The 21 Best Nature Reserve Getaways in The Cape

The 21 Best Nature Reserve Getaways in The Cape Morukuru

If you prefer birdsong and bushveld to sirens and skyscrapers, may we recommend these soul-enriching getaways in the Cape.

Whether your ideal getaway involves rock-hopping along a gurgling river, getting lost in the sacred silence of an ancient forest, or contemplating the horizon in a deserted desertscape, these awe-inspiring getaways will help you unplug and recharge.

Do you know of any memorable nature reserves you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments below.

Morukuru Beach Lodge at De Hoop Nature Reserve

Morukuru: The Best Nature Reserve
Morukuru Accommodation: The Best Nature Reserve
Morukuru Activities: The Best Nature Reserve
Morukuru Interiors: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 3 hours
Setting De Hoop Nature Reserve, along the scenic Whale Route, is a lesser-known seaside sanctuary characterised by a dreamy vlei and vast, wide-open spaces. Surrounded by rare fynbos, scattered seashells, majestic sand dunes and a diverse selection of game (including bontebok, Cape mountain zebra, eland, grey rhebok, yellow mongoose and even the shy caracal and leopard), the reserve is the epitome of an ideal unspoilt retreat. The contemporary, faultlessly five-star lodge has been designed to maximise – and pay respect – to its surrounds.
The lodgings

  • five-star eco lodge standing between veld and sea
  • five stylish en-suite luxury bedrooms (four ocean-facing, one dune-facing)
  • narrow balcony, revealing a 51-kilometre stretch of beach and the ocean beyond
  • sea-facing daybed, cosy fireplace and lounge area
  • large outdoor deck with a swimming pool and Jacuzzi
  • large outdoor deck with fireplace
  • communal tea-and-coffee nooks
  • outdoor hot-water tub
  • complimentary use of all outdoor equipment (snorkels, masks, water shoes, wetsuits, mountain bikes, sand boards, ponchos, gumboots, beach umbrella, towels)
  • hot-water bottles at turndown
  • unhindered whale-watching views during season (from July to mid-October)

Things to do From swimming, snorkelling and sand-boarding to fynbos hikes, marine walks, bike rides and picnics on the beach, there’s loads to keep you relaxed (and busy). After easing into the day with a scrumptious breakfast, there’s the option of joining one of the knowledgeable guides for a marine walk, relaxed dune stroll, or an excursion to the nature reserve. There’s no pressure to go along, but the guides are fonts of information, so it’s well worth it. And, of course, there’s the pool deck, complete with a Jacuzzi – the only place to be on chilly evenings…
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R6 500 per person per night (depending on season)
Check Availability + Book Direct
Where to find it De Hoop Nature Reserve, Overberg, Western Cape

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Grootbos: The Best Nature Reserve
Grootbos Bathroom: The Best Nature Reserve
Grootbos Dining: The Best Nature Reserve
Grootbos Activities: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 2 hours
Setting Set in an indigenous fynbos forest amid rolling hills of ancient milkwood trees, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is an extraordinary place where endless nature and tranquil luxury converge. With views right down to the whale-watching capital of Walker Bay, this slice of serenity is a haven for nature-lovers and gourmet travellers alike.
The lodgings
Garden Lodge:

  • 11 luxury suites
  • landscaped gardens
  • panoramic ocean views
  • restaurant, lounge, boma, and barista bar
  • beauty salon and library
  • swimming pool

Forest Lodge:

  • 16 luxury free-standing suites with fireplaces
  • private forest walkways
  • sweeping fynbos, forest, and ocean views
  • restaurant, lounge, boma, and barista bar
  • beauty salon and library
  • infinity pool

Two Private Villas:

  • one six bedroom villa
  • one four bedroom villa
  • private chef, butler, and nature guides
  • private swimming pool, cinema, wine cellar and gym

Things to do With so many unique and enriching ways to explore and experience the surrounds, Grootbos is a destination in its own right. These include guided nature walks and hikes, horse-riding, bird-watching, unique botanical safaris, the art of beekeeping, cooking classes, and beauty treatments. Marine safaris, microlight flights, quad biking, river cruises and whale watching can also be arranged by the hotel.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost Forest Lodge: From R8 610 per night for two people (depending on season)
Garden Lodge: From R11 480 per night for two people (depending on season)
Four-bedroom Villa: Please enquire for rates.
Six-bedroom Villa: Please enquire for rates.
Check Availability + Book Direct
Where to find it R43, Gansbaai, Western Cape

Oudebosch Eco Cabins at Kogelberg Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 2 hours
Setting Situated in what is widely considered one of the most beautiful of CapeNature’s protected areas, the Oudebosch Eco Cabins were caringly designed by architect Justin Cooke. Surrounded by teeming birdlife, untouched fynbos plains and cascading waterfalls, the modern, glass-fronted cabins maximise the awe-inspiring views of the hidden valley that lies between the Hottentots Holland mountain range.
The lodgings

  • five cabins, namely Erica, Marsh Rose, Fire Lily, Iris and Everlasting Daisy
  • each features two bedrooms, a bathroom, spacious kitchen, lounge and dining area
  • outdoor deck and braai area
  • indoor fireplace
  • solar-powered geyser
  • central ecological pool

Things to do Those with a passion for adventure sports will relish in white-water rafting and kayaking on the Palmiet River (with SA Forest Adventures or Gravity Adventures), as well as mountain-biking along the 22km Jeep track through the Kogelberg Valley. And, if you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, you can go swimming in the Palmiet River, bird-watch from the boardwalk or bird hide, visit the penguins at the African penguin colony at Stony Point, or watch the majestic whales during season (June to November). There are also various hiking and walking trails around the reserve.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R1 170 per night (depending on season)
Please note Some areas of the reserve have been affected by the recent Betty’s Bay fires. There is a conservation fee: R40 (adults), R20 (children) and R60 (group activities). There is no cellphone reception in the reserve.
Enquire Now
Where to find it Kogelberg Nature Reserve, Overberg, Western Cape

Fynbos Suites at Farm 215 Nature Retreat and Fynbos Reserve

Farm 215 Exterior: The Best Nature Reserve
Farm 215 Activities: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 2.5 hours
Setting Situated in the breathtaking Uilkraal Valley – somewhere between Stanford and Cape Agulhas – Farm 215 Nature Retreat and Fynbos Reserve is dream getaway for botanical buffs and those who prize silence and wide-open spaces. The sweeping views, enveloping fynbos, and the silence of the landscape create an overriding sense of tranquillity and seclusion, while the wonderful lodgings whisper luxurious comfort.
The lodgings

  • three secluded fynbos suites
  • vineyard, dam and fynbos views
  • wooden sundeck
  • floor-to-ceiling windows
  • open-plan bedroom, en-suite bathroom, and lounge
  • wood-burning stove

Things to do The 800-hectare reserve offers over 30 kilometres of hiking, mountain-biking and horseback-riding trails, while nearby attractions include wine-tasting at Lomond Wine Estate (booking is essential) and whale-watching in Walker Bay.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R1 650 per person per night sharing, includes breakfast (depending on season)
Please note The above cost is inclusive of VAT
Check Availability + Book Direct
Where to find it Farm 215, Gansbaai, Western Cape

Mosaic Lagoon Lodge at Mosaic Private Sanctuary

Mosaic Lagoon Lodge: The Best Nature Reserve
Mosaic Lagoon Lodge Room: The Best Nature Reserve
Mosaic Lagoon Lodge Activities: The Best Nature Reserve
Mosaic Lagoon Lodge Pool: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 2 hours
Setting With the great outdoors on your doorstep, this picture-perfect private sanctuary is the sort of place city-weary souls come to recharge. Uninterrupted views of the Hermanus Lagoon and surrounding mountains will surely clear the cobwebs, as you wallow in your private chalet or stone cottage, with only the calls of roaming birdlife to break the tranquil silence.
The lodgings
Lagoon Lodge Suites:

  • five safari-style suites
  • king-size bedroom and an en-suite bathroom with a bath and shower
  • lounge area with fireplace
  • outdoor shower
  • communal plunge pool

Mosaic Cottages:

  • four spacious cottages varying in size (namely Duminy, Milkwood Trail, Garden Trail, and Fynbos Trail)
  • each is equipped with a number of bedrooms and an open-plan living area
  • each has kitchen facilities and outdoor patios (with braai facilities and indoor fireplaces)

Things to do In addition to mountain and nature walks, and a plethora of lagoon activities, such as boat cruises, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding, adventure types can go mountain-biking and quad-biking through the fynbos.
There’s also a beach excursion onboard Mosaic’s 4×4 vehicle, where guests can take a trip along Walker Bay Beach and Nature Reserve in search of wildlife and vegetation. If relaxation is more your thing, book a spa treatment at Rain Milkwood Spa, and then enjoy a meal at Mosaic Lagoon Café housed in the historic (and reportedly haunted) Spookhuis.
Child friendly? Yes – children 4 years and older are welcome at the Lagoon Lodge, while the cottages are open to children of all ages.
Pet friendly? No
Cost Mosaic Cottages: From R1 360 per cottage per night (depending on season)
Lagoon Suites: From R2 800 per person sharing per night (depending on season)
Check Availability + Book Direct
Where to find it Mosaic Private Sanctuary, Stanford, Western Cape

7 Koppies

7 Koppies Farm Nature Reserve
7 Koppies Farm Aerial View Nature Reserve
7 Koppies Farm Bedroom Nature Reserve
7 Koppies Farm Bathroom Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 1 hour
Setting Perched on a small hill, reached by a winding dirt road, 7 Koppies is tastefully quirky five-bedroom farmhouse in the Franschhoek Valley with spectacular, unhindered views of vineyards, the Simonsberg mountains and an eminently hikeable fynbos reserve – all of which are best enjoyed at sunset, with a glass of vino, from the edge of the 25-metre-long pool.
The lodgings

  • three en-suite rooms (The Garden Room, The Orchard Room, and The Mountain Room)
  • two spacious en-suite suites (The Valley Suite and The Courtyard Suite)
  • all rooms feature king-size beds and organic cotton bedding
  • open-plan communal lounge, fully equipped kitchen and dining area
  • 25-metre-long lap pool
  • outdoor terrace
  • manicured gardens
  • daily service
  • daily breakfast
  • laundry service
  • house manager
  • butler
  • security guard

Things to do Savour the silence and serenity that can only be found at the top of a mountain from the edge of the 25-metre-long pool the pool, or go for a stroll (or hike) in the privately owned fynbos reserve.
Franschhoek’s buzzy centre is a mere 10-minute drive away, where you’ll find a clutch of acclaimed restaurants, galleries and shops. Of course, this is wine country, and you’ll be spoilt for choice with the abundance of top-notch farms in the area.
Child friendly? No
Pet friendly? No
Cost Rooms: From R4 000 per room per night (depending on season)
Suites: From R5 000 per suite per night (depending on season)
Exclusive use (sleeps 11): From R25 000 – R50 000 per night
CHECK AVAILABILITY + BOOK DIRECT
Where to find it 7 Koppies Farm, R301, Wemmershoek, Franschhoek, Western Cape

Reflections Eco Reserve

Reflections: The Best Nature Reserve
Reflections Cabins: The Best Nature Reserve
Reflections Bathroom: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 4.5 hours
Setting Surrounded by the Garden Route National Park, 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. The reserve is full of thriving indigenous vegetation and wildlife – and a mere 15 minutes away from beautiful swimming beaches – making it a wonderful nature getaway. With only four chalets and two luxury tents on the entire 42-hectare property, privacy is a given.
The lodgings
Chalets:

  • four spacious wooden eco-chalets
  • two bedrooms, an upstairs loft and bathroom with a bath
  • open-plan, fully equipped kitchen, lounge and dining area
  • indoor fireplace
  • wraparound deck with a braai and seating area

Luxury Tents:

  • two glamping tents
  • open-plan interior with a bed, bathroom and fully equipped kitchenette
  • private braai area

Things to do The popular Wilderness swimming beaches are only 15 minutes away, while
the entire Garden Route National Park – including untouched beaches, forests, mountains and birding walks – is on your doorstep. Animal lovers will be happy to know that 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.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost Luxury Tents: From R1 000 per night (depending on season)
Chalets: From R1 850 per night (depending on season)
Check Availability + Book Direct
Where to find it Rondevlei, Wilderness, Garden Route, Western Cape

Rocherpan Nature Reserve Eco Cabins

Distance from CT 2 hours
Setting Hidden in in the wild vegetation of the Cape West Coast, Rocherpan Nature Reserve is a tranquil escape, where fynbos-covered sand dunes, an abundance of birdlife and crashing waves are welcome substitutes for madding crowds and screeching city roads. Their majestic location and striking architecture (by architect Justin Cooke) make the cabins the ultimate destination for a serene, no-fuss getaway from the fast-pace of reality.
The lodgings

  • eight self-catering cabins ranging in size, namely Coot, Moorhen, Egret, Shoveler, Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Flamingo and Kingfisher
  • all feature a double bed, two single beds and two single day beds
  • en-suite bathroom
  • outdoor braai area
  • outdoor water tank, solar-powered geyser and an eco-friendly waterless toilet

Things to do A plethora of activities await at this nature haven, including 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), enjoying a 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, and bird-watching at one of the four resident bird hides. On-shore angling is also allowed for those with a permit.
Good to know The pan is seasonal, so contact the reserve beforehand if you’d like to know whether there will be any water during your stay.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R850 per night (depending on season)
Please note There is a conservation fee: R40 (adults) and R20 (children).
Enquire Now
Where to find it Rocherpan Nature Reserve, West Coast, Western Cape

The Storytellers at Rocklands

Storytellers: The Best Nature Reserve
Storytellers Accommodation: The Best Nature Reserve
Storytellers Bathroom: The Best Nature Reserve
Storytellers Outside The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 2.5 hours
Setting Located in Rocklands in the Northern Cederberg near Clanwilliam, this hidden gem offers a unique glamping experience, surrounded by rugged but spectacularly beautiful rock formations. Home to a scattering of ancient bush art, small antelope and an abundance of fynbos, this culturally-rich escape is wonderful for those looking to rough it in style.
The lodgings

  • three large luxury tents, namely Dassie Den, Porcupine Place and Tortoise Terrace
  • each unit features a double bed and a bunk bed, a sheltered roof canopy, and a private bathroom
  • the site is 90% off-grid, with solar-powered hot water and lights, and electrified fridges at Dassie and Tortoise now
  • each site has its own gas stove and braai facilities

Things to do Walking trails such as the Kloof Walking Trail, the Waterfall Trail and the longer Heuningvlei trail are a great way to explore the spectacular surrounds on foot, before cooling off with a dip in the farm lake. Adventure lovers will enjoy bouldering in the Rocklands, while creative types can learn how to incorporate medicinal plants into daily life at The Storytellers Fynbos Apothecary.
Good to know From 1 April there will be a fourth lodging introduced – a wonderful bohemian cottage built around an old caravan. Subscribe to our newsletter for up-to-the-minute details.
Insider tip Make a pit stop at De Tol farm stall on the Piekenierskloof Pass in Citrusdal. Stretch your legs with brekkie, brunch or lunch at the restaurant, or take away a toasted sarmie and some freshly made filter coffee. They don’t make places like this anymore!
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? Yes
Cost From R625 per night (sleeps 4 people, depending on season)
Check Availability + Book Direct
Where to find it R364, Rocklands, Clanwilliam

Die Aap Farm Lodge & Private Nature Reserve

Die Aap: The Best Nature Reserve
Die Aap Exterior: The Best Nature Reserve
Die Aap Interior: The Best Nature Reserve
Die Aap Lounge: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 5 hours
Setting Hidden at the far end of the scenic Meiringspoort Pass, among the slopes of the Swartberg Mountain range, this 2 200-hectare farm and nature reserve is a wonderful spot for those seeking a Karoo hideaway. The peaceful Karoo farm is home to an exclusive self-catering lodge that dates back to 1825, the quiet, historic charm of which blends seamlessly with the modern interior design, allowing for the peaceful Klein Karoo landscape to take centre stage. Home to a small selection of indigenous antelope, birds and reptiles, this beautifully restored retreat is a nature-lover’s dream.
The lodgings

  • stylishly and architecturally restored manor house featuring four en-suite bedrooms varying in size
  • private outside patio with a seating area and sweeping views
  • large swimming pool
  • outside fire pit
  • open-plan modern kitchen, dining and lounge area encased in floor-to-ceiling glass windows with a log and gas fireplace

Things to do The dreamy pool is the perfect spot to soak up the beauty of the surrounds, and if you’re looking to get out and explore the area, the guided eco-drives, bush-walking and mountain-biking trails are a great way to do so. The untarnished Klein Karoo sky is also a dream for those who enjoy stargazing.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R5 750 per night (exclusive use, depending on season)
Check Availability + Book Direct
Where to find it Farm Gideonshoop, Klaarstroom (near Prince Albert), Western Cape

Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve

Kagga Kamma: The Best Nature Reserve
Kagga Kamma Caves: The Best Nature Reserve
Kagga Kamma Activities: The Best Nature Reserve
Kagga Kamma Accommodation: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 3.5 hours
Setting Located far from the hustle and bustle of Cape Town city, and surrounded by the stark wilderness of the Cederberg, Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve offers unique accommodation and breathtaking views of unspoilt nature and the night sky. Home to resident animal species such as antelope, ostrich, lynx, jackal and the spectacular, but very rarely seen, Cape Mountain leopard, it’s the sort of place where unforgettable memories are made.
The lodgings
Cave Suites:

  • 10 man-made cave suites built into the rockface
  • double bed and en-suite bathroom
  • air-conditioning
  • small terrace with a view
  • tea- and coffee-making facilities

Hut Suites:

  • five spacious thatched hut suites
  • twin beds or king-size bed and en-suite bathroom
  • air-conditioning
  • double sleeper couch
  • tea- and coffee-making facilities

Sky Suite:

  • open-air suite nestled in a rocky outcrop on one of the highest peaks of the reserve
  • queen-size bed
  • open-air shower
  • wood-fired hot tub
  • boma braai

Star Suite:

  • open-air suite perched on a private platform overlooking the plains
  • queen-size bed
  • natural rock pool
  • outdoor bath and shower

Swartrug Campsite:

  • five stands (each without power)
  • communal warm-water facility and swimming pool

Bobbejaanskraans Campsite:

  • one site (accessible by 4x4s only)
  • no designated camping stands, no electricity, no ablution facilities, no water

Things to do The reserve has a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and spa (for days spent lounging around). There are also numerous hiking, mountain-biking and Jeep trails in the surrounding nature reserve, as well as nature and game drives, sundowner tours, quad-biking, stargazing, reptile educational talks presented by qualified snake handlers, and tours of ancient rock art sites, with paintings dating back 6 000 years.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost Bobbejaanskraans Campsite: From R97 per night (depending on season)
Swartrug Campsite: From R135 per night (depending on season)
Hut Suites: From R1 264 per person per night sharing (depending on season)
Cave Suites: From R1 264 per person per night sharing (depending on season)
Sky Suite (available during summer only): From R1 210 per person per night sharing(depending on season)
Star Suite (available during summer only): From R1 210 per person per night sharing (depending on season)
Check Availability + Book Direct
Where to find it R303, Koue Bokkeveld, Cederberg, Western Cape

Xami Eco Lodge at Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

Xami Outside: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 5 hours
Setting This nature reserve, whose name is derived from the Khoi word gami (meaning lion), encompasses the serene and silent landscape of the Little Karoo. Cape Mountain zebra, aardvarks and all manner of game wander the region, while some areas of the reserve are only accessible via hiking trail or 4×4, making it all the more of an escape into nature.
The lodgings

  • one bedroom open-plan eco lodge with en-suite bathroom
  • open-plan lounge, fully-equipped kitchen and braai area
  • view-drenched private deck with a plunge pool and outdoor seating area

Things to do Venture into the breathtaking surrounds on one of the many hiking and walking trails (both day and overnight trails, for those feeling adventurous), or a 4×4 trail. There are also rock-climbing areas for those looking to stay active, and a tranquil nearby picnic spot if you’re in the mood for an alfresco lunch.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R950 per night (depending on season)
Enquire Now
Where to find it Oudtshoorn (via N1, R60, R62), Western Cape

Fountain Shack at Robberg Nature Reserve

Fountain Shack Lanscape: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 6 hours
Setting Located in a dreamy, shore-hugging reserve, dotted with ancient history and majestic rock artefacts, Robberg Nature Reserve is not only a slice of paradise; it also happens to be a World Heritage Site. Though it’s just eight kilometres from the upmarket resort town of Plettenberg Bay, you’ll feel a million miles from cosmopolitanism. Wake up to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore below, and spend your days exploring nature, with relaxed strolls along the beach and cliffs, as you look out for the rare blue duiker antelope, dolphins, whales, and, of course, the occasional seal.
The lodgings

  • rustic, remote wooden cabin reachable only by two hours on foot
  • four bunk beds
  • separate bathroom with a shower
  • fully equipped kitchen facilities
  • view-drenched deck with an outdoor braai

Things to do This scenic spot is the perfect place to whale-watch during season (June to November), where you have a front-row seat of the ocean from your private deck.
The active-inclined will enjoy the three circular hiking routes, ranging from a 30-minute stroll to a four-hour hike – all of which offer fantastic views, brisk sea air and sightings of the birds of the peninsula. There’s also angling (only surf and rock-angling allowed with a permit) and
dune-climbing on the majestic, ever-changing sand dune (one of only seven on the
coastline). Those looking to relax will love a picnic at one of three viewing decks on the reserve as they soak up the surrounds.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R960 per night (depending on season)
Please note There is an additional conservation fee of R40 (adults) and R20 (children)
Enquire Now
Where to find it Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route, Western Cape

Misty Mountain Reserve

Misty Mountains: The Best Nature Reserve
Misty Mountains Exterior: The Best Nature Reserve
Misty Mountains Outside: The Best Nature Reserve
Misty Mountains Balcony The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 6.5 hours
Setting Perched on the edge of the Tsitsikamma coastline, overlooking the Indian Ocean below, Misty Mountain Reserve is a plush green paradise nestled in a tropical terrain. In addition to uninterrupted views of the splashing sea below, the reserve boasts a tranquil dam and forest, home to an abundance of plant and birdlife.
The lodgings
Ocean View Lodges:

  • eight ocean view chalets, divided into the self-catering, family, standard, and honeymoon
  • each feature their own private sea-facing balcony with 180-degree ocean views
  • open-plan bedroom, lounge and kitchen area
  • en-suite bathroom with spa bath and shower offering eco-friendly toiletries
  • braai facilities
  • full access to the on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner

Forest View Tented Lodge:

  • one luxury tent situated in the plush forest at the end of a boardwalk
  • large wooden deck with views of the Tsitsikamma Forest
  • open-plan bedroom, living area and bathroom with bath and shower
  • canvas panels open all around
  • outside shower

Lake Side Tented Lodge:

  • three luxury tents on the banks of the dam
  • large wooden deck with views of the Tsitsikamma mountains and green plains
  • open-plan bedroom, living area and bathroom with bath and shower
  • canvas panels open all around

Things to do With guided hiking trails, scenic forest walks, fun footgolf, 9-Hole mashie chip and wedge golf, four mountain bike routes (bring your own bike), freshwater fishing, and even a quad-bike tour through the Tsitsikamma Forest, there’s no shortage of exhilarating activities at this picturesque retreat. The Tsitsikamma area is also home to a number of wild-animal sanctuaries, and outdoor activities fit for daredevils, including canopy tours, bungee-jumping, ziplining, and segway tours, to name a few.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost Ocean View Lodges: From R1 400 per person per night sharing (depending on season)
Lake Side Tented Lodge: From R1 400 per person per night sharing (depending on season)
Forest View Tented Lodge: From R1 511 per person per night sharing (depending on season)
Enquire Now
Where to find it Farm 438, Storms River, Tsitsikamma, Garden Route, Western Cape

Welbedacht Game & Nature Reserve

Welbedacht: The Best Nature Reserve
Welbedacht Exterior: The Best Nature Reserve
Welbedacht Outside: The Best Nature Reserve
Welbedacht outside walk: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 1.5 hours
Setting Nestled in the scenic Tulbagh Valley, a short drive from the bustling centre of Cape Town, Welbedacht Game & Nature Reserve offers a pristine countryside setting that’s ideal for a break away from it all. Pine trees, fynbos, valley views, and towering snow-capped mountains (during season) hug the quaint reserve, which is home to resident horses, roaming springbok, zebra and bontebok, among many more smaller wildlife species.
The lodgings
Cottages:

  • four cottages, namely Orchard, Eagle, Stone and Pine, varying in size
  • each is self-catering and features one or two en-suite bedrooms
  • open-plan lounge and kitchenette with a fireplace
  • outdoor shaded patio with a braai area
  • private plunge pool with mountain and valley views

The Blue Butterfly:

  • large self-catering house in a converted barn sleeping 18 people
  • seven en-suite units – two lofts, two garden suites and three garden cabins
  • large farm-style kitchen and open-plan lounge with a fireplace
  • spacious covered patio overlooking lush, private gardens
  • private braai facilities and outdoor dining area

Things to do The quaint town of Tulbagh is known for its art galleries, cafés, curio shops, and surrounding wineries only a short drive away. Activity-seekers will enjoy the nature trails, mountain-biking, and swimming in the reserve dam, while wildlife aficionados will relish the resident birdlife, horse-riding and fishing.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? Yes, by arrangement
Cost Cottages: From R1 210 per night
The Blue Butterfly: From R465 per person per night (minimum 10 people)
Check Availability + Book Direct
Where to find it Tulbagh Valley, Western Cape

Gecko Rock Private Nature Reserve

Gecko: The Best Nature Reserve
Gecko Exterior: The Best Nature Reserve
Gecko Night: The Best Nature Reserve
Gecko Outside: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 2.5 hours
Setting Surrounded by prehistoric rock formations and the lunar-esque landscape of the Karoo, Gecko Rock Private Nature Reserve boasts a wild terrain home to a number of small wildlife and indigenous plant species. Hidden away from it all, this scenic escape is frequented by springbok, gemsbok, zebra, grey rhebuck, duiker, steenbokkie, klipspringer, and even the elusive leopard, aardvark, African wild cat, caracal and honey badger – not to mention an abundance of birdlife, too.
The lodgings
Wooden Cabins:

  • three spacious cabins sleeping six in an open-plan interior
  • modern, fully equipped kitchen area
  • six-seater dining table, couch, and coffee table
  • outdoor patio with a seating area and moveable braai
  • external bathroom facilities in ablution block

Rheboksvlakte Cottage:

  • secluded wooden cottage with a double en-suite bedroom
  • small fully equipped kitchenette
  • private outdoor patio with uninterrupted views, a braai and seating area

Things to do Wide-open spaces and endless terrain ensure a bevy of exciting activities at this scenic location. Adventure lovers will enjoy the challenging off-road 4×4 trails, 4×2 trails and mountain-biking, abseil, rock climbing and running adventures, while those looking to get in touch with nature in a more relaxed manner will love the hiking trails, stargazing, flower tours, and photo opportunities.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? Yes
Cost Wooden Cabins: From R350 per person per night for six people (depending on season)
Rheboksvlakte Cottage: From R800 per night for two people (depending on season)
Enquire Now
Where to find it Touws River, Nougaspoort Valley, Breede Valley, Western Cape

Rivers Own Guest Lodge on Mount Bain Nature Reserve

Rivers Own Guest Lodge: The Best Nature Reserve
Rivers Own Guest Lodge River: The Best Nature Reserve
Rivers Own Guest Lodge Rooms: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 1 hour
Setting The serene Mount Bain Nature Reserve, situated in the breathtaking Breede Valley, immediately transports you into the bliss of the countryside. Surrounded by vineyards and towering mountains, with the tranquil calls of birdlife and the softly flowing Witte River running through it, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d travelled across country.
The lodgings

  • five-bedroom holiday house perched on the banks of the river
  • five bathrooms (four of which are en-suite)
  • lounge with a TV and fireplace
  • fully equipped kitchen, and a tea and coffee station
  • spacious outdoor seating area with a braai
  • deckchairs, swimming pool, and private access to the crystal-clear river on your doorstep

Things to do Go for a dip in the river (a literal stone’s throw away), or soak up the beauty of the surrounds with a walk in the fynbos-riddled hills. Bird-watching, mountain-biking and swimming in waterfalls and natural pools are a must for nature-lovers.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? Yes, on request
Cost From R3 500 per night on weeknights (depending on season)
From R5 000 per night on weekends (depending on season)
Check Availability + Book Direct
Where to find it Mount Bain Nature Reserve, Breede Valley (near Wolseley), Western Cape

Buffelsfontein Game & Nature Reserve

Buffelsfontein: The Best Nature Reserve
Buffelsfontein Exterior: The Best Nature Reserve
Buffelsfontein Safari: The Best Nature Reserve
Buffelsfontein Game Drive: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 1 hour
Setting With sweeping plains home to lion, buffalo, white rhino, cheetah, kudu, eland, oryx, zebra, giraffe and many more, you’d never expect this game and nature reserve to be so close to Cape Town. A working farm surrounded by indigenous wild terrain, and drenched in the rustic charm of the West Coast, Buffelsfontein Game & Nature Reserve is a unique getaway experience that’s still close enough for comfort.
The lodgings
Guesthouse:

  • six en-suite bedrooms and eight single beds in an open-plan loft
  • large lounge with an indoor fireplace
  • fully equipped kitchen with a 12-seater dining table
  • privately perched on a hill

Cottages:

  • four cottages with two en-suite bedrooms (guests can choose self-catering or full-board)
  • each cottage features an open-plan lounge area and kitchenette
  • full-board package includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, a fully guided game drive, and snacks and drinks in room

Chalets:

  • two four-bed and two two-bed open-plan chalets available
  • each features a small kitchenette and en-suite bathroom with a shower
  • private patio with a braai

Bush Camp:

  • two-sleeper tents with mattresses
  • campfire and braai area with running water
  • ablution facilities with hot water

Things to do Offering the largest selection of wildlife so close to Cape Town, Buffelsfontein features a number of game-drive packages so that you can experience it all. Guests can choose between a two-and-a-half to three hour full-guided game drive, or a 1.5-hour half-guided game drive (half-guided game drive only available in morning). There’s also a scenic pool, and an on-site restaurant and bar.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost Bush Camp: From R200 per person per night (depending on season)
Chalets: From R800 – R1 200 per unit per night (depending on season)
Cottages: From R1 950 per person per night (depending on season)
Guesthouse: Cost dependant on season and size of group. Please enquire.
Enquire Now
Where to find it R27, West Coast Road, Western Cape

Algeria Campsite at The Cederberg Wilderness Area

Distance from CT 2.5 – 3 hours
Setting A lush, grassy riverside campsite, surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Cederberg, Algeria serves as a gateway to the otherworldly Cederberg Wilderness Area, a place of jagged rock formations, and caves decorated with ancient San and Khoi rock art. The area is also rich in rare wildlife, such as porcupines, honey badgers, the Cape clawless otter, aardvark, leopard, African wild cat, lynx, bat-eared fox, aardwolf and Cape fox. Not to mention the ever-popular dassies, grey rhebok, klipspringers, duiker and grysbok.
The lodgings
Cottages:

  • six modern cottages (namely Waterfall, Wolfberg Arch, Maltese Cross, Cedar, Klipspringer and Grey Rhebok)
  • each has two bedrooms and one bathroom with a shower
  • open-plan kitchen, dining and living area with an indoor fireplace
  • undercover outdoor patio with braai area

Campsite:

  • 48 campsites, each able to sleep 6 people
  • all sites have power points
  • ablution facilities with showers (the women’s ablution also has a hot-water bath)
  • braai facilities
  • firewood available for purchase

Things to do Explore the beautiful surrounds on one of the many scenic hiking and walking trails (including multi-day hikes), donkey-cart rides (only available during summer holidays), or partake in adventure-packed rock-climbing and bouldering. Archaeology fiends will find the Stadsaal caves, housing San and Khoi rock art, some of which dates back 3 000 years, utterly fascinating.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost Camping: From R120 per night (depending on season)
Cottages: From R640 per night (depending on season)
Enquire Now
Where to find it Cederberg Wilderness Area (via N7), Cederberg, Western Cape

Bontebok National Park

Bontebokr: The Best Nature Reserve
Bontebokr Accommodation: The Best Nature Reserve
Bontebokr River: The Best Nature Reserve
Bontebokr Exterior: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 2.5 hours
Setting Named after the endangered species of antelope it was established to protect, this national park is relatively small, but is conveniently situated between the Breede River, Swellendam and the famous Route 62. The Langeberg Mountains create a majestic backdrop for peaceful riverside relaxation, and there’s a wealth of wildlife to be spotted on game drives.
The lodgings

  • Lang Elsie’s Kraal Rest Camp includes 41 camping and caravan sites, and 10 chalets sleeping up to four people
  • all chalets have wheelchair ramps
  • communal picnic and braai sites with ablution facilities
  • selected sites have electrical outlets (no private generators allowed)

Things to do This scenic spot is ideal for exploring the Breede River Valley and the nearby town of Swellendam. Adventure lovers will enjoy swimming, river-rafting, fishing and the mountain-hiking trails, while wildlife fundis will enjoy bird watching and spotting the resident game, including the rare bontebok, red hartebees and Cape zebra. Another wonderful day activity is to picnic or braai at Die Stroom, a function centre on the banks of the Breede River.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost Caravan/ Campsite: From R243 per night (depending on season)
Chalets: From R1 342 per night (depending on season)
Please note There is a conservation fee: R43 (adults) and R22 (children).
Enquire Now
Where to find it Bontebok National Park, Swellendam (via N2), Western Cape

Wolfkop Nature Reserve

Wolfkop: The Best Nature Reserve
Wolfkop Dining: The Best Nature Reserve
Wolfkop Interior: The Best Nature Reserve
Wolfkop Outside: The Best Nature Reserve

Distance from CT 2 hours
Setting Hidden in the foothills of the Cederberg, overlooking the Oliphants River Valley in Citrusdal, Wolfkop Nature Reserve serves as a tranquil retreat for those wanting an immersive getaway in nature, without any bells and whistles. Aside from the stunning scenery and blooming fields of flowers on your doorstep, the reserve offers a variety of animal life, such as duikers, porcupine and tortoises – and, if you’re really lucky, you may even spot a leopard skulking into the comfort of the surrounding caves.
The lodgings

  • four private, spacious cottages, namely Tolbos, Boegoe, Harpuishuis, and Botterboom varying in size
  • each cottage features comfortable en-suite bedrooms
  • fully equipped kitchen and open-plan living area with a fireplace
  • glass doors lead onto a view-drenched balcony with a braai, hammocks, and Jacuzzi
  • outside play area for children

Things to do If you should tire of moving between your private Jacuzzi and hammock, you can explore the scenic surrounds on foot, horseback or water, with a number of hiking trails, horse-riding trails, and canoes available. Those looking for a catch can also fish in the river at the nearby Grootfontein campsite.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R800 per night per person sharing (depending on season)
Check Availability + Book Direct
Where to find it Keerom Road, Citrusdal, Western Cape

Researched by Kent Cloete, Nikki Benatar, Michelle de Bruin, and Matthew Flax

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Disclaimer:

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: 03 April 2019

3 Responses to “The 21 Best Nature Reserve Getaways in The Cape”

  1. Avatar

    Paige Will

    We loved Cederberg Ridge Wilderness lodge the new lodge near ClanWilliam has excellent accommodation and amazing food. Beautiful scenery quiet location. Should be on your list ?!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      The Inside Guide

      Thanks for your suggestion Paige! We actually have this one on our radar, so watch this space…

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    Willem le Roux

    Guys, these articles of yours are great! You clearly put a heck of a lot of effort into it and it shows. The result is a beautifully crafted body of work. I wish there was a prize I could nominate you for. Keep up the great work!

    Reply