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.
Anysberg Nature Reserve
Anysberg Nature Reserve is located in the semi-arid Klein Karoo, between the towns of Ladismith, Laingsburg, Touwsrivier and Montagu. The reserve, officially proclaimed in 1990, encompasses 79 629 hectares of plains and the majestic Cape Fold Mountains, with deep valleys and steep gorges.
Boosmansbos Wilderness Area
Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, next to the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve in the Langeberg Mountains, boasts dramatic mountainous terrain, wild indigenous forests, lush mountain fynbos and almost exclusive access for visitors wanting to explore the wilderness.
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop is one of the largest natural areas managed by CapeNature. This beautiful reserve is a favourite for hikers, cyclists, bird and whale watchers. The reserve, which is 34 000 hectares, is just three hours from Cape Town, in the Overberg.
Gamkaberg Nature Reserve
We are fortunate in the Western Cape. The land forever heightens our sense of exploration with its expanses and its wilderness. And with the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Little Karoo, we need not go far to find a place with such space and detachment.
Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area
The Groot Winterhoek Wilderness is known for its rugged, wild landscape, with exceptional rock formations carved by the elements. This mountainous area lies about 120km north of Cape Town, near Porterville.
Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve
This nature reserve lies in the majestic Hottentots Holland Mountains, about 90km south-east of Cape Town. The 70 000-hectare reserve stretches from Elgin in the south to beyond Villiersdorp in the north, and from the Stellenbosch Mountains in the west, eastwards to the Groenland Mountains, and is a World Heritage Site.
Keurbooms River Nature Reserve
Keurbooms River Nature Reserve, a World Heritage Site, is an exquisite, small reserve of just 740 hectares located in the lush Garden Route region just outside Plettenberg Bay. The Keurbooms River passes through the reserve bringing an abundance of water from further up in the Tsitsikamma Mountains to enter the ocean through the stunning estuary.
Robberg Nature Reserve
Robberg, situated 8km south of Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route, is not only a nature reserve, but also a national monument and World Heritage Site. Rocks from this region date back 120 million years to the break-up of Gondwanaland.