This month we review 10 affordable bush breaks we think you might enjoy. Here are just two of these tranquil Country Escapes.
1. Afsaal Cottage
Karoo National Park Near Beaufort West, Western Cape
I am not one to say no to a secluded night away from the buzz of people at busy camps, in fact, the quieter the better. So when the opportunity presented itself for a visit to the very rustic Afsaal Cottage in the Karoo National Park, I grabbed it. This old shepherd’s hut lies in the middle of the park and has been renovated to serve as accommodation away from the main camp. For those who need some luxuries, Afsaal is equipped with solar lighting, a gas geyser, fridge, gas stove and braai area. There are two single beds, but two stretchers can be arranged for children.
What adds to the adventure is that, apart from a little stone wall around the cottage, the area is unfenced, allowing free range to the park’s wilder residents. A waterhole on your doorstep provides relief to animals in this barren landscape. Cellphone reception is very limited, so best you forget about technology. Whether you pick Afsaal Cottage for the tranquillity or the magnificent Karoo views, it is guaranteed that you will leave enriched. – René de Klerk
023 415 2828, www.sanparks.org
2. Zingela Safari & River Company
Near Weenen, KwaZulu-Natal
I first heard of Zingela from a fishing buddy, who raved firstly about the flyfishing (for yellowfish), then the incredible beauty of the bushveld views, the epic white-water rafting, and finally the relaxed serenity of the camp itself. Set on the banks of the Tugela River near Weenen, Zingela proves that the bushveld has so much more to offer than just another game drive.
It is set in the 50 000ha Thukela Biosphere, which means a variety of game and an abundance of birds. Walks through the bushveld, quad rides, horseback rides and a 4×4 trail are just some of the ways you can get deeper into the bush, if abseiling or rafting seems a bit too extreme. Be prepared for a long, adventurous 4×4 trip to get to the camp – it’s part of the remote experience, and if you don’t have a 4×4 (or if you don’t want to put your prize possession to the test) transfers are available. Zingela offers a wide range of accommodation, so there is something for everyone. – Stephen Smith