Meander far enough into South Africa’s countryside and before long you’ll be channelling scenery and small-town charm reminiscent of the Cotswolds. From Nottingham Road and Clarens to Tulbagh and Langebaan, indeed the country is brimming with picturesque dorps full of character, easily accessible for an extended weekend away. SafariNow.com has rummaged through 25 000 establishment listings to pick ten of the finest country getaways to slow down at this summer:
The Farmhouse Hotel, Langebaan
Even though the spring flowers blossom once a year it’s never too late to visit exquisite Langebaan. The Farmhouse Hotel offers the warmth of Weskus culture and cuisine in a coastal-country space close to the natural beauty of the West Coast National Park and lagoon. Average price from R1200 per night.
Wheatlands Country House, Graaff-Reinet
A working mohair and wool farm with 8 generations of family history behind it, it’s no wonder Wheatlands Country House outside Graaff-Reinet is known for getting Karoo hospitality right. Big light-bathed bedrooms, high ceilings, comfy furniture and homestyle cooking instantly put you at ease. Average price from R1400 per night.
Hawklee Country House, Nottingham Road
Hawklee Country House owners Dean and Belinda have transformed their guest house into one of the leading luxury establishments in the Natal Midlands. That’s no small feat when you consider the high concentration of quality country retreats in Nottingham Road. Average price from R1300 per night.
St Fort Country House, Clarens
Five kilometres from Clarens on 2200 acres of Free State mountain farmland, St Fort Country House has been lovingly restored into a luxurious and homely guest house. Built in 1913 against the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, St Fort offers hospitality rooted in homestead tradition. Average price from R800 per night.
Rijk's Country House, Tulbagh
Rijk’s Country House is off the usual Tulbagh wine route but don’t let that deter you as they produce some excellent wines. The 4-star graded hotel has spacious and comfortable rooms and caters for larger families through its cottages. Heartily recommended. Average price from R1958 per night.
Sherwood's Country House, Tzaneen
The subtropical climate of South Africa’s north east means the region is known more for producing fruit and veg than it is for old-style nooks and crannies. Sherwood’s Country House is one such rare nook. The Victorian-era, family-owned country house near Tzaneen is owned and run by Derek and Daniela Wasley. Average price from R1420.
Augusta de Mist Country House, Swellendam
The Augusta de Mist Country House is a national monument set on a tranquil estate in Swellendam’s historic quarter. Private garden cottages and themed suites are decorated with a blend of contemporary and classy country style. The 1802 Cape Dutch house is surrounded by indigenous gardens. Average price from R1110 per night.
Vioolsdrift Lodge, Vioolsdrift Vioolsdrift Lodge is like a breath of fresh air in the parched countryside of Namaqualand. Located about 300 metres from the South African border, it is a well-positioned stop on your way to Namibia or the Richtersveld. The lodge is peaceful with Orange River views and hundreds of bird species in the area. Average price from R1255 per night.
Riverbend Country House, Fourways
Just a short distance away from the buzz of Fourways, the 9-room Riverbend Country House is the ideal base on a visit to Joburg’s north. Attracted by lush, park-like gardens a variety of birdlife has made Riverbend’s 5-acre garden their home. Average price from R990 per night.
Yellow Aloe Guesthouse, Clanwilliam Venture three hours up the N7 from Cape Town and stop at Clanwilliam where you’ll find Yellow Aloe Guesthouse in the heart of rooibos tea country. Hosts Cheryl and Michelle welcome you to their upmarket bed and breakfast adjacent to the Cederberg mountains. Average price from R1300 per night.