Fancy a stay away from the crowds? Then choose one of these overnight spots that can only be reached on your own steam. They offer scenic views, seclusion and the joy of a well-earned rest. By Arnold Ras
There are few things as good for the soul as setting off on foot or horseback into the wild. It’s a foolproof recipe to clear the mind, forge new bonds with friends and family, and escape life’s chaos. Even better when the trail comes with the reward of a special overnight spot at the end – just the solution to prolong the euphoria.
These activity and sleepover combos are the stuff of dreams:
Table Mountain National Park
For millions, it’s Table Mountain’s unparalleled views that see them returning to this world-famous landmark time after time. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s your first Table Mountain hiking experience, or the umpteenth trek to the top, this natural wonder never ceases to amaze. For a truly remarkable experience, combine your hike with the chance to sleep on top of the table. The self-catering Overseers Cottage can sleep up to 16 guests in six bedrooms.
There’s a well-equipped kitchen and a long table for convivial suppers, plus a large fireplace for cold evenings. Have a braai under the stars, or simply consider yourself lucky while being swallowed by one of the most beautiful wild places on Earth. To get to this magical spot, you can choose from several routes. While the jeep track from Constantia Nek offers the most direct route, the hike through Orange Kloof is highly recommended.
Good to know: Arrange with Platteklip Washhouses (+27 (0)21 462 7861) porterage service prior to your hike and have your bags (and food) brought to the cottage from the Constantia Nek parking area.
Bookings: +27 (0)12 428 9111, res[email protected]
Cost: From R2,955 per night for six people (additional R480 for extra adults and R240 for extra children)
Anysberg Nature Reserve
"Anysberg Nature Reserve, one of Cape Nature’s little explored gems" "Far from the rest of civilisation, I relaxed and rejuvenated" "The Karoo can be harsh, but holds a special beauty for those who look closely" Just some of the comments about one of our favourite nature reserves, Anysberg, from Travelblogger.co.za. If you want to find out for yourself just why he enjoyed his trip so much, head to our website (link in bio). Photo by @love_wild_africa taken while enjoying a guided horse trail experience on the reserve. #capenature #conserve #explore #experience #anysberg #karoo #horseriding #horsetrail #horses
The Tapfontein cottages at Anysberg Nature Reserve in the Klein Karoo are quaint escapes from modern life, where you can while away the nights looking at the multitude of stars from the comfort of your small veranda. These cottages feature as one of our top six getaways this month. For more info, and to stand a chance of winning in our #ValentinesDay competition (still on until the end of the month), head to our website, find out what our full list of top six getaways consists of, and email us their names on [email protected] with the subject line 'Valentines competition 2015'. Terms and conditions apply (details on our website news section). #capenature #conserve #explore #experience #nature #karoo #anysberg #naturereserve #win #competition
Why settle for an ordinary escape when you can crisscross Anysberg Nature Reserve on horseback and spend the night in a self-catering cottage? Situated in the heart of the little Karoo, the reserve is home to Bushman paintings dating back to the 1700s, super stargazing and a two-day guided horse trail. The trail, covering some 21km in total, is your way to reach the remote Tapfontein section of the reserve.
Here cute Wendy houses make for a cosy overnight spot in a broad valley. Each Wendy house sleeps two people and has its own veranda with table and chairs. If you’ve never experienced the bliss of total seclusion, Tapfontein and its horses will captivate your wild heart. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as the Cape mountain zebra, black-backed jackal and the elusive caracal.
Good to know: Each horse has a maximum of 95kg carrying capacity which includes rider and luggage.
Bookings: +27 (0)23 551 1922, [email protected]
Cost: Guided horse trail and one night at Tapfontein at R875 per person
More information: CapeNature Central Reservations +27 (0)21 483 0190
Alexandria Hiking Trail
Addo Elephant National Park
Forest mission through the amazing woody cape. The forest was amazing for my soul, birds of every variety, the air thick with the smell of rain, green earthy forest and decomposed wood. Bliss. Sensation overload. #easterncape #woodycape #alexandriaforest #kentononsea #southafricathroughmyeyes #explore #nature #adventure
This circular two-day trail is anything but average as hikers will get to experience three very different landscapes – coastal dunes, dense forests and stretches of gorgeous beach. Day one (±19,5km) starts at Addo Elephant National Park’s Woody Cape Section and offers a trek that takes in indigenous forest, coastal cliffs, fynbos, birdlife and even a shipwreck. The Woody Cape Hut, which nestles in a dune forest, is a restful retreat where you can recharge your batteries. The wooden cabin is rustic, a typical hikers’ hut with just beds and mattresses, but the view is phenomenal.
From the deck you can look out over the Indian Ocean all the way to Bird Island, an idyllic spot for viewing whales and dolphins. At night the stars come into their own as there’s no artificial light nearby, just the lighthouse out in the bay. On day two (±16,5km), experience the largest coastal dune field in the Southern Hemisphere, early morning wildlife, and ancient midden sites before returning to the departure point.
Good to know: The trail allows for a minimum of three and maximum of 12 hikers per day.
Bookings: +27 (0)41 468 0916/8, [email protected]
Cost: R170 per person per night
More information: Woody Cape Office +27 (0)46 653 0601