Affordable weekend getaways near Durban

Posted by Paul Maughan-Brown on 4 October 2013

The year-end is drawing swiftly near and before you know it, you’ll be packing the car and heading to a big family get-together. Juggling nephews and nieces; shouting to gran across the table; trying not to offend your sister-in-law; cooking for everyone and probably drinking a little too much to get through it all. It’ll be fun, it’ll be familiar and it won’t be work. But will it be the rustig break you need? We’ve put together a list of affordable destinations within easy-enough driving distance of Durban to visit for a weekend of relaxation and recuperation.

Please note that the prices below are subject to change at each establishment’s discretion. Please check with them before travelling.

Also read: More affordable weekend breaks near Durban


1. Gox Hill Trout Lodge, Himeville

Price: From R100 per person sharing
Travel time from Durban: 2 hours, 31 minutes

Gox Hill Trout Lodge
Set on a working farm in the beautiful Southern Drakensberg, Gox Hill Trout Lodge offers a number of campsites and two self-catering units. These units have a microwave, fridge and freezer, everything you need for eating and washing up, and braai facilities. While it may seem cheeky to dub a unit with only braai facilities and a microwave ‘self-catering’, if you’re making anything other than a trout-braai, you’re not doing it right. The farm boasts the biggest lake in the Underberg area. The Polela River, running through the lake, keeps it stocked with wild trout which provide a good fight for those of you who like to taste sweet satisfaction when reeling in the evening’s dinner. Laundry service and internet access available.

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2. Old Beacon Hill, Estcourt

Price: From R230 per person sharing
Travel time from Durban: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Old Beacon Hill
Once an old railway station, Old Beacon Hill has been converted into self-catering cottages which provide a comfortable and well positioned base for discovering what the KZN hinterland has to offer; within driving distance of the Drakensberg, Midlands Meander and historic battlefields. Choose between self-catering accommodation in one of the four cottages (which together can accommodate 20 guests) or camping, equally well suited for exploring the seven hectares of land. Take long strolls looking out for wildlife, or read a book in the pond-side gazebo.

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3. Bushbaby Lodge and Camping, Hluhluwe

Price: From R110 per person sharing
Travel time from Durban: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Bushbaby Lodge and Camping
Just 20 minutes from the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, Bushbaby Lodge offers a variety of accommodation on its lush, tropical property. Bright orange chalets sit tucked beneath the umbrellas of big old indigenous trees. Seven have private bathrooms, while another seven make use of shared ablutions. Choose between traditional home-cooked fare, prepared for you on site, or cook for yourself in the fully equipped communal kitchen area. 20 Campsites all have electrical points and water. If you’re worried about missing the rugby, there is a communal lounge area with DStv, as well as a swimming pool to cool off after the game.

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4. Rocky Bay Resorts, Scottburgh

Price: From R220 per person sharing
Travel time from Durban: 40 minutes

Rocky Bay Resorts
Right on the sea-side, Rocky bay Resorts offers accommodation in log cabins and has 167 caravan/camping sites. The log cabins sleep up to 8 guests and all have private decks, off-street parking, private braai areas, fully equipped kitchens and TVs with DStv. Private outside showers allow you to wash off after a day on the beach so you don’t drag sand into the cabin. Alternatively avoid the sand altogether and swim in the resort’s freshwater swimming pool before returning to be lulled to sleep by the quiet clamour of crashing waves. Caravaners and might find themselves in one of the many sites located literally steps away from the beach.

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5. Florence Farm, Swartberg

Price: From R150 per person sharing.
Travel time from Durban: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Florence farms
For those who love horse riding, the slightly longer drive to Florence Farm will be completely worth it. Get a taste of farm life by joining in such activities as sheep shearing, feeding, stock taking on horseback and hay making. Climb onto the back of one of the farm’s ex-polo ponies – well controlled, responsive and obedient – for one of a range of horse riding trails, offered to riders of all experience levels, at reasonable prices. Choose between two en-suite self-catering units (one with a bath, the other with a shower). The farm boasts panoramic views of the Drakensberg and enough space in all directions for a weekend completely free from pressures and stress.

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6. Bellevue Lodge, Ramsgate South

Price: From R200 per person sharing
Travel time from Durban: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Bellevue Lodge
Bellevue Lodge offers a range of self-catering accommodation in 11 hectares of lush indigenous forest and gardens. The lodge offers free access to Bellevue Park, an indigenous botanical garden boasting play zones to keep the kids busy while you enjoy slow strolls, taking in the beauty of the Natural Heritage Site in which the lodge is situated. Keep an eye out for various bird species, as well as fauna like blue duiker, bushbuck and genets. Take a short drive to pristine Blue Flag beaches, horse riding trails, a crocodile farm and nature reserves; or simply hang out at the lodge for a dip in the pool, or a game by the same name.

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7. Otters Creek, Lidgetton

Price: From R270 per person sharing
Travel time from Durban: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Otters Creek
Swap tarmac and high walls for the greenest of midlands grass and dense indigenous forest. Located in the Caversham valley, overlooking the Impafana river, Otter’s Creek offers fully equipped self-catering accommodation in two six-sleeper cottages and four rustic four-sleeper pine chalets. Take strolls along the riverside, through the forest, keeping a lookout for birds and animals. Otters creek is particularly well located for exploring the Midlands Meander – enjoy hiking, biking, birding and fishing or even a spot of river tubing if you’re feeling energetic.

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8. Le Paradis Lodge, Widenham

Price: From R212 per person sharing
Travel time from Durban: 40 minutes

Le Paradis Lodge
With 180 degree ocean views, and just 200m from the beach, this might be the ideal spot for a salt-water and sun weekend away. Sleep in one of Le Paradis Lodge’s nine self catering units with garden access and wake up to breakfast in the dining room (served on request). Spend your days in the water – Widenham Beach is a great sport for swimming and surfing, or snorkelling when the swell is pap. The lodge can also arrange slightly more gusto marine adventures such as shark cage diving, deep sea fishing and scuba diving at the Aliwal Shoal reef. If salt water isn’t your thing, cool off in one of the swimming pools, or play a game of table tennis.

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9. Lake Eland Game Reserve, Thorndale

Price: From R100 per person
Travel time from Durban: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Lake Eland Game Reserve, Thorndale
Lake Eland Game Reserve, near Port Shepstone and 128km from Durban, offers a choice of accommodation ranging from camping and self-catering cabins to the unique Pipe Dream (an old concrete pipe). Each campsite is private with communal bathrooms with showers. Some of the log cabins can accommodate up to six guests, while others only have space for two. The Pipe Dream unit has a patio and a private braai area and share the campsite’s ablution facilities. Have dinner at the on-site restaurant or enjoy the picnic areas near a shady stream with braai facilities and benches. Lake Eland Game Reserve’s activities include a children’s playground, game drives, horse rides, walking and cycling trails, paintball, a challenging 4×4 track and a thrilling walk across a 80m suspension bridge. They also have the longest (4.5km) zip line in Africa with 14 slides soaring across the Oribi Gorge which is over 300 meters high.

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10. Battlefields Country Lodge, Dundee

Price: From R85 per person
Travel time from Durban: 3 hours, 25 minutes

The Battlefields Country Lodge, Dundee
Battlefields Country Lodge is situated in Dundee and lies in the heart of the battlefields in KwaZulu-Natal. The lodge, which is about three and a half hour’s drive from Durban, is nestled in green valleys overlooking rolling hills, dams and the famous Talana Hill, the site of the first battle between the Boers and the British soldiers. It boasts 50 accommodation units ranging from unique, silo-styled units to luxury, self-catering suites set in beautiful lush gardens overlooking dams, mountains, horses, game and stunning bird life. Explore Boer, British and Zulu battle sites at Isandlwana, Rorke’s Drift, Blood River and the Ncome and Talana museums.

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11. Korongo Valley Guest Farm, Ixopo

Price: From R80 per person
Travel time from Durban: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Korongo Valley Guest Farm, Ixopo
Korongo Valley Guest Farm is conveniently situated just outside the historical town of Ixopo, en route to the Wild Coast and 143km from Durban. Experience wonderful views and fresh country air which creates the ideal atmosphere to relax and unwind. Accommodation is offered in self-catering cottages and log cabins, and includes linen and towels, TV with M-Net, heaters, and complimentary tea and coffee-making facilities. Bird-watchers, walkers and cyclists will feel right at home at Korongo Valley. There are over 120 recorded bird species on the farm, including the endangered blue swallow. Guests can also spend their days lazing at the poolside or visit the farm animals where children can see the rabbits, goats, ducks, geese and ‘Mr Pig’. Pub lunches are served daily in the Crane and Assagai Country Pub or on the deck overlooking the gardens.

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12. Figtree Lane Lodge, Richards Bay

Price: From R215 per person sharing
Travel time from Durban: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Figtree Lane Lodge, Richards Bay
The Figtree Lane Lodge is a 171-kilometre drive from Durban in the booming Richards bay, conveniently placed between Durban and KwaZulu-Natal’s game reserves and with one of the largest harbours in South Africa. This executive guest house is situated within walking distance of the main beach and is located amongst various prestigious hotels, restaurants and shops. The cottages accommodate two to six people and both cottages and rooms have en suite double rooms with balconies and private entrances. In Richards Bay there are facilities for all types of yachting, dinghy racing, boating and all water-born sports such as canoeing, jet-skiing and kite-surfing, all within a three kilometre radius. The main swimming beach, Alkantstrand, is within walking distance of the lodge and has a lookout point with a 270 degree view of the ocean and harbour.

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13. Midlands Inverness Cottages, Balgowan

Price: From R480 per person sharing
Travel time from Durban: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Midlands Inverness Cottages, Balgowan
Midlands Inverness Cottages is centrally situated in the heart of the popular Midlands Meander route, within easy reach of the finest restaurants, schools, spas, galleries and wedding venues in the country and only 122km from Durban. There are three luxurious self-catering cottages which are beautifully appointed each with their own private garden, entrance and parking. The cottages have queen-size or king-size beds and extra mattresses or sleeper couches can be opened up for children upon request. All the cottages have access to braai facilities and firewood is supplied. Wander in the fields amongst the resident’s horses, meet the calves or get acquainted with the special free-range pigs and chickens. Make sure that you don’t miss out on the Howick Falls or the Marutswa Forest.

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14. Coco De Mer Boutique Hotel, Ballito

Price: From R450 per person sharing
Travel time from Durban: 40 minutes

Coco De Mer Boutique Hotel, Ballito
Coco de Mer Boutique Hotel, 50km from Durban, towers gracefully over Ballito’s Compensation Beach Road. The hotel overlooks the beach and manages to retain a certain amount of rural charm as it is situated against a backdrop of thick coastal forest vegetation. The hotel is designed in a modern Bali style and is the epitome of boutique hotel elegance. Meticulous detail has gone into the finishes of this sixteen-bedroom establishment. Each suite includes an array of features from wine racks to mini-bars and the bedrooms are either facing the sea or the forest. This private hotel is located in between Ballito’s most happening spots and will ensure a memorable beach getaway set in a tropical coastal forest. Bottlenose dolphins are common on all the beaches (therefore known as the dolphin coast), enjoy fishing or a game of golf at the Zimbali or Umhlali Golf Courses or take a day trip to the Harold Johnson Nature Reserve situated just north of Ballito.

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