Did you know?
Bakkrans Cave is in the Baviaanskloof Mega-Reserve, which is part of the Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site.
Unusual accommodation in South Africa is readily available throughout the country, including along the beautiful coastline where you can stay overnight in lighthouses.
This offbeat accommodation option is hosted by the National Ports Authority and includes self-catering units in lighthouses at Cape Columbine on the West Coast, Danger Point near Gansbaai, Cape St. Blaize at Mossel Bay, Great Fish Point in Port Alfred, and North Sand Bluff near Port Edward.
Among one of the more interesting places to stay in South Africa is the Philippolis Old Jail in the Free State. The jail was built in 1872 and used as a prison for 70-odd years. Here you get to sleep in an authentic 7ft x 10ft cell (2m x 3m) complete with studded solid wood door. Full self-catering and braai (barbeque) facilities are provided.
Unusual accommodation in South Africa in natural settings includes caves and treehouses. If you’re keen on sleeping out under the stars, try Bakkrans Cave in the rugged Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape. This enormous cliff overhang can sleep up to 15 people and is equipped with gas and paraffin lamps, a built-in braai, hot and cold shower, a flush toilet, mattresses (bring your own sleeping bags), and cooking utensils.
For rustic treehouses that invite you to explore your childhood fantasies, consider Sycamore Avenue Treehouse Accommodation just outside Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal. The venue boasts a collection of beautifully handcrafted treehouses with whimsical names like Fantasy, Pegasus and Faraway. Located as high as 6 metres up in oak, sycamore and cedar trees, each unit offers a fantastic view over Giants Castle in the Drakensberg. Accommodation is on a bed and breakfast basis.
If your childhood fantasies tend more towards knights in shining armour and damsels in distress, you might want to overnight at Bethesda Tower, described as a 'fairy-tale building 3 stories high'. The top floor features a massive round bed while a second room offers twin beds, making Bethesda Tower ideal for romantic getaways and family outings. Rates are bed only; bed and breakfast; or dinner, bed and breakfast.
Finally, there are the old-school transport-inspired accommodation options – restored authentic ox-wagons at Witmoskloof Oxwagon Camp in the Eastern Cape and stunning vintage US Airstream trailers at Old Mac Daddy Trailer Hotel in Elgin, Western Cape.
The former offers luxury accommodation in 5 two-bed 200-year-old oxwagons, while the latter provides a completely unique overnight experience in 10 luxury vintage Airstream trailers that have been individually decorated by local artists.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
National Ports Authority (lighthouse accommodation)
Tel: +27 (0)11 351 9001
Fax: +27 (0)11 351 9023
Sycamore Avenue Treehouse Accommodation
Tel: +27 (0)33 263 2875
Fax: +27 (0)86 688 5949
Baviaans Tourism Office
Tel: +27 (0)44 923 1702
Mobile: +27 (0)83 420 5434
Tel: +27 (0)49 841 1731
Mobile: +27 (0)73 028 8887
Witmoskloof Oxwagon Camp
Tel: +27 (0)48 886 0630
Fax +27 (0)48 886 0638
Old Mac Daddy Trailer Hotel
Tel: +27 (0)21 447 8105