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Looking for a holiday where you can have a digital detox? We found 12 remote accommodation options to get well and truly away – check out the wide-open spaces of our favourite off-the-grid destinations.

Also read:

 

12 off-the-grid destinations around
South Africa

1. Bakkrans Nature Reserve, Cederberg

Bakkrans Nature Reserve. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Bakkrans Nature Reserve. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

S32.408333, E19.356944
Cellphone signal: No
Internet: No
Electricity: No
4×4 needed: Yes, transfers can be arranged for small groups
Drinking water: Yes

Looking for something rustic and remote, but also comfortable and well-equipped? You’ll struggle to do better than the stone cottages at Bakkrans Nature Reserve in the northeasterly ranges of the Cederberg. Low, untrimmed thatch roofs with untreated poplar frames, doorways that you may have to stoop a little to get through, bare concrete floors, and specially sought-out, unrestored furniture give an authentic feel of what the dwelling of an early inhabitant would have been like. The only exception is the turquoise swimming towels on the bright white linen of the comfortable cots.

(Behind the scenes: check out these gorgeous photos from the “Off the Grid” assignment).

Four cottages sleep eight in total, with two others designated as kitchen (with a fridge, hot water basin and store brimming with pots, pans and cutlery) and cooking/dining area (with two huge stone fireplaces, gas hobs and a long dining table). No matter how many people you are, your group will have exclusive use of the reserve, so you won’t have to share facilities. Two first aid kits in the kitchen are indicative of the special care and concern on the part of owner Johan van der Westhuizen. Take one in your backpack on a long walk – you’re at least an hour of bumpy 4×4 driving and then miles beyond that from any medical help.

Take a moment to have a proper look at the rock paintings along the path between kitchen and cottages. Delicate 6000-year-old San figures, elephant and eland; the dots and strokes of Khoi finger painting; and the chalk scrawl of farmers from 1892 chronicle the change in the area’s residents. A short walk up a river gorge brings you to a rock pool and waterfall – climb in for a swim and keep an eye out for klipspringer cantering away as you approach. Or just enjoy a drink in front of your cottage, admiring the view of the Tankwa Karoo sprawled in the distance, turning from caramel to violet as the afternoon draws on.

Rates: Self-catering from R655 a person a night (min two-night stay, min R2 620 spend a night).

Contact: Tel 0832611934, www.redcederberg.co.za

 

2. De Hoop Campsite, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

De Hoop Campsite. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

De Hoop Campsite. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

S28.183611, E17.177778
Cellphone signal: No
Internet: No
Electricity: No
4×4 needed: Yes
Drinking water: No

Also read: 32 of the best campsites around South Africa

The Orange River snakes through the dusty Richtersveld like a vein and right on its banks sits almost-inaccessible De Hoop Campsite. It’s a 40- kilometre slog over a rocky pass and along a dry riverbed from the office at Sendelingsdrift, which is 80 kilometres northeast along a broad dirt road from the coastal town of Alexander Bay. Officially, the camp has 12 sites but there are no demarcated spaces and you claim your riverside real estate on a first come, first served basis. Barren, rocky red and grey hills line the river on both sides and stand like bookends at either end of the valley, entirely surrounding the camp. New latte-walled ablutions offer flushing loos and cold showers, but you’ll have more fun swimming in the cool waters of the river.

Tall reeds and rocky rapids make it look and feel exactly as you’d imagine it would in the middle of the Olifants or the Crocodile rivers, but without the fear of being eaten. At night, fireflies flutter, flashing between the reeds before being outshone by the not-quite- full moon which rises slowly, like the glow of a metropolis behind the mountains. But there is no city. There is nothing and, beyond that, yet more nothing.

Rates: Camping from R195 a night for two people (R68 an additional adult and R34 a child, max six). Plus conservation fees of R60 an adult and R30 a child a day (free to Wild Card-holders).

Contact: Tel 0124289111 (central reservations), 0278311506 (park office), www.sanparks.co.za

Book now

 

3. Langkloof Campsite, Tankwa Karoo National Park

Langkloof Campsite. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Langkloof Campsite. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

S32.161528, E20.159278
Cellphone signal: No
Internet: No
Electricity: No
4×4 needed: Yes, after rain. Call ahead to check. High-clearance needed otherwise.
Drinking water: Yes, brackish borehole water.

A roofless ruin of red mud bricks stands in front of a rhythmically squeaking windmill, a tower of water tanks and a newly built concrete kitchen and ablution block. Together, these form a small outpost in the upper regions of the Tankwa Karoo’s Langkloof Valley. The drive in is as barren as barren can be. The notoriously tyre-munching road crosses a veritable Mars-scape, changing from sooty black to light grey to a muddy red. Having covered this ground, you won’t believe the mamba-green of the gif-melkbos bushes which speckle the valley at irregular intervals. The bed of the Rhenoster River, less than 50 metres away from camp, gives life to a belt of lush acacias brimming with the chirps and whines of LBJs.

The camp’s two sites are positioned on either side of the simple amenities building, which contains two basic kitchens with sinks (you’ll need to take all utensils and cooking equipment), two hot showers and two flushing loos. This means campers at the respective sites don’t have to share facilities, but we advise booking out the whole camp; it would be a shame to end up with neighbours after travelling to somewhere so remote.

A latte carport provides the only shade at the site – consider pitching your tents beneath it. The sun beats down as a white jet-stream slowly cuts through the cloudless blue above, its rumble rebounding off the scrub-covered mountains on either side of the river. These slope upwards towards layers of vertical red rocky cliffs, channel- ling your view south, down the valley and out towards the great plains of the Tankwa.

Eighteen kilometres from the park office and hundreds more beyond that from any civilisation, this is a place for picturing what life was like before highways and high-rises. A place for enjoying the eerie hoot of an owl as night sets in, and for taking a bit of time to ponder the relative insignificance of your existence.

Rates: Camping from R225 a night for two people (R100 an additional adult and R50 a child, max six). Plus conservation fees of R30 an adult and R15 a child a day (free to Wild Card-holders).

Contact: SANParks Central reservations on 012 428 9111, park office on 027 341 1927, www.sanparks.co.za

 

4. The Retreat at Groenfontein, Groenfontein Valley Conservancy

The Retreat at Groenfontein. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

The Retreat at Groenfontein. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

S33.437667, E21.789139
Cellphone signal: No
Internet: Yes
Electricity: Yes, solar and generator powered
4×4 needed: No
Drinking water: Yes

If you like the idea of seeking disconnected refuge from the real world, but compromising on comfort isn’t what you want from a holiday, this retreat is for you. From the Karoo town of Calitzdorp, head 20km into the Swartberg foothills; a sedan will handle the dirt road fine, but it’ll take you longer than you expect as the instinct to take it easy kicks in more with each passing farm.

The Groenfontein retreat’s centrepiece is the farmhouse, built in 1910. You’ll enjoy fresh coffee and hearty breakfasts on its deep stoep, watching birds feast from a feeder on the carpet-like lawn in front of you. Dinners happen in the dining room, where antique crockery and silver tea sets hint at the colonial origins of the house, while ostrich eggs, proteas and riempie chairs leave no doubt you’re in the Karoo. The wine and conversation flows freely around a beautiful Oregon pine dining table as hearty meals such as smoked impala with locally grown oyster mushrooms and succulent roast eland emerge from the kitchen. The dining room is also the only place where you’ll find Wi-Fi if you feel the sudden urge to connect.

A dam offers the perfect place to cool off on hot summer days, looking up at the grey, rocky cliffs of the Swartberg. Lace up and strike out in their direction on one of the numerous walking trails. At dusk, cross the ridge closest to the retreat and you’ll be treated to a frenzied chorus of crickets and frogs, the only sound ringing in the still evening.

Return to your simple, comfortable bedroom in the evening, where a ceramic fireplace radiates warmth from the corner. Heavy beams punctuate a bamboo ceiling in a simple room that’s without unnecessary adornments. Instead, wicker headboards, wrought-iron curtain rails, old wooden chests and mottled slate floors make up the understated decor. You’ll sip happily on complimentary Port by the fire as the night draws on.

Rates: DB&B from R610 a person a night.

Contact: Tel 0442133880, www.groenfontein.com

Book now

 

5. Ou Kraal, Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

Ou Kraal, Gamkaberg. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Ou Kraal, Gamkaberg. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

S33.739167, E21.921944
Cellphone signal: Yes
Internet: No
Electricity: No
4×4 needed: Yes
Drinking water: No

Tall restio reeds and delicate pink proteas line the road into the heights of Gamkaberg Nature Reserve. A steep ascent at the beginning of the hour-and-a-half drive from the gate sets the tone from the outset – this is strictly 4×4 territory. Having bumped and bounced your way to the top, you’ll find a simple shelter with a corrugated iron roof and walls of reed and stone, built into an outcrop of granite boulders. We’d be surprised if you haven’t forgotten you have a cellphone by the time you get here, but turn it off to avoid unexpected signal from dragging your attention back to the real world.

Your humble home for the evening looks out over the fynbos-covered mountaintop towards the long valley below. It’s the kind of place you want to bellow inane noises just for the sake of filling all the empty space with echoes. Distant peaks turn deep pink in the evening light, best taken in from the open-air long-drop 100 metres from the shelter – the ultimate loo with a view.

Back at the hut, swallows swoop in and out through the gap between walls and roof, tending to the mud nests they’ve built using creosote-smelling poles as scaffolding. A fireplace with a kettle means you can boil the rain water collected in tanks at the roof’s sides and long wooden pallets offer bed bases, raising you off the dirt ground (thin hiking mats are available, but take a decent camping mattress for comfort’s sake).

At night a chilly breeze blows freely through the open entrance to the hut. The high shriek of a barn owl carries clearly through the pitch black, setting a slightly spooky tone for midnight loo trips. The thunderous hooves of startled eland will remind you exactly how big they are, and whose turf you’re on.

Rates: Camping from R110 a person a night plus conservation fees of R40 an adult and R20 a child a day (free to Wild Card-holders).

Contact: Tel 0214830190, www.capenature.co.za

 

6. Rooihoek Campsite, Baviaanskloof Mega-Reserve

Rooihoek Campsite, Baviaanskloof mega-reserve. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Rooihoek Campsite, Baviaanskloof mega-reserve. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

S33.664722, E24.408611
Cellphone signal: No
Internet: No
Electricity: No
4×4 needed: Recommended, high-clearance needed
Drinking water: No

It takes an hour-and-a-half to get to Rooihoek from the Baviaanskloof Reserve’s western gate on a road over mountain passes, through reed-filled river crossings and past grassy groves of tall acacias. Having covered about 100 kilometres of dry Karoo heading east from Willowmore, you’ll be surprised by how lush and full of life it is in the steep shady valleys. Kudu, bushbuck and baboon all thrive.

When you reach Rooihoek itself you’ll need a code for the combination lock on the unmanned boom – get this from the reservations office after paying in full. Once through, you’ll follow a narrow track gradually down towards six sites on the northern bank of the Kouga River, its glassy surface reflecting the surrounding hills’ gnarly rocks like a dark brown mirror. The water is tepid on top, but turns icy at waist depth; welcome relief after a hot day’s drive. Monkey and baboon spoor criss-cross the white sandy beach at the river’s edge, while their squeals and ‘boggom’ barks reverberate intermittently through the river gorge, disturbing the cool calm of evening.

Each campsite has a braai place, two benches and a table, all of stone and faux-wood plastic. None is more than a short walk from shared long-drop loos, and tall acacias provide ample shade. A bushbuck ram chews nonchalantly nearby as you set up camp. It won’t bother you, but keep an eye out for marauding baboons. Take fishing tackle and a cooler box and while away the afternoon at ankle depth, casting lines and drinking cold ones. The more adventurous can mountain bike through the reserve, as long as someone drives along behind you in support – there are wild animals about, after all. As the sun sets, the grey-white, spekboom-spotted cliffs behind the camp reflect the last light of evening, long after the red rocks on the opposite bank have darkened. The gurgle of the current rushing over stones is relaxing white noise in the still, black night.

Rates: Camping from R40 a person a night.

Contact: Tel 0437054400

 

7. Mtentu Lodge, Transkei

Mtentu Lodge.

Mtentu Lodge.

S31.245361, E30.046000
Cellphone signal: Yes, 300 metres up ‘Signal Hill’ behind the lodge
Internet: No
Electricity: Yes, solar and gas powered
4×4 needed: High-clearance vehicle advised
Drinking water: Yes

Dense vegetation along the Mtentu River gives it a jungly feel. Paddle into the setting sun in the early evening to experience the best of the estuary before returning to mellow evenings by firelight. The deep, turquoise waters of the Mtentu River turn jade in the shade of overhanging rocks. Giant strelitzias protrude from the dense green vegetation covering its steep, uninhabited banks. Paddling this broad, still expanse feels like exploring uncharted territory – it’s just you, the river, and whatever creatures might hide in its depths.

A 40-kilometre dirt road takes you to the river mouth from the R61, south of Port Edward. You’ll pass round huts so typical of this area, while the cries of ‘sweeeets’ build to a crescendo every time the local kids see you coming. Perched on a hillside overlooking the river mouth and sea is Mtentu Lodge. Sedans will make it to within two kilometres, but to get to the front door you’ll need a high-clearance vehicle or a pre-arranged pick-up.

The lodge’s six thatched wooden cabins, each with a bunk bed and two singles, are perfect for families with kids. Driftwood towel hooks typify its simple aesthetic and commitment to using the natural resources available (responsibly, of course). Raised wooden boardwalks cross shallow rocky ravines between the furthest units and a central bar, kitchen, lounge and broad, sandy braai boma.

Shared flushing loos and gas showers provide some of the comforts of home, while a solar-powered shower enjoys a view right down to the rolling swell of the sea. There is also a small fleet of river-worthy vessels at your disposal, with everything from surf-skis to guppies. For the best experience that Mtentu has to offer, grab a paddle and get out on the estuary, heading upstream towards the sound of falling water. If you have teenagers in tow who can’t go without constant contact with friends, they can climb to the top of ‘Signal Hill’ behind the lodge, but they’re more likely to hang out in a hammock reading a book or play cards with their siblings.

Rates: Rates start from R700 a cabin a night (sleeps four). Catering is an additional R280 per adult, kids aged 8 to 12 are R120 and kids under 8 are free. Keep an eye on their website for special offers which run throughout the year. Self-catering is no longer available. Payments via cash or EFT only.

Contact: Tel 0838053356, www.mtentulodge.co.za

 

8. Kwass se Baai Campsite, Namaqua National Park

Kwass se Baai campsite. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Kwass se Baai campsite. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

S30.696056, E17.487389
Cellphone signal: No
Internet: No
Electricity: No
4×4 needed: Yes
Drinking water: No

Also read: a perfect West Coast roadtrip in photos

A blanket of pearly fog separates sea from sky on the horizon of the frigid Atlantic. During the night it rolls slowly in, covering Kwass se Baai Campsite in a dense, salty haze. It will burn off by 10am most mornings (plan to leave later than this to avoid packing a sopping tent) and you’ll race down the few hundred metres from the campsite to the creamy-white crescent beach lining the bay below.

You’ll get to the park gate at Groenrivier via five hours on the N7 from Cape Town and a further 60 kilometres along a dirt road. Six kilometres of deep sand track make up a third of the stretch between the gate and the campsite. Ostriches gallop alongside as you make your way through the scrubby coastal bush (there’s no shade) as if racing you in a slightly panicked game. If you haven’t deflated your tyres to 1.5 bar, they’ll win with ease.

At each of the four stands at Kwass se Baai, a sloping stone- and-mortar wall stands in steadfast defiance against a chilly evening sea breeze, with space for two small tents between it and the broad fire pit. Similar stone-and-wire walls surround two shared, open-roofed long- drops. These are the only ablutions – if you want a shower, you’ll have to take your own camping version along or brave the icy waves. The steady rumble of breaking surf is the only post-sunset sound, drowning out the noise of office worries in your head until sleep takes over. Orion’s bright belt above shames the dim glimmer of a lighthouse some kilometres down the coast – the only sign of nearby human life.

Spring brings carpets of orange Namaqua daisies; this park is one of the best places on the West Coast to admire the flowers. Pick your way between them on short nature trails, keeping an eye out for the world’s smallest species of tortoise, the Namaqua speckled padloper.

Rates: Camping from R115 a night for six people. Plus conservation fees of R30 an adult and R15 a child a day (free to Wild Card-holders).

Contact: Tel 0275311015, www.sanparks.co.za

 

9. Bride’s Veil Chalet, Southern Drakensberg

Bride's Veil Chalet. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Bride’s Veil Chalet. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

S29.521389, E29.521111
Cellphone signal: No
Internet: No
Electricity: No
4×4 needed: No
Drinking water: Yes

The unmistakable fresh grassy smell of the Drakensberg spills in through open windows on the hour-long drive north from Underberg to Bride’s Veil Chalet. Pink and white autumnal cosmos flowers line the gravel road as you wind up into the foothills through undulating farmland. A steep driveway to the right (impassable without a 4×4 during heavy rain and snow) leads to a red-roofed cottage above a wooded stream. From here, you can look down the ravine towards the rolling farmland you’ve just traversed.

The en-suite master bedroom’s broad windows look straight out at the Bride’s Veil, the waterfall that fuels the steady babble of the brook below the cottage. Bush pigs graze nonchalantly on the lawn outside as the evening mist settles. But the bitter chill doesn’t stand a chance against a roaring blaze in the lounge’s cavernous stone and brick fireplace (an impressive crate of dry wattle is yours for the burning, free of charge).

A simple pine staircase with a homely creak leads up from the lounge and dining area to an open loft with four single beds and one double (the cottage sleeps eight in total). The fire’s rising heat keeps it cosy up here, beneath the roof’s inner thatch layer. A bathroom downstairs has a tub for soaking and the kitchen is equipped with everything you need to cater comfortably, including a gas stove and oven, and a fridge/ freezer. Enjoy meals around a long dining table and retire to the low, comfortably worn-in couches to sip Sherry from a delicate decanter by the flicker of candlelight. As you walk or ride (guests take their own mountain bikes, motorbikes and even horses) past auburn cattle in green fields, you’ll entertain romantic day-dreams of life as a landowner in the country, far from the stresses of city living. Look out for grey rhebok, their fluffy white undertails raised in startled alarm as they canter away.

Rates: Self-catering from R200 an adult a night, under 12s R150, under fours free.

Contact: Tel 0832903260, www.bridesveilchalet.com

 

10. Mhlangeni Bush Lodge, Ithala Game Reserve

Mhlangeni Bush Lodge. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Mhlangeni Bush Lodge. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

S27.523083, E31.372639
Cellphone signal: Yes, patchy
Internet: No
Electricity: No
4×4 needed: No
Drinking water: Yes

The pale heads of giraffe poke inconspicuously out from the tops of green acacias next to the Ncence River in Ithala Game Reserve. They move through the dense bush unconcerned and unaware of you watching them over a cup of morning coffee on the broad wooden balcony of Mhlangeni Bush Lodge. The sun slowly warms the valley which stretches down to the right in front of you, and up to the steep hills to your left. From this outpost, it feels like you’re surveying your own private piece of the bush and for the duration of your stay, you pretty much are.

A rough road follows a contour path along the southern border of Ithala before dropping from the hillside into the park’s wilderness area in the west. Make sure you take your binoculars – there’s plenty of game to keep kids entertained while mum and dad argue over the colour of a bird’s eye or whether it’s a juvenile. Only staff and guests at Mhlangeni are allowed to use the track, so there’s little to disturb whatever may be grazing in the dense bush alongside it. Three-quarters of the way down the Ncence River Valley, Mhlangeni stands hidden among the boulders of a granite koppie. Five separate thatched wooden units share three free-standing bathrooms and a large central lounge, kitchen and dining area. Slate paths link the buildings, cutting between acacias and towering cactus-like Euphorbia cooperi. A balcony joins two of the simple square bedrooms (with comfortable heavy-wood beds and glass-topped cane bedside tables), while the others all enjoy private positions tucked between branches.

The camp is carefully laid out to give beautiful views over the thornveld from most positions – right down to the semi-open-air showers. The kitchen has all the basics needed for self-catering, but you might struggle to cook for 10 people in the relatively small gas oven. Rather use the braai outside. Bring a board game or cards to play around the dining area’s heavy, slate-topped table by the light of gas lamps, listening to the whistle of a nightjar as dark sets in.

Rates: From R2 870 for seven people (R205 an additional adult, under 12s free, max 10).

Contact: Tel 0338451000, www.kznwildlife.com

 

11. Mabibi Campsite, Elephant Coast

mabibi, campsite

Mabibi Campsite. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

S27.330556, E32.745833
Cellphone signal: No
Internet: No
Electricity: No
4×4 needed: Yes
Drinking water: No

For the most scenic approach to this campsite by the sea, follow your GPS along the shores of Lake Sibaya (turning off the R22 at Mbazwana). Dense coastal forest throws dappled shade over the thick sand road, until you emerge onto rolling grassy dunes. Take twin tracks across these until you find Mabibi Campsite hidden among the trees atop the dune nearest the sea, the perfect base for a beach holiday untainted by masses of garish umbrellas and hordes of people.

Ten sites are numbered in a higgledy-piggledy way, their cool sand neatly raked before your arrival. The branches of big milkwoods weave through one another above some sites, forming shady, basket-like canopies. A braai and tap are the only facilities, with a simple concrete ablution block in the middle of the camp. Showers are stained red from the earthy water – you might prefer a salty swim, which will leave you almost as clean.

Walk 100 metres through the forest, down 132 wooden steps and onto the sand of Mabibi Beach. Stretch the legs with an evening stroll down the long, broad bay and, as the sun dips behind the dunes, take a refreshing dip in the warm Indian Ocean. Teal waves turn sky blue as they crescent and break, the last light of evening briefly shining through. Enjoy sundowners and a picnic dinner on the beach, being sure to drink enough of the cooler box’s contents for a lighter return trip up the stairs.

Mabibi shares the beach with only one other establishment (read about Thonga Beach Lodge in six bucketlist trips in South Africa). This means you won’t have to tussle with crowds for your pick of the glassy early-morning beach break waves, slowly curling to the right. Rock pools offer snorkelling second-to-none at low tide, and if you’re lucky you may even spot a loggerhead or leatherback turtle during nesting and hatching season from November to February.

Rates: Camping from R105 a night for adults, R52.50 a night for kids.

Contact: Tel 0354741504, www.mabibibeachcamp.co.za

 

12. Kosi Forest Lodge, isiMangaliso Wetlands Park

Kosi Forest Lodge. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Kosi Forest Lodge. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

S27.028056, E32.787500
Cellphone signal: Yes, patchy
Internet: Yes
Electricity: Yes, generator powered
4×4 needed: Yes, transfers available from KwaNgwanase (Mguzi)
Drinking water: Yes

The grunt of a hippo rumbles through the dense forest bordering the four-lake system in the north of iSimangaliso Wetland Park. As you follow a track to the water’s edge, guide Thulani Ntuli tells tales from his youth of foraging for mushrooms and hunting monkeys for food. He steadies a long fibreglass canoe as you climb gingerly in on the river’s banks. African pygmy geese scurry away as you glide gently past on the dark, reflective surface. Dense reeds and tall raffia palms form a seemingly impenetrable wall on each bank, the plip plop of Thulani’s paddle the only disturbance in the still early morning.

Walks and canoe trips are daily excursions from Kosi Forest Lodge, nestled in an enclave of indigenous forest on the banks of Lake Kushengeza. Eight units are tucked away from one another between wild jasmine and toad trees. Bedspreads and carpets in rich reds and ochre give warmth to otherwise cool rooms, accentuated by the glow of paraffin lamps. Mosquito nets hang from simple frames at night, surrounding comfortable twin beds – this is a low-risk malaria area – and each unit has a bamboo-lined outside bathroom with shower and bath, sleeper-wood stepping stones carefully spaced to keep the sand off your clean feet.

Broad sandy paths through the forest connect bedrooms to a dining deck, bar and fire boma. Each table has a pestle and mortar alongside basil, salt and pepper, fresh chillies, mixed spices and a blown-glass oil and vinegar decanter – concoct something special for the fresh bread rolls at lunch. Digest in the comforts of a hammock, slung from the sturdy trunk of the Zulu podberry that shades the bar. This is the best place to connect to the Wi-Fi (if you really can’t break the habit), and patchy cellphone signal means the occasional message can sneak through.

On the way back to your room, orange wingtips reflect the patchy light as butterflies flutter in flirtatious circles around your ankles. By night, the same orange is echoed by paraffin torches lighting the path like a glowing dot-to-dot. After a good night’s sleep you might be woken by a chorus of birds in the trees above. Lie and listen to them for a while to remind yourself what the world sounded like before cellphone alarms.

Rates: From R1 495 a person a night, including three meals and two activities a day.

Contact: Tel 0354741473, www.isibindiafrica.co.za

Book now

 




21 Responses to “12 remote camps and cottages around South Africa”

  1. Anne

    How could you leave out Die Hell in the Gamkaskloof valley? No TV, radio or cellphone reception: beautiful natural surroundings; and an access road that keeps out all but those dedicated to nature or history.

    Reply
  2. DD Kingscote

    What great ideas if you are wild at heart and free to travel. The sort of places I long to visit. I have been to both the Baavianskloof and Kosi Forest lodge and loved them both.

    Reply
  3. Philip Lewis

    There is also Mboyti lodge about 2 hrs drive from Umtata stunningly beautiful with great beaches & hiking.Staff from the area are wonderful & you are in the heart of Pondoland.

    Reply
  4. Lance

    An hours drive from Cape Town…visit Franschhoek Country Cottages. They have self-catering cottages on a private game reserve. View the Franschhoek valley while watching the wildlife. Really an enjoyable break.

    Reply
  5. johan

    Kosi Forest Lodge, isiMangaliso Wetlands Park that is the place i will love to visit,

    thank you for the collection of places,

    Reply
  6. Guy

    Papkuilsfontein farmhouse – nr Vanrhynsdorp. Amazing all year round but especially for flowers

    Reply
  7. Jean

    Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge in Limpopo does not require a 4X4 is off the grid. Mountain biking, hiking and birding in a beautiful forest which is home to a few thousand year old cabbage tree

    Reply
  8. David

    Mabibi remains The Top escape – 60km of golden beach – the highest vegetated dunes in the world at 300 m – snorkel, swim, lounging in warm seawater pools, turtles and their young hatching

    Reply
  9. Piet

    Piet – waw !! this is my style – 4×4 destinations with peace and no social media connections. I should have seen this long ago.. I`m going to visit for sure.

    Reply

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