10 romantic hideaways that won’t break your pocket

Posted by Liezl Geldenhuys on 14 August 2012 Tags:

Ever feel like you simply want to grab your partner and flee the real world? But then life gets in the way, money is tight and you just don’t know where to go. Whether it’s for a special occasion like a honeymoon or anniversary, or if only to escape for a weekend with your significant other, here are some carefully hidden spots across the country will be sure to grant you and a loved one the perfect holiday.



1. Aristata, Seweweekspoort, Western Cape

The Swartberg Mountain Range in Ladismith is famous for its beautiful scenery of mountain streams and rock formations, and a stretch of diverse flora ranging from proteas to mountain cabbage trees. In the heart of this range lies Aristata, three quaint little self-catering cottages that has a distinct atmosphere of peace and simplicity.

Its atmosphere is supported by everything from the compact and welcoming lodging to the immediate vicinity, which looks like a piece of farmland was dropped on its doorstep just for guests to sit outside and enjoy the view. Partners looking for rest and relaxation are able to swim in the mountain river and stargaze with the incredible open sky at night, while active duos have the option of hiking, abseiling, mountain biking and of course, rock climbing. .

For any couples looking to take a break and hide in an impenetrable and intimate space of their own, they really can’t do better than the valley of a mountain range with the highest peak in the Western Cape.


Cost: R350 per night for any of two sleepers, R520 to include bedding and towels. R580 per night for the four sleeper cottage, R960 to include bedding and towels. Furnished, self-catering.

More information: Aristata website or book here.




2. iKhayalamafu Mountain Hideaway, Champagne Valley, KwaZulu-Natal

Named ‘The House in the Clouds’, iKhayalamafu definitely owns up to its name with two luxury cabins high up in the Monks Cowl Reserve in Central Drakensberg.

iKhayalamafu offers two luxury cabins with beautiful decks that have a stunning view with its lookout of surrounding mountains and valley. The cabins are fully furnished with a double bedroom and lounge with a fireplace, and even the decks have their utilities, so you can barbeque and dine outside.

The cabins are well spaced from each other and completely private, so whether you stay in the Inyoka or Ingwe cabin, the mountain escape is perfect for shutting out the outside world and hiding away with your loved one for a break.

Cost: Weekdays the cottage goes for R450 per person per night and weekends R500 per person per night night. In high season, they are R600 per person per night.

More information: iKhayalamafu website.




3. Tharfield Farm and Guest Cottage, Port Alfred, Eastern Cape

For couples wanting to stick it out in the rough together, the River Treehouse at Tharfield Farm is a lovely little room found up high in a yellowwood tree, where guests take a gander at foregoing electricity and using nifty little gadgets like candle-light and a stone fireplace. With activities like swimming in a natural pool in the river, canoeing, sand-boarding and lounging around in hammocks, Tharfield is truly a place where couples can go wild and find their inner Tarzan and Jane.

Near the coastline about 14km from Port Alfred, the treehouse is completely invisible from nearby roads and vantage points, ensuring that guests have the ultimate peace and privacy. There is a uniquely natural feel to the room and its surrounding areas, creating an air of ease and comfort that is hard to come by anywhere else.

Alternatively, couples can stay in the Fisherman’s Beach Cabin, placed right on the beachfront with a view of the ocean in front of it and the forest at its back, and deserted beaches as far as the eye can see. Naturally, horse-riding trails on these beautifully scenic shores are a must-do while staying at the cabin.

The less adventurous also have the option of staying at the Farm Cottage on the farm itself. Wake up to horses roaming around the cottage, then spend your day meeting various animals as you explore around the farm or stay in to enjoy the luxurious cottage, with a countrified décor that stems from its construction in the 1820s.

Whether staying for a week or simply one day, stepping onto Tharfield immediately cuts couples off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and is ideal for those seeking to unwind away from the rest of the world.


Cost: There is an option for a romantic break package at the River Treehouse that includes two nights’ accommodation, activities and meals at R1290 per person. Staying at the self-catering Fishermans Beach Cabin would cost R460 per person for three nights, with activities and meals separate. A stay in the self-catering Farm Cottage would cost guests R550 for the unit.

More information:  Tharfield website.




4.Klipkraal Karoo Cottage, Calitzdorp, Western Cape

Klipkraal is situated on a farm in the Groenfontein Valley in Calitzdorp, a cottage surrounded by three hills that enclose couples in their own little Karoo paradise.

Like most isolated cabins in the middle of nowhere, the cottage doesn’t have electricity or cellphone reception. It only ups the romantic factor, though, as you’ll be using candlelight and paraffin lamps for light instead.

The rustic interior decoration will make the stay a comfortable and unique one, from the Victorian bath to the Deco lounge with its open fireplace. Nearby activities also make out the perfect romantic excursions, as days can be spent having picnics next to a small river or strolling around the beautifully scenic mountainside.


Cost: R450 per night for the entire cottage. Fully equipped. Self-catering.

More information: Book here.




5. Yengele Paradise Boutique Beach Lodge, Trafalgar, KwaZulu-Natal

With its wall-high windows and sliding doors that lead out to a deck looking out over the sea, this wonderful retreat allows guests to imagine that they are truly living on the edge of the ocean. Enclosed on one side with pristine beaches and on the other, palm trees that border the dune forest, the jungle-like feel of the place even gives one the impression of being on a fawaray island.

Room 1 is perfect for a unique couples getaway, as it access to the magnificent deck equipped with a pool and loungers. The room is modern and spacious, and it manages to strike the perfect balance between being both luxurious and extremely comfortable.

Yengele really is a summer paradise where couples can lazily enjoy the privacy and rest that the forest and beach affords them.


Cost: Out of season, R360 per person per night for the deck room and R320 per person per night for the other two. In season the deck room is R410 per person per night, while the other two costs R350 per person per night. Fully furnished, self-catering.

More information:  Yengele website or book here.




6. Nibelheim Cottage, Hogsback, Eastern Cape

Hogsback is a popular little village in the Amatola Mountains, where visitors can find beautiful waterfalls and majestic views of the surrounding mountain landscape. One of the romantic gems found in the indigenous forest is Nibelheim cottage, a wooden structure built on stills, completely hidden from the outside world.

The chalet has one bedroom adjacent to a spacious open living space, and the entire place is fully furnished and self-catering. There is an indoor fireplace, barbeque facilities, a television, and most of the basic essentials one would need for a comfortable time alone with your partner.

Nibelheim is a natural Utopia that is perfect for a weekend of rejuvenation and romance.

Cost: R450 per night per couple.

More information: Nibelheim website.




7. Stanford Lake Lodge, Haenertsburg, Limpopo

Situated between unending forests and on the side of a large and beautiful lake, the views and atmosphere surrounding Stanford Lake Lodge in Limpopo are remarkable in their unspoilt beauty. Stanford offers offers guests a lovely and safe secluded cabin in the mountainside between Magoebaskloof and Heanertsburg.

A perfect couples getaway can be had in either the double or single-storey cabin, both warm and cosy wooden structures that are ideal to spend a few days alone with a loved one. The cabins have a modern rustic feel to it, with its grandeur being found mostly in the stunning design and décor.

An indoor fireplace is placed in the centre of the open living area, creating a snug ambiance in the surrounding lounge, dining room and kitchen. Summer evenings can be spent out on the deck that looks out over the lake, accompanied by glass of red wine while making use of the supplied Weber.


Cost: In the double-storey cabin, rent goes at R355 per person per night – R245 out of season – while the single-storey charges R295 per person per night – R195 out of season. Fully furnished, self catering.

More information: Stanford website or book here.




8. Toplodge, Putterill Valley, KwaZulu-Natal

In the north of the Drakensberg Mountains lies this luxurious four sleeper lodge that is also perfect for a cosy romantic getaway for two. The double story thatch cottage has an indoor fireplace in both the lounge and the bedroom, and the layout is comprised of a spacious open plan living space.

Self-catering and fully furnished, Toplodge has everything visitors would need for a comfortable stay. With the stunning views and unspoiled surrounding area, it offers guests a chance to unwind in this perfect tranquil space.

Cost: R390 per person per night. Currently, Toplodge has an awesome special going on where guests who stay for two days or more is granted an extra day for free, but it’s for a limited period, so it’s advised to contact them for details first.

More information: Toplodge website or book here.




9. A Dam Fine Cottage, Nature’s Valley, Western Cape

Easily the smartest named accommodation on this list, the best word to describe A Dam Fine cottage is simply ‘cute’. Located on a farm between Nature’s Valley and Plettenberg bay, the cottage has beautiful views of the open landscape. Simply opening your front door leads to a charming little dam on which you and your partner can spend afternoons paddling around on an available canoe.

The cottage itself can sleep four, but two is more than enough to occupy the cottage on a romantic break. The space is simple, but cosy, and ideal for couples looking for a intimate and relaxing outing away from home.


Cost: R450 for the cottage per night, out of season, and R600 in season.

More Information: Dam Fine Cottage website.




10. Dream Lodge, Magaliesburg, North West

Not necessarily as affordable as the other accommodations, but is definitely worth every extra buck. Nothing screams romance as much as a candlelit love shack in the middle of the bush – which is exactly what couples get when they visit the Dream Lodge just outside of Magaliesburg in the North West. Along with its intimate dinners and beautiful sunsets, Dream Lodge seems to hold the secret recipe for perfect romantic bliss.

Couples can stay in either the Agama or Gecko cottages, two remote, charming little cabins surrounded by nothing but open bush land, which are the essence of simplicity and rural allure – your dinner even gets delivered to your door by tractor! It makes up for the lack of electricity by letting guests to use tea lights, lanterns and candles to bathe every corner of the cottages with a dim light that creates a loving atmosphere.

Time seems to stop when visiting the lodge, and surrounded by nothing but silence and nature, it is the perfect place to get back in touch or just spend quality time with your partner. With all its attention focused on creating a perfect mix of romance and isolation, Dream Lodge is the very definition of a love-nest.


Cost: R740 per person per night, which includes dinner and breakfast. Fully furnished.

More information:  Dream Lodge website or book here.