5 lekker bush pubs up north

Posted on 1 March 2022 By Lauren Dold

They’re the kinds of places where khaki-clad locals sit and kuier on Friday afternoons; where you can only get doubles because the singles are ‘sold out’, and where you’ll return to holiday after holiday. It’s not all thatched lapas and hunting trophies on the wall, the quality of food is catching up to the quantity of drinks in these small-town pubs, and these five are worthy of a visit on your next trip to the bush.

1. Bush Pub, Hoedspruit

The Bush Pub & Inn near Hoedspruit Limpopo is a favourite watering hole amongst locals and tourists alike. It’s only a kilometre from the entrance gate to the Klaserie and Timbavati reserves, so it’s common to spot thirsty rangers having a drink at the pub on their days off. There is a swimming pool, compulsory at any good bush pub in the Limpopo heat and ideal for families with kids. 

Only a few kilometres from Eastgate airport, there’s no better place to crack that first cold beer in the bush. 

There is also basic accommodation available for guests who would like to explore the Kruger and surrounding reserves or the Blyde River Canyon.

Contact: 015 793 0712

2. Tanks Bush Pub, Hazyview

Rustic, hearty and a bit of a best-kept secret in Hazyview, Tank’s Bush Pub serves up some of the best grub in the area, as both locals and visitors will tell you. Nestled in a Macadamia orchard and surrounded by mango trees, this family pub and restaurant ticks all the boxes of a good bush pub. The burgers are good, the music (best of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s) is nostalgic, the environment is wild and the beer is cold. Plus, it’s only 20 minutes from Kruger’s Phabeni gate.

Locals recommend the steak, but burgers get a special mention too.

Contact: 066 338 0184

3. Kalahari Oasis, Mabalingwe

The Kalahari Oasis in Mabalingwe Game reserve is a real pub, right in the bush. Many South Africans will remember this bar from the iconic Castrol adverts in the 90s. With its ramshackle corrugated iron exterior, It overflows with character and truly is an oasis on a hot Limpopo afternoon.

Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

The Kalahari Oasis is only open to visitors of Mabalingwe Game reserve.

Contact: 014 001 7011

4. Thirsty Giraffe, Hoedspruit

Only 5km outside Hoedspruit, the Thirsty Giraffe serves up delicious Portuguese food and ice cold beers on tap. Don’t be alarmed if you see a donkey behind the bar, they wander freely around the property, and only occasionally make it into the kitchen before being shooed out by the owners.

Chef and owner Vic is a master at Portuguese flavour, and the prawns and peri peri half chicken are the best you’ll find anywhere in the Lowveld. The Thirsty Giraffe has an upstairs deck that’s the perfect spot to sip a G&T and take in the mountain and bushveld views. Vic also has excellent taste in music and his playlists always add to the friendly, laid-back atmosphere.

Closed on Mondays.

Contact: 081 030 4568

5. bos. Restaurant & bar, Marloth Park

Between Kruger’s Malelane and Crocodile Bridge gates, bos. restaurant and bar in Marloth park is not your typical bush pub. It’s got all the lekker qualities of one, but with hints of sophistication, you’re not likely to find elsewhere.

Try the ‘Babbelas fix’ or the ‘bosveld snails,’ which is no escargot, but rather cubed beef cutlets in a creamy garlic sauce.

Contact: 066 226 2180

Pictures: Supplied


10 underrated small towns and villages in South Africa

yoast-primary - 1004429
tcat - Travel ideas
tcat_slug - travel-ideas
tcat2 - Travel ideas
tcat2_slug - travel-ideas
tcat_final - travel