Staying somewhere amazing is not just for the well-heeled. There are plenty of places filled with character around South Africa that offer comfort and charm in equal dollops – all of them for under R300 per person per night.
We’ve trawled our listings to uncover those venues where character and low-cost meet to find 15 wallet-friendly, quality guest houses, cottages and camp sites for 2015.
SA-Venues.com’s top best value stays for 2015…
BAYNESFIELD ESTATE, NATAL MIDLANDS, KWAZULU NATAL
This gorgeous 9000 hectare estate with a piggery, avocado orchards, maize and soya fields as well as beef and timber offers real value for money. It lies between Richmond and Pietermaritzburg in the Natal Midlands, providing plenty of space for walking, trees for children to climb, and secret places to explore.
The garden cottage lies in a heritage garden, whilst the lodge sleeps up to 12 people in wooden chalets. There are also a couple of larger dormitories for bigger groups.
Cost: from R250 per person, per night
To Book: Find out more at Baynesfield Estate
BODENSTADT COUNTRY LODGE, PIET RETIEF, MPUMALANGA
This beautifully furnished little self-catering cottage is on a farm just outside Piet Retief in Mpumalanga’s grass and wetland area.
The cottage is gracefully decorated with tasteful bed linen and art works and the odd piece of period furniture.
Cost: from R490 for the unit per night
To Book: Find out more at Bodenstadt Country Lodge
GARIEP N1 CHALETS, FREE STATE
Very basic, but pleasingly furnished characterful chalets and a farmhouse just north of the Gariep Dam (perfect for stopovers).
The farm offers horse riding, fly fishing, canoe safaris and hiking.
Cost: from R250 pppn
To Book: Find out more at Gariep N1 Chalets
HOLHOED GASTEPLAAS, SUTHERLAND, NORTHERN CAPE
It isn’t often you find budget accommodation in Sutherland, for it’s a popular destination particularly during winter when the promise of snow draws visitors from around the country.
The four-bedroomed cottage, roughly 50 metres from the farmhouse, comes fully equipped and artistically furnished. The vintage free-standing fireplace is a particularly nice touch.
Cost: advertised at R260 pppn
To Book: Find out more at Holhoed Gasteplaas
ISINKWE BACKPACKERS BUSHCAMP, ZULULAND
Isinkwe is a budget accommodation venue; a rustic bush lodge just outside Hluhluwe only 25 minutes’ from the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Park (bonus!).
Budget it may be, but the décor is still tasteful and pretty, whilst the tranquillity of the setting makes for a gentle time away.
Cost: from R125 pppn
To Book: Find out more at Isinkwe Backpackers Bushcamp
JAGERSKRAAL GUEST FARM, LAINGSBURG, KAROO
We love the combination of old farm worker’s cottage, chalets and wooden cabins on this farm in the heart of the Karoo.
The wooden cottages particularly offer a more rustic, informal stay (each cabin sleeps two, so ideal for a family or two couples), complete with lapa. The working farm has identified 27 plant species and also grows proteas to sell to the public.
Cost: from R200 pppn
To Book: Find out more at Jagerskraal Guest Farm
KLAPPERBOS GUEST HOUSE, VAN WYKSDORP, WESTERN CAPE
Basic but very tastefully decorated, this little guest house offers two bedrooms and a dormitory for large families (sleeps 8) on an organic farm producing pomegranates and apricots right up against the beautiful Rooiberg mountain, between Riversdale and Ladismith.
And the prices smack of farm hospitality.
Cost: from R160 pppn
To Book: Find out more at Klapperbos Guest House
NAGENOEG, NIEU-BETHESDA, EASTERN CAPE
This beautifully furnished, carefully presented guest house with its wooden parquet floors and period pieces, lies in the heart of the little village of Nieu Bethesda, only three metres from Die Waenhuis (a popular wedding venue).
The three bedroom cottage is equipped for self-catering and includes a fireplace.
Cost: from R250 pppn
To Book: Find out more at Nagenoeg
PETER BONNEY CLARENS STUDIO LODGE, FREE STATE
This stylish and artistically furnished annexe lies right next door to the well known contemporary artist Peter Bonney’s studio in the popular town of Clarens. Reasonably priced accommodation in Clarens is not easy to find.
Sleeps four (there is a wood burning stove for winter).
Cost: R250 pppn (if you avoid weekends, public and school holidays)
To Book: Find out more at Peter Bonney Clarens Studio Lodge
PLATBERG HARRISMITH BACKPACKERS, THABO MOFUTSANYANA
This is a real characterful, centrally located backpackers with views over the Platberg Mountain and a front stoep that makes you want to move in.
Not only do they have the usual dormitory-style room, but they also have a private family room. A great base for major hikes in the area.
Cost: from R150 pppn
To Book: Find out more at Platberg Harrismith Backpackers
SAAMRUS, MAGALIESBERG, GAUTENG
Where else would you expect to find such a gem, but the Magaliesberg. Picket fences, firepits, fireplaces, ceiling fans and eclectic furnishing makes the cottages comfortable and cheerful.
Cost: from R250 pppn (midweek low season)
To Book: Find out more at Saamrus Guest Farm
SEAN’S PLACE, RAMSGATE, SOUTH COAST
Sean’s Place is a typical south coast holiday home; a throwback to the ’80s with its cane furniture and typical seaside décor. But it’s comfortable, clean and cheerful and (bonus!) metres from the beach.
As a result its very popular and booked up way in advance. Go out of season to really benefit.
Cost: from R400 for the unit per night (sleeps 4)
To Book: Find out more at Sean’s Place
SUNTOUCHED INN, NAPIER, OVERBERG
The Suntouched Inn in Napier is attentively and artistically put together, its colours and furnishings a happy collection in which to easily feel at home.
Twin and family room as well as an old converted barn provide sleeping facilities, whilst the restaurant makes the best pizza in the Overberg.
Cost: from R150 pppn
To Book: Find out more at Suntouched Inn
THE GROWCERY, VIOOLSDRIFT, NAMAKWA
You’re going to LOVE this rustic camp on the banks of the Orange River, 22 km from Vioolsdrift; it gives new meaning to ‘chic shack’. Think: shabby chic crossed with a dose of vibrant colour, a flair for the original, and an eye for making the ordinary extraordinary. The Growcery’s Chick Shack – a two-bed recycled shack- is the star of the show.
Whilst the camp comes with only the bare necessities, we think, at this price, that you’re going to enjoy yourselves silly.
Cost: from R100 pppn
To Book: Find out more at The Growcery
ZWAKALA RIVER RETREAT, HAENERTSBURG, LIMPOPO
You head here for the sheer bliss of the destination in the Magoebaskloof on the banks of the Broederstroom River. Log cabins, an earthy cottage and a private camp site to choose from.
Cost: R300 for the campsite (1-3 people) or Zwakala Cabin is reasonable at R650 per night
To Book: Find out more at Zwakala River Retreat