If you’re bored of the usual hotels, lodges and campsites and want to stay somewhere completely different, why not sleep in a treehouse? There is a growing number of treehouse hotels and lodges spread all over South Africa, from bush getaways to beach escapes. Here’s our pick of South Africa’s best tree houses to stay at.
Tucked away in the beautiful bird-filled indigenous Knysna forest, Teniqua Treetops is a rustic eco-friendly paradise and one of South Africa’s best treehouses. There are eight treehouses built around the ancient trees, with tented bedrooms, wood and glass bathrooms and kitchens and indoor and outdoor seating areas – and the four honeymoon treehouses have outdoor sunken baths. Teniqua is committed to low impact, low density tourism, and they harvest rain water, process grey water, minimize energy usage and take in rescued horses to be environmentally-friendly lawnmowers.
Jaci’s Tree Lodge offers a safari holiday with a difference in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West Province. Here you’ll sleep in the trees in one of eight treehouses in giant tamboti and leadwood trees, with private balconies and outdoor showers. The treehouses are built on stilts and have panoramic views over the tops of the trees and the savanna beyond, where you can spot wildlife.
Near Hoedspruit in Limpopo, Marc’s Treehouse Lodge is found in Motlala Game Reserve, which is home to rhino, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, leopard and hyena. The 12 ensuite rustic treehouses, made out of wood and reeds and built into the trees, are set on the banks of the Klaserie River, with viewing decks with views of either the river where animals come to drink or the “Breakfast dam”, another animal drinking spot. There are lots of birds to spot in the trees around the houses, from narina trogons to purple-crested touracos.
This award-winning eco-friendly lodge, situated in a private nature reserve on South Africa’s popular Garden Route, is the perfect romantic treehouse getaway, with stylish suites built high up in the trees. Made out of wood and glass, the treehouses have mosquito net-draped beds, private decks and outdoor sunken bathtubs. Spot some of the forest’s 150 bird species from your bed, or explore the forest to see bushbuck, blue duiker and grysbok, or go canoeing. At night dine at the romantic lamp-lit Moroccan-styled restaurant, Chutzpah.
Just outside the lovely little town of Tulbagh in the Western Cape, Vindoux is a guest farm with charming treehouse accommodation. Four treehouse suites are set among the trees next to the plum orchards, with views of the Saronsberg Mountains and the game camp with its wildebeest, springbok and zebra. There’s also a self-catering tree lodge that can sleep eight people: three bedrooms are set high up among the trees, along with a lounge and kitchen. Spend your days relaxing on the farm, exploring the vineyard by bike, visiting nearby wine farms and exploring the valley, and wandering around Tulbagh.
Just north of East London in the Eastern Cape, you’ll find Driftwood Treehouse overlooking the Kwelera Nature Reserve. The house is surrounded by foliage, so you feel like you’re sleeping in the forest, with its monkeys and birds. The secluded Rainbow Beach is just a short walk away.