There are few accommodation options more authentically African than the rondavel. No frills, just charm. A night in one of these traditional circular cottages, topped with thatch or sheets of corrugated iron, conjures up dreams of yesteryear. Plus it’s one of the most unique and affordable nights you could imagine in South Africa’s wild places.

Wisteria Village

Courtesy of Big Game Parks

In the heart of bush and wildlife, Ndlovu Camp is the core of Hlane Royal National Park, home to Swaziland’s largest herds of game. The 24 self-catering rondavel cottages are neatly arranged and tastefully furnished, with a restaurant, curio shop and activity centre just a short walk away. No electricity means you’re truly unplugged from the hustle and bustle in these twin en-suite huts, with gas geyser and lanterns to give you that authentic bush experience.

Rates: R990 (2 adults) or R690 (1 adult)
Reservations: [email protected]

Lower Sabie Rest Camp

Courtesy of Anna Scooler.

In the early days of the Kruger National Park, rondavels were your only option if you didn’t want to camp. On the banks of Kruger’s Sabie River, you can still stay in accommodation that evoke the atmosphere of those bygone safaris. Lower Sabie’s charming rondavel-style huts come in a variety of configurations that range from four beds to one – the most convenient and affordable option for solo travellers. The rondavels are fitted with air-conditioning, but ablutions are shared. Guests can make use of the communal kitchen, just remember to bring your own cutlery and cooking utensils.

Rates: From R414 a night
Reservations: +27 (0)12 428 9111 or book online

De Hoop

Courtesy of De Hoop Collection.

Nestled in the heart of the De Hoop Nature Reserve, just three hours from Cape Town, you’ll find five campsite rondavels overlooking De Hoop Vlei. They’re perfectly positioned to enjoy some of the Cape’s most sought-after hikes, breathtaking sights, and fauna and flora. Each open-plan rondavel fits two beds and is equipped with a kettle, bar fridge and some basic cutlery, along with shared outdoor showers and toilets. Thanks to the braai and outdoor table and seating area, you can close off a busy day in Mother Nature by dining under the stars.

Courtesy of De Hoop Collection.

Rates: R1,333 p/unit p/night (may vary with seasons)
Reservations: +27 (0)21 422 4522 | [email protected]

Wilderness Ebb & Flow (North)

Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.

Tucked away at the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains and the Wilderness section of Garden Route National Park, Ebb-and-Flow rest camp (North) gives visitors the best of all worlds — with forest behind and sandy beaches ahead. The two-bed rondavels are packed with everything you need: basic kitchen equipment, a hot plate, fridge and utensils, and the option for communal or private bathrooms. Their simple charm is perfectly placed, nestled between jaw-dropping beauty.

Rates: R470 p/unit (using communal ablution blocks) and R525 p/unit (with bathroom and shower)
Reservations: +27 (0)12 428 9111 or book online

Albert Falls

Courtesy of Msinsi.

An ideal break from Pietermaritzburg, Albert Falls is the place for water sports like sailing, canoeing and windsurfing. Cosy stone rondavels at Notuli Hutted Camp look out over green lawns where antelope and zebra graze. The two-bed huts have been redesigned to include an en-suite bathroom and a kitchenette, and will feel like home away from home.

Reservations: +27 (0)33 569 1202, [email protected]