10 Budget bush breaks in South Africa

Posted on 25 January 2024 By Tsoku Maela

Looking for an affordable bush break this winter? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We scoured all of the venues to bring you the best budget bush breaks in South Africa – whether you prefer camping, tented camps, or lodges.

Please note: All prices were correct at the time of publication, but are subject to change at each establishment’s discretion. Please confirm with them before traveling.

Bush-breaks in KwaZulu-Natal

Shayamoya, Lake Jozini

campfire, campsite, lake jozini

Photo by Tabby Mittins.

This rustic and secluded self-catering bush camp is built around the biggest tamboti tree you’ll ever see, with a sociable braai area, an open-plan kitchen and four comfortably furnished two-sleeper dome tents. Everything is gas or solar-powered, the water is hot and the loos flush. A 4×4 isn’t necessary, but you’ll need a high-clearance vehicle. Keep an eye on and an ear out for Nandi, the resident spotted owl, who might stop by your room for a visit.

(They also have a lodge: if you don’t stay in their comfortable wood, wicker and white four-star rooms, at least pop in to sample their five-star food, or have a drink and enjoy an incredible view from the bar and deck.)

Cost: From 1200 a person a night (sharing) / R1560 (Single)
Contact: 034 4351110

Cell: 078 745 2564, Manager: 083 456 8423

E-mail Address: [email protected]

You can visit their site here for more information.

Inyati Lodge, Lake Jozini

lake jozini

Photo by Tabby Mittins.

Inyati is an up-market self-catering bush lodge with superb views, a swimming pool and a fully equipped kitchen. Kick back and relax on the private balcony and look for nyala, buffalo and elephant along Pongola below. Arrange a meal or two at the neighbouring Mvubu River Lodge (which has an equally superb view and is only five minutes away) or beauty treatment at Mvubu Spa. The camp sleeps a maximum of nine people in four wooden cabins.

Cost: From R475 an adult, with a minimum daily rate of R2850.
Contact: Tel 0344351123, inyatilodge.co.za

Weenen Game Reserve

Weenen Game Reserve. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Weenen Game Reserve. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

This lesser-known reserve lies 25 kilometres northeast of Estcourt in an undulating thornveld that stretches to the blue-hilled horizon. Much of this 5000-hectare reserve was once badly degraded farmland and considerable rehabilitation by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has seen erosion halted and vegetation restored to original valley bushveld, characterised by acacia karoo, Acacia tortilis and Acacia nilotica woodlands and thickets.

Although it’s not in the same league as a Hluhluwe or Mkuze, Weenen provides some of the best game viewings of the smaller KZN parks. The gravel roads inside the park can be a bit rough for sedans, especially after heavy rains (ask at reception about road conditions).

Cost: See the full 2024 price list here
Contact: 0363547013, 0338451000


Bush breaks in the Eastern Cape

Lakeview Tented Camp, Camdeboo National Park

tented camp, cambedoo

Photo by Scott Ramsay.

One of South Africa’s smallest national parks, Camdeboo is no wilderness. Instead, historical buildings lie within sight of herds of plains game, harking back to a time when the Karoo’s wild animals would walk through town. They still sometimes do. Camdeboo National Park surrounds Graaf-Reinet and is home to the gorgeous Valley of Desolation. Lakeview Tented Camp consists of four rustic, furnished tents. Each two-sleeper has a braai unit, fridge, table and chairs; bedding and towels are also provided. There are communal showers and toilets, and a shared kitchen is equipped with stove plates, cooking and eating utensils, and a microwave.

Cost: From R1 057 per unit a night. Please see their full pricing here
Contact: To book a stay go here

Bush breaks in Limpopo

Village D’Afrique, Modimolle

Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

Photo by Melanie van Zyl.


Experience swanky safari tent living less than two hours from Johannesburg. Based on the 330-hectare Shakila Game Farm, Village d’Afrique is one of several tented camps on the property and sleeps eight in four beautifully appointed tents complete with inside baths, king-size beds and outdoor showers. Rhodesian teak decks connect the tents to the main area: an open-plan kitchen, lounge and dining area overlooking a rim- flow pool and fire pit. It’s suitable for sedans (4x4s are preferable), groceries are available in nearby Modimolle, and it’s ideal for families (each unit has a sleeper couch for kids). Spot kudu, blue wildebeest and zebra on game drives or swim in the Nyl River.

Cost: From R1300 per tent depending on the season. Please visit see their current rates here.
Contact: Tel 0836535158

Hamasha Bushcamp, Soutpansberg

Leshiba Mountain Retreats is a luxury private wildlife and eco tourism destination. Located on top of the Soutpansberg Mountains, 36km west of Louis Trichardt, Limpopo, South Africa. Here, travellers are free to walk without a guide amongst wildlife, cycle untamed terrain, track game, learn about medicinal plants and discover ancient Rock Art. They also offer single track mountain biking trails, guided walks and game drives.

The Hamasha Bush Camp is a secluded private hideaway and is self-catering only. The six-bed camp overlooks the Hamasha gorge and has magnificent views of the rolling African continent beyond. It has two chalets, and a central open plan lounge, kitchen, dining area and an outdoor lapa. It is the perfect getaway for family, friends or small groups of people who love being surrounded by nature.

Cost: Please see their full pricing here
Contact: [email protected] / +27 (74) 059 0560

Lindani, Waterberg

Lindani - Melanie van Zyl

Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

An effortless 275-kilometre drive north from Johannesburg, after turning right at the only four-way stop in Vaalwater, you’ll arrive at Lindani. There you’ll find eight serene, carefully thought out private cottage collections each with their own piece of bushveld back garden, self-catering kitchen, a gorgeous rockery pool and an almost guaranteed squadron of warthog mowing the lawn.

Ranging in size from a four-bed bush camp to an eight-bed, budget-friendly tented forest camp, to the enormous 18-sleeper, four-house Motseng lodge complex, there’s a perfect solution to any family gathering. Spend time on the easy Green Flag hiking trails, or hire a bicycle and cycle past wildebeest, zebra, eland and giraffe with the kids. Pack a picnic for lunch and stop at any of the five riverside picnic sites and have a splash to cool down (one spot even has tubes for a lazier soak).

The lodges feature quality finishings like gas stoves and braai, dishwashers, good name brand electronics (Samsung microwaves and De Longhi toasters), plus thoughtful details like 50kgs of firewood, a potjie pot, mammal, bird and reptile guides as well as a variety of games for rainy days. The farm kitchen has a variety of freshly prepared meals to order and heats up, such as stews and quiches, or if you’d rather braai, order the milk tart for pudding and fresh farm bread for morning toast. Just trust us.

Cost: From R400 a person a night in the tented camp. Please see the full price list here
Contact: 0836315579

Bush breaks in the North West Province

Mamagalie Mountain Lodge, Mooinooi

Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

Roughly 100 kilometres from Joburg the landscape transforms from highveld to bushveld near Buffelspoort Dam. Here, five lodges, cleverly nestled in a secluded valley, make up the Mamagalie self-catering collection. Two are designed for couples – River Lodge and Tranquility Lodge (the latter is the most romantic with a private deck and outdoor shower overlooking a stream) – while Bush and Forest lodges both sleep four (I loved the tented three-storey Bush Lodge on stilts, which commands great Buffelspoort Valley views). Mountain Lodge is the biggest, sleeping 12, and is perfect for kids to explore the active farm, which has an avocado and lemon orchard, pecan nut and newly planted fig trees and raspberry bushes. Expect to find hornbills floating from the trees and hartebeest, wildebeest, zebra and gemsbok roaming the slopes. Walk in the bush and explore the rock pools in the protected Magaliesberg green belt.

Cost: From R425  – R550
Contact: 0845139480

B’Sorah luxury tented camp

View from BSorah

B’sorah is a family-owned 1600-hectare farm, crisscrossed by hiking and biking trails, romping warthogs and families of cows. The four luxury tents offer all the pros of camping with few of the cons. Tents are spacious and have running water, a large and comfy bed and a full outdoor kitchen. Best of all, the tents are already pitched and guests needn’t bring anything but food to eat and the clothes on their backs.

Time moves slowly at B’sorah, and one of the most gratifying things to do is light a fire, sit on the deck and sip a beer while listening to frogs sing in the trickling stream. More ambitious visitors might go for a bike ride or hike, perhaps climb the small hill near the tents and watch the sun go down.

Cost: From R1980.
Contact: 071 529 6153 / [email protected]

Mountain Sanctuary Park, Rustenburg

Mountain Sanctuary Park. Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

Mountain Sanctuary Park is perched in the mountainous Magaliesberg area, with views of surrounding farmland and the nearby Buffelspoort Dam. The 1000-hectare property is renowned for its hiking trails and is a popular day-visit destination for nature-hungry Gautengers needing fresh air.

The recently opened Cosy Huts are a substitute for camping. The name ‘cosy’ is accurate (if a little euphemistic) as the wooden huts are small, with a set of bunk beds on one end, a kitchen area with basic utensils and a bar fridge next to it, and two single beds on the other end. Own bedding must be brought (they do offer linen at an extra charge). Ask for a hut that faces the bush rather than one that faces the campsite – number one has the best views.

The huts are designed to bridge the gap between camping and the pricier lodging options, so there’s little luxury (they don’t have their own en-suite bathrooms or wash-up area), but there’s electricity and they are comfortable enough. At the end of the day, this spot is geared for spending time outdoors and you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful setting. The closest set of natural pools is just a 20 minute walk and the waters flow generously after summer rains. There’s also a well-kept pool and grassy picnic area with a viewing deck.

Cost: Please see the full price list here
Contact: Tel 0145340114

14 budget bush breaks in South Africa
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14 budget bush breaks in South Africa
We scoured all of the venues we reviewed in Getaway magazine over the last year to bring you the best budget bush breaks in South Africa
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