If you’re hiking in Anysberg Nature Reserve, take advantage of its four Tapfontein Wendy houses, Leo, Taurus, Scorpio and Gemini, each sleeping two people in single beds. You’ll have to bring your own bedding, toilet paper, towels, rubbish bags, wood and a torch. There’s no electricity, but there are communal bathrooms with a gas-geyser shower.
Near the southernmost tip of Africa, De Hoop Nature’s Reserve’s Whale Trail is one of the Western Cape’s most famous hiking routes. The five charming Whale Trail overnight cottages, all with solar power, fully equipped kitchens and hot-water showers, lie at the foot of the Potberg Mountains, perched high on a sea cliff. Each fully equipped cottage sleeps up to 12 people. Bring your own bedding.
Boosmansbos Wilderness Area lies next to the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve in the Langeberg Mountains – a popular hiking destination amid one of the last remaining stretches of indigenous forest in the south-western Cape. Overnight at Helderfontein, basic accommodation in an old stone building, with no electricity or fireplace. Another option is the basic Boosmansbos Shelter.
Looking to escape to somewhere really remote? Head to Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, established in 1974 to conserve the endangered Cape mountain zebra. Here, the four Oukraal herders' huts at the top of a mountain plateau sleep a maximum of eight people. If you’re not up for hiking to the site, you can also access it via 4x4.
The rugged, wild Groot Winterhoek Wilderness lies about 120km north of Cape Town near Porterville and has some basic overnight accommodation for hikers: Ribbok accommodates seven guests; Klipspringer’s two bedrooms sleep up to eight people on bunk beds with mattresses; Disa accommodates eight people in two rooms with two bunk beds and mattresses.
The Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve about 90km south-east of Cape Town has overnight huts for hikers available at Landdroskop, Shamrock, Aloe Ridge and Boesmanskloof. Each hut has four rooms (that can be booked separately) and sleeps 30 people. Bunk beds, mattresses, wood and water are provided, but there’s no electricity or bedding.
Here’s an overnight spot with a difference! You won’t be hiking here, but paddling. Whiskey Creek Cabin in Keurbooms River Nature Reserve is located 7km (about four hours of paddling) upstream from the main entrance and comfortably sleeps 10 guests in four double bunk beds and two single beds. There’s an open-air kitchen, a large deck with a braai area and a timber walkway that connects the cabin to the river. Bring all your bedding and food.
Another spectacular overnight spot is at the end of an invigorating hike in the Robberg Nature Reserve. The Fountain Shack is a renovated wooden shack that sleeps eight people in four double bunk beds in an open-plan room. Only one group can book at a time.
The route to the Fountain Shack is a 4km hike that takes about two hours and can be quite strenuous. There’s no electricity, an outside shower and an eco-friendly toilet, a gas bottle with a cooker top and solar power for lighting – but the views of the Indian Ocean and Robberg peninsula are incredible.