“South Africa is renowned for its vibrant culture, warm climate, and some of the world’s most staggeringly beautiful landscapes. The Rainbow nation provides its visitors with a unique perspective on life, which is often reflected in their desire to go against the grain, whether through food, experiences, or their eccentric hotel collection.”

Kruger Shalati – The Train on the Bridge is a first of its kind, like its namesake Shalati, a female African Warrior chief of the Tebula tribe. Reminiscent of a 1920s rail safari, its unique offering is luxurious accommodation from an elevated perspective. Experience the Kruger National Park while suspended over the Sabie River in 1 of the stunning 24 glass-walled train carriage suites located on the bridge. Or stay in 1 of the 7 equally opulent Bridge House Suites adjacent to the bridge. Kruger Shalati is situated near Skukuza Camp. There is a magnificent overhanging pool with a viewing deck on the bridge, a gift store, restaurant and in-room spa treatments. Rates include all meals, house drinks and 2 daily game drives. Complementary airport transfers to/from nearby Skukuza airport are also available.

The stylish Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel is located in a heritage building. Several luxurious boutique hotel rooms and suites are available and its designer rooftop Airstream Trailer Park is the only one of its kind in the world.  Top South African Interior Designers have given each one a South African road trip theme. To ensure guests enjoy glamping, each trailer has a queen-size bed with soft linen, an en-suite bathroom, air-conditioning and fibre internet access. The Hotel’s Trailer 38 Sandwich Café has a gourmet menu. The Rooftop Movie Night Package gives guests exclusive use of the Pink Flamingo cinema viewing platform, overnight accommodation in 5 of the trailers and the use of the Pink Flamingo Popcorn machine.

The appealing Old Mac Daddy Hotel is situated in the Elgin Valley, an apple and wine-growing region about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. They offer 12 quirkily-themed vintage Airstream Trailer Suites. Their 2 Villas are suited to bigger families or groups. There are also 3 luxurious tented camps. “The Barn Restaurant serves free-range organic and vegan food. Experience the “Elgin Magic” by visiting the lakeside beach or trying archery, kayaking or a tractor ride. There is a spa, private game reserve, birding opportunities, fishing, ziplining, kloofing, quad biking as well as farm stalls, delis, boutique wineries and craft cider to discover.  Old Mac Daddy can also host weddings, events, conferences, team-building events and elopements!

Tsala Treetop Lodge is set amidst the forest treetops between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Here the diverse cultures of Africa combine with Western influences. Tsala means “The elevated resting place”. The 10 luxury stone and wood tree-houses have private decks and infinity pools extending into the forest. There are also 6 elevated two-bedroomed huts for families. Meals are eaten in the glass-walled dining room. Guests have access to a Yoga and Pilates Studio, swimming pool and in-room pamper treatments.  The “Chapel in the Forest” has views of the forest through floor-to-ceiling windows. Activities to try: whale and dolphin watching, swimming with seals, Birds of Eden, Monkeyland, yacht cruises, surfing, kayaking, golf, horse riding, cycling, hiking, ziplining, sky diving, shark cage diving and the 216 m bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge.

The Silo Hotel  was originally a grain silo and is housed above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). The colourful artworks and furniture in the hotel’s 28 rooms and penthouse complement the silo’s original industrial machinery. The brilliant glass windows have 56 panels that bulge outwards like a full silo.  The Granary Café‘s 5.5 m windows offer extensive views. The Wisdom Room (named after the last ship to take grain to Europe) is a private dining room for 22 guests. The Silo Rooftop pool offers spectacular views of Cape Town. There also is a spa, library, gym and a boutique. Take a helicopter ride to Franschhoek for lunch, enjoy tailored art tours, a visit to the Vault (The Silo’s small, art gallery), or a visit to Zeitz Mocaa.  

Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve, set amongst the Cedarberg’s natural rock formations, connects modern-day guests with the historic Khoi and San. Open Air Suites (closed during winter), allow guests to sleep under the pristine night sky. The Cave Suites facades are manmade but blend into the rocky environment, allowing guests to literally sleep in a cave, but with modern comforts. The Hut Suites are modelled on the rounded dwellings of the Khoi and San clans. There are also 4 large camping sites, one of which is only accessible by 4x 4 vehicles and has no ablution facilities, water or electricity. There are timeshare chalets and one Self Catering Chalet. Facilities include a spa, restaurant, bar and private outdoor boma. There are also 4×4 trails, hiking, mountain biking, nature drives, quad bike adventures, reptile tutorials, star gazing and rock art tours.

Knysna’s old power station has been transformed into the 5-star Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa with industrial chic décor. Brightly painted old machinery and pipes and bold-coloured furniture decorate the 17 standard rooms, 6 luxury rooms, honeymoon suite, and 2 self-contained suites. The ala carte Island Café restaurant has tables overlooking the Thesen Island canals. Its interior tables are spaced between the original refurbished turbines. The Gastro Pub specializes in craft beer and pub-style food. The hotel has a spa and steam room. The on-site Turbine Waterclub offers pontoon cruises, fishing charters, whale watching and kayaks to hire.  Land adventures include guided forest tours and bicycle rides. Dolphin tandem paragliding is also an option. The hotel displays art in public areas and the bedrooms. Guests can also visit the nearby Knysna Fine Arts Gallery.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is Eswatini’s (formerly Swaziland) popular eco-destination. It offers family cottages, self-catering rondavels and beehives (the low-doored, windowless traditional Swazi grass homes). The en-suite bathrooms add light and modern convenience. Sondzela Backpackers offer budget accommodation and Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge offers luxurious accommodation. The Rest Camp has a curio shop and the Hippo Haunt Restaurant, overlooks the Bird Pool. Mlilwane‘s Animal Inkhundla, an open grass area, supports a surprising variety of game. Activities for guests include the annual Nedbank Swaziland’s Imvelo MTB Classic Cycle race in June, game drives on an open 4×4 vehicle with a trained Swazi guide, mountain biking, horse-riding, guided walks,  nature education at the Interpretation Centre, swimming, Mlilwane’s Chief’s Village for a cultural experience and craft shops at  Ezulwini and Malkerns.

The Protea Hotel Cape Town – Waterfront Breakwater Lodge originally housed British convicts in the mid 18h00’s. Its striking 4 castle-like turrets and the enclosed courtyard replicate English prison designs. Since 1991 it has functioned as the University of Cape Town’s business school and as a hotel run by the Protea Chain. This understated, stylish hotel is within walking distance of the V&A Waterfront. Its spacious and comfortable hotel rooms and suites provide all the modern necessities. 24-hour secure parking, airport transfers, a laundry service, four public lounges, a gym (complimentary to all guests), a spa, and a business centre are also on offer. Stonebreakers Restaurant has outdoor seating. The hotel is ideally located for guests to explore Cape Town.

Bulungula Eco-lodge is 100% owned and managed by the Nqileni village (a Xhosa community on South Africa’s Wild Coast). It is impressively eco-friendly. To honour the Xhosa culture, accommodation is in traditional colourful rondavels, designed as private rooms or backpacker dormitories. Forest cabins are situated in the secluded forest or on the campground. This affordable accommodation provides sea views with occasional whales and dolphins. Their unique menu offers traditional, local and vegan options. For self-catering guests, there is a rustic kitchen. A local spaza shop supplies necessities. The lodge has a bar that also sells snacks. Activities on offer include fishing, canoeing, hiking, village, cultural and herbal tours, surfing, massages, sunrise pancakes on the beach and learning to drum.

You may also like