We all love the tantalising notion of getting ‘off the beaten track’. Exploring places that make you feel that you are only ones around, that you’ve stripped off the scales of life’s trials and tribulations and emerged revitalized and invigorated – able to see for miles and miles – literally and figuratively.
But then reality sets in. Off the beaten track sometimes means just that. No ‘track ‘ means it takes ages to get to your chosen hideaway. And sometimes we just don’t have the time. If the journey to a lodge starts to seriously eat into your precious weekend or holiday, then you start to question your decision. So here are 7 lodges near to Cape Town – all under 3 hours drive.
The De Hoop Collection, with its richly varied fynbos floral kingdom, lies in the little-known and untouched De Hoop Nature Reserve on the Southern coast east of Arniston and Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa. Here the main highway has headed inland. Leaving this stunning coastal reserve to its indigenous wildlife of bontebok, zebra, eland, red hartebeest and ostrich. Within this remote setting you have a choice of small cottages or, manor house rooms. Or the aptly named ‘Koppie Alleen’ house (meaning lonely hill) standing in serene isolation in a separate part of the reserve. The many activities include endless miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, a marine foraging walk. Or simply enjoying the utterly empty sandy beaches.
Time from Cape Town: 3 hours
This one is close to our hearts and to our home in the Cederberg Mountains. It is only about 220 km from Cape Town on a good tarred road. But once you are over the Piekenierskloof Pass you descend into an orange-scented valley and it feels like a different world!
You leave the Mediterranean climate of the Cape and enter a rugged African wilderness. Cederberg Ridge is a luxurious lodge offering superb food, setting and adventure. The lodge overlooks the panorama of the Cederberg Mountains with its unique raw, rugged beauty. It offers the authentic ambience of a modern African farmhouse with much use of wood, natural materials and earthy tones. But the striking steel windows bring a contemporary touch.
Various excursions are on offer, both on and off the farm. From walking trails to mountain biking, from guided rock art trips to sunset boating, and from farm tours to flower-viewing. At the lodge, you can relax around the pool, pamper yourself with a spa treatment or enjoy story-telling and star-gazing at the fire-pit in the evening.
We have put this into a 3 night escape with transfers from Cape Town – see The Ultimate Cederberg
Time from Cape Town: 2½ hours
Tintswalo Atlantic still lies (just) within the city limits of Cape Town but if you weren’t staying here, you wouldn’t even know this little peace of heaven existed. It lies hidden away in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve below the famous Chapman’s Peak Drive on the Cape Peninsula. This exquisite, luxurious beach lodge is tucked away right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean giving glorious views across Hout Bay. Indeed once you are ensconced in your beachside suite, you would hardly know you were so close to a city. Only the twinkly lights across the bay at night time would give you any clue.
Note: at time of update, Tintswalo Atlantic has suffered a devasting fire and is temporarily closed. We suggest Last Word Beach Lodge as an alternative if it hasn’t reopened at time of reading.
Time from Cape Town: 30-40 minutes
Another option which won’t wear out the rubber of your tyres is Bartholomeus Klip which lies between the Cape Winelands and the picturesque village of Tulbagh in the northern Winelands. This beautifully restored Victorian country homestead is set in its own private nature reserve with walking, nature drives, canoeing and mountain biking on offer. Or you can just park out by its tranquil farm dam with a ripping read in hand. Bartholomeus Klip is a winning smorgasbord of excellent cuisine, charming accommodation and utter tranquillity.
Time from Cape Town: 1½ hours
There are other game lodges which are closer to Cape Town but this one is the real McCoy. Because of its location and the sheer size of Sanbona Game Reserve, you really do feel like you are away from all civilization. Sanbona lie on the scenic adventurous Route 62 . It offers 54,000 ha of undulating mountains and plains, indigenous wild flowers and San (Bushman) rock art. As well as surprisingly good game-viewing. This includes all of the ‘Big Five’ and is certainly the best wildlife reserve in the Western Cape. There’s a choice of three lodges, Sanbona Gondwana Lodge and Sanbona Tilney Manor Lodge. But for a true sense of wilderness, we recommend Sanbona Dwyka Tented Lodge, a luxurious tented camp set in a remote rocky kloof.
Time from Cape Town: 3-4 hours
Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel is not ‘off the beaten track’ in itself, but the picturesque fishing village of Paternoster on the West Coast is, though it is rapidly becoming “discovered”. This is the place to utterly relax either at the beginning, or the end, of a Cape holiday. There’s not a myriad things ‘to do’ so you will feel no guilt for not doing them. A lonely walk along the 7 km of sandy beach. Or a visit to Columbine nature reserve for its glorious spring flowers and fynbos. A bracing swim in the waves of the Atlantic ocean or a quiet seafood lunch at a local restaurant – that’s about all that’s on offer here. What a hardship! Strandloper is a small luxury retreat with just 14 rooms.
Time from Cape Town: 2 hours
Continue a little further on from Cederberg Ridge and over the Pakhuis Pass to where the Cederberg starts to meet the Karoo. Here you have endless views of the folded mountains that stretch into the distance. Nestled into this tranquil setting is a 5 star retreat with supremely comfortable rooms, excellent cuisine, plains game and a really top notch spa. Glorious tranquillity is guaranteed.
Mountain biking, walking trails, guided rock art walks and sunset nature drives all ensure that humdrum everyday life is left firmly at home. A South African natural heritage site, Bushmans Kloof Reserve offers Africa’s largest open air art gallery with more than 130 pristine Bushmen rock art sites.
Time from Cape Town: 3 hours
If you want a quote on any of these lodges, or you want assistance with planning the perfect trip around Cape Town and the Cape, call or email us. Please share this with your friends below.
Other Blog Posts which you may be interested in:
Away from the Honeypot – interesting places to go which you may not have thought of…
The Road Less Travelled – places just a little bit further away (but still not too far)…
This article is courtesy of Cedarberg Africa
Cedarberg Africa is a travel and safari company specializing in tailor-made itineraries in Southern Africa. As we have special rates with all the hotels and game lodges, booking through us will cost no more than booking direct. And sometimes less. So our expertise and knowledge comes at no extra cost to you!
Remember that we can tailor-make any holiday for you, so if some of these ideas sound great, but you’re not too sure of others, then contact us and we will plan the perfect getaway for you.