What’s your poison when it comes to weekend escapes: a luxe hotel by the sea, or sleeping beneath the stars somewhere far from a 5G signal?
There is also the middle ground, as SA travellers tap into a growing number of glamping getaways that blend the back-to-nature simplicity of old-fashioned camping with the creature comforts of a soft bed and en-suite facilities.
And happily, some of the best under-canvas escapes are just a short break from the big smoke.
Take B’sorah Luxury Tented Camp for example. It’s situated in the heart of the Magaliesberg, meaning you can leave your Joburg desk on a Friday afternoon and be settled at your self-catering canvas suite in time for sundowners. It’s a family-owned property, with plenty of personal touches in each of the luxurious en-suite tents strung out along the Skeerpoortrivier.
Think private decks with valley views, and crackling fires in the spacious braai area. For an extra dollop of romance book the Swempie Honeymoon Tent, perched on a hilltop for unbeatable views of the surrounding grasslands. A network of trails on the farm ensures ample opportunity for runners and cyclists to stretch their legs.
At B’sorah there are no predators to trouble your morning run, but if it’s big five you’re after then the AfriCamps tents outside Hoedspruit are perfect for a weekend break.
Here 11 boutique glamping tents dish up the brand’s signature laid-back luxury on a bushveld farm that’s been in the Roux family for four generations. Each tent sleeps up to five guests, making it ideal for families or a squad of friends, with private wood-fired hot tubs and fire pits overlooking the farm dam. While you’ll be happy enough lounging in the camp, you can also book guided tours of the Panorama Route and guided game drives into Kruger.
AfriCamps has revolutionised the glamping market in SA and now offers a dozen outposts across the country. Their camp on the banks of Lake Jozini offers more memorable moments under canvas, with the opportunity to combine time in the bush with hours on the water. Lake Jozini is famous for its adrenalin-packed tiger fishing, while safari boat cruises offer the unique opportunity to watch game from the water.
Far from the furry residents of Pongola, in the misty Amathole Mountains outside Hogsback, there are adventures of a more sedate sort on offer.
At The Magical Teepee Experience four free-standing teepee-style tents are pitched on wooden decks; each comfortably furnished and fitted with a clay Mexican Chiminea for those chilly Eastern Cape evenings. It’s a contemplative place for slowing down, but the surrounding hills offer walking trails, waterfalls and bird watching if you want to explore further. With the teepees all happily off the grid, come evening fairy lights and paraffin lamps set the mood once the sun goes down.
For some serious alone time, hit the R27 north from the Mother City towards the lonely stretch of sand between Dwarskersbos and Elands Bay.
On the privately owned farm Fork West you’ll share kilometres of wild beachfront with just a handful of other savvy travellers bedding down at West Coast Luxury Tents. Each of the three tents, all spread well apart, offers en suite facilities and a cosy braai area neatly sheltered from the west coast winds. The well-equipped kitchen at each is set up for self-catering, else take a drive north of Elands Bay for a traditional seafood feast at Muisbosskerm. It’s a castaway canvas escape that’s hard to beat. And if you want to up the luxury ante? There’s a private airstrip on the farm for guests that prefer to fly in.