For a breakaway from life’s everyday demands, here’s a way to disconnect fully from the outside world. Stay at these cosy cabins in our national parks and reserves, and embrace the rich birdlife, breathtaking vistas and peace.

Lang Elsies Kraal rest camp, Bontebok National Park

Tranquil river waters, spectacular views and a variety of birds and blooms await you at Bontebok National Park. Home to bontebok, grey rhebuck and other smaller mammals – there’s a lot to experience at South Africa’s smallest national park.

The Lang Elsies Kraal rest camp lies on the banks on the Breede River and the log cabins create the perfect spot for a weekend retreat. Each of the cosy family units sleeps four people and includes a fully equipped kitchen, wooden stoep and braai facilities.

More than 200 different types of bird species ensure that twitchers will be in bird heaven. Let the cheery chirps wake you up to a tranquil breakfast before you lace up your walking shoes to explore the Aloe Trail, an easy 3.3 km route the entire family can enjoy. The upcoming spring weather will allow for a lazy picnic on the river banks after a drive through the park in search of animal sightings. During the evenings you can kick back and relax on the stoep next to the fire – while admiring the stunning sunset over the water.

Good to know: Fuel and supplies are available in the nearby town of Swellendam.

Rates: R2,260 per night for four people.

Contact: SANParks Central Reservation office on +27 (0)12 428 9111 or book online at

Kick your feet up with family and enjoy the sunset. Photo by Bridgena Barnard.

Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve

Prepare to be enchanted by the ancient trees of the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, nestled in the Western Cape’s Langeberg region. It’s easy to get lost in the tranquil atmosphere between the towering trees and mossy boulders.

Escape reality and stay at one of the reserve’s self-catering cabins. These wooden cabins are arranged in two rows – one row overlooking the ancient yellowwood, stinkwood and ironwood trees of the indigenous forest, and the other with unsurpassable views of the valley. Each cabin consists of two bedrooms, a bathroom, fully equipped kitchen and a lounge with a built-in fireplace. The covered braai and dinner area is the perfect setting for reliving the day’s discoveries in the company of friends.

The reserve is home to almost 200 bird species, and two elevated bird hides afford you a treetop view. Pack your walking shoes, binoculars and snacks, and set off for a day of birdwatching – the sunsets often ensure breathtaking views.

Good to know: Best bring your own wood and charcoal as the reserve is experiencing a shortage.

Rates: From R1,100 a night for the first two people during off-peak season, R230 per extra person. During peak season R1,560 or R1,760, depending on the cabin size.

Contact: CapeNature at +27 (0)87 087 8250 or book online.

Relax on the balcony after a long day of walking and revel in the magical sunset views. Picture courtesy of CapeNature

Golden Gate Highlands Retreat, Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Yearning to break away for some quality time with your loved one? The rich cultural heritage and never-ending views of the open plains make Golden Gate Highlands National Park the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The Highlands Mountain Retreat log cabins overlook some of the most dramatic scenery in the park. Located at the foothills of the Maluti Mountain, these cabins are the perfect destination for a romantic weekend away from the crowds. The cosy one-bedroom log cabin with open fireplace is perfect for snuggling in at night. During the day you can lounge around on the spacious wooden veranda during while marvelling at the stunning Free State landscapes.

Pack a hat and your walking shoes for a hike to Cathedral Cave and a visit to the Basotho Cultural Village where you can take a museum tour to learn about the Basotho culture and way of life. The staff members even dress in traditional wear.

Good to know: Guests have to check in at the Glen Reenen Reception.

Rates: Base rate for 2 people is R1,609 per night, R465 for an additional adult and R233 for an additional child (maximum 4).

Contact: SANParks Central Reservations +27 (0)12 428 9111 or book online at

Golden Gate Highlands Retreat boast with panoramic views of the park. Photo courtesy of SANParks.

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