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Off-the-Grid Nature Escapes You Need to Experience

Jared Ruttenberg

Need to get away from it all for a night or two? These off-the-grid nature escapes will help you to recharge and refresh.

Are you in *serious need* of some offline time? Take a digital detox in one of these enticing off-the-grid breakaways spread across South Africa. Here are six awesome options to choose from. 
 

1. Climb every mountain at Koegelberg, Kleinmond

Just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town Kogelberg is Cape Nature’s most sought-after wilderness escape. Several eco-friendly and off-the-grid units are cradled in a valley – surrounded by impressive Cape Fold Mountains all around. 

 

Hiking is plentiful – the walk up the Valley and then down again to Harold Porter Nature Reserve is breathtaking. Make sure to have a cold Castle Free in your backpack – the summit of the hike is the perfect space to enjoy a cold one before heading back down. 

 

Learn more at capenature.co.za

 

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2. Shower under the stars at the Karoo Eco Lodge, Luckhof

Astounding silence and stark natural beauty await at Karoo Eco Lodge. This place has made ripples on social media for its trendy design – 100% inspired by the Karoo landscape and crafted by local artisans. 

 

It’s also a surprisingly affordable getaway but be sure to book well in advance. Take all your food – and be prepared to spend evenings around the fireplaces sharing stories with newfound friends. Each of the units has its own deck and both indoor and outdoor showers.

 

Learn more at ecokaroo.com

 

3. Navigate thrilling mountain passes at Die Hel, Swartberg

Die Hel, or Gamkaskloof as it’s also known, must be one of SA’s most epic adventures. Hidden deep in the Swartberg Mountains lies a valley only accessible through a thrilling mountain pass best driven in a 4x4 or high-clearance vehicle. 

 

The valley was once home to an isolated community and now their simple homes can be rented for an unrivalled uninterrupted escape. ‘Koot Kordier’ is my favourite of the homes with views for days and a splash pool to cool off in. 

 

Learn more at capenature.co.za

 

4. Walk on dreamy, desolate beaches at Bulungula, Wild Coast

Synonymous with inviting beaches and green hills that tumble dramatically into the ocean, the Wild Coast is a bucket-list SA adventure. Bulungula is not only a standout visit because of its prime location on a headland overlooking the ocean and estuary, but also for its forward-thinking social focus that has led to the lodge being 100% owned by the community. 

 

Ask for a tour of the Bulungula Incubator which helps equip the local community with self-sustaining skills. Accommodation is in simple thatched huts, but with unbeatable views. 

 

Learn more at bulungula.com

 

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5. Romantic Getaways at Dream Lodge, Magaliesburg

For Joburgers looking for some respite from the craziness of city life, the mountainous Magaliesburg has hidden gems waiting to be explored. Dream Lodge is one of them, and guests have a choice of three separate cottages: one is a self-catering five-sleeper cottage, one has an elevated deck for an immersive nature experience and another features a relaxing indoor bath and outdoor shower. 

 

The latter two are intended as relaxing romantic escapes and don't have kitchens. Instead, dinner and breakfast are included and brought to you when you get hungry. 

 

Learn more at dreamlodge.co.za

 

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6. Snorkel with turtles at Mabibi, iSimangaliso Wetland Park

It hardly gets more remote than this, located in one of the furthest corners of South Africa. KwaZulu Natal’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park is the magical setting for Mabibi Beach Camp – which offers camping or simple self-catering units. 

 

The wild beaches, forests and lakes are there to entertain with snorkelling, fishing, turtle tours, scuba diving, community visits and much more on offer. My suggestion? Head to the nearby Lake Sibaya for an unforgettable way to enjoy the sunset (with a Castle Free in hand, of course!).

 

Learn more at mabibibeachcamp.co.za  

 

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