per person.
Contact: Tel 0826206369, dreamlodge.co.za

 

3. Bhanga Nek Tent Camp

Kosi Bay, KwaZulu-Natal
Recommended by Colleen Black
 

Bhanga Nek is just 30 metres away from the beach. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Bhanga Nek is just 30 metres away from the beach. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.


Surrounded by lush trees and shrubs, this camp is tucked away in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and just 30 metres away from a gorgeous long sandy beach. It’s very rustic: canvas tents on wooden platforms with a few showers and flushing toilets surrounded by reeds on a concrete floor, but that just adds to its charm. A 4×4 is required.

Amenities: Donkey boiler.
Cost: R420 per person sharing, camping R160 per person.
Contact: Tel 0828573363, jenny.reservations@vodamail.co.za

Also read: 37 of the best campsites in South Africa

 

4. Die Hel

Swartberg Nature Reserve, Western Cape
Recommended by Anne Greening
 

One of Cape Nature's cottages in the Swartberg Nature Reserve.

One of Cape Nature’s cottages in the Swartberg Nature Reserve.


Renovated by CapeNature, these self-catering houses (built by settlers, who arrived here in 1830) are comfortably furnished and surrounded by hiking trails. Situated in the Gamkaskloof Valley, they overlook Swartberg Nature Reserve, where your alarm clock is a dawn chorus of birds. A 4×4 is required.

Amenities: Solar power and gas.
Cost: From R300 per person (conservation fees: adults R40, children R20).
Contact: Tel 0214830190, capenature.co.za

 

5. Faraway Cottage

Tanagra Wine Farm, Western Cape
Recommended by Laurent Delveaux
 

The view from Faraway Cottage, Tanagra Wine Farm. Photo by Laurent Delveaux.

The view from Faraway Cottage, Tanagra Wine Farm.


Isolated in the vast Karoo landscape, this cosy two-bedroom cottage overlooks Robertson Valley and the Langeberg Mountains. There’s a large stoep with a plunge pool, two hammocks for ultimate relaxing and a huge glass bathroom with a freestanding bathtub from where you can watch the sun set.

Amenities: Signal, wind power and gas.
Cost: From R1200 (two) and R1800 (four).
Contact: Tel 0236251780, tanagra-wines.co.za

 

6. Flintstones Mountain Cabin

Seekoevlei wetlands, Free State
Recommended by Caroline Bergh
 

Dogs are also welcome here at Flintstones Mountain Cabin.

Dogs are also welcome here at Flintstones Mountain Cabin.


This rustic cabin is halfway up a koppie with views across a small valley. There are lots of beautiful stars at night and paraffin lanterns light up a lovely big patio with a built-in braai and a lounge with fireplace. Pets are welcome. A 4×4 (or high- clearance 2×4) is required.

Amenities: Gas.
Cost: R900 per night (four adults and two children) for the main cabin.
Contact: Tel 0798760406, jeanne@melbotes.co.za

 

7. Rockwood Forest Lodge

Karkloof Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal
Recommended by Jeanne Parker-Weekes
 

Rockwood Forest Lodge in the Karkloof Nature Reserve. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Rockwood Forest Lodge in the Karkloof Nature Reserve. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.


At Rockwood you’re surrounded by nature. The forest lodge is situated on a stream with exclusive access to Karkloof Nature Reserve. There is a large deck overlooking the stream and the inside is cosy: we arrived to a freshly laid fire, blankets on couches to snuggle under, and welcoming snacks. A 4×4 (or high-clearance 2×4) is advised.

Amenities: Electricity.
Cost: From R2100 (sleeps six).
Contact: Tel 0315024043, rockwood.co.za

 

8. Klipkraal Guest Farm

Heidelberg, Gauteng
Recommended by Melissa Tavira
 

Klipkraal Guest Farm.

Klipkraal Guest Farm.


With views over the Vaal Dam and the surrounding Suikerbos Hills, the cottages on Klipkraal Guest Farm are an easy-to-reach escape. Blinkblaar is my favourite ‒ cosy and neat with cane furniture, a fully equipped kitchen, braai facilities and a fireplace with a beautiful view. There are several lovely hiking trails in the area.

Amenities: Solar power and gas.
Cost: R820 for four. (110 per person thereafter, max seven).
Contact: Tel 0834125272, info.klipkraal@gmail.com

 

9. Glencoe Chalets

Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape
Recommended by Sue Gaskin
 

The beautiful natural surroundings at Glencoe Chalets. Photo by Sue Gaskin.

The beautiful natural surroundings at Glencoe Chalets. Photo by Sue Gaskin.


Nestled deep in the Winterhoek Mountains surrounded by indigenous trees and riverine vegetation, these chalets are so far apart you don’t even see your neighbour. We stayed in Ribbok, a log cabin with a country, rustic interior, comfy beds, small kitchen and fireplace. There’s a well-stocked farmstall along the way. A 4×4 (or high-clearance 2×4) is advised.

Amenities: Electricity.
Cost: From R630 for two.
Contact: Tel 0845150993, bruintjieskraal.co.za

 

10. Pampoenfontein Farm

Cederberg, Western Cape
Recommended by Daniela Esteves
 

Pampoenfontein farm - cottages are remote and beautifully private.

Pampoenfontein farm – cottages are remote and beautifully private.


Sky, birds, fynbos and never-ending mountain views: it’s serene and peaceful. I stayed in the Restio Cottage (the most popular). It’s cosy and has a real cabin feel. The highlight is a crystal blue rim-flow pool for hot summer days. A high-clearance 2×4 is advised (but not necessary).

Amenities: Signal and electricity.
Cost: R200 per person (for six or more), R1100 flat rate for fewer than six.
Contact: Tel 0825645500, pampoenfontein.co.za

 

11. Waterkop Lodge

Prince Albert, Western Cape
Recommended by Erika Costa
 

The view from the comfortable beanbags at Waterkop Lodge.

The view from the comfortable beanbags at Waterkop Lodge.


This place feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere, with views of barren Karoo landscape for miles. There’s an expansive stoep that runs along the front of the house and a plunge pool, perfect for those hot Karoo days. Big bean bags on the stoep ensure that once you sit down in them, there’s no getting back up!

Amenities: Signal and solar power.
Cost: R425 per person.
Contact: Tel 0799519496, waterkoplodge.com

 

12. Sand River Bush Camp

Kruger National Park, Limpopo
Recommended by Marion Vlaming
 

Sand River Bush Camp. Photo by Marion Vlaming.

Sand River Bush Camp. Photo by Marion Vlaming.


What I loved most here was the total isolation: surrounded by bush, no cars, no connection. It’s only available as a four-night experience (guests are transferred by the camp vehicle). I had no clue where we were most of the time ‒ fabulous! The highlight was educated, friendly guides.

Amenities: Solar power and gas.
Cost: R3850 per person (max eight).
Contact: Tel 0727797728, sanparksvolunteers.org

 
 

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Getaway magazine.

Get this issue →

Please note that prices are subject to change at each establishment’s discretion. Please be sure to check with them before booking.

 



4 Responses to “Your top 12 off-the-grid destinations across South Africa”

  1. roelia

    I’ve emailed Dream Lodge’s Agama Cottage more than 2 weeks ago, no reply…. 🙁 Think their contact details may be outdated?

    Reply
    • Chris Davies

      Hi Roella. We don’t list an email address for Dream Lodge, but we’ve been in touch with Sam recently and the phone number and contact details on their website were correct as of end Jan 2016. Perhaps try calling? 0826206369.

      Reply

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