Since launching in South Africa in 2009, the community-driven accommodation booking platform Airbnb has been growing steadily, reporting a 250 percent growth in the number of guests using the South African service in the last calendar year.
And it’s not all incoming traffic. According to a recent report released by Airbnb, of the 134000 people who used Airbnb South Africa in 2015, 28 percent were domestic travellers – the second largest group behind Europe (42 percent) and above third placed North America (18 percent).
As a community-based platform, Airbnb is not without controversy. Black guests in America have reported racist experiences while trying to make bookings and a Harvard study published in January revealed that “users with African-American sounding names” were 16 percent more likely to be rejected for a booking while the same places remained advertised to white users.
It’s a disturbing phenomenon and one that South African hosts need to be proactive against. In South Africa, Airbnb is still primarily a home-share scheme (of 7500 active South African hosts, 66 percent share space in their primary residence) and has huge potential to bring South Africans together. Airbnb has a clear anti-discrimination policy, but it’s the local Airbnb community who will be the judge and determine whether this incredible useful and generally affordable accommodation booking service continues to thrive in South Africa.
There is certainly no shortage of amazing properties to choose from. From houseboats to house-shares, here are 20 that caught our eye.
Airbnbs in Gauteng
1. Old Presidents Flat
This is a secure room in an authentic Cape Dutch homestead, overlooking Killarney Golf course. It’s situated in Houghton with easy access on to M1, and an easy walk to Killarney Shopping Centre.
Price: R445 with two guests and one bedroom.
Book: Old Presidents Flat
2. Maboneng City Living Flat
Main Street Life apartments are located in the heart of the most artsy, trendy & vibrant areas of Central Johannesburg – the Maboneng precinct. The studio apartment boasts a comfy living space in the heart of this exciting area.
Price: R560 for two guests with an additional R200 for third guest.
Book: Maboneng City Living Flat
3. Farmhouse in Johannesburg with a view
Wake to birdsong, sunlight and expansive views when you stay in the comfortable, original farmhouse of Klipfontein Farm. A perfect mix of natural tranquility, old world charm and instant city vibes nearby.
Price: R409 for two guests.
Book: Farmhouse in Johannesburg with a view
4. Flat in Bedfordview
This flat with a Bedford view is located right next to the airport. A fully equipped kitchen allows you the comfort to cater to your own needs.
Price: R402 per night and accommodates with extra charges for third guest.
Book: Bedford View Flat
5. City Treetop Studio
This is a secure, accessible & fun-loving, inner-city apartment. A walk away from the hub of Juta street in Braamfontein and The Gautrain. Large windows surround this apartment creating a treetop feel with block out blinds that ensure rest!
Price: R789 for two guests with one bedroom.
Book: City Treetop Studio
6. Modern apartment with pool in Johannesburg
You’ll find this spacious urban cottage within walking distance to trendy Grant Avenue. It has a bedroom with en-suite bathroom, open plan kitchenette and living room with views onto the pool and garden. Wifi and DStv included.
Price: R658 per night for two guests.
Book: Modern Apartment with pool in Johannesburg
7. Apartment in Johannesburg
This spot offers easy access to all that is Johannesburg (and a mall). With seven bedrooms, their rate is for two sharing a room with a supplementary charge for third person sharing.
Price: R906 for two guests with one bedroom.
Book: Apartment in Johannesburg
8.Kingfisher Lodge in Sandton
This loft with en suite bathroom and a large balcony is part of an African bush lodge style thatched house. The room is cozy, private, and decorated in safari style. There’s wireless internet facility and PVR satellite TV.
Price: R1052 for two guests with one bedroom.
Book: Kingfisher Lodge in Sandton
Airbnbs in KwaZulu-Natal
9. Baily’s beach cottage
Located at the Brighton beach 20 minutes South of Durban, is this stylish two-room cottage. The cottage offers great views of sea with dolphins and whales frequently popping into sight.
Price: R1195 per night for 3 guests.
Book: Baily’s beach cottage
10. Flat by the beach in KwaZulu-Natal
A studio flatlet that is separate standing from the main house with a private entrance and secure parking. It is situated in a beautiful, safe neighbourhood and 10 minute walk to the beach and amenities. You can also enjoy the pool and entertainment areas with full sea views.
Price: R603 with two guests and one bedroom.
Book: Chic-Flat near the beach
11. Garden cottage with 1000 hills view
Situated on an adventure farm with plenty activities, this private cottage is fully furnished with big garden and swimming pool. There is a swimming pool nearby.
Price: R445 with one bedroom and accommodates two.
Book: Garden cottage with 100 hills view
12. Apartment in Ushaka with a view of the sea
Located on a canal-fronting site on the Durban Point Waterfront. Sail into the harbour, walk to uShaka Marine World or stroll along the scenic palm-lined canals. Enjoy self-catering accommodation in an apartment that offers access to some fun-filled activities.
Price: R716 for four guests with two bedrooms.
Book: Apartment in Ushaka with a view of the sea
Airbnbs in the Western Cape
13. Knysna Houseboat Myrtle
This is a costly one but is well worth it if you want a treat; a boathouse that is two minutes away from the Knysna waterfront. The boat house comes with kitchen facilities, a unique experience with the splendid view of Knysna and the beach.
Price: R1249 with two bedrooms and accommodates four guests.
Book: Knysna Boathouse Myrtle
14. Self-catering unit in Simon’s Town
Ja Ja’s Place is nestled at the base of Mount Pleasant in Simon’s Town and boasts panoramic views of the harbour basin, naval base and False Bay. This spacious, self-catering unit is tucked away, in a quiet lane just steps away from the village centre.
Book: Self-catering Unit in Simons Town with a view
15. Historic Cottage in McGregor
Sunflower Cottage is a lovely base for you to explore the beautiful village of McGregor and the surrounding winelands – or to simply just retreat and immerse yourself in the feeling of a bygone era. The cottage is purposely not equipped with distractions such as TV and stereo.
Price: R745 for two guests with one bedroom.
Book: Historic cottage in McGregor
16. Apartment in Sea Point
Enjoy this bright & sunny studio apartment with breathtaking views over Sea Point and the Atlantic Ocean. Centrally located in Upper Sea Point, just off Ocean View Drive, it has many luxury facilities which will ensure a comfortable stay.
Price: R702 for two guests with one bedroom.
Book: Apartment in upper Sea Point
17. Franschhoek Tea House
The Tea House is a guest room for one or two people. There is an en suite bathroom and a small kitchen nook. The Tea House was inspired by the host’s travels in Nepal.
Price: R380 for two guests with one bedroom.
Book: Franschhoek Tea House
18. Spectacular views in Cape Town
Beautiful Cape Town views. Sit back and watch the sunset from this stunning balcony.
Price: R559 per night for two guests.
Book: Apartment with spectacular views
More Airbnbs across South Africa
19. House next to Kruger Park
The house is situated right next to Kruger National Park, offers plenty of wildlife activity and a lush tropical garden. Should be ideal for a family or group getaway with friends.
Price: R2112 for six people per night.
Book: House Next to Kruger Park
20. Beach House in Port Elizabeth
Stylish, open plan, beach front home. Wake up to the view of the sea from your bed. Smell the ocean, hear the waves and unwind.
Price: R1491 for four guests with R201 for any extra guests, accommodates eight.
Book: Beach house in Port Elizabeth