Sometimes life can get pretty mundane if you’re going through the routined motions, and from time to time we’re all looking for something other than the usual beach holiday or bush getaway to put the spring back in our step. The good news is that we live in a country filled with unique landscapes and even more eccentric stays, so there’s no reason for you to have the same holiday twice!  

TravelGround has found some of the quirkiest stays in South Africa for those of you who are longing to be inspired by a noteworthy getaway. 



Are you scared of heights? Not keen on flying, but have always wanted to see what the inside of an airplane looks like? What if we told you we have just the way for you to experience it on solid ground? 

Aerotel is a boutique hotel in Hoedspruit where guests can experience the thrill of spending a night onboard a converted Boeing 737-200, overlooking the Bushveld. Stay in one of six tastefully-furnished luxury cabins with en-suite bathrooms, each equipped with air-conditioning, tea- and coffee-making facilities, a bar fridge, hairdryer, and a safe. Sit out on the sundeck and order some tapas, take a dip in the swimming pool, or head to the Kruger National Park for an exciting day of game viewing, just 64 kilometres away!

Treedom Villas and Vardos


At the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains, Wilderness boasts beautiful beaches and excellent accommodation. One such option is Treedom Villas and Vardos where you will find a unique eco-friendly destination that offers a beautiful and romantic stay, ideal for couples. Leave your worries at home and let your free-spirited side flourish!

There are two two-sleeper gypsy wagons. Each wagon is furnished with a queen-size bed, a private bathroom, a self-catering kitchen, Wi-Fi, as well as outdoor sun beds, swings and a private, fairy-lit greenhouse with braai facilities. Not only is there also a communal, heart-shaped plunge pool and a hot stone sauna, but private dinners can also be prearranged and served in the ‘love tunnel’ — your better half will be blown away!

Vyfster The Old Jail


Have you always wondered what it would be like to call a prison home? Vyfster The Old Jail offers comfortable accommodation in the old Britstown Prison which is now a guest house. Guests can choose between three old prison cells that have been renovated and each room has its own bathroom. Guests can also stay in the Interrogation Room where prisoners were once interrogated.

This prison was built in the late 1890s and many people believe that the prison housed the prisoners of the Anglo-Boer War. Here you can catch an eerie glimpse of the past by studying the photos and the engraved names on the granite walls.

Castle de Wildt


Imagine you are royalty at this guest house that looks just like a real castle. At Castle de Wildt in Modimolle, the clock stands still at the era of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Here, a medieval and a modern theme are combined, whisking guests away to another century. The castle boasts 15 guest rooms that each sleep two guests and the guest house can be used for conferences and other events. Guests can also enjoy meals at the restaurant on the premises.

Buff and Fellow Eco Cabins


George is set in the very centre of the well-known Garden Route, surrounded by ocean, mountains, forests and farmlands. Here you can choose between luxury golf lodges, boutique hotels and rural farm stays, but we recommend making your way to Buff and Fellow Eco Cabins about 18 kilometres outside of George.

Buff and Fellow Eco Cabins is nestled on a beautiful buffalo breeding farm and offers eco-friendly accommodation in cabins, pods and coconut villas. Coconut villas you ask? Yes, there are two uniquely-designed coconut villas with king-size beds, en-suite bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens, cosy lounges with fireplaces, and they open onto patios with braai facilities and wood-fired hot tubs. The farm is also home to a small variety of wild animals, so when you’re not enjoying a wine tasting with the owners, fishing or cycling, you can unwind around the fire or in the hot tub and watch the animals graze around the units.

Naries Namakwa Retreat


Those of you who’ve travelled to, or stayed in Namaqualand, know that it’s a one-of-a-kind landscape. Here you’ll find arid plains with the occasional quiver tree, oddly-shaped little hills all over, and, in the Spring, if the rainfall was good, this dry landscape is brightened with a spectacular blanket of wild flowers. At Naries Namakwa Retreat you can get the double whammy of quirkiness: staying in unique accommodation surrounded by unique landscapes.

This distinctive retreat is a romantic hideaway on the edge of the Spektakelberg Mountain between Springbok and Kleinzee. Accommodation is offered in several units, but the three quirky, dome-shaped mountain suites, which closely resemble the little hills that surround you while on the road in Namaqualand, are our favourite! Prepare yourself for heavenly peacefulness, warm-hearted hospitality, delicious meals that are included, and a spectacular night sky where you can clearly see the milky way at this eccentric resort!

Glen Eden Farm Guest Cottages


Montagu is situated on Route 62 approximately two hours’ drive from Cape Town and is often referred to as the gateway to the Klein Karoo. Not only does this little town have the classic kleindorpie feeling, it also boasts beautiful scenery, exciting activities and, of course, friendly locals. Pop through the hole in the wall at Kogmanskloof and visit the Glen Eden Farm for something different.

Glen Eden Farm Guest Cottages boasts four glamping sites with a twist. Three of them have a handmade gypsy wagon, a teepee tent, a private bathroom and a small kitchen each, and the fourth site has two micro-bedrooms, giving you the luxury of a bedroom in nature, a small kitchen, and shared ablution facilities. The farm also has a number of hiking routes, a fishing dam, lots of farm animals to visit, a communal swimming pool and a jungle gym for the little ones. So, whether you want an action-packed break, or a laidback getaway — there’s something for everyone!

Sea Shack


About 90 minutes from Cape Town, you’ll find one of oldest towns along the West Coast. Paternoster is a charming fishing village, famous for its abundance of crayfish, traditional fisherman’s architecture and endless, pristine white sand beaches. From the middle of August to September, after good winter rainfall, you’ll see bright bursts of colour when the landscape is transformed into a carpet of wild flowers. Stay among these flowers when you visit Sea Shack in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve.

Sea Shack is located only five kilometres from Paternoster and offers accommodation in ten pretty shacks set on the water’s edge in a picture-perfect bay, each with space for two on quality beds and bedding. All guests have access to shared kleinhuisies, or ablution facilities, with gas-heated showers and eco-toilets. The communal area boasts a well-equipped kitchen, scullery and a boma with a fire pit where you can cook meals together while swapping out your adventure stories of the day.

Castle in Clarens


At the foot of Mount Horeb, surrounded by the Rooiberg and Maluti Mountains, lies a scenic little village that has become an artists’ haven since the early nineties. Clarens is an easy three to four hours’ drive from Johannesburg and has become the long weekend destination for those wanting to enjoy its tree-lined streets, enticing restaurants, art galleries and boutique-style stores.

Make your fairy-tale dreams come true and book a stay in this castle! Castle in Clarens offers a royal experience with beautiful views of Mount Horeb. The castle has two lovely en-suite bedrooms and an old-world kitchen fully equipped for your self-catering stay. Enjoy a braai in the Chamber of Angels, watch the sun set behind the mountains from the Sunset Corner, or explore the garden’s pathways, thorn trees, and vegetable garden.

Sycamore Avenue Treehouse Accommodation

Mooi River

Still daydreaming of those careless childhood days where you used to sit in your treehouse for hours creating your own dream world, or have you always just wanted to experience the magic of a treehouse but never had the chance? Who said treehouse adventures are just for kids?

Sycamore Avenue Treehouse Accommodation on the Midlands Meander offers unique, artistically-designed units that were created to inspire and encourage guests to relax, unwind and relive their childhood fantasies. There are six treehouses with en-suite bathrooms and spa baths. Most of them have fireplaces, private balconies and breathtaking views of the Drakensberg Mountain Range. What are you waiting for? Make your childhood dreams a reality!

Whether you want to go on a boat trip without motion sickness, travel back to your fairy-tale childhood days in a treehouse, or experience what it’s like to sleep in an aeroplane that has no destination ─  we have the ideal quirky stay just for you!

Feature image: Naries Namakwa Retreat (TravelGround)

This blog was originally written by Hennely Nel and revised by Nanje Lourens in 2022 and Dominique Fuchs in 2024.