Mountain Escapes · South African Travel · Travel · Travel Writing

Best South African Mountain Escapes

Is waking up to the sounds of bird song and rustling trees your perfect idea of a relaxing getaway? Then these 8 mountain retreats in South Africa are just perfect for you!


Toplodge – Bergville

I couldn’t have put this list together without mentioning our favourite mountain escape – Toplodge. Toplodge is situated high up in the mountains of the magnificent Drakensberg mountain escarpment with sweeping, 360 degree views of the most magical forests and ravines. With only 3 thatched cottages on the property, you have the feeling that you have the mountain all to yourself! For more information visit our Northern Drakensberg: Nothing Quite Like It blog post and then book yourself into one of the cozy cottages ASAP!

Teakwood Cottage – Our home away from home

The Edge Mountain Retreat – Hogsback

You can find the beautiful landscape of Hogsback nestled within the Amathole Mountains, in the province of the Eastern Cape. The Edge Mountain Retreat undoubtedly delivers on its name with their self-catering chalets literally perched on a precipice of the Hogsback plateau overlooking the expansive valley floor beneath it. “Heavens Above” Thatched Cottage is definitely first choice when choosing from their array of chalets as it undoubtedly has the best views and most private location.

Expansive views from the “Heaven’s Above” Cottage – Courtesy of The Edge Mountain Retreat

Highlands Mountain Retreat – Golden Gate National Park

Highlands Mountain Retreat can be found right at the top of the Golden Gate National Park, in the province of the Free State, at 2200 metres above sea level. At this height the view can only be described as exceptional, with just 8 cabins on the property – the log cabins are tucked away in the hills making for an extremely secluded and private mountain getaway. There are 7 day hikes leading from the log cabins specially for when your feet are itching to explore the surrounding areas as well as a fire-place in every cabin for those chilly days when all you want to do is stay indoors.

Golden Gate Highlands
Log Cabins at Highlands Mountain Retreat – Courtesy of Golden Gate Hotel

Bakkrans Nature Reserve – Cederberg

Does a stone cottage that is well-equipped with a whole lot of rustic charm sound like the ideal escape for you then the cottages at Bakkrans Nature Reserve in the Cederberg, Western Cape is right up your alley. Bakkrans is a remote and relatively unknown wilderness area that offers you privacy and some of the best fauna and flora landscapes. When booking a stone cottage in Bakkrans, you will be the sole visitor as the nature reserve is yours exclusively for your stay. With exciting 4×4 routes and historic rock paintings dating back to +- 100 000 years ago, it is safe to say that Bakkrans will be anything but boring.

Stone Cottage hideaway – Courtesy of Teagan Cunniffe

Tanamera Lodge – Hazyview

If an exclusive, private lodge with a romantic feel and gorgeous views from your infinity pool (wow!) is what you are dreaming of when you think of a mountain escape then Tanamera Lodge is the perfect getaway for you! Situated in the Lowveld forest in the area of Hazyview, Tanamera offers breath-taking views down into the Sabie River Valley below – a perfect escape to relax tired bodies and revitalize over-worked minds. With it being close to the Panorama Route (featured in our God’s Window blog post) and the Kruger National Park, a trip to Tanamera can also include game viewing, sight-seeing and relaxing all the same. Darren and I are still saving up for this exclusive retreat – a once in a lifetime experience!

The view from your private patio and infinity pool – Courtesy of Tanamera

Cliffhanger Cottages – Knysna

“Wash the city from your soul” – Cliffhanger Cottages‘ slogan perfectly sums up exactly what you will be doing when you stay at one of their gorgeous self-catering cottages. Situated just outside the town of Knysna, a tourist hotspot with the Knysna Heads and the Featherbed Nature Reserve being the major tourist attractions, Cliffhanger Cottages provides an escape away from the hustle and bustle of city living – something that all of us craves at times. With their popular Cliff Hanger cottage being the perfect escape with the perfect view overlooking a dense indigenous forest.

The spectacular view from your balcony – Courtesy of Cliffhanger Cottages

Omega Luxury Mountain Retreat – Clarens

Can you say that you have stayed in one country while looking into another from your balcony perched high up in the mountains? If not, book one of the four cozy cabins at Omega Luxury Mountain Retreat and claim that bragging right. Situated just 17km from the artsy village of Clarens and even less kilometres away from the landlocked country of Lesotho, Omega offers nature enthusiasts a dream come true in the Maluti Mountains. A bird watchers paradise, a hikers mecca and an adventurers haven – Omega has all the bells and whistles that makes for a stunning escape from city life.

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Room with a (magnificent) view – Courtesy of Omega Clarens

Stone Mountain Lodge – Wilderness

This mountain lodge might not be the usual quiet, serene spot you would have imagined – up here, on the high mountain plateau hooves of Wildebeest, Waterbuck and Hartebeest rumble by creating an almost surreal environment. Stone Mountain Lodge, situated in the quaint Kleinrivier Wilderness landscape of the Eastern Cape, was built up using all natural, on-hand materials which gives the lodge a unique, unrefined touch. This is the one place where you can rough it in style, being kilometres away from civilisation this mountain sanctuary is the perfect place to get away from it all and take a deep breath of fresh mountain air.

Absolutely serene, Stone Mountain Lodge – Courtesy of Tyson Jopson

We definitely have a few more bucket list items after finding these mountain cottage retreats – you can never get enough fresh air, ever.

Have any favourite mountain retreats? Let us know about them in the comments!



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