Seasons come and go, but a few historic cottages located in our national parks and reserves have stood the test of time. While staying true to their rich history and heritage, these cottages welcome guests for exquisite wilderness escapes. 

Afsaal Cottage
Karoo National Park

Afsaal Cottage-Romi Boom-min

Picture by Romi Boom

Tucked away far from civilisation, this century-old shepherd’s cottage promises endless views of the Karoo. On the stoep, wait for surprise animal visits as wildlife come to quench their thirst at a small waterhole just 50m in front of the cottage. Here, nights and days are quiet with only wilderness sounds echoing across the arid landscape. And it’s absolutely true what they say: nothing rivals the Karoo’s splendour. Come winter or summer, cooking on an open fire while admiring a crimson sunset never gets old. This rustic and quaint cottage is located along the southern section of the Nuweveld 4×4 Route, some 35km from the park’s main rest camp.

Words are inadequate to describe the peacefulness that fills a person fortunate enough to experience this, a piece of the Karoo just for ourselves. – Bridgena Barnard

Good to know

  • Accommodates two adults and two children
  • Equipped with solar power system for lighting, cooking and fridge/freezer
  • Bedding is provided
  • Two outside braai areas
  • Gas geyser for hot showers, and outside wash basin

Reservations: +27 (0)23 415 2828, [email protected]

Lenie Marais Cottage
Swartberg Nature Reserve

Lenie Marais Cottage-CapeNature (3)-min

Picture courtesy of CapeNature

It’s believed that Lenie Marais built this structure herself. She was among the pioneering families that headed to Gamkaskloof after farmer Petrus Swanepoel settled in the area in 1830. With pebbled windows and doors, decorative gable, and your very own splash pool, the cottage is an atmospheric and restful retreat. The rugged and mountainous setting provides views for days and countless hours of relaxation – think birding, hiking, or simply growing quiet in a beautiful place. Situated between the Klein and Groot Karoo, Swartberg Nature Reserve is home to a fusion of intriguing plantlife, rich heritage, and dizzying mountain passes. If you’re lucky, very lucky, you might even get a glimpse of a leopard.

Good to know

  • Sleeps up to five guests in three bedrooms
  • Outdoor braai facilities (wood on sale at the reserve office)
  • Bathroom with shower and gas geyser
  • Electricity provided by gas
  • Equipped kitchen with gas stove, gas fridge, sink, cutlery and crockery
  • Bedding, linen and towels are provided

Reservations: +27 (0)21 483 0190, [email protected]

Mockford Cottage
Pafuri Border Camp

Mockford Cottage-Mike Kendrick-min

Picture by Mike Kendrick

The Kruger National Park’s Pafuri Border Camp is what wild dreams are made of. With lush plant growth, serene fever tree forests and epic river gorges, it’s no surprise that many call the Pafuri region Kruger’s Eden. Situated near the confluence of the Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers, Pafuri Border Camp hosts three historic houses: Mockford House, Mockford Cottage and English House. The smallest of the three, Mockford Cottage, is where the Kruger’s spell will captivate you. With a thatched roof, old-school veranda, high ceilings and cement floors, it’s elegant simplicity is what creates the cottage’s special atmosphere. Although Pafuri Border Camp – hugging the Zimbabwean and Mozambican borders – opened onlyin 2015, it’s quickly becoming a favourite amongst Kruger connoisseurs.

Good to know

  • Two bedrooms with en-suite shower and bath facilities
  • Fully equipped kitchenette
  • Dining room and patio
  • Outside braai facility

Reservations: +27 (0)13 735 6873, [email protected]

Compiled by Arnold Ras
Main picture courtesy of CapeNature