This story was first published on 3 October 2016 and was updated by Leigh Hermon on 27 November 2019.
Having a great holiday doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune. Here are four budget breaks that deliver on scenery and comfort, but won’t break the bank…
1. Tugela Rapids Bush Camp, Bergville
The name (although referring to the river features, of course) is a misnomer because there is nothing ‘rapid’ about spending time at this off-the-grid peaceful retreat on the Tugela River. Let the river lull you to sleep (any time of day… or night) and the birdsong bring you out of your slumber. Features include an outdoor and indoor braai, gas stove, gas fridge, solar geyser and lapa with a deck overlooking the river. It’s also a pet-friendly destination.
Price: From R380 per person, per night
Tugela Rapids Bush Camp
+27 (0) 71 684 2757; [email protected]
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2. A Hilltop Country Retreat, Swellendam
This luxurious escape lies hidden in the foothills of the majestic Langeberg mountains.
The hosts pride themselves in easy luxury and comfort and there is an amazing spirit of peace about the place – book in for a night on the way somewhere else and end up staying for three. It’s far more of a weekend destination than a stopover.
A Hilltop Country Retreat
Price: From R475 per person, per night
Contact: +27 (0) 28 514 2294; [email protected]
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3. Indigo Blue Beach House, Langebaan Lagoon
A classic beach house for a classic, laid-back holiday. It’s on Sandbaai Beach and you can step pretty much from the front door out onto the sand. And because it’s brought to you by the same people you need to contact if you want to do any river adventure (Gravity Adventures), kayaks come as part of the package (others can be rented on prior request, plus you can get guided trips at discounted rates).
Aside from all the water sports opportunities in the lagoon, other activities in the area include the West Coast National Park, the West Coast Fossil Park and the !Khwa ttu San Reserve.
You couldn’t find better for an easy-going seaside holiday – even the screed and wooden floors make living with beach sand a breeze.
Price: From R3 950 per night, which works out to R393,75 per person for eight people during the low season.
Contact: Gravity.co.za; +27 (0) 21 683 3698
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4. Grootfontein Private Game Reserve, Thabazimbi
Head off-grid and escape the Gauteng rat race, at Grootfontein Private Nature Reserve near Thabazimbi. This 12 000-hectare game farm offers a variety of accommodation ranging from a four-sleeper thatched house to a smaller cottage and a rustic campsite. All have their unique amenities, but the rockpool and deck of Aloe Lodge is the mainstay. Pack your mountain bike, trail-running shoes and bird book and hit the road.
Price: From R350 per person per night
Contact: +27 (0) 71 5695 611; [email protected]
Looking for more budget stays? Take a look at our list of budget-friendly bush breaks.
Words Jazz Kuschke