History Next to Scenic Waters
South Africa Hotels: Vlei Suite, De Hoop Collection
The Vlei Suite was once the site of stables for Spanish horses kept by Pieter Cloete in the 1950s. His prized possessions were kept close to the main house to keep thieves and predators at bay. Today, the homely building offers accommodation of a different kind. Not only do visitors have a perfect view of the vlei (a Ramsar Site of International Importance) from this luxurious suite, but one can also be assured of a good night’s rest on a king-size bed in the finest of South Africa hotels. Situated within the De Hoop Nature Reserve, expect to find wildlife such as bontebok, eland and Cape mountain zebra in the vicinity. De Hoop is a prime destination for whale watching, plus twitchers can see up to 260 bird species.
Good to know: The Fig Tree Restaurant, vlei, tennis courts and swimming pool are within walking distance of the suite.
Cost: From R2 350 per night, including dinner and breakfast. A bird walk is included with longer stays.
Sun, Sea and Sand
South Africa Hotels: Lagoon House, Agulhas National Park
This historic house is not only the perfect vantage point for beautiful sunsets and scenic walks, it also provides easy access to a lagoon situated within the rest camp.
About three-quarters of the views outside are made up of sea vistas. Situated approximately 10km from the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, this is a great spot for families or groups of friends. Apart from the lagoon, visitors can also enjoy walking trails in the rest camp. The kids will love exploring the fascinating life in the rock pools.
Good to know: Up to eight people can be accommodated in four rooms, two of which are inside the main house. The house is fully equipped for a comfortable stay. Lagoon House is right on the sea, separate from the chalets in the rest camp.
Cost: Expect to pay R3 405 for the first six people until the end of October. Extra adults pay R586 and kids R293. Conservation fees are extra.
Back into the Wild
South Africa Hotels: Vhembe Camp, Mapungubwe National Park
Looking for an affordable accommodation option without having to set up camp? This wilderness camp is one of the most scenic options in this national park located on the border of Zimbabwe and Botswana. Think giant baobabs, striking red sunsets and no fences to restrict the movement of wildlife. This is glamping rather than camping, so your tent comes furnished with its own ablution facilities and two single beds. Each unit has a little deck looking down into the valley below, ideal for game spotting while sipping your morning coffee.
Good to know: A variety of activities will keep the entire family entertained. You can go on game drives, discover the cultural history of the area and wander the magnificent Mapungubwe Hill. Walk in the treetops next to the mighty Limpopo River and have a picnic where South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana meet.
Cost: Prices range between R717 and R833 for two people, excluding conservation fees.
A Bush Experience with a Twist
South Africa Hotels: Tented Adventures, Pilanesberg National Park
You will be treated like royalty from the moment you arrive at this private camp within the greater Manyane camping area in Pilanesberg National Park. Instead of pitching your own tent, this glamping experience allows you to sit back and relax. Your stay includes a bush braai dinner with wine and a buffet breakfast. Small game often walk through the camp, and you are bound to have dinner with impala nibbling nearby. At night, a cozy fire creates a sociable atmosphere where you can interact with the hosts and other guests.
Good to know: Each tent has a deck with chairs, or visitors can unwind in the communal living room. Tents are equipped with two comfortable single beds with electric blankets, quality bedding, a side table, lamps and a fan. Join in on a game drive, or head out on a self-drive.
Cost: From R1 155 per person for accommodation, dinner and breakfast. Cost is R1 855 with two game drives.
Pure Luxury in a Secret Corner of Kruger
South Africa Hotels: Jock Safari Lodge, Kruger National Park
In the south-western corner of Kruger National Park, perched on the old Voortrekker road that took travelers through untamed wilderness from Delagoa Bay to the goldfields of Pilgrim’s Rest in centuries past, lies Jock Safari Lodge. This luxurious private lodge can be found in the most magnificent game viewing territory of Kruger, in a concession that allows for private access to over 6 000 hectares of land. Game drives are available twice a day, and you’re bound to spot some sightings for the bucket list.
Or if you’re keen on relaxing, days at the lodge can be spent lazing on the deck of private thatched suites screened by lush trees, or enjoying continental breakfasts, champagne brunches, and lunch on the deck between dips in the pool. With views over the riverbed below, you won’t even need to leave your suite and can spend the afternoon lying on the outdoor daybed enjoying the sounds of birds in the trees. Spend a night out there if you’re brave, and you’ll be able to absorb the reverbs of the lion’s roar in the early hours of the morning. Take time out in the Pilgrims Rest Retreat for rejuvenating treatments, or spend a few hours in the library.
Good to know: Don’t miss the opportunity to go on a wilderness walk with one of the lodge guides, and you could be tracking big game within minutes of setting out.
Cost: From R7 895 per person sharing per night, including lunch, dinner, breakfast, two game drives, guided walks, tea, coffee, water, game drive beverages and tourism levies.
Book: Jock Safari Lodge
Fancy a full-on week of luxury, starting at Jock Safari Lodge?
Try an 11 day Kruger, Victoria Falls & Cape Town package.
Start off with a stay at Jock Safari Lodge, then head from the natural wonder of Kruger to another magical spot: Victoria Falls. Here, you’ll stay at Elephant Camp. Finally, head to Cape Town’s Commodore Hotel, stay below Table Mountain and enjoy everything the Cape offers, including world-class beaches, dining and unforgettable views.
From R70 900 per person sharing. Visit Safari.com for more info.
An Enchanted Forest
South Africa Hotels: Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge, Magoebaskloof
Nestled in the heart of the Magoebaskloof forest, between Tzaneen and Polokwane in Limpopo, Kurisa Moya is an idyllic hideaway. A little golden gem surrounded by nature, untouched and unspoiled, this lodge with its cozy hidden cabins has a rich and fascinating history rooted in Sepedi culture and legends of historical woodcutters. In addition to the peace and pure quiet, this lush getaway is incredible for birding. Acres of natural yellowwood forests play host to enchanting wildlife. You’ll run into samango monkeys, and possibly a few ghosts too.
Good to know: Over 250 species of bird are abundant in the farm’s different habitats. Keep an eye out for the elusive Narina trogon. Guide Paul Nkhumane is a pro at helping find some of the forest’s rarities.
Cost: The cabins are available from R850 per adult sharing per night.
Reclaim your Wilderness
South Africa Hotels: Nossob, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Known for its predator sightings in the area of the Nossob River, this rest camp is a must when it comes to traditional rest camps in the Kgalagadi. Although predator sightings are not guaranteed, the camp also boasts its own predator information center with posters on many of the predator groups. At night, and especially after the generator is switched off, thousands of stars make this the perfect spot for stargazing and astrophotography. Keep an eye out for the local jackals! The chalets are furnished with all you need for a comfortable stay.
Good to know: Nossob is approximately 3.5 hours from Twee Rivieren if you drive at the speed limit of 50km/h with little stopping. It is also a great vantage point for exploring further north. There is no cellphone reception, which adds to the peaceful atmosphere.
Cost: From R1 075 per night for two people, but larger units are also available. Costs exclude the daily conservation fee.