When you’re staying at a holiday destination, you’re not only paying for accommodation – you’re investing in an experience, too. Skip the obvious indulgence of 5-star hotels and try one of our favourite hidden gems around the country instead.
1. mashovhela bush lodge
To break away from the typically luxurious, mint-on-the-pillow hotel room, why not opt for accommodation with far more character? From just R500 per person per evening, experience Venda-style chalets or choose to spend the night in a hammock under the stars at the Mashovhela Bush Lodge’s Hammock Camp, tucked away inside the Morning Sun Nature Reserve in the Soutpansberg Mountains of northern Limpopo. If you go for the outdoor option, a star guide will answer all of your celestial questions and fill you in on ancestral stories unique to the area while you cosy up around a bonfire.
2. old mac daddy airstream trailers
In a beautiful corner of the Elgin Valley about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, Old Mac Daddy offers an unconventional experience with a selection of uniquely themed trailers. The Dirkie Sanchez, designed by Mark and Joe Stead, is all about Mexican wrestlemania, complete with costumes and a wrestling ring-cum-bed. There’s also the Love Cake?… I Do…, conceived by Charly’s Bakery and Friends, with colours so bright they’re the visual equivalent of a sugar rush. Prices vary, depending on the trailer you pick, but start at R1 795 per night.
3. kagga kamma nature reserve
Drawing on South Africa’s rich history to provide a one-of-a-kind experience, at Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve in the Western Cape, guests can stay inside a ‘Cave’ suite. The rooms integrate naturally with the beautiful rock formations that surround them. For a romantic evening under the starry sky, you could also opt for the secluded Star suite, which is essentially situated in the open air and overlooks the fynbos plains leading up to the scenic Cederberg Mountains. A crackling fire, warm bed and the vast night sky are the perfect trio for a standout overnight stay. Pricing depends on the accommodation you choose, ranging from R875 to R4 830 per person per night.
4. farr out guesthouse
The Farr Out Guesthouse on the outskirts of Paternoster on the West Coast takes glamping to the next level. Once you step inside the tepee-inspired structures at Wigwam Rising Moon, you’ll find all the practical amenities required to camp in comfort. Situated 40m away from the main guesthouse, it’s perfect for a much-needed break from city life, with rates starting at R650 per person sharing. And, because it’s only a few minutes’ drive from the ocean, the breaking waves and chirping birds create a blissful soundtrack for early-morning strolls.
5. fairview twin towers
Once grain silos, the Fairview Twin Towers in Fouriesburg in the Eastern Freestate have been fully renovated into a rustic, three-storey holiday guesthouse. The rustic getaway features bright interiors which contrast perfectly with its understated concrete walls. The best part is, you can wake up each morning and watch alpacas grazing right outside your door. Twin Towers is available for a minimum of R1 600 per night and can comfortably accommodate eight.