The Best Eco Cabins in the Cape

The Best Eco Cabins in the Cape

Because sometimes you have to unplug to recharge…

While the thought of an off-the-grid getaway might be unsettling (even scary) for some, those who’ve done it will attest to the utter exhilaration of being immersed in nature, unplugging from the noise of the city, and getting back to basics. There’s nothing like a generous helping of Mother Nature and a few deep breaths of fresh, country air to set you on the right track.

Fortunately for us, the Cape is dotted with a wonderful selection of innovative retreats that are committed to preserving the planet while offering comfort, style and endless natural beauty.

From mountain-hugging chalets and chic seaside shacks to riverside retreats and cabins in the woods, we’ve rounded up some serene spots that’ll have thrill-seeking glampers, wannabe lumberjacks and Swiss Family Robinson-style adventurers awestruck. Because, ironically, sometimes you have to disconnect to reconnect…

Fynbos Suits on Farm 215

Farm215 Eco Cabins

These splendidly secluded suites offer a tranquil retreat, with views of unspoilt nature as far as the eye can see. And with floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s easy to lose yourself in the spectacular surrounds. The open-plan design connects the bedroom and en-suite bathroom to the lounge, where a woodstove awaits for quiet, cosy nights under the stars.
Where? Gansbaai
Distance from CT 2.5 hours
Eco cred Eco-built cabin that blends seamlessly with the natural landscape.
Onsite and nearby attractions

  • Hiking, mountain-biking and horseback-riding trails on the 800-hectare reserve
  • Wine-tasting at nearby estates
  • Whale-watching (July to November)
  • Shark-cage diving in Kleinbaai   

Cost R1 600 per person sharing (one night)
R1 520 per person sharing (two nights, online booking only)
R1 440 per person sharing (three nights, online booking only)
R1 360 per person sharing (four or more nights, online booking only)

Check availability + Book Direct

Location Farm 215, Gansbaai, Western Cape

The Famtin at Riverstone House

Riverstone Eco Cabins

Situated on the edge of a dam with uninterrupted views of the breathtaking Mostertshoek Mountains is Riverstone’s Famtin, a pet-friendly family getaway that sleeps four. With luxury finishings, a built-in braai, wood-burning stove and uncapped wi-fi (should you need a break from the golden sunsets and starlit sky), it’s a farm stay with a difference.
Where? Wolseley
Distance from CT 1.5 hours
Eco cred Eco-built double-container conversion home
Onsite and nearby attractions

  • Explore the Ceres Valley on the Ceres Railway
  • Horse-riding
  • Wine-tasting at nearby estates
  • Mountain-biking
  • Fruit-picking (depends on season)

Cost R1 600 for two
R350 per extra person
R150 per child (7 – 12 years)
Free (children under 7)

Check availability + Book Direct

Location Palmiet Vlei Farm, Wolseley, Cape Winelands, Western Cape

Rocherpan Nature Reserve Eco Cabins

Rocherpan Nature Reserve Eco Cabins
Wild Card

Hidden in in the wild vegetation of the Cape West Coast, Rocherpan Nature Reserve is a tranquil escape, where fynbos-covered sand dunes, birdsong and crashing waves are welcome substitutes for madding crowds and screeching city roads. The eight self-catering cabins (Coot, Moorhen, Egret, Shoveler, Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Flamingo and Kingfisher – four of which are brand new) range in size, and each offers various amenities with their own unique charm. Together with their majestic location and striking architecture (by architect Justin Cooke), the cabins are the ultimate destination for a serene, no-fuss getaway from the fast-pace of reality.
Where Velddrif (West Coast)
Distance from CT 2 hours
Eco cred Each cabin has its own outdoor tank for water, a solar-powered geyser, and an eco-friendly waterless toilet.
Onsite and nearby attractions

  • Whale-watching during season (June to November)
  • Swimming (in the ocean or the pool; no swimming permitted in the vlei)
  • Mountain-biking on the reserve’s Jeep track (bring your own bike)
  • Picnic at the designated braai area or the lookout point near the beach
  • Walking and hiking on one of the two short hiking trails along the beach or vlei
  • Bird-watching at one of the four resident bird hides
  • On-shore angling (permit required)

Good to know The pan is seasonal, so contact the reserve beforehand if you’d like to know whether there will be any water in present during your stay.
Contact 021 483 0190,
Cost From R850 (off-peak season)
From R1 050 (peak season)
Please note There is an additional conservation fee of R40 (adults) and R20 (children).
Location Rocherpan Nature Reserve, West Coast


Oudrif Eco Cabins

The cottages at Oudrif are the perfect place to get back to nature and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation. Each sleeps two people, and the property only permits 10 guests at a time, ensuring a peaceful atmosphere at all times. Soak up the morning sun from your private verandah before exploring the mountain and dipping in the nearby river (when it’s sunny, of course).
Where? Clanwilliam
Distance from CT 3 – 4 hours
Eco cred The cottages were built using locally sourced materials, such as straw bales for the walls and roof, eucalyptus timber poles, and all the fittings were sourced from demolished buildings. The ground was levelled by hand; no heavy machinery was brought onto the site. The cottages are also completely independent of the municipal electricity and water grids. They’re also big on recycling and growing their own organic food.
Onsite and nearby attractions

  • Annual flower-gazing (end-July to September)
  • Swimming and relaxing by the river
  • Fishing
  • Paddling on the river
  • Star-gazing
  • Hiking to historic rock-art sites
  • Birding-watching
  • Visit to the nearby Rooibos Tea Farm

Contact 027 482 2397,
Cost R1 250 per person per night (includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and guided walks weather permitting)
Good to know Children under 14 years are permitted with group bookings only by prior arrangement, but pets are not.
Location Clanwilliam, Western Cape

Cliffhanger Cottages

Cliffhanger Cottages Eco Cabins
Safari Now

As the name suggests, this elevated log cabin overlooks the lush Knysna forest. The views are incredible, and the cabin itself is spacious and comfortable, with a living room warmed by a fireplace, and a semi-enclosed deck where guests can enjoy sundowners as they gaze out upon the rolling blanket of greenery.
Where? Rheenendal, near Knysna
Distance from CT 5.5 hours
Eco cred The owners are intent on preserving the natural environment and have taken a number of steps to achieve that end, such as harvesting rainwater, the use of nontoxic and biodegradable cleaning products, and efforts to eradicate alien vegetation.
Onsite and nearby attractions

  • Hiking and mountain-biking trails
  • Knysna Lagoon
  • Millwood Forest
  • Buffalo Bay (a blue-flag beach)
  • Restaurants and shops in Knysna

Cost R675 – R730 per person (depending on season)
Rates valid until 7 December 2018

Check availability + Book Direct

Location The Surfboard, Rheenendal Road (via N2)

Goatherds House at Matroosberg

Matroosberg Eco Cabins

The Goatherds House at Matroosberg is as secluded as it gets, no-one will disturb you or hear you scream… with laughter at the antics of your holiday companions. This 100-year-old six-sleeper stone house is full of rustic charm, with a hot-water shower, flushing toilet, gas fridge, hotplate and lovely fireplace to keep out the snow-ridden cold in winter.
Where? Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve
Distance from CT 2 hours
Eco cred Eco build and no electricity.
Onsite and nearby attractions

  • Mountain-biking and quad-biking
  • Farm drives
  • Hiking, snowboarding, kloofing and abseiling
  • Paintball
  • Fishing
  • Paddocks available to bring your horses for riding

Contact 023 312 2282,
Cost R2 400 per unit (weekend, no single night bookings allowed)
R1 100 per unit (two or more nights midweek)
R1 300 per unit (one night only, midweek)
Please note Gate closes at 9pm on Friday, check-ins after 9pm require a R50 call-out fee.
Location Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve, Farm Erfdeel, Matroosberg, Breede River, Western Cape

Teniqua Treetops

Teniqua Treetops-Eco Cabins
Safari Now

This eco-friendly lodge takes glamping to another level… a few levels above the ground, to be precise. These spacious treehouses, spread out over a wide area to ensure inhabitants have their privacy, have been carefully constructed so as to avoid any damage to the surrounding environment. If you’re looking for an escape, no-one’s likely to find you up here, except the occasional bird.
Each treehouse has a self-catering kitchen, comfortable sleeping areas with electric blankets, heating, tents that can be zipped closed, and an open deck with a braai.
Where? Between Knysna and Sedgefield
Distance from CT 5.5 hours
Eco cred The environmentally conscious resort strives to promote energy efficiency, using rainwater for drinking, and the nearby river for bathing and showering facilities (the water is tested first, of course).They also rescue horses and provide them with sanctuary at the resort, where they help keep the grass in good condition.
Good to know The resort is wheelchair friendly
Onsite and nearby attractions

  • Hiking trails (including a river walk that leads down to Karatara gorge)
  • Swimming pool
  • Solar-heated Jacuzzi
  • Indoor games room
  • Sedgefield market on Saturday mornings
  • Bird-watching

Cost One-bedroom family treehouse (sleeps 5): R1 610 per night
Two-bedroom family treehouse (sleeps 5): R1 975 per night
Honeymoon treehouse (sleeps 2): R1 332 per night

Check availability + Book Direct

Location Barrington Road (via N2, Karatara/Ruigtevlei turn-off)

Peace of Eden

Peace of Eden Eco Cabins

Like something out of a mythical fairytale, the lush surrounds of this Nature Lodge and Vegan Retreat outside Knysna, make for immediate relaxation. The rustic cabins are individually decorated, and offer guests an escape from the bustle of the neighbouring towns.
Stay in one of the converted stable cottages, a timber barn cabin, or an old-style canvas tent, whose spacious wooden deck is the perfect place to enjoy your morning coffee to the sounds of chirping birds and rustling leaves. Spending your days exploring the untouched surrounding nature, refueling for a bite at the resident vegan Forest Café.
Where? Knysna
Distance from CT 5.5 hours
Eco cred Having had been an eco-haven since 1993, the retreat utilises a number of eco-friendly methods, including natural nontoxic fertiliser for the garden, organically grown fruit and vegetables for the on-site café, filtered water from the pond for accommodation units, greywater and avid recycling systems, and energy-save light bulbs where possible.
Onsite and nearby attractions

  • Meandering forest walks down to a tranquil stream
  • Sunset vegetable-picking and cooking under the stars
  • Lounge by the lily pond
  • On-site Forest Café
  • Guided forest and nature walks
  • Birding tours
  • Canoeing on the river
  • Aroma massages

Cost From R150 – R1500

Check availability + Book Direct

Location Rheenendal Road, Knysna, Garden Route

Old Olive Cabin at Platbos

Platbos Eco Cabins
A Blonde and a Beard

Set in an ancient forest, Platbos is privately owned by conservationists intent on preserving its rich diversity of flora and fauna, which includes thousand-year-old milkwood trees, bushbucks, baboons and even some leopards.
The cosy Old Olive Cabin (one of several unique accommodation options available at this reserve) makes for an immersive forest retreat. Situated close to an 800-year-old Wild Olive tree, it includes a fully equipped kitchen, open-air shower, fireplaces (indoor and out) and braai facilities.
Where? Gansbaai
Distance from CT 2.5 hours
Eco cred The entire site is effectively off-the-grid, utilising solar-powered lighting and old-school donkey boilers to heat the water. Other ecofriendly facilities include composting and waterless toilets. All this, in addition to the various conservation and reforestation projects undertaken by the reserve.
Onsite and nearby attractions

  • Forest trails
  • A labyrinth made from mother-of-pearl sea shells
  • Platbos Forest Tree Nursery
  • Grootbos Nature Reserve
  • Restaurants and shops in Stanford and Hermanus
  • Klein River Cheese Farm

Cost R850 (two adults)
R950 (three adults)
R1 150 (four adults)

Check Availability + Book Direct
Location Gansbaai (via N2, R43)

Fountain Shack

Fountain Shack Eco Cabins
Wild Card

Perched on the shore-hugging slopes of the wondrous Robberg Nature Reserve (just eight kilometres from the upmarket resort town of Plettenberg Bay), this eco cabin is the answer to all your laid-back getaway dreams. Sufficiently close to Plett, yet remote enough to be only reachable by two hours on foot, this is a tranquil-escape-meets-seaside-holiday come true. on a Wake up to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore below, and spend your days exploring the nature, with relaxed strolls along the beach and cliffs. The uncomplicated cabin (kitted with four bunk beds to sleep up to eight people) is peaceful, rustic comfort at its best.
Where? Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenberg Bay
Distance from CT 6 hours
Eco cred The cabin has an outdoor water tank for the shower and taps, as well as an Enviro Loo (a toilet that uses a waterless sanitation system), solar power for lighting, and a solar-operated freezer.
Onsite and nearby attractions

  • Whale-watching during season (June to November)
  • Picnic at one of three viewing decks on the reserve
  • Three circular hiking routes, ranging from a 30-minute stroll to a four-hour hike. All offer fantastic views, brisk sea air and sightings of the birds of the peninsula
  • Bird-watching at the reserve’s seagull nursery of kelp gulls
  • Angling (only surf and rock-angling allowed with a permit)
  • Dune-climbing on the majestic ever-changing sand dune (one of only seven on the coastline)

Contact 021 483 0190,
Cost R920 (off-peak season)
R1 830 (peak season)
R320 (additional person per night, maximum 8)
Good to know There is an additional conservation fee of R40 (adults) and R20 (children).
Location Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route

Reflections Eco Reserve

Reflections Eco Reserve Eco Cabins

These spacious wooden chalets scattered around the lush Rondevlei wetlands of Reflections Eco Reserve, between Wilderness and Sedgefield, provide the ultimate destination for off-the-grid living, with a side of comfort. Surrounded by the Garden Route National Park, the reserve is full of thriving indigenous vegetation and wildlife – not to mention a mere 15 minutes away from picturesque swimming beaches – making it a wonderful nature getaway. With only four chalets (each catering for up to four adults and two children) on the entire 28-hectare property, privacy is a given.
Where? Wilderness
Distance from CT 4.5 hours
Eco cred The whole property is powered by wind turbines and solar power, and the chalets themselves are built with natural materials. They also have a conservation project underway to eliminate alien plant species and return the land back to its natural state. And, as a designated Ramsar site, no boating or fishing is permitted on the vlei to ensure a tranquil atmosphere and thriving birdlife.
Onsite and nearby attractions

  • Popular Wilderness swimming beaches only 15 minutes away
  • Full access to the Garden Route National Park, meaning untouched beaches, and forest, mountain, and birding walks a short stroll away
  • For animal lovers: over 140 species of birds frequent the vlei (including majestic fish eagles) as well as regular sightings of the Cape clawless otter, water mongoose, caracal, bushpig, grysbok and grey duiker

Cost R1 850 per unit

Check Availability + Book Direct
Location Rondevlei, Wilderness, Garden Route

Research by Alicia Chamaillé, Kent Cloete, Matthew Flax and Georgie Visser

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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 06 June 2018