10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Winona Griggs

10 South African Stays That Will Make Your Heart Sing

Let me share with you my most beloved places to stay in South Africa. These accommodations are truly special, offering an unforgettable experience that will make your heart soar. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

The Rustic Retreat

Get ready to be whisked away to a beautiful oasis nestled in the heart of nature. This hidden gem offers a rustic charm that will transport you to a simpler time. Imagine waking up to the sweet melodies of birdsong and the gentle rustling of leaves. A true sanctuary for the soul.

The Coastal Haven

For those seeking the soothing embrace of the ocean, this coastal haven is a dream come true. Picture yourself strolling along pristine beaches, with the salty breeze caressing your skin. With panoramic views of the sparkling blue sea, you’ll feel a sense of calm washing over you.

The Luxurious Hideaway

If you’re looking for the epitome of luxury, this hidden gem is the perfect choice. Indulge in sumptuous amenities and impeccable service that will leave you feeling like royalty. From elegant decor to opulent surroundings, this stay will take your breath away.

The Safari Adventure

Embark on an unforgettable safari experience in the heart of the African wilderness. Immerse yourself in the majestic beauty of nature as you encounter stunning wildlife up close. From safari drives to guided bush walks, each moment will leave you in awe of the natural world.

The Cultural Getaway

Delve into the rich tapestry of South African culture with this immersive getaway. Immerse yourself in vibrant traditions, captivating stories, and mouthwatering cuisine. From exploring historical landmarks to engaging with local communities, this stay offers a deep connection to the soul of the country.

The Vineyard Retreat

Escape to a tranquil oasis surrounded by lush vineyards and rolling hills. This idyllic retreat invites you to savor the finest wines and indulge in culinary delights. From wine tastings to picturesque walks through the vineyards, you’ll find yourself basking in pure serenity.

The Mountain Hideout

If you crave the majesty of towering mountains and breathtaking vistas, this hideout is your sanctuary. Lose yourself in nature’s grandeur as you explore awe-inspiring trails and witness panoramic views. Let the mountains whisper their secrets to you as you find solace in their embrace.

The Urban Oasis

For those who thrive in the vibrant energy of a city, this urban oasis will captivate your heart. Immerse yourself in a melting pot of cultures, art, and entertainment. From trendy boutiques to world-class restaurants, this stay offers an electric atmosphere that will ignite your senses.

The Historical Gem

Journey through time with this stay that embraces South Africa’s rich history. Stay in beautifully restored buildings and walk in the footsteps of legends. From exploring ancient ruins to uncovering hidden stories, this stay embodies the spirit of the past.

The Eco-Friendly Retreat

If you’re passionate about sustainability and preserving Mother Earth, this eco-friendly retreat is the perfect choice. Immerse yourself in nature while treading lightly on the planet. From solar-powered amenities to organic farm-to-table dining, this stay allows you to reconnect with the Earth in a meaningful way.

There you have it – my handpicked selection of top stays in South Africa. Each one offers a unique experience that will leave an indelible mark on your heart. So, go forth and explore the wonders of South Africa!

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Hey there! Check out this amazing list of accommodation spots in South Africa that you should definitely consider for your 2018 holiday!

My name is Pippa de Bruyn, and I’ve been exploring holiday places throughout South Africa for three years. I’ve carefully selected my all-time favorites for this bucket list.

Let me explain how it works: While we appreciate peer reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, they don’t always give us a clear comparison. That’s where I come in. Over the past 20 years, I have been researching and reviewing accommodation for various publications, including Frommer’s and The Telegraph. Since 2015, I’ve also been doing it for this fantastic platform. When scouting for places, I go online and find a range of properties in a specific area. From there, I compile a longlist with about 20 to 50 options to check out. Finally, I choose the best ones for our monthly Final Cut.

The Best Luxury Breakaway

1. Camp Figtree

When it comes to finding the perfect place to stay, the Addo Lodge is a hidden gem that you absolutely must consider.

Why do I love it so much? Well, let me break it down for you.

First of all, let’s talk about the location. Situated in Addo, South Africa, this lodge offers a unique experience surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. With stunning views of the nearby wildlife reserve and easy access to a variety of outdoor activities, you’ll feel like you’re in paradise.

But it’s not just the location that sets the Addo Lodge apart. The accommodations themselves are top-notch. From cozy cabins to luxurious suites, there’s something for everyone here. And the best part? Each room is elegantly designed with your comfort in mind, ensuring a relaxing and enjoyable stay.

Now, let’s talk about the staff. The team at the Addo Lodge truly goes above and beyond to make you feel welcome. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted with warm smiles and friendly faces. And throughout your stay, they’ll be there to assist you with anything you need, whether it’s booking an excursion or recommending a great local restaurant.

And if that’s not enough, the Addo Lodge also offers a range of amenities to enhance your stay. From a refreshing swimming pool to a delicious on-site restaurant, you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with nature, look no further than the Addo Lodge. With its stunning location, luxurious accommodations, and exceptional service, it’s a true hidden gem that deserves your attention.

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Why should you choose this one? Let me tell you a story. Picture this: I’m lounging by the pool, lazily chatting with a couple who decided to extend their stay for one more day. And honestly, who can blame them? This place is pure magic. It’s perched on a hill, overlooking a wild and tangled jungle, yet it’s only a short 90-minute drive from Port Elizabeth airport. They call it a safari lodge, and sure, they offer guided game drives to Addo, but honestly, I can’t imagine tearing myself away from this paradise. I’m perfectly content sipping on a refreshing drink, losing myself in the pages of a book, and indulging in a refreshing dip in the pool.

Why should you choose it now? Well, word is spreading like wildfire. Bookings are on the rise, especially during the busier seasons. So, if you want to experience this slice of heaven, you better act fast!

Original review from May 2017: I had such an amazing experience when I visited the Zuurberg mountains. The journey up the winding forest pass was so exciting, and once I reached the top, I never wanted to leave. I stayed in a suite that was positioned high above the forested valley, and it was incredible to watch the morning mist float below and then rise up to surround the camp in a blanket of clouds. Just 30 minutes later, the mist had disappeared, revealing a beautiful blue sky with an eagle soaring above. It was pure bliss. The decor of the suite was top-notch, and the central veranda was especially inviting with its collection of antiques, horns, books, Persian rugs, and comfortable armchairs. The new owners, who took over in 2016, have also made some great improvements by installing solar power and adding four luxurious tents to the campsite.

Looking for a great room tip? Well, I’ve got one for you. The two boardwalk suites at Camp Fig Tree offer the same stunning views as the luxury suites, but at a more affordable price. How cool is that?

When it comes to cost, you’ll be pleased to know that prices start from only R1375 per person sharing, including breakfast. And if you’re hungry for dinner, it’s an extra R295 per person.

Now, let me give you the contact details. You can find more information and make a reservation at campfigree.com.

But wait, there’s more! If you’re interested in other options, I’ve got a few recommendations for you:

  • Buhala, located near Kruger Park (Malelane Gate)
  • Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel in Paternoster
  • UmVangati House in Hoedspruit – they have a fabulous three-room suite with its own pool, perfect for families. It sleeps six, and children under 12 are half price.
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The Best Beach House

Rocamar

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Simon’s Town, Unlisted on TripAdvisor

Why choose this one? Well, let me tell you about the beach it’s located on. Boulders Beach is hands down one of the most stunning beaches along the South African coast. The waters are so clear that you can see right through them, and it’s filled with adorable penguins that call the Peninsula home. When you look across the bay, you’ll see the Hottentots-Holland Mountains looming in the distance. And at night, the Hangklip lighthouse shines like a tiny dot on the dark waters. Rocamar is situated right here, with private access through a gate in the garden. Trust me, once you see it, you won’t be able to resist booking a stay. It’s like a place straight out of a fairytale, a real paradise.

Why should you book now? Well, who knows how much longer it will be available… So, why not seize this opportunity while you can and make this little slice of heaven your temporary home?

My personal review from December 2017: I have to say, pictures just don’t capture the true beauty of this house. When you see it in person, you’ll understand what I mean. It’s situated in the perfect spot, elevated above Boulders, with the beach just a short walk through the garden and along the boardwalk. The design of the house is truly something special, with its curved walls, arched windows, and charming tiled floors. It feels like a slice of the Riviera right here. Can you believe that it was actually modeled after a holiday house in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat by an Italian family? But what really sets this place apart is the incredible atmosphere. There’s a certain feeling of calm and happiness that fills the air here. It’s hard to put into words, but you’ll know it when you experience it. I should warn you, though, that it can get quite expensive during peak season. But if you have the budget and it’s available, trust me, it’s worth every penny. Don’t hesitate, just book it.

Looking for the perfect room: Let me give you some tips. There are four bedrooms to choose from, with one having twin beds and the rest being doubles. You’ll be sharing two bathrooms, one of which is en-suite. Now, let’s talk about the cost. It starts from R5500 a night and can accommodate up to eight people.

How to contact: If this sounds like your ideal getaway, you can visit the website perfecthideaways.co.za for more information.

Other options: If you’re interested, there are a few other places you might want to consider:

  • The Oyster Box Beach House, Kenton on Sea.
  • St Helier, near Scottburgh.
  • The Beach Hut, Paternoster.
  • The Beach House Lodge, Salt Rock.
  • Rock Shandy, Marina Beach.

The ultimate remote breakaway:

Enter Woolly Bugger:

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Dullstroom, TripAdvisor’s top-rated Speciality lodging

Why choose this place? You’ll feel the bumpy journey through 29,000 meters of dirt, but isn’t the adventure part of what makes a distant destination so extraordinary? And I adore remote locations, those vast empty spaces where your heart can roam free. These quaint, uncomplicated cabins offer just that. Take long strolls, go cycling, or try your hand at fishing and archery. Even your furry companions are welcome here.

Why visit now? Life has never been more hectic. This kind of place helps you find your balance, reconnects your mind, your family, and your spirit.

I first came across Woolly Bugger in October 2016, and I instantly fell in love with everything about it. This place is truly a hidden gem. Nestled on a 270-hectare farm, it features just four cozy cottages that offer breathtaking views and complete privacy. Surrounded by magnificent wild cabbage trees and proteas, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a dream.

One thing that really stood out to me about Woolly Bugger is the small communal area. It’s the perfect spot for guests to gather, have a barbecue, and take a refreshing dip in the splash pool. If you’re traveling with a group and have booked multiple cottages, this area is ideal for spending quality time together.

Choosing a cottage can be a tough decision, but I recommend the Half Hog and Sedgehog cottages. They offer the perfect combination of affordability and romance. These cozy boltholes provide a peaceful and intimate setting that you won’t want to leave.

Now, let’s talk about the cost. The Half Hog cottage starts at R600 and sleeps two people. The Sedgehog, which sleeps four, is priced at R1050. If you need more space, there are other cottages available that can accommodate up to six people, starting at R1200.

To make a booking or learn more about Woolly Bugger, you can visit their website at woollybuggerfarm.co.za. They have all the information you need to plan your perfect getaway.

If you’re looking for other options in the area, here are a few recommendations: Tanagra Faraway in McGregor, Lake House@ZuluWaters near Estcourt, and Kurisa Moya in Magoebaskloof. These places offer their own unique charm and are worth considering for your next adventure.

In my opinion, Woolly Bugger is hands down the best bed and breakfast I’ve ever experienced. It’s a magical place that will capture your heart and leave you with beautiful memories. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Woolly Bugger today!

4. Escape to the Countryside with Ashbourne

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Ashbourne offers the perfect countryside retreat. The serene beauty and peacefulness of this idyllic location make it an ideal destination for a relaxing escape.

When you visit Ashbourne, you’ll be surrounded by the natural wonders of the countryside. The lush green fields, rolling hills, and tranquil rivers will transport you to a place where time slows down and you can truly unwind. Whether you prefer taking leisurely walks through the countryside or exploring the local flora and fauna, Ashbourne has something to offer everyone.

One of the highlights of Ashbourne is its charming villages, each with its own unique character and rich history. You can wander through the picturesque streets, visit the local shops, or simply soak in the ambiance of these quaint surroundings. The friendly locals are always happy to share their stories and recommendations, making you feel like a part of the community.

When it comes to accommodations, Ashbourne has a variety of options to suit every taste and budget. Whether you choose to stay in a cozy bed and breakfast, a charming cottage, or a luxurious country hotel, you can be sure to find the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate. Wake up to the sound of birds chirping and enjoy a hearty breakfast before starting your day of exploration.

Ashbourne is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its vast open spaces and numerous hiking trails, it’s the perfect destination for those who love to be active in nature. You can go for a leisurely hike, try your hand at fishing in the rivers, or even take part in more extreme activities like rock climbing or mountain biking. The possibilities are endless.

After a day of adventure, you can unwind and indulge in the local cuisine. Ashbourne is known for its traditional dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Treat yourself to a delicious meal in one of the cozy country pubs, where you can enjoy the warm atmosphere and friendly service. And don’t forget to sample the local delicacies, such as the famous Ashbourne gingerbread.

In conclusion, Ashbourne is the perfect country escape for those looking to recharge and reconnect with nature. With its breathtaking scenery, charming villages, and abundance of outdoor activities, it offers something for everyone. So pack your bags, leave the city behind, and embark on a memorable journey to Ashbourne. You won’t be disappointed.

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Hazyview, TripAdvisor No. 4 of 25 B&BS/Inns

So, why should you choose this one? Let me tell you about my experience in Ashbourne. I arrived in a hurry, eager to explore the Hazyview area, and I was instantly captivated by this place. It was so incredible that I almost missed my flight! They have recently added two cottages with stunning mountain views, perfect for couples. And the best part? The other two cottages now have their own private plunge pools!

But why should you choose it now? Let’s talk about Kruger. When was the last time you visited? Ashbourne is strategically located just 20 minutes away from the Phabeni Gate, making it the perfect base for your Kruger National Park adventure.

February 2016: A Special Place That Takes Your Breath Away

When I walked through the doors of Ashbourne, I couldn’t help but feel a rush of excitement. This place was truly something extraordinary. It wasn’t just the breathtaking location that captivated me – perched on a picturesque hillside, enveloped by nature’s embrace, with stunning vistas of the serene Sabi River Valley. It was also the warm, inviting atmosphere that greeted me.

Ashbourne is a hidden gem with only five charming bed and breakfast rooms. Each room either opens onto a large courtyard or offers a mesmerizing view of it. The courtyard itself is a delightful sanctuary, adorned with shaded seating and a refreshing pool. As I strolled through the tranquil space, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of serenity wash over me.

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The décor at Ashbourne is a testament to elegance in simplicity. It exudes a understated charm that instantly puts you at ease. And the hosts, Rob and Dawne Ashbourne, are second to none. They epitomize true hospitality, having spent their lives as farmers before creating this blissful retreat.

Here’s a tip for your room: If you want a beautiful view, go for the Balcony Suite! It’s got two balconies for you to enjoy. They also have a new luxury family B&B suite with a shower that can be used both indoors and outdoors. It’s perfect for two adults and two kids.

How much does it cost? If you’re sharing a room and want breakfast included, it starts at R950 per person. If you prefer to cook your own meals, it starts at R500 per person.

How can you get in touch? Visit ashbournescape.co.za for more information and to book your stay.

Looking for other options? Here are a few more places you might like:
• Moontide in Wilderness
• Periwinkle Grove in Clarens
• Berghouse & Cottages in the northern Drakensberg

The best hotel for families

5. Pumula Beach Hotel

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Umzube/South Coast, TripAdvisor No. 1 of 1 Hotel

What makes this hotel special? Most family hotels are usually just tolerable, with tired parents and cranky kids. But that’s not the case at Pumula. Everybody, including Grandma, is happy here. It has a charming, old-fashioned vibe, and they keep it in great shape. Plus, they have fantastic amenities like mini-golf, a swimming pool, beautiful lawns, a bar, and even mountain bike rentals. And let’s not forget about its unbeatable location on a beach that proudly flies a Blue Flag.

Why should you visit now? If you want to make sure you have a room during school holidays, it’s best to book early. Families with toddlers, this is your chance!

Original review from August 2015: Let me tell you about Pumula. It’s not like other hotels that just rely on their location. I have to say, every part of this hotel feels fresh and clean, even though it’s so close to the sea. The staff here is super friendly and full of energy. And here’s something cool – they have a special program just for kids. They even have their own lounge, games room, and dining area. So, while the kids eat separately, parents can have some time to themselves and remember why they had kids in the first place!

Room tip: Because it’s such a popular place, take whatever room you can get. You can’t go wrong.

Cost: The prices range from R1295 per person for a full board package. Children’s prices range from R335 to R695, depending on their age.

Contact: You can learn more about this awesome hotel by visiting their website at pumulabeachhotel.com.

Looking for alternative options? Here are some other choices you might consider:• Umngazi River Bungalows, located on the beautiful Wild Coast• Cathedral Peak Hotel & The Cavern Resort, both nestled in the majestic Drakensberg Mountains• Monkey Valley Resort, situated in scenic Cape Town

Perfect for large groups

6. Stanford Valley Guest Farm

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Stanford, TripAdvisor No. 3 of 12 speciality lodgings

Why this one? It’s got it all: looks, service, food, affordability, and proximity to a city. The perfect checklist for choosing a place to celebrate. And let me tell you, Stanford Valley ticks all the boxes. The cozy and stylish accommodations won’t break the bank, and the charming communal areas add a touch of class. You don’t have to book the entire place, but trust me, if you do, you’re in for a carefree celebration.

Why now? Don’t let another year slip by in a blur. Take a moment to pause and celebrate! Oh, and did I mention? The on-site restaurant has made it into not one, but two different Top 100 lists this year.

My Review from July 2016: Hey there! Just wanted to tell you about this amazing place I stumbled upon. It’s called the Manor House and let me tell you, it’s absolutely fabulous! They have 10 beautiful rooms with their own bathrooms, as well as some cozy cottages for families or those who prefer to do their own cooking. The cottages even have their own outdoor area where you can relax and enjoy the scenery. The whole place is arranged around a central space called a werf, which is really cool.

Now, let’s talk about the decor. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The owner, Elsabe Nauta, has done an incredible job of combining vintage and modern styles. It’s a perfect mix of old and new, with a touch of nature thrown in. The textures are so comforting, and everything is so simple and clean. It’s really a breath of fresh air.

Oh, and the food! You have to try the meals at the Manor House. They serve the most delicious farm fare. It’s like home-cooking but taken to a whole new level. And the atmosphere is just so cozy with those big fireplaces and the stunning views of the Akkedisberg. You can even see it all from the huge windows.

I can’t recommend this place enough. It’s a hidden gem that’s perfect for a getaway. You should definitely check it out!

Hey there! Let me share some tips with you about a great place to stay and relax. I’ve got some insider info that you’ll definitely want to know.

If you’re in need of a cozy room with lots of character, I highly recommend the Stables, Pincushion, or Erica units at Stanford Valley. These places have the most amazing thick walls which give them an old-fashioned charm. And guess what? All the units come equipped with fireplaces or wood-burning stoves, so you can stay warm and cozy during your stay. How awesome is that?

Now let’s talk about the cost. You won’t believe how affordable it is! A double room starts at just R1050, and if you’re traveling with a small group, you can opt for a cottage that sleeps four, which starts at R2000. Need an extra bed? No worries! They can add one for just R225 per person. It’s a fantastic deal, don’t you think?

If you’re interested in booking or learning more about Stanford Valley, you can easily get in touch with them through their website stanfordvalley.co.za. It’s super convenient and hassle-free!

And hey, if you’re looking for more options, I’ve got you covered! Here are a few other fantastic places you might want to consider:

  • Damoi, Parys
  • Zwakala River Retreat, Magoebaskloof
  • Steynshoop, Magaliesberg

Now, let’s move on to our next awesome suggestion!

7. Greenfire Drakensberg Lodge

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Bergville, TripAdvisor No. 2 of 4 Hotels (listed as Drifters)

Why this hotel? Just take a look at the picture and you’ll understand why. A group of cozy cabins spread out over a massive area, providing endless opportunities for relaxation and enjoyment. Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll, dive into a good book, go for a bike ride, take a refreshing swim, indulge in delicious meals, gaze at the stars, or simply sleep peacefully – this place has it all.

Why visit now? Sometimes it’s nice to disconnect from the digital world and immerse yourself in the splendor of nature. Imagine being in a location of breathtaking beauty, where the passage of time seems to have no effect. It’s a chance to reconnect with the things that truly matter. In a world obsessed with social media validation, finding that authentic connection is priceless. No amount of likes can compare to the peace and serenity you’ll find in a place like this.

Review from June 2016: Let me tell you about my experience in June 2016. When I reached the top of the rugged trail, my heart soared with excitement. From that altitude, I could see a breathtaking view that stretched from the Amphitheatre to Cathkin Peak. It felt like I was on top of the world!

The lodge itself was simply delightful. It had a cozy lounge and dining area made of log cabins, offering panoramic views from every window. The inviting sofas were strategically placed around a central fireplace, perfect for relaxing and taking in the surroundings. This place truly felt like a home away from home.

There were nine cabins available, each equipped with one or two bedrooms. Every cabin had its own fireplace, and they were all powered by solar energy. The meals provided were delicious home-cooked dishes that were enjoyed together at a communal table. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow nature enthusiasts.

This lodge is ideal for those seeking a true nature experience. It offers an intimate setting without feeling cramped. Some may consider it basic, but to me, it was the epitome of luxury. I felt warm, well-fed, and completely in awe of the wilderness that surrounded me. It was an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

If you’re looking for a rejuvenating retreat in the midst of stunning nature, this place is for you. It provides the perfect balance of comfort and tranquility. After my stay here, I can confidently say that this lodge is a hidden gem that should not be missed.

Hey there! If you’re looking for a great place to stay, I’ve got a recommendation just for you.
Here’s a tip: Make sure to ask for a room with a double bed when you book. You know, just in case a little romance is on the horizon. And if you’re traveling with the family, the cabins with balconies offer the best views, but they can get pretty windy.
As for the cost: It’s R995 per person, and that includes full board. Not too shabby, right?
Now, how can you get in touch? Just visit greenfire.co.za and you’ll find all the contact information you need.

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But wait, there’s more! If you’re interested in exploring other options, here are a few more places you might want to check out:
• Sneeuberg Nature Reserve in Karoo (near Graaff-Reinet)
• Koensrust Tented River Camp in Vermaaklikheid
• Bushriver Lodge in Hoedspruit

Now, let’s talk about the best-value cottage.

Number 8 on our list is The French Cottage.

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Clarens, Unlisted on TripAdvisor

Why this one? I love being surrounded by privacy and having beautiful interiors with large windows that offer stunning views. It’s not easy to find all these things in one place without breaking the bank. And the best part? There’s a waterfall, a stream, and breathtaking cliffs right in the backyard.

Why now? The owner is really kind, but the demand for this place might raise the prices soon. So, if you want a weekend getaway at an affordable price, you better book it now.

Original review from May 2017: This charming two-story cottage is located on a five-hectare property that used to be one of the original three farms in the area. Despite its rural atmosphere with sprawling grounds and plenty of trees, it’s only a 15-minute walk to the village square. Upstairs, you’ll find the open-plan kitchen, dining, and living area, as well as the main en-suite bedroom, which offer delightful views of the surrounding countryside through lovely cottage-pane windows. The two downstairs bedrooms have their own entrances from the garden and share a bathroom. The cottage is not only beautiful on the inside and out (thanks to its former owner, an interior decorator), but it’s also one of the most affordable places to stay in town, thanks to Julia Brownlee who wants to keep it occupied.

Here’s a great tip: Did you know that you can rent just the upstairs level of this room for a romantic getaway? From Monday to Thursday, it’s only R1000 per night, making it one of the most affordable romantic places to stay in Clarens, and maybe even in the whole country!
Pricing: The cost is R1600 per night for four people, with an additional R400 per person for up to six people.
Contact: You can reach Julia at 0722910685 or visit wheretostay.co.za.

Here are some other options you might like:
• Klein Nektar in Montagu
• Umlambo River Cottages in Addo
• Forest House at Hillhouse in Dargle
• Saamrus Guest Farm in Magaliesberg

Looking for a luxury hotel that offers great value for your money? Look no further!

9. Drostdy Hotel

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Graaf-Reinet, TripAdvisor No. 1 of 1 Hotels

Why should you choose this hotel? Let me tell you, I’m a big fan of a good deal. And if you’re into top-notch luxury, you won’t find anything better than this. The Drostdy Hotel is not only luxurious, but it’s also classy, elegant, gracious, and historic. It’s like the Mount Nelson or Oyster Box of the Eastern Cape, but at a fraction of the price.

Why should you pick it now? Even the regular rate of R1 210 per person sharing a standard room is already great considering the level of luxury you get. But in winter, the hotel usually offers a special deal that brings down the already amazing low-season rate. Trust me, it’s totally worth planning a vacation here, especially since you can also enjoy fantastic safaris, nature reserves, and add-ons like Nieu Bethesda.

Original review from March 2015: I’m excited to tell you about my recent visit to the Eastern Cape. The Ruperts have done an incredible job restoring the grand dame of the region. This historic hotel has been given a new lease on life, and it’s never looked better in its 200-year history. The attention to detail is evident in the elegant interiors that still pay homage to the hotel’s past and the beautiful Karoo landscape that surrounds it.

One of the things that truly impressed me about this place is the decor. They’ve managed to strike the perfect balance between history and modernity. Intricate embroidered botanicals and delicate Chinese pottery bring a touch of sophistication, while animal skulls and nguni skins add a rustic charm. It’s a beautiful mix of old and new that creates a unique and inviting atmosphere.

But the beauty isn’t just skin deep. The hotel’s restaurant offers a dining experience that is out of this world. They’ve designed a menu that showcases the very best of Karoo ingredients, and each dish is a mouthwatering masterpiece. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Now let’s talk about the service. It’s top-notch. The staff is friendly, attentive, and always willing to go the extra mile. What makes it even more special is that a third of the team consists of graduates from the local SA College for Tourism. These are young people from disadvantaged rural communities who are getting a chance to shine. It’s heartwarming to see them thriving in their new roles.

All in all, my experience at this hotel was nothing short of amazing. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the Eastern Cape. You’ll be treated to a unique blend of history, luxury, and warm hospitality that is hard to find elsewhere. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Room tip: If you’re looking for a unique hotel experience, the Ferreira Precinct and Stretch’s Court offer a historic charm that you’ll love. However, if you prefer a more modern setting, Kromm’s Court is worth considering. As for the best room overall, I would highly recommend room 1704.
Cost: You can expect to pay R550 per person sharing for bed and breakfast.
Contact: To make a booking, visit newmarkhotels.com

Other options to consider:

• Keep an eye out for any special deals or discounts that the hotel may be offering.

• Bartholomeus Klip, located near Riebeek-Kasteel, is another great option to consider.

• If you’re looking for a boutique hotel, Angala Boutique Hotel in Franschhoek is definitely worth checking out.

• For a beachfront escape, The Oyster Box in Umhlanga is a fantastic choice.

Best budget retreat

10. Terra-Khaya

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Hogsback, TripAdvisor No. 2 of 10 Speciality lodgings!

Why should you choose this one? Well, because it’s not your average backpackers. It’s a place of magic and wonder, perfect for those who crave a unique experience in the forest. You won’t find any TVs or fancy luxuries here, but if you’re looking to escape the chaos of everyday life and get off the grid, this is the place for you. I visited Hogsback and fell in love with it instantly. It’s the kind of place where you can imagine yourself staying for a few months, just getting lost in nature. My 19-year-old daughter and her friend went on a road trip to Terra-Khaya, and they came back with the same excitement and enthusiasm. Maybe there’s something in the water that keeps drawing people back…

Why should you go now? Well, if you’ve never been to Hogsback, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss. And with the state of our planet, it might just inspire you to live a more “green” lifestyle.

Here’s what I found during my visit in November 2016: Terra-Khaya is hard to define. It’s been called a permaculture farm, an Earth Home Project, an experimental venture, an eco-backpackers. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a magical lodge tucked away on an 18-hectare farm in the mountains. The owner, Shane Eades, has created something truly special here. He’s shown us all how to live in harmony with nature. With the help of volunteers, Terra-Khaya has been built and beautified using natural building techniques and salvaged materials. The accommodation is amazing too. There are four timber cabins that have been decorated with so much creativity and style. And the dorms are just as charming. While there aren’t any en-suite bathrooms, the shared ablutions are stunning. Imagine composting toilets, a charming bathhouse, and even outdoor baths and showers, all with breathtaking views. If you’re into horse riding, they have that too. You can even go on overnight trails. The meals at Terra-Khaya are communal and absolutely delicious. And there’s a vibrant, creative energy that fills the place. They even have an art room in the loft of the lounge-library-dining area. How cool is that?

Tip for your room: If you want amazing views, I recommend Khayalam. It’s a cabin with two levels – downstairs sleeps two people and upstairs sleeps four.
Price: The cabin starts at R385 for two people. If you prefer a dorm, it’s R165 per person (10 beds). Meals are around R85 per person.
Contact: You can find more information at terrakhaya.co.za

Other options you might consider:
• Temenos in McGregor
• Rustig in Magaliesberg
• Bodhi Khaya near Stanford

This story was originally published in the January 2017 issue of Getaway magazine, as part of our bucket list. In that issue, we featured 48 fantastic destinations to fit any budget and time frame. Don’t miss out on the chance to visit Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Zambia, and Hawaii in 2018.

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10 South African Stays That Will Make Your Heart Sing

Let me share with you my most beloved places to stay in South Africa. These accommodations are truly special, offering an unforgettable experience that will make your heart soar. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

The Rustic Retreat

Get ready to be whisked away to a beautiful oasis nestled in the heart of nature. This hidden gem offers a rustic charm that will transport you to a simpler time. Imagine waking up to the sweet melodies of birdsong and the gentle rustling of leaves. A true sanctuary for the soul.

The Coastal Haven

For those seeking the soothing embrace of the ocean, this coastal haven is a dream come true. Picture yourself strolling along pristine beaches, with the salty breeze caressing your skin. With panoramic views of the sparkling blue sea, you’ll feel a sense of calm washing over you.

The Luxurious Hideaway

If you’re looking for the epitome of luxury, this hidden gem is the perfect choice. Indulge in sumptuous amenities and impeccable service that will leave you feeling like royalty. From elegant decor to opulent surroundings, this stay will take your breath away.

The Safari Adventure

Embark on an unforgettable safari experience in the heart of the African wilderness. Immerse yourself in the majestic beauty of nature as you encounter stunning wildlife up close. From safari drives to guided bush walks, each moment will leave you in awe of the natural world.

The Cultural Getaway

Delve into the rich tapestry of South African culture with this immersive getaway. Immerse yourself in vibrant traditions, captivating stories, and mouthwatering cuisine. From exploring historical landmarks to engaging with local communities, this stay offers a deep connection to the soul of the country.

The Vineyard Retreat

Escape to a tranquil oasis surrounded by lush vineyards and rolling hills. This idyllic retreat invites you to savor the finest wines and indulge in culinary delights. From wine tastings to picturesque walks through the vineyards, you’ll find yourself basking in pure serenity.

The Mountain Hideout

If you crave the majesty of towering mountains and breathtaking vistas, this hideout is your sanctuary. Lose yourself in nature’s grandeur as you explore awe-inspiring trails and witness panoramic views. Let the mountains whisper their secrets to you as you find solace in their embrace.

The Urban Oasis

For those who thrive in the vibrant energy of a city, this urban oasis will captivate your heart. Immerse yourself in a melting pot of cultures, art, and entertainment. From trendy boutiques to world-class restaurants, this stay offers an electric atmosphere that will ignite your senses.

The Historical Gem

Journey through time with this stay that embraces South Africa’s rich history. Stay in beautifully restored buildings and walk in the footsteps of legends. From exploring ancient ruins to uncovering hidden stories, this stay embodies the spirit of the past.

The Eco-Friendly Retreat

If you’re passionate about sustainability and preserving Mother Earth, this eco-friendly retreat is the perfect choice. Immerse yourself in nature while treading lightly on the planet. From solar-powered amenities to organic farm-to-table dining, this stay allows you to reconnect with the Earth in a meaningful way.

There you have it – my handpicked selection of top stays in South Africa. Each one offers a unique experience that will leave an indelible mark on your heart. So, go forth and explore the wonders of South Africa!

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Hey there! Check out this amazing list of accommodation spots in South Africa that you should definitely consider for your 2018 holiday!

My name is Pippa de Bruyn, and I’ve been exploring holiday places throughout South Africa for three years. I’ve carefully selected my all-time favorites for this bucket list.

Let me explain how it works: While we appreciate peer reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, they don’t always give us a clear comparison. That’s where I come in. Over the past 20 years, I have been researching and reviewing accommodation for various publications, including Frommer’s and The Telegraph. Since 2015, I’ve also been doing it for this fantastic platform. When scouting for places, I go online and find a range of properties in a specific area. From there, I compile a longlist with about 20 to 50 options to check out. Finally, I choose the best ones for our monthly Final Cut.

The Best Luxury Breakaway

1. Camp Figtree

When it comes to finding the perfect place to stay, the Addo Lodge is a hidden gem that you absolutely must consider.

Why do I love it so much? Well, let me break it down for you.

First of all, let’s talk about the location. Situated in Addo, South Africa, this lodge offers a unique experience surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. With stunning views of the nearby wildlife reserve and easy access to a variety of outdoor activities, you’ll feel like you’re in paradise.

But it’s not just the location that sets the Addo Lodge apart. The accommodations themselves are top-notch. From cozy cabins to luxurious suites, there’s something for everyone here. And the best part? Each room is elegantly designed with your comfort in mind, ensuring a relaxing and enjoyable stay.

Now, let’s talk about the staff. The team at the Addo Lodge truly goes above and beyond to make you feel welcome. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted with warm smiles and friendly faces. And throughout your stay, they’ll be there to assist you with anything you need, whether it’s booking an excursion or recommending a great local restaurant.

And if that’s not enough, the Addo Lodge also offers a range of amenities to enhance your stay. From a refreshing swimming pool to a delicious on-site restaurant, you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with nature, look no further than the Addo Lodge. With its stunning location, luxurious accommodations, and exceptional service, it’s a true hidden gem that deserves your attention.

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Why should you choose this one? Let me tell you a story. Picture this: I’m lounging by the pool, lazily chatting with a couple who decided to extend their stay for one more day. And honestly, who can blame them? This place is pure magic. It’s perched on a hill, overlooking a wild and tangled jungle, yet it’s only a short 90-minute drive from Port Elizabeth airport. They call it a safari lodge, and sure, they offer guided game drives to Addo, but honestly, I can’t imagine tearing myself away from this paradise. I’m perfectly content sipping on a refreshing drink, losing myself in the pages of a book, and indulging in a refreshing dip in the pool.

Why should you choose it now? Well, word is spreading like wildfire. Bookings are on the rise, especially during the busier seasons. So, if you want to experience this slice of heaven, you better act fast!

Original review from May 2017: I had such an amazing experience when I visited the Zuurberg mountains. The journey up the winding forest pass was so exciting, and once I reached the top, I never wanted to leave. I stayed in a suite that was positioned high above the forested valley, and it was incredible to watch the morning mist float below and then rise up to surround the camp in a blanket of clouds. Just 30 minutes later, the mist had disappeared, revealing a beautiful blue sky with an eagle soaring above. It was pure bliss. The decor of the suite was top-notch, and the central veranda was especially inviting with its collection of antiques, horns, books, Persian rugs, and comfortable armchairs. The new owners, who took over in 2016, have also made some great improvements by installing solar power and adding four luxurious tents to the campsite.

Looking for a great room tip? Well, I’ve got one for you. The two boardwalk suites at Camp Fig Tree offer the same stunning views as the luxury suites, but at a more affordable price. How cool is that?

When it comes to cost, you’ll be pleased to know that prices start from only R1375 per person sharing, including breakfast. And if you’re hungry for dinner, it’s an extra R295 per person.

Now, let me give you the contact details. You can find more information and make a reservation at campfigree.com.

But wait, there’s more! If you’re interested in other options, I’ve got a few recommendations for you:

  • Buhala, located near Kruger Park (Malelane Gate)
  • Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel in Paternoster
  • UmVangati House in Hoedspruit – they have a fabulous three-room suite with its own pool, perfect for families. It sleeps six, and children under 12 are half price.
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The Best Beach House

Rocamar

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Simon’s Town, Unlisted on TripAdvisor

Why choose this one? Well, let me tell you about the beach it’s located on. Boulders Beach is hands down one of the most stunning beaches along the South African coast. The waters are so clear that you can see right through them, and it’s filled with adorable penguins that call the Peninsula home. When you look across the bay, you’ll see the Hottentots-Holland Mountains looming in the distance. And at night, the Hangklip lighthouse shines like a tiny dot on the dark waters. Rocamar is situated right here, with private access through a gate in the garden. Trust me, once you see it, you won’t be able to resist booking a stay. It’s like a place straight out of a fairytale, a real paradise.

Why should you book now? Well, who knows how much longer it will be available… So, why not seize this opportunity while you can and make this little slice of heaven your temporary home?

My personal review from December 2017: I have to say, pictures just don’t capture the true beauty of this house. When you see it in person, you’ll understand what I mean. It’s situated in the perfect spot, elevated above Boulders, with the beach just a short walk through the garden and along the boardwalk. The design of the house is truly something special, with its curved walls, arched windows, and charming tiled floors. It feels like a slice of the Riviera right here. Can you believe that it was actually modeled after a holiday house in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat by an Italian family? But what really sets this place apart is the incredible atmosphere. There’s a certain feeling of calm and happiness that fills the air here. It’s hard to put into words, but you’ll know it when you experience it. I should warn you, though, that it can get quite expensive during peak season. But if you have the budget and it’s available, trust me, it’s worth every penny. Don’t hesitate, just book it.

Looking for the perfect room: Let me give you some tips. There are four bedrooms to choose from, with one having twin beds and the rest being doubles. You’ll be sharing two bathrooms, one of which is en-suite. Now, let’s talk about the cost. It starts from R5500 a night and can accommodate up to eight people.

How to contact: If this sounds like your ideal getaway, you can visit the website perfecthideaways.co.za for more information.

Other options: If you’re interested, there are a few other places you might want to consider:

  • The Oyster Box Beach House, Kenton on Sea.
  • St Helier, near Scottburgh.
  • The Beach Hut, Paternoster.
  • The Beach House Lodge, Salt Rock.
  • Rock Shandy, Marina Beach.

The ultimate remote breakaway:

Enter Woolly Bugger:

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Dullstroom, TripAdvisor’s top-rated Speciality lodging

Why choose this place? You’ll feel the bumpy journey through 29,000 meters of dirt, but isn’t the adventure part of what makes a distant destination so extraordinary? And I adore remote locations, those vast empty spaces where your heart can roam free. These quaint, uncomplicated cabins offer just that. Take long strolls, go cycling, or try your hand at fishing and archery. Even your furry companions are welcome here.

Why visit now? Life has never been more hectic. This kind of place helps you find your balance, reconnects your mind, your family, and your spirit.

I first came across Woolly Bugger in October 2016, and I instantly fell in love with everything about it. This place is truly a hidden gem. Nestled on a 270-hectare farm, it features just four cozy cottages that offer breathtaking views and complete privacy. Surrounded by magnificent wild cabbage trees and proteas, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a dream.

One thing that really stood out to me about Woolly Bugger is the small communal area. It’s the perfect spot for guests to gather, have a barbecue, and take a refreshing dip in the splash pool. If you’re traveling with a group and have booked multiple cottages, this area is ideal for spending quality time together.

Choosing a cottage can be a tough decision, but I recommend the Half Hog and Sedgehog cottages. They offer the perfect combination of affordability and romance. These cozy boltholes provide a peaceful and intimate setting that you won’t want to leave.

Now, let’s talk about the cost. The Half Hog cottage starts at R600 and sleeps two people. The Sedgehog, which sleeps four, is priced at R1050. If you need more space, there are other cottages available that can accommodate up to six people, starting at R1200.

To make a booking or learn more about Woolly Bugger, you can visit their website at woollybuggerfarm.co.za. They have all the information you need to plan your perfect getaway.

If you’re looking for other options in the area, here are a few recommendations: Tanagra Faraway in McGregor, Lake House@ZuluWaters near Estcourt, and Kurisa Moya in Magoebaskloof. These places offer their own unique charm and are worth considering for your next adventure.

In my opinion, Woolly Bugger is hands down the best bed and breakfast I’ve ever experienced. It’s a magical place that will capture your heart and leave you with beautiful memories. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Woolly Bugger today!

4. Escape to the Countryside with Ashbourne

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Ashbourne offers the perfect countryside retreat. The serene beauty and peacefulness of this idyllic location make it an ideal destination for a relaxing escape.

When you visit Ashbourne, you’ll be surrounded by the natural wonders of the countryside. The lush green fields, rolling hills, and tranquil rivers will transport you to a place where time slows down and you can truly unwind. Whether you prefer taking leisurely walks through the countryside or exploring the local flora and fauna, Ashbourne has something to offer everyone.

One of the highlights of Ashbourne is its charming villages, each with its own unique character and rich history. You can wander through the picturesque streets, visit the local shops, or simply soak in the ambiance of these quaint surroundings. The friendly locals are always happy to share their stories and recommendations, making you feel like a part of the community.

When it comes to accommodations, Ashbourne has a variety of options to suit every taste and budget. Whether you choose to stay in a cozy bed and breakfast, a charming cottage, or a luxurious country hotel, you can be sure to find the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate. Wake up to the sound of birds chirping and enjoy a hearty breakfast before starting your day of exploration.

Ashbourne is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its vast open spaces and numerous hiking trails, it’s the perfect destination for those who love to be active in nature. You can go for a leisurely hike, try your hand at fishing in the rivers, or even take part in more extreme activities like rock climbing or mountain biking. The possibilities are endless.

After a day of adventure, you can unwind and indulge in the local cuisine. Ashbourne is known for its traditional dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Treat yourself to a delicious meal in one of the cozy country pubs, where you can enjoy the warm atmosphere and friendly service. And don’t forget to sample the local delicacies, such as the famous Ashbourne gingerbread.

In conclusion, Ashbourne is the perfect country escape for those looking to recharge and reconnect with nature. With its breathtaking scenery, charming villages, and abundance of outdoor activities, it offers something for everyone. So pack your bags, leave the city behind, and embark on a memorable journey to Ashbourne. You won’t be disappointed.

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Hazyview, TripAdvisor No. 4 of 25 B&BS/Inns

So, why should you choose this one? Let me tell you about my experience in Ashbourne. I arrived in a hurry, eager to explore the Hazyview area, and I was instantly captivated by this place. It was so incredible that I almost missed my flight! They have recently added two cottages with stunning mountain views, perfect for couples. And the best part? The other two cottages now have their own private plunge pools!

But why should you choose it now? Let’s talk about Kruger. When was the last time you visited? Ashbourne is strategically located just 20 minutes away from the Phabeni Gate, making it the perfect base for your Kruger National Park adventure.

February 2016: A Special Place That Takes Your Breath Away

When I walked through the doors of Ashbourne, I couldn’t help but feel a rush of excitement. This place was truly something extraordinary. It wasn’t just the breathtaking location that captivated me – perched on a picturesque hillside, enveloped by nature’s embrace, with stunning vistas of the serene Sabi River Valley. It was also the warm, inviting atmosphere that greeted me.

Ashbourne is a hidden gem with only five charming bed and breakfast rooms. Each room either opens onto a large courtyard or offers a mesmerizing view of it. The courtyard itself is a delightful sanctuary, adorned with shaded seating and a refreshing pool. As I strolled through the tranquil space, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of serenity wash over me.

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The décor at Ashbourne is a testament to elegance in simplicity. It exudes a understated charm that instantly puts you at ease. And the hosts, Rob and Dawne Ashbourne, are second to none. They epitomize true hospitality, having spent their lives as farmers before creating this blissful retreat.

Here’s a tip for your room: If you want a beautiful view, go for the Balcony Suite! It’s got two balconies for you to enjoy. They also have a new luxury family B&B suite with a shower that can be used both indoors and outdoors. It’s perfect for two adults and two kids.

How much does it cost? If you’re sharing a room and want breakfast included, it starts at R950 per person. If you prefer to cook your own meals, it starts at R500 per person.

How can you get in touch? Visit ashbournescape.co.za for more information and to book your stay.

Looking for other options? Here are a few more places you might like:
• Moontide in Wilderness
• Periwinkle Grove in Clarens
• Berghouse & Cottages in the northern Drakensberg

The best hotel for families

5. Pumula Beach Hotel

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Umzube/South Coast, TripAdvisor No. 1 of 1 Hotel

What makes this hotel special? Most family hotels are usually just tolerable, with tired parents and cranky kids. But that’s not the case at Pumula. Everybody, including Grandma, is happy here. It has a charming, old-fashioned vibe, and they keep it in great shape. Plus, they have fantastic amenities like mini-golf, a swimming pool, beautiful lawns, a bar, and even mountain bike rentals. And let’s not forget about its unbeatable location on a beach that proudly flies a Blue Flag.

Why should you visit now? If you want to make sure you have a room during school holidays, it’s best to book early. Families with toddlers, this is your chance!

Original review from August 2015: Let me tell you about Pumula. It’s not like other hotels that just rely on their location. I have to say, every part of this hotel feels fresh and clean, even though it’s so close to the sea. The staff here is super friendly and full of energy. And here’s something cool – they have a special program just for kids. They even have their own lounge, games room, and dining area. So, while the kids eat separately, parents can have some time to themselves and remember why they had kids in the first place!

Room tip: Because it’s such a popular place, take whatever room you can get. You can’t go wrong.

Cost: The prices range from R1295 per person for a full board package. Children’s prices range from R335 to R695, depending on their age.

Contact: You can learn more about this awesome hotel by visiting their website at pumulabeachhotel.com.

Looking for alternative options? Here are some other choices you might consider:• Umngazi River Bungalows, located on the beautiful Wild Coast• Cathedral Peak Hotel & The Cavern Resort, both nestled in the majestic Drakensberg Mountains• Monkey Valley Resort, situated in scenic Cape Town

Perfect for large groups

6. Stanford Valley Guest Farm

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Stanford, TripAdvisor No. 3 of 12 speciality lodgings

Why this one? It’s got it all: looks, service, food, affordability, and proximity to a city. The perfect checklist for choosing a place to celebrate. And let me tell you, Stanford Valley ticks all the boxes. The cozy and stylish accommodations won’t break the bank, and the charming communal areas add a touch of class. You don’t have to book the entire place, but trust me, if you do, you’re in for a carefree celebration.

Why now? Don’t let another year slip by in a blur. Take a moment to pause and celebrate! Oh, and did I mention? The on-site restaurant has made it into not one, but two different Top 100 lists this year.

My Review from July 2016: Hey there! Just wanted to tell you about this amazing place I stumbled upon. It’s called the Manor House and let me tell you, it’s absolutely fabulous! They have 10 beautiful rooms with their own bathrooms, as well as some cozy cottages for families or those who prefer to do their own cooking. The cottages even have their own outdoor area where you can relax and enjoy the scenery. The whole place is arranged around a central space called a werf, which is really cool.

Now, let’s talk about the decor. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The owner, Elsabe Nauta, has done an incredible job of combining vintage and modern styles. It’s a perfect mix of old and new, with a touch of nature thrown in. The textures are so comforting, and everything is so simple and clean. It’s really a breath of fresh air.

Oh, and the food! You have to try the meals at the Manor House. They serve the most delicious farm fare. It’s like home-cooking but taken to a whole new level. And the atmosphere is just so cozy with those big fireplaces and the stunning views of the Akkedisberg. You can even see it all from the huge windows.

I can’t recommend this place enough. It’s a hidden gem that’s perfect for a getaway. You should definitely check it out!

Hey there! Let me share some tips with you about a great place to stay and relax. I’ve got some insider info that you’ll definitely want to know.

If you’re in need of a cozy room with lots of character, I highly recommend the Stables, Pincushion, or Erica units at Stanford Valley. These places have the most amazing thick walls which give them an old-fashioned charm. And guess what? All the units come equipped with fireplaces or wood-burning stoves, so you can stay warm and cozy during your stay. How awesome is that?

Now let’s talk about the cost. You won’t believe how affordable it is! A double room starts at just R1050, and if you’re traveling with a small group, you can opt for a cottage that sleeps four, which starts at R2000. Need an extra bed? No worries! They can add one for just R225 per person. It’s a fantastic deal, don’t you think?

If you’re interested in booking or learning more about Stanford Valley, you can easily get in touch with them through their website stanfordvalley.co.za. It’s super convenient and hassle-free!

And hey, if you’re looking for more options, I’ve got you covered! Here are a few other fantastic places you might want to consider:

  • Damoi, Parys
  • Zwakala River Retreat, Magoebaskloof
  • Steynshoop, Magaliesberg

Now, let’s move on to our next awesome suggestion!

7. Greenfire Drakensberg Lodge

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Bergville, TripAdvisor No. 2 of 4 Hotels (listed as Drifters)

Why this hotel? Just take a look at the picture and you’ll understand why. A group of cozy cabins spread out over a massive area, providing endless opportunities for relaxation and enjoyment. Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll, dive into a good book, go for a bike ride, take a refreshing swim, indulge in delicious meals, gaze at the stars, or simply sleep peacefully – this place has it all.

Why visit now? Sometimes it’s nice to disconnect from the digital world and immerse yourself in the splendor of nature. Imagine being in a location of breathtaking beauty, where the passage of time seems to have no effect. It’s a chance to reconnect with the things that truly matter. In a world obsessed with social media validation, finding that authentic connection is priceless. No amount of likes can compare to the peace and serenity you’ll find in a place like this.

Review from June 2016: Let me tell you about my experience in June 2016. When I reached the top of the rugged trail, my heart soared with excitement. From that altitude, I could see a breathtaking view that stretched from the Amphitheatre to Cathkin Peak. It felt like I was on top of the world!

The lodge itself was simply delightful. It had a cozy lounge and dining area made of log cabins, offering panoramic views from every window. The inviting sofas were strategically placed around a central fireplace, perfect for relaxing and taking in the surroundings. This place truly felt like a home away from home.

There were nine cabins available, each equipped with one or two bedrooms. Every cabin had its own fireplace, and they were all powered by solar energy. The meals provided were delicious home-cooked dishes that were enjoyed together at a communal table. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow nature enthusiasts.

This lodge is ideal for those seeking a true nature experience. It offers an intimate setting without feeling cramped. Some may consider it basic, but to me, it was the epitome of luxury. I felt warm, well-fed, and completely in awe of the wilderness that surrounded me. It was an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

If you’re looking for a rejuvenating retreat in the midst of stunning nature, this place is for you. It provides the perfect balance of comfort and tranquility. After my stay here, I can confidently say that this lodge is a hidden gem that should not be missed.

Hey there! If you’re looking for a great place to stay, I’ve got a recommendation just for you.
Here’s a tip: Make sure to ask for a room with a double bed when you book. You know, just in case a little romance is on the horizon. And if you’re traveling with the family, the cabins with balconies offer the best views, but they can get pretty windy.
As for the cost: It’s R995 per person, and that includes full board. Not too shabby, right?
Now, how can you get in touch? Just visit greenfire.co.za and you’ll find all the contact information you need.

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But wait, there’s more! If you’re interested in exploring other options, here are a few more places you might want to check out:
• Sneeuberg Nature Reserve in Karoo (near Graaff-Reinet)
• Koensrust Tented River Camp in Vermaaklikheid
• Bushriver Lodge in Hoedspruit

Now, let’s talk about the best-value cottage.

Number 8 on our list is The French Cottage.

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Clarens, Unlisted on TripAdvisor

Why this one? I love being surrounded by privacy and having beautiful interiors with large windows that offer stunning views. It’s not easy to find all these things in one place without breaking the bank. And the best part? There’s a waterfall, a stream, and breathtaking cliffs right in the backyard.

Why now? The owner is really kind, but the demand for this place might raise the prices soon. So, if you want a weekend getaway at an affordable price, you better book it now.

Original review from May 2017: This charming two-story cottage is located on a five-hectare property that used to be one of the original three farms in the area. Despite its rural atmosphere with sprawling grounds and plenty of trees, it’s only a 15-minute walk to the village square. Upstairs, you’ll find the open-plan kitchen, dining, and living area, as well as the main en-suite bedroom, which offer delightful views of the surrounding countryside through lovely cottage-pane windows. The two downstairs bedrooms have their own entrances from the garden and share a bathroom. The cottage is not only beautiful on the inside and out (thanks to its former owner, an interior decorator), but it’s also one of the most affordable places to stay in town, thanks to Julia Brownlee who wants to keep it occupied.

Here’s a great tip: Did you know that you can rent just the upstairs level of this room for a romantic getaway? From Monday to Thursday, it’s only R1000 per night, making it one of the most affordable romantic places to stay in Clarens, and maybe even in the whole country!
Pricing: The cost is R1600 per night for four people, with an additional R400 per person for up to six people.
Contact: You can reach Julia at 0722910685 or visit wheretostay.co.za.

Here are some other options you might like:
• Klein Nektar in Montagu
• Umlambo River Cottages in Addo
• Forest House at Hillhouse in Dargle
• Saamrus Guest Farm in Magaliesberg

Looking for a luxury hotel that offers great value for your money? Look no further!

9. Drostdy Hotel

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Graaf-Reinet, TripAdvisor No. 1 of 1 Hotels

Why should you choose this hotel? Let me tell you, I’m a big fan of a good deal. And if you’re into top-notch luxury, you won’t find anything better than this. The Drostdy Hotel is not only luxurious, but it’s also classy, elegant, gracious, and historic. It’s like the Mount Nelson or Oyster Box of the Eastern Cape, but at a fraction of the price.

Why should you pick it now? Even the regular rate of R1 210 per person sharing a standard room is already great considering the level of luxury you get. But in winter, the hotel usually offers a special deal that brings down the already amazing low-season rate. Trust me, it’s totally worth planning a vacation here, especially since you can also enjoy fantastic safaris, nature reserves, and add-ons like Nieu Bethesda.

Original review from March 2015: I’m excited to tell you about my recent visit to the Eastern Cape. The Ruperts have done an incredible job restoring the grand dame of the region. This historic hotel has been given a new lease on life, and it’s never looked better in its 200-year history. The attention to detail is evident in the elegant interiors that still pay homage to the hotel’s past and the beautiful Karoo landscape that surrounds it.

One of the things that truly impressed me about this place is the decor. They’ve managed to strike the perfect balance between history and modernity. Intricate embroidered botanicals and delicate Chinese pottery bring a touch of sophistication, while animal skulls and nguni skins add a rustic charm. It’s a beautiful mix of old and new that creates a unique and inviting atmosphere.

But the beauty isn’t just skin deep. The hotel’s restaurant offers a dining experience that is out of this world. They’ve designed a menu that showcases the very best of Karoo ingredients, and each dish is a mouthwatering masterpiece. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Now let’s talk about the service. It’s top-notch. The staff is friendly, attentive, and always willing to go the extra mile. What makes it even more special is that a third of the team consists of graduates from the local SA College for Tourism. These are young people from disadvantaged rural communities who are getting a chance to shine. It’s heartwarming to see them thriving in their new roles.

All in all, my experience at this hotel was nothing short of amazing. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the Eastern Cape. You’ll be treated to a unique blend of history, luxury, and warm hospitality that is hard to find elsewhere. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Room tip: If you’re looking for a unique hotel experience, the Ferreira Precinct and Stretch’s Court offer a historic charm that you’ll love. However, if you prefer a more modern setting, Kromm’s Court is worth considering. As for the best room overall, I would highly recommend room 1704.
Cost: You can expect to pay R550 per person sharing for bed and breakfast.
Contact: To make a booking, visit newmarkhotels.com

Other options to consider:

• Keep an eye out for any special deals or discounts that the hotel may be offering.

• Bartholomeus Klip, located near Riebeek-Kasteel, is another great option to consider.

• If you’re looking for a boutique hotel, Angala Boutique Hotel in Franschhoek is definitely worth checking out.

• For a beachfront escape, The Oyster Box in Umhlanga is a fantastic choice.

Best budget retreat

10. Terra-Khaya

10 of our all-time favourite stays across South Africa

Hogsback, TripAdvisor No. 2 of 10 Speciality lodgings!

Why should you choose this one? Well, because it’s not your average backpackers. It’s a place of magic and wonder, perfect for those who crave a unique experience in the forest. You won’t find any TVs or fancy luxuries here, but if you’re looking to escape the chaos of everyday life and get off the grid, this is the place for you. I visited Hogsback and fell in love with it instantly. It’s the kind of place where you can imagine yourself staying for a few months, just getting lost in nature. My 19-year-old daughter and her friend went on a road trip to Terra-Khaya, and they came back with the same excitement and enthusiasm. Maybe there’s something in the water that keeps drawing people back…

Why should you go now? Well, if you’ve never been to Hogsback, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss. And with the state of our planet, it might just inspire you to live a more “green” lifestyle.

Here’s what I found during my visit in November 2016: Terra-Khaya is hard to define. It’s been called a permaculture farm, an Earth Home Project, an experimental venture, an eco-backpackers. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a magical lodge tucked away on an 18-hectare farm in the mountains. The owner, Shane Eades, has created something truly special here. He’s shown us all how to live in harmony with nature. With the help of volunteers, Terra-Khaya has been built and beautified using natural building techniques and salvaged materials. The accommodation is amazing too. There are four timber cabins that have been decorated with so much creativity and style. And the dorms are just as charming. While there aren’t any en-suite bathrooms, the shared ablutions are stunning. Imagine composting toilets, a charming bathhouse, and even outdoor baths and showers, all with breathtaking views. If you’re into horse riding, they have that too. You can even go on overnight trails. The meals at Terra-Khaya are communal and absolutely delicious. And there’s a vibrant, creative energy that fills the place. They even have an art room in the loft of the lounge-library-dining area. How cool is that?

Tip for your room: If you want amazing views, I recommend Khayalam. It’s a cabin with two levels – downstairs sleeps two people and upstairs sleeps four.
Price: The cabin starts at R385 for two people. If you prefer a dorm, it’s R165 per person (10 beds). Meals are around R85 per person.
Contact: You can find more information at terrakhaya.co.za

Other options you might consider:
• Temenos in McGregor
• Rustig in Magaliesberg
• Bodhi Khaya near Stanford

This story was originally published in the January 2017 issue of Getaway magazine, as part of our bucket list. In that issue, we featured 48 fantastic destinations to fit any budget and time frame. Don’t miss out on the chance to visit Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Zambia, and Hawaii in 2018.

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