Escape the summer heat while enjoying spectacular vistas and a lovely sense of seclusion at one of these picturesque riverside retreats.
There’s just something about spending time by the river – the sound of flowing water, the smell of flourishing ferns and palms, and the immense serenity of submerging yourself in a natural rock pool. Given its mountainous topography, comprising the interior plateau, and the land between the plateau and the coast, South Africa has an incredible network of rivers spanning all provinces. These abundant natural wonders not only feed life but also make for a spectacular recreation point where swimming, floating down the river on lilos, jumping off a waterfall and kayaking out to the mouth awaits lovers of nature. Whether alongside a small mountain-fed farm stream or an expansive flowing rapid encapsulated by waterfalls and rockpools, Conservio has the perfect river retreat for those looking to escape the heat in a stunning setting.
Western Cape River Retreats
The Gaia Sanctuary
The Gaia Sanctuary is a scenic retreat offering a little slice of peace and tranquillity near Swellendam, right on the banks of the Breede River in the Overberg region of the Western Cape. On this working farm, you can leave your busy city life behind and enjoy a ‘back-to-mother-earth’ experience, reconnecting with nature and disconnecting from stress. Guests can choose to stay in a lovely and unique A-Frame cabin, a glamping-style bell tent, or one of the scenic campsites – all of which share communal bathrooms. With spectacular views over the Langeberg Mountain range and uninterrupted sunrises and sunsets, The Gaia Sanctuary is ideal for those seeking a romantic weekend away, or an unforgettable adventure with friends and family.
Somerset Gift Getaway Farm
Somerset Gift Getaway Farm is a scenic hideaway located near the historic town of Swellendam in the Western Cape, surrounded by lush green valleys that border the majestic Langeberg Mountains. The private land encompasses thousands of hectares of beautiful mountain ground with trails that wind through indigenous forests and fynbos, leading to mountain valleys, waterfalls, and rock pools. Each season paints its own unique beauty on this landscape, making it a year-round getaway for all. Somerset Gift Getaway Farm offers a range of self-catering accommodations, including the Manor House, Fish Eagle Lodge, Rose Cottage, Loerie Cottage, Olive Cottage, and the Little Bush Buck Cottage – each equipped with collected antiques, charming Cape cottage decor and all the modern amenities needed for a fuss-free stay. The cottages offer privacy while being convenient for groups, with spacious interiors and furnished outdoor areas.
La Ferme is an immersive self-catering nature retreat situated just 10 minutes from the famed Cape Winelands town of Franschhoek. La Ferme offers over 12 hectares of scenic surroundings and wonderful outdoor adventures, where the Wemmershoek River runs through the farm offering the perfect place for cooling off on a hot summer’s day, sundowners or a spot of fishing. Guests will be able to experience peace and privacy in their chosen lodgings with just three beautiful cottages and a unique River Flat. Each of the cottages sleeps between two to six guests, creating the perfect location for couples, friends or families seeking a wonderful escape just outside of Cape Town. Inside, the cottages are equipped with full kitchens, en-suite bedrooms and spacious living areas with indoor fireplaces, while outside, the private decks with a braai/barbecue offer beautiful views of the surrounding farm and are the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset.
Frog Mountain Getaway
Frog Mountain Getaway is a dreamlike escape situated on a working farm in the heart of Swellendam, where six private cottages, including three enchanting thatched rondavels, offer an unforgettable stay. The cottages are little natural sanctuaries of rustic simplicity and beauty, with special touches such as Egyptian cotton linen on the king-size beds and many other extras to make your stay comfortable. There’s also a spacious fully fenced, private farmhouse with a swimming pool that sleeps 12 – perfect for groups of friends or families travelling together. A true nature lover’s paradise, it’s surrounded by the majestic Langeberg Mountains and a meandering river, where abundant birdlife, free-roaming farm animals and waterfall and rock pool adventures await. The farm’s diverse ecosystem hosts key species, fostering an appreciation for conservation. Guests can enjoy an array of nature-based activities in the surrounding area, such as swimming, canoeing on the river, and hiking in the Langeberg Mountains.
Solace Eco Cabin Rawsonville
Solace Eco Cabin in Rawsonville is a secluded escape situated in an untouched natural setting on a 200-hectare farm enveloped by the Matroosberg Mountain Range. Guests at Solace Eco Cabin can explore the nearby vineyards and wineries, go hiking or biking in the surrounding mountains, dip in one of the many nearby rockpools, or take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the Breede River. The cabin is designed for self-sufficiency, boasting an indoor fireplace, a cosy daybed, and stack-back glass doors that seamlessly merge the indoor and outdoor living spaces. The open deck comes complete with a gas BBQ, an umbrella, plunge pool and sun loungers, inviting you to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Additionally, you can make use of the private fire pit and wood-burning hot tub to enhance your outdoor experience.
Mosaic Lagoon Lodge
Mosaic Lagoon Lodge can be found tucked behind a grove of Milkwood trees in the midst of over a thousand hectares of fynbos between the towns of Stanford and Hermanus. Situated on the banks of the Hermanus lagoon, the lodge enjoys uninterrupted views across the water to the magnificent mountains located just beyond. Mosaic Lodge features five luxury rondavel-style suites, each with its own private deck and a spectacular view, offering an intimate escape in nature. During the winter months, the warming wood burners are a cosy addition to each suite. Guests can expect a five-star, all-inclusive experience from the moment they step foot on the property, but also one of total peace and tranquillity. Due to its intimate nature, there is a maximum of 10 guests at any given time, and one Family Suite welcoming children over the age of four – unless booked out for exclusive use, in which case there is no age limit.
Garden Route River Retreats
Sanjika Farm Stay
Sanjika Farm Stay, also known as the Boshuis, is a gorgeous self-catering retreat set in an indigenous forest at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains of the Garden Route. The Boshuis at Sanjika Farm Stay can accommodate up to four guests in two en-suite bedrooms, and is fully equipped with everything you need for a private escape in stunning surrounds. Inside there is a spacious open-plan kitchen, dining and living area, with a large wraparound patio outside host to more seating and a shaded relaxation space. There’s also an outdoor shower, firepit boma, pizza oven, and wood-fired hot tub for extra luxury. Embark lovely walking paths that meander through the farm, along the Modder River, and through the captivating indigenous forest, leading to a breathtaking waterfall and a refreshing freshwater pool.
Emily Moon River Lodge
Experience the magic of Emily Moon River Lodge – a boutique escape located on the banks of the Bitou River in Plettenberg Bay, a popular travel destination in the Western Cape. Known for its spectacular setting and unique decor, Emily Moon exudes African charm with a touch of eccentricity. There are 16 individually designed suites, each overlooking the flowing river, wetlands beyond and mountains in the distance. Owned by Mark and Christine Valentine, the lodge showcases treasures from their global explorations, adding a unique character to a nature-based stay. Guests can choose to stay in one of six superior luxury suites, eight luxury suites, or two family suites, each decorated with personally collected artefacts that resonate with the spirit of Africa.
Great Karoo River Retreats
Karoo Ridge Eco-Lodges
Karoo Ridge Eco-Lodges is situated in the Suurberg Mountain Range in the Great Karoo, overlooking an expansive area of land with a great diversity of vistas, flora and fauna. Karoo Ridge Lodge Eco-Lodges features two exclusive-use lodges (Mountain Lodge and River Lodge) that are each perfect for families or groups of friends looking to experience an uninterrupted stay in spectacular surrounds. The Mountain Lodge features two en-suite bedrooms sleeping up to four guests, while the River Lodge can sleep up to eight guests in four bedrooms spread across a main house and a cottage. Each lodge is fully equipped with everything you need for a fuss-free stay in nature, including a large kitchen, indoor and outdoor dining/living areas, swimming pool, and view-drenched deck. Guests can go on self-guided trails from the lodge, swim in seasonal deep river pools, or even go on a guided outing into the Karoo bushveld.
KwaZulu Natal River Retreats
Belvidere Country Estate
Belvidere Country Estate is a scenic getaway comprising a lovingly renovated farmhouse and a selection of charming cottages in the Midlands Meander region of KwaZulu Natal. Passionate and welcoming owners, the Woodley family have gradually expanded the estate with their own hands and vision bringing their labour of love to life at Belvidere Country Estate. Today, Belvidere Country Estate is a thriving working farm and beautiful guest retreat, surrounded by panoramic views of the Karkloof Reserve and lush grazing farmland. The estate offers five accommodation options – the Dam View Villa, Mountain View Villa, Vlei Villa, Loft Villa, and the most recent addition, the Tented River Camp, located right by the water. Additionally, every villa features an outdoor pizza oven and braai facilities, while the Loft Villa and Tented River Camp provide the extra luxury of a hot tub.
Enjoy the unmatched serenity that comes with a stay alongside a flowing stream, rockpools and waterfalls, when you book your river retreat getaway with Conservio today!