Rustic Routes

This brand-new feature has been designed with adventurous explorers in mind, the young at heart who enjoy rustic authenticity, but prefer a little more luxury than is usually to be found when backpacking.

These places still fit the usual 'likes and dislikes' of the traditional Greenwood Guides model (i.e. charming, unique, characterful, owned and run by wonderful people), having been personally visited and hand-picked by us… but we decided that these 'uncategorisable others' actually do need a separate category all of their own!

So Rustic Routes entries could be:

  • Off the grid, eco-friendly, socially and environmentally responsible and sustainable
  • Further off the beaten track, or just over the borders of neighbouring countries
  • Small, often self-catering, or teeny tiny B&Bs
  • Glamping (tipis/yurts/treehouses/garden sheds, etc)
  • Particularly quirky, rustic and unusual
  • Slack-packing trails (portered hikes where your luggage is carried ahead for you, leaving your hands free for photo-taking and the weight of the world off your shoulders), guided hikes and horse-back safaris

Cape Winelands, Western Cape

Ons Huisie

Ons Huisie

Come home to a little rustic romantic cottage getaway in the countryside, enclosed in its own luscious indigenous garden. Experience village life, go wine tasting, snuggle up by the fire with a book.... They have just the right number of neighbours and a clear view of the mountains across the fields from the front door. Sleeps 2-4. Pet friendly. Ideal for couples or a family with young children.

  • Prices: R345 - R390 pp sharing. Sleeps 2 (plus 2 children).
  • Tel: 076-411-9477
  • Email: info@mcgregor-accommodation.co.za
  • Web: www.mcgregor-accommodation.co.za
  • Updated: 18/03/2016

Garden Route, Western Cape

Strooikooi

Strooikooi

On a small vineyard on the Route 62, mountains in the distance, Zelma has perfected 'rustic-Karoo-barn-eco-chic'. Weather-beaten shutters and reclaimed furniture, enamel basins and high thread-count linen combine with subtle genius to create something magical. Daughter Rozelle makes delicious dinners if you book in advance, or you can braai outside the cottages. Breakfast baskets can be delivered to your door.

  • Prices: R1,200 per cottage per night.
  • Tel: 082-576-5855
  • Email: strooikooi@gmail.com
  • Web: www.strooikooi.co.za
  • Updated: 15/01/2016

That Place

That Place

“Do you remember when we went to South Africa and stayed in 'That Place' with elephants wandering through the paddock across the valley, where we lazed in the sauna, we braai'd on the deck, the kids diving and splashing in the private pool – That Place?” Not grand or pretentious, just comfortable, happy and perfect for families.

  • Prices: R750 - R2,000 per night for the whole house (sleeps 4 adults plus 2 children).
  • Tel: 044-534-8886
  • Cel: 082-578-1939 (Mon-Fri 8am - 4:30pm)
  • Email: info@thatplace.co.za
  • Web: www.thatplace.co.za
  • Updated: 16/02/2016

Klein Karoo, Western Cape

Schuilhoek Cottage

Schuilhoek Cottage

Off-the-grid, stylish and modern with original wooden floorboards and sash windows. There's a huge stoep for lazy days doing nothing but staring out at the Swartberg Mountains. Mike and Peter also own the Oude Postkantoor gallery café, serving lunches and cakes to hungry travellers making their way through the pass at weekends.

  • Prices: Self-catering: R250 - R500 pp sharing (sleeps 2 - 4).
  • Contact: Groenfontein Road, 14.5km from Calitzdorp
  • Tel: 083-283-5055 (Peter)
  • Email: info@oudepostkantoor.co.za
  • Updated: 19/02/2016

Overberg, Western Cape

Fynbos Trail

Fynbos Trail

3-day slack-packing hike through the Walker Bay Conservancy. As you walk through the farm kitchen and bee hives, passionate Sean explains why this eco-system is so vital. A 27km trail through indigenous forest, rivers, waterfalls and coastal dunes. Accommodation is provided in rustic farm cottages along the way. Sean even arranges a well-earned wine-tasting at the 'Lomond Estate'.

  • Prices: R2,300 - R2,600 pp for 3 days. Min 4 - max 14. All meals, guides and accommodation, including final lunch at 5* Grootbos Nature Reserve.
  • Contact: Witkrans Farm, Walker Bay Conservancy, Gaansbaai
  • Tel: 082-464-5115
  • Cel: 082-411-1008
  • Email: info@fynbostrail.co.za
  • Web: www.fynbostrail.co.za
  • Updated: 16/02/2016

Platbos Forest Reserve

Platbos Forest Reserve

Among the wizened trees and 1000-year old milkwoods of Africa's southernmost forest, is a secluded bush camp and three charmingly cosy, glamping-style cabins. With outdoor showers heated by donkey-boilers (these can be lit for you for a small fee) and compost loos, Platbos' accommodation is completely off the grid. Nature and bird-lovers' paradise.

  • Prices: R150 - R450 pp sharing. Self-catering.
  • Contact: Uilkraal Vallei, near Gansbaai
  • Cel: 082-411-0448
  • Email: info@platbos.co.za
  • Web: www.platbos.co.za
  • Updated: 21/02/2016

West Coast, Western Cape

Wigwam Rising Moon

Wigwam Rising Moon

The twin peaked super-tipi! This bespoke beauty has - along with everything you could possibly need (including wifi!) - an octagonal bed, perfect for some polygon-based star-gazing, en-suite bathroom and in the garden (shared with the B&B), a wood-fired hot tub! Deon is a qualified tour guide; join him on a beach buggy excursion!

  • Prices: R600 – R690 pps incl breakfast and free wifi.
  • Contact: 17 Seemeeu Crescent, Paternoster
  • Tel: 022-752-2222
  • Cel: 083-410-4090 (Marion); 072-402-1829 (Deon)
  • Email: info@farrout.co.za
  • Web: www.farrout.co.za
  • Updated: 16/02/2016

Eastern Cape

Pondo Hopper Slackpacking Trail

Pondo Hopper Slackpacking Trail

3- or 5-night catered and portered hiking trail through the remote and beautifully rugged coastline of the Wild Coast. Overnight at East-African-style tented camps, third night at Mbotyi River Lodge, meals and packed lunches are supplied, luggage transported between locations for you, so that all you need carry is a light day pack.

  • Prices: R3,830 - R6,530 per person (min 2 - max 24 persons).
  • Contact: Northern Pondoland, Msikaba to Mbotyi (3 Night) or Port St John’s (5 Night), Northern Wild Coast
  • Tel: 033-329-5259
  • Cel: 084-240-7277
  • Email: tours@active-escapes.co.za
  • Web: www.active-escapes.co.za
  • Updated: 21/02/2016

KwaZulu Natal

Absolute Elsewhere

Absolute Elsewhere

Wind your way up until you can go no further. The last bit is done on foot so pack light! Eagles soar high above this rustic, hand-built log cabin, perched in indigenous forest overlooking the Byrne Valley. Brass bed, log-burning stove, stained-glass windows, sheepskin rugs, claw-foot bath and outdoor shower complete the cosy love-nest. Lastly this is phenomenal birding territory!

  • Prices: R250 - R350 pp sharing. Self-catering (sleeps up to 6).
  • Contact: Minerva Private Nature Reserve, Byrne Valley, Richmond
  • Tel: 072-828-8234 (Bobby)
  • Cel: 072-799-5243 (Elizabeth)
  • Email: bobbygoodall@gmail.com
  • Updated: 16/02/2016

Amphitheatre Slackpacking Hike

Amphitheatre Slackpacking Hike

3 night catered hiking trail. Awe-inspiring views spanning from the Tugela Valley to the Lesotho plateau, the second tallest waterfall in the world, the Eastern Buttress and Sentinel Peak in the west - altogether an area of majestic and incomparable beauty. Overnight at Cavern Berg Hotel and Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge.

  • Prices: R3,900 - R5,100 based on a group of 2-3 people.
  • Contact: Royal Natal National Park, Northern Drakensberg
  • Tel: 033-329-5259
  • Cel: 084-240-7277
  • Email: tours@active-escapes.co.za
  • Web: www.active-escapes.co.za
  • Updated: 21/02/2016

Kosi Bay Slackpacking Trail

Kosi Bay Slackpacking Trail

4, 5 & 6-night fully-catered and supported coastal hiking trail passing through open savannah, wetlands, coastal dunes, fern forests and shallow lake crossings. Staying in rustic lodges and safari-style tented camps, experience fascinating local culture, turtles nesting and hatching (in season), snorkelling and miles of pristine golden beaches.

  • Prices: R4,500 – R6,200 pp for 4-6 night hike, on the basis of 5 or more people (min 2, max 14 people).
  • Contact: Kosi Bay, Maputaland
  • Tel: 033-329-5259
  • Cel: 084-240-7277
  • Email: tours@active-escapes.co.za
  • Web: www.active-escapes.co.za
  • Updated: 21/02/2016

Northern Cape

Junkyard Blues B&B

Junkyard Blues B&B

An eclectic, surprisingly tranquil blend of hippy-chic, tongue-in-cheek, collectors emporium and bakery, I awoke to the stirring sound of Edith Piaf which, followed by rocket fuel coffee from Dirk and a delicious breakfast with Sonja, set me up beautifully for a hot Karoo day. Expect soulful discussions, cheeky banter and possibly even treasure hunting!

  • Prices: R350 - R450 pp sharing inc breakfast. Dinners available on request.
  • Tel: 027-341-1423
  • Cel: 083-656-8592
  • Email: karidecor@kingsley.co.za
  • Updated: 16/02/2016

Lesotho

Malealea

Malealea

In the heart of mountainous Lesotho where blanket-clad shepherds watch over their flocks, the Jones family combine warmth, native knowledge and community. Locals take you on pony treks for up to 6 days, children lead you to waterfalls and rock art. The choir sings you to sleep in your thatched rondavel and peacocks wake you up in the misty mornings.

  • Prices: R185 to R370 pppn sharing.
  • Tel: SA: 082-552-4215; Lesotho: 00266-58407816
  • Cel: 082-552-4215
  • Email: info@malealealodge.com
  • Web: www.malealea.com
  • Updated: 19/02/2016

Mozambique

Machampane Wilderness Camp

Machampane Wilderness Camp

10 luxury en-suite tents in a secluded, unfenced bush camp on the banks of the Machampane River in the big 5 Parque Nacionale do Limpopo (adjacent to the Kruger Park). Morning and afternoon guided wilderness walks are the primary activity, where bird- and wild-life abound. 3-course 'Mozambican-inspired' dinners around the fire complete the experience.

  • Contact: Parque Nacionale do Limpopo, Mozambique
  • Tel: 021-701-7860
  • Email: resevations@tfpd.co.za
  • Updated: 19/02/2016

Swaziland

Umdoni B&B

Umdoni B&B

Across a pineapple field, through an avenue of fever trees, Jane, Yenzi, Buhle and Elizabeth are the 'girl power' here. Umdoni is nurtured with pride and love. So too are the guests. Play tennis (or table tennis in the pool house), hop between pool and sun-bed, explore on bicycles or simply enjoy the peace and quiet. Activities and restaurants are also on your doorstep.

  • Prices: R550 - R650 pp sharing B&B.
  • Contact: Off MR18, Malkerns
  • Tel: +2682-528-3009
  • Cel: +2687-602-0791
  • Email: umdoni@posix.co.sz
  • Web: www.umdoni.com
  • Updated: 19/02/2016

Wide Horizons

Wide Horizons

On the Makungutsha Mountain, overlooking the Lebombo Mountains sits a picture perfect thatched house and tented camp. Rose has lived here for over 40 years, running the farm, the B&B and Rosecraft; a hand-weaving workshop providing much-needed community employment. Watch the ladies work the looms, swim in the natural rock pool or walk along the sculpture trail.

  • Prices: R425 - R550 pp sharing B&B or self-catering.
  • Contact: Rosecraft Farm, Egebeni/Malkerns
  • Tel: +268-250-53915
  • Cel: +268-7604-1373
  • Email: widehorizonsretreat@gmail.com
  • Web: www.widehorizonsretreat.com
  • Updated: 19/02/2016