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!
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!
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.
The Bubble Valley
The idea of sleeping under the stars always sounds nice, but when you think about it, sleeping outside comes with a whole lot of inconveniences — bugs whizzing around your face all night, the sleeping bag not being enough to escape the cold, and waking up at the crack of dawn to bedding wet with dew. Well, The Bubble Valley is the answer to all those problems!
This lodge offers you the experience of being surrounded by nature and sleeping under the stars, just 37 kilometres from Piet Retief. There are two bubbles to choose from, each with a queen-size bed and its own bathroom, as well as a private wooden deck with a Jacuzzi overlooking the Swaziland Mountains. And that’s not all — breakfast and dinner are included and are served in the comfort of your bubble!
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!
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.
Mount Noah Lodge
Are you keen to go on a boat trip, but being on open water doesn’t sit well with you? We have the ideal destination for those of you who are a little careful of motion sickness: accommodation in the form of a yacht club in the middle of the Klein Karoo!
Mount Noah Lodge is situated in the charming ostrich capital of South Africa, Oudtshoorn, south of the Outeniqua Mountains. This so-called yacht club features renovated yachts that have been transformed into seven remarkable units, each accommodating two to four guests. You will have all the luxuries of being on a yacht, but without the sea sickness to ruin your good time! Surrounded by the beauty of the Klein Karoo, you can’t go wrong with a yacht trip at Mount Noah Lodge.
Sycamore Avenue Treehouse Accommodation
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.