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I’ve seen more venues than I can remember, let alone count, during the past two years as Getaway’s photo editor. Despite my love for a great campsite, I’ve been eased into appreciating soft cotton sheets and 5-star, ‘let me run your rose-petalled bath’ luxuries too. Some places have stuck in my mind as being extra special; places that I one day hope to return to.

This list is still growing: but here are my discoveries so far, in no particular order.

 

In and around Gauteng

1. Leshiba Wilderness

Location: Soutpansberg
Contact: leshiba.co.za
 

Styled in a Venda theme by famed artist Noria Mbasa and overlooking a valley framed by mountains. The drive up to the lodge can only be done by 4x4 and you never seem to stop climbing, but once you reach this haven you'll find yourself never wanting to leave.

Decorated in a Venda theme by famed artist Noria Mbasa and overlooking a valley framed by mountains. The drive up to the camp can only be done by 4×4 and you never seem to stop climbing, but once you reach this haven you’ll find yourself never wanting to leave.

Book on SafariNow

 

2. Bateleur Nature Reserve

Location: The Waterberg
Contact: bateleurnaturereserve.co.za
 

The view at this stone cottage looks out onto unbroken veld; it's just you and perhaps a few visiting cows.

The view at this stone cottage looks out onto unbroken veld; it’s just you and perhaps a few visiting cows.

 

3. Franshoek Farm and Polo School

Location: Eastern Free State
Contact: poloschool.co.za
 

It feels like you're at the end of a cul-de-sac on this farm, and that the valley stretching before you is at your disposal. Fun owners and company, polo lessons and a laissez faire ambiance all make for a great stay..

It feels like you’re at the end of a cul-de-sac on this farm, and that the valley stretching before you is at your disposal. Fun owners and company, polo lessons and a laissez faire ambiance all make for a great stay.

Book on SafariNow

 

4. B’Sorah Luxury Tented Camp

Location: Broederstroom
Contact: bsorah.com
 

These lovely tented camps overlooking the river seemed a world away from city stresses.

These lovely tented camps overlooking the river seemed a world away from city stresses.

 

5. De Kunst Huisje

Location: Bela Bela
Contact: dekunsthuisje.co.za
 

Trendy, fun decor fills the spaces at this BnB, where each room has its own character. A great spot to explore the town from.

Trendy, fun decor fills the spaces at this B&B, where each room has its own character. A great base for exploring the town.

More photos: Beautiful weekend breaks near Joburg

 

6. Kurisa Moya

Location: Magoebaskloof
Contact: www.krm.co.za
 

These cabins are a five minute walk into this thick forest and feel like a tree-house hideaway where you could sit for ages writing or listening to birdsong.

These cabins are a five minute walk into this thick forest and feel like a tree-house hideaway where you could sit for ages writing or listening to birdsong.

Book on SafariNow

 

7. Birder’s Cottage

Location: Magoebaskloof
Contact: mbcottage.co.za
 

This small cottage is secreted away in a mountainside with nothing but yourself and birdsong for company.

This small cottage is secreted away in a mountainside with nothing but yourself and birdsong for company.

Book on SafariNow

 

8. Melody Hill Retreat

Location: Magaliesberg
Contact: melodyhillretreat.co.za
 

Even the air here is calm, and within a few minutes of arriving you'll feel yourself unwinding into relaxation.

Even the air here is calm, and within a few minutes of arriving you’ll feel yourself unwinding into relaxation.

Book on SafariNow

 

9. Old Willow Houseboats

Location: Vanderbijlpark
Contact: oldwillow.co.za
 

Not really a place per say, but absolute bliss waking up to the still waters of the Vaal lapping the sides of your houseboat- which you can commandeer yourself after taking a brief skippers test

Not really a place per say, but absolute bliss waking up to the still waters of the Vaal lapping the sides of your houseboat – which you can commandeer yourself after taking a brief skippers test.

 

10. Summerfields

Location: Hazyview
Contact: summerfields.co.za
 

I loved falling asleep to the sound of the river at this 5-star lodge, and then running a hot bath with the open forest at my elbow.

I loved falling asleep to the sound of the river at this 5-star lodge, and then running a hot bath with the open forest at my elbow.

Book on SafariNow

 

11. Yvonne’s House

Location: Rosendal
Contact: rosendalinfo.co.za/yvonnes-house
 

A foodies heaven -its owned by Yvonne Short, author of Kitchen Safari, and open plan retreat overlooking a scenic valley

A foodie’s heaven, it’s owned by Yvonne Short, author of Kitchen Safari – and open plan retreat overlooking a scenic valley.

 

12. Wessel’s House

Location: Rosendal
Contact: rosendalinfo.co.za/wessels-house
 

The masculine version of Yvonnes house and just as well-decorated. Both were designed by architect Daniel van der Merwe.

The masculine version of Yvonne’s house and just as well-decorated. Both were designed by architect Daniel van der Merwe.

 

13. Zwakala River Retreat

Location: Magoebaskloof
Contact: zwakalaretreat.co.za
 

Owners Denise and Robs creative, DIY approach can be found over everything they put their minds to on this farm. Camping also available.

Owners Denise and Rob’s creative, DIY approach can be found over everything they put their minds to on this farm. Camping also available.

Book on SafariNow

 

In and around KwaZulu-Natal

14. Hillhouse

Location: Midlands
Contact: hillhouse.co.za
 

My favourite- one day I will return with a group of friends to enjoy this boho loft-living!

My favourite – one day I will return with a group of friends to enjoy this boho loft-living!

 

15. Midlands Cottages

Location: Midlands
Contact: midlandscottages.co.za
 

Its all soft comforts and friendliness here; owner Jayne is wonderful and pays such attention to detail

It’s all soft comforts and friendliness here; owner Jayne is wonderful and pays such attention to detail.

Book on SafariNow

 

16. Rockshandy Beach House

Location: Marina Beach
Contact: rockshandy.co.za
 

A sprawling house near Southbroom, Rockshandy makes for the perfect upmarket group escape.

A sprawling house near Southbroom, Rockshandy makes for the perfect upmarket group escape.

 

17. Rockwood Forest Lodge

Location: Karkloof Nature Reserve
Contact: rockwood.co.za
 

Surrounded by forest and ideal for winter, where you can light a fire and nestle into your log cabin with a cup of coffee. In summer months there are great hikes and rivers nearby to explore.

Surrounded by forest and ideal for winter, where you can light a fire and nestle into your log cabin with a cup of coffee. In summer months there are great hikes and rivers nearby to explore.

 

18. The Fat Hamster

Location: Pennington
Contact: www.wheretostay.co.za/thefathamster
 

Right on the beach, this house is brilliant for friend get-togethers and has fantastic decor.

Right on the beach, this house is brilliant for friend get-togethers and has fantastic decor.

 

19. St Helier Cottage

Location: KZN South Coast
Contact: www.perfecthideaways.co.za
 

Ah, one can dream. This luxury house is perfectly decorated, and located overlooking the sea on KZN's South Coast

Ah, one can dream. This luxury house is perfectly decorated, and located overlooking the sea on KZN’s South Coast.

 

In and around the Western Cape

20. Ou Kraal

Location: Gamkaberg
Contact: capenature.co.za
 

After a long 4x4 drive you reach this spot, high op on a vast plateau.

After a long 4×4 drive you reach this spot, high up on a vast plateau. It’s almost a lean-to, with stone walls and a corrugated iron roof resting on boulders that form the back wall, and if you like the idea of being completely off the grid in a place of unparalleled beauty that you don’t have to share with anyone, this spot is for you.


Update: Ou Kraal has recently been upgraded to include four new herder huts: have a look at the CapeNature website for recent pictures.

 

21. Courchevel

Location: Franschhoek
Contact: courchevel.co.za
 

Owned by Sonja, a horse-lover, these cottages overlook Franschhoek from Chamonix Wine Farm. Each cottage is different, with an equestrian theme running throughout.

Owned by Sonja, a horse-lover, these cottages overlook Franschhoek from Chamonix Wine Farm. Each cottage is different, with an equestrian theme running throughout.

 

22. Opstal Vlei Suite

Location: De Hoop Nature Reserve
Contact: dehoopcollection.com
 

I was fortunate enough to stay at the Opstal Vlei Suite at De Hoop over my birthday this year. It was my first time in this area, and I was blown away by its diverse beauty. To top it all off, the staff surprised me with a song and cake!

I was fortunate enough to stay at the Opstal Vlei Suite at De Hoop over my birthday this year. It was my first time in this area, and I was blown away by its diverse beauty. To top it all off, the staff surprised me with a song and cake!

More photos: the magic of De Hoop Nature Reserve

 

23. Guinevere Guest Farm

Location: Tulbagh
Contact: guinevereguestfarm.com
 

Another place that is best enjoyed with a large group of friends.

Another place that is best enjoyed with a large group of friends. This unusually-designed house is huge, with wonderful artworks and living areas. It’s like a private hotel, with bedrooms dotted all over for friends to share.

Book on SafariNow

 

24. Klein Nektar

Location: Montagu
Contact: montagu-ashton.info
 

Another of my favourites, and Id be back in a shot to enjoy a quiet weekend if I could.

I’d be back in a shot to enjoy a quiet weekend here if I could. It’s a simple farm cottage surrounded by olive trees, with a daybed on the verandah.

 

25. Penguin’s View Villa

Location: Betty’s Bay
Contact: Penguin’s View Villa
 

This airy beach house overlooks Bettys Bay, and you can take in the view while penguins and dassies suntan themselves on the lawn by your feet.

Disclosure: Must love penguins. This airy beach house overlooks Betty’s Bay, and you can take in the view while penguins and dassies suntan themselves on the lawn by your feet.

 

26. De Hoop camp

Location: ǀAi-ǀAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Contact: sanparks.org
 

Camping here with the Orange River on your doorstep is incomparable.

Camping here with the Orange River on your doorstep is incomparable.

Book on SafariNow

 

27. Vindoux

Location: Tulbagh
Contact: vindoux.com
 

These tree-houses make for the perfect romantic escape, with the added bonus of having a spa on site.

These tree-houses make for the perfect romantic escape, with the added bonus of having a spa on site.

Book on SafariNow

 

28. The Vineyard Country House

Location: Montagu
Contact: thevineyardcountryhouse.co.za
 

Arguably the best breakfast I've ever had at a B&B, and with cottages overlooking vineyards. What could be better?

Arguably the best breakfast I’ve ever had at a B&B, and with cottages overlooking vineyards. What could be better?

Book on SafariNow

 

29. Chamonix Waterfall Lodge

Location: Franschhoek
Contact: Chamonix Waterfall Lodge
 

The decor isn't to my taste, but WHAT a location. At the end of a cobblestone driveway fringed by towering mountainside.

The decor isn’t to my taste, but WHAT a location. At the end of a cobblestone driveway fringed by towering mountainside, right at the base of a waterfall… you step out of your door and almost literally into the stream running past your cottage. The waterfall forms a pool at the back of the house, perfect for swimming.

 

30. La Petite Dauphine

Location: Franschhoek
Contact: lapetite.co.za
 

Suite 9 is private and cosy, a perfect retreat for a couple and well-furnished.

Suite 9 is private and cosy, a perfect retreat for a couple and well-furnished.

Book on SafariNow

 

 



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