Bird’s Haven Guesthouse, Pary
Leave after work and 130 kilometres later, arrive in the small town of Parys. The unique, vintage-style two-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage can sleep up to six people, so you can invite some friends along too. It’s good value for money, with lovely attention to detail. The private garden and peaceful veranda is great for morning coffee. Pets are welcome.
Cost: From R300 per person (sleeps six)
Contact: 0823845260 / birdshavenguesthouse.co.za
Kingfisher Lodge, Waterberg
Kingfisher Lodge is a spacious bushveld home in the Waterberg, three hours from Johannesburg. It’s one of three accommodation units in the Palala River Lodges collection. It consists of a three-bedroom farmhouse with a cosy fireplace (for cooler winter months) that takes centre stage in the open-plan living area and two en-suite rondavels.
Cost: From R260 per person a night (sleeps 10)
Contact: 0825708474 / jembisa.com
Mahem Guest House and Bokmakierie Cottage, Wakkerstroom
On the edge of Wakkerstroom with a view over the wetland you can sometimes hear the call of the grey-crowned crane in the early mornings. Both self-catering units are set a little apart from each other. Mahem is bigger with four bedrooms, a lounge with a centre fireplace, and an enormous kitchen, while Bokmakierie caters for two people.
Cost: R275 per person a night, with discounts for longer stays
Riverstill Guest House, Groot Marico
The Riverstill Guest House lies deep within a deep valley. Get up early and head to the river to experience the peace and tranquility. There’s also a place for private meditation and tree walks can be arranged. There are four rustic cottages spread out on the farm.
Cost: From R275 per adult per night and R130 per child under 12 per night. There’s a midweek special (Monday to Thursday) of R200 per person per night for a minimum of two nights
Riverman Cabin, Mpumalanga
Seven comfortable self-catering country cottages ‒ six with fireplaces and one with a grand antique coal stove ‒ nestle around a series of trout-filled dams. The open-plan units are comfortably equipped, including a microwave and braai, or eat at Mine View, the on-site restaurant. Bring games to play around the fireplace or take easy afternoon walks on the working sheep and cattle farm.
Cost: R350 per person, kids under 12 half price
Contact: 0832779143 / rivermancabin.co.za
Stone Tin Lodge, Mpumalanga
Set on a private farm about 30 kilometres on the Lydenburg side of Dullstroom, this spacious three-bedroom country home overlooks two trout-filled dams surrounded by rolling hills. This accommodation is completely off the grid, running primarily from solar energy and gas (there’s a generator too, just in case).
Cost: From R350 per person if you’re 10 guests (R2500 a night for six people, R250 per person extra)
Contact: 0716700680 / stonetinlodge.co.za
Zwakala River Retreat, Magoebaskloof
This boho eco-retreat is home to three horses, five dogs, four chickens and the fun Denise and Rob. They have breathed new life into the region with the quarterly Neighbourhood Farmers Market featuring live music and great food under the trees. This is a great choice for good-value, off-the-grid accommodation with activities such as swimming and fishing in the Broederstroom River.
Cost: The Cob House or Legodi Cottage is
R1400 per night (R700 per person for two, R350 per person for four, R234 per person for six). Camping is R120 per person (maximum 16 people), with outdoor hot-water shower and a single flush loo with a view
Lindani is a self-catering, back-to-nature family escape. Only 275 kilometres from Johannesburg, the accommodation options range from four-sleeper cottages and an eight-bed tented forest camp to the enormous 18-sleeper, four-house Motseng lodge complex. With easy hiking trails and bicycles to hire you can cycle past wildebeest, zebra, eland and giraffe. Or pack a picnic and stop at one of the five riverside sites to have a splash and cool down.
Cost: Self-catering R265 per person in the tented camp; from R425 per person in other lodges (kids aged 4–12 half price)
Contact: 0836315579 / lindani.co.za