Eco-Friendly Family Escapes | Inspire
Eco-Friendly Family Escapes
Places to Go
Places to Go

Eco-Friendly Family Escapes

End-of-year madness? When you, your partner and your kids need a real break from the grind, these eco-spots tick all the boxes.

Riemvasmaak Chalets, Riemvasmaak, Northern Cape

These community-run chalets in remote Riemvasmaak, near the Namibian border, are one of the region's best-kept secrets. Set amid towering cliffs next to a string of hot springs, the eight- or four-bed self-catering huts are comfortably rustic, their stone-and-reed design blending in with the environment. There is no cellphone reception, guests need to bring their own drinking water, and the dirt road down to the camp can be a challenging assembly of rocks. However, bathing in the hot springs under the stars to nothing but the sound of snuffling donkeys more than makes up for any inconvenience. Hike into the Riemvasmaak canyon, test your skills on one of the 4x4 trails, or visit Augrabies Falls, which is about a two-hour drive away. 

Best car to get you there: Conquering the Kalahari dunes requires power, and there's no SUV better equipped for this than the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63.

Oudebosch Eco Cabins, Kogelberg Nature Reserve, Western Cape

These five two-bedroom chalets, constructed from wood and glass, are a perfect mix of green living and stylish design. Quirky eco touches include chandeliers made from bottles and indigenous flora growing on the roof. The waterless bio-toilets in each cottage's two bathrooms are a great way to educate the kids – they might even get a kick out of flinging a spoon of compost into the bowl. The on-site eco-pool is a superb place for relaxing, as is the Palmiet River, which has numerous great swimming spots. Plus, if the kids get bored, Kleinmond's beach and small harbour, which has cafés and shops, is just 10 minutes away. There's no cellphone reception and electricity is partially solar. 

Best car to get you there: The Mercedes-Benz S 400 hybrid is the ticket – an ultra-luxury hybrid with silent cruising ability, ensuring you arrive and leave in fine eco-style. 

Kosi Forest Lodge, Kosi Bay Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal

Like a Robinson Crusoe hideaway but with all the trimmings, Kosi Forest Lodge has six thatched double chalets and two family units, making it perfect for a group booking. Set in indigenous sand forest, each room has an outdoor bathroom boma and en-suite indoor shower. With access to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, holidays here are all about exploring the lakes and waterways by canoe, birdwatching, snorkelling at Kosi Bay Mouth or just chilling on the pool deck. Cellphone reception is patchy and electricity is a mix of generator and solar.

Best car to get you there: Never underestimate the traction challenges presented by the powdery sands of northern KZN. With 4MATIC in the Mercedes-Benz GLA 220d, you can savour the coastal scenery instead of sweating a recovery.

Sondela Nature Reserve & Spa, Bela-Bela

Youngsters will love this resort. There’s a farmyard to get mucky in (they can milk cows), plus a delicious mix of ‘junior ranger’ activities, designed for various ages (think fishing with natural products found in the bush, mud stews, collecting rocks, or making a bird feeder).
Kiddie game drives head off on a tractor. Then there are quad bikes, bicycles and horses to ride – and a spa. Chalets or Makhato Lodges sleep between 4 and 8. 

Best car to get you there: The rugged beauty of the bushveld requires a superbly capable SUV. The seven-seater Mercedes-Benz GLS 500 is the perfect upmarket ride for your family.

* Realise your dream of driving the best with Agility Finance from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. And book your test drive today! 

Words: Helen Walne and Janine Stephen.

image description

Best Winter Getaways Two Hours From Cape Town

From enormous fireplaces to hidden caves and superlative views – and from budget to luxe – we've discovered your best getaway spots in the Cape.

image description

Best Winter Getaways Two Hours from Durban

When the city gets a bit too hectic, get behind the wheel and head out to one of these carefully chosen hideaways to restore your spirit.

image description

Best Winter Getaways: Jo'burg

Our pick of the top weekend retreats under 120 minutes drive from Jo’burg.