3 budget-friendly winter escapes in South Africa

The Southern Drakensberg looking towards Thaba Ntsu/ Devils Knuckles. Picture: Unsplash

The Southern Drakensberg looking towards Thaba Ntsu/ Devils Knuckles. Picture: Unsplash

Published Jul 3, 2023


As winter comes into full swing, it is natural to want to hibernate and put off doing any activities or exploring, however, for most, wanderlust can never be cured. Despite the temperature drop, you can still explore our beautiful country at affordable rates.

South Africa’s winter season starts from June to August. Within this period, there are also school holidays to look forward to, which makes it the perfect time to travel and enjoy a mid-year break.

Winter escapes are for family, friends or couples and provide the perfect opportunity to embrace life through all seasons.

If you want to brave the South African cold and enjoy some time out this season, here are three budget-friendly winter escapes around the country to add to your travel bucket list. After all, they are affordable.

Oudebosch Eco Cabins, Western Cape

An eco cabin at Kogelberg Nature Reserve. Picture: CapeNature.co.za

The Oudebosch Eco Cabins at Kogelberg Nature Reserve in the Overberg region of the Western Cape are great for a budget-friendly escape. Kogelberg Nature Reserve is a protected area managed by CapeNature.

The reserve is considered the most beautiful due to the fact that it occupies an area with minimal human interference and boasts exceptional biodiversity and quality of fynbos, making it the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

The reserve is considered the finest example of mountain fynbos in the Western Cape and is a world-renowned World Heritage Site.

Visitors at Kogelberg Nature Reserve can stay at the Oudebosch Eco Cabins. There are six glass-fronted eco-cabins, Erica, Marsh Rose, Fire Lily, Iris and Everlasting Daisy, Palmiet, named after endemic plant species found on the reserve.

The cabins provide occupants with breath-taking views of the reserve and five of the timber cabins sleep four people with two bedrooms, one bathroom, one en-suite and a spacious kitchen, lounge and dining area.

The sixth cabin is honeymoon suite consisting of an open-plan bedroom, lounge, dining, and kitchen area with one bathroom.

Activities at Kogelberg Nature Reserve include hiking and walking, whale watching, bird watching, mountain biking an wildlife watching.

A stay at the eco-cabins starts from R1 260 a night for 2, R1 340 a night for four people, and R2 750 a night for up to six people. Activities are R60 per adult and R40 per child per day.

Kievits Kroon Wine Estate, Gauteng

Enjoy the winter sun on well manicured gardens at Kievits Kroon Wine Estate. Picture: Instagram

Kievits Kroon is a sought-after destination for those wanting to escape city life or for corporates seeking a unique business experience, making it the perfect winter escape.

The beautiful and tranquil wine estate is ten minutes from central Pretoria and forty-five minutes from Sandton, Gauteng, and set along a Jacaranda-lined lane on a 16-ha estate.

Kievits Kroon is also known for its luxury accommodation, superb facilities, immaculate gardens, gourmet dining, wellness spa, and is the perfect pampering for couples looking for a romantic weekend or mid-week getaway.

Known as the Winelands in Gauteng its unique Cape Dutch-style architecture, the estate has 142 stylishly decorated rooms which are fully equipped with all modern facilities and offers three dinning options including the Granita Signature Restaurant, Kingsley Ala Carte Restaurant and the Lord Charles venue.

There are also three bars and options for outdoor dinning.

The unique wine estate will soon launch its development plans for its own vineyard, and although still on a very small scale, it aims to produce its own wine in the near future.

A stay at the wine estate starts from R 1160 a night per person.

Cathedral Peak Hotel, KwaZulu Natal

An aerial view of Cathedral Hotel in the heart of the Drakensberg. Picture: Website

Cathedral Peak Hotel is a 4-star hotel nestled in the heart of the Drakensberg. It provides luxury accommodation at affordable rates, making it the perfect place for those looking for a winter escape in the mountains.

The hotel is surrounded by the magnificent peaks of some of the World Heritage Site’s most impressive and iconic mountains and guests can experience fresh mountain air and epic afternoon thunderstorms with breathtaking views.

For those who love the outdoors, there are eighteen stunning hikes and walks from the hotel’s doorstep, ranging from gentle strolls down the riverside to scaling the summit of Cathedral Peak itself.

Cathedral Peak also offers daily complimentary guided hikes. Highlights include walks with the novelty of tea, coffee and rusks in the mountains, bird watching and Bushman San Art Sites.

Those wanting a bit more excitement can enjoy various mountain bike trails, a 5km jogging route, one or two-hour horse rides for beginner or intermediate riders and quad biking up into the hills past Lake William.

Guests are accommodated in 104 spacious and well-appointed rooms, ranging from standard and family rooms, to superior rooms, the beautifully appointed Honeymoon/Executive Suites and elegant Mponjwane Presidential Suite providing the ultimate in luxury

A stay at the hotel starts from R 1895 off peak a night per person sharing and R2095 a night per person during peak season.

Read the latest Travel magazine here.