Oceans Wilderness

Wilderness, Garden Route, South Africa Book from Book from £126 per night

Super-stylish 15-room hotel on unspoilt Wilderness Beach; floor-to-ceiling glass windows showcase spectacular ocean views
Just 10km beyond the town of George, the lush foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains drop away to reveal one of the Garden Route's best beaches: Wilderness. Every time we visit, the vast expanse of golden sand with rolling breakers stretching out to the horizon takes our breath away. In a prime position, right above the dunes, this utterly luxurious hotel with just 15 beautiful bedrooms is a chic spot to linger for a few days and take it all in.

Design is sleek and modern: expect vast open spaces, huge windows and earthy tones complemented by contemporary art. The striking white architecture would make a good Bond villain hideout, yet friendly management and multiple cosy sitting areas give a comforting sense of home. From spotting whales or dolphins at breakfast to combing miles of coastline or whiling away whole days by the pool, it's unfeasibly hard to drag yourself away from Oceans Wilderness and get back on the road.

Highs

  • We were blown away by the stunning architecture and spectacular views of Wilderness Beach
  • A great base for exploring this part of the Garden Route; for those who want to fly, George is just 10km away
  • Incredibly good value off season
  • Well-equipped comfy bedrooms, many with ocean-view terraces
  • A surprisingly relaxed, homely feel
  • Lots of activities in the surrounding area: options to go hiking, paragliding and golf

Lows

  • The ocean has powerful rips but the guesthouse has a sheltered pool for swimming
  • At present dinner is only served a couple of nights a week but there are restaurants in town and one within walking distance
  • The 2 Standard Rooms are smaller than the others with just a glimpse of the sea, however this is reflected in the price and they're still very comfortable

Best time to go

Every season has its benefits and the ocean looks amazing all year round: June-December is prime whale-watching time; August-November is best for spring flowers along the Garden Route; December-March is the summer season when days are hot, sunny and busy; autumn, April-June, is a quieter time when days are still warm, though evenings can be chilly.

Our top tips

Before you arrive, find out when the hotel is cooking dinner and make sure you eat in on that night. If your schedule allows, stay for a few days as there's so much to do locally.

Great for...

Beach
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 15
  • Breakfast served daily; dinner twice weekly
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Laundry service
Room:

Rooms

The main building houses 9 rooms, each arranged symmetrically with room types mirrored in the east and west. Clean straight lines and ceramic flooring are softened by underfloor heating, loose shaggy carpets and driftwood Anglepoise lamps. Expect top-quality linens, Nespresso machines and spacious bathrooms with powerful showers, amongst other comforts.

All but Standard Rooms face the sea and most have terraces to lounge out on. The magnificent Presidential Suite has acres of space. Remote electric blinds reveal the view and the private deck leads directly to the beach. We loved the novelty of being able to step virtually straight from our suite into the hotel pool. There’s also a private sauna and huge walk-in wardrobe. The 2 Beach Suites are on the lower level, closest to the beach and with direct access. They have their own decks but share a lounge area; a good option for 2 couples travelling together. Standard Rooms have less space than other rooms but it’s no squeeze and beds can be made into singles or doubles.

Since our visit, they've opened Oceans 2, located next door to the main building. It houses 6 additional rooms, all of which look just as luxurious. Choose the Penthouse Room or the Panorama Room for the best sea views.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is taken in the open-plan kitchen area or out on the terrace. We arrived minutes after all the other guests to find a savage feeding frenzy, so tempting was the lush buffet. The continental spread included pastries, fruit salads, juices, hams and yoghurts, as well as a selection of cooked offerings.

When we stayed, dinner was only offered a couple of nights a week, so don't miss out. We were won over by the delicious Asian-style soft fillets of beef with saffron Pilau rice. Word is that their home-style dishes are preferable to anything on offer in town.

But on nights they don't cook, there's Salinas Beach Restaurant (just 600m away) for seafood dishes and a decent steak, or Serendipity for top-end tasting menus and a more gastronomic experience.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Beach beach beach! Sit back and lap up this incredible stretch of coastline - it goes on for 14km. If you paddle in the water you'll find it's warmer than in Cape Town
  • Lounge by the pool away from the breeze and fully unwind
  • You're on the Garden Route so there's plenty of action but you can start by immersing yourself in Wilderness National Park with its forests, lakes and Outeniqua Mountains
  • Whale-watch from your terrace - the Southern Rights pass by from June to December
  • Take a trip on the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe steam train between Knysna and George
  • Golf can be played at several exceptional courses nearby
  • Go canoeing around the Wilderness lakes, or hire a paddle board to explore the gorge
  • Choose from many hiking trails - the Kingfisher Trail is an easy 3-hour hike up to a waterfall
  • Try your hand at paragliding, horse riding or surfing

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Paragliding
  • Scuba diving
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Whale watching
  • Wildlife

Kids

Most rooms have space for extra beds. The hotel is geared towards adults, though older children will enjoy it. The enormous beach gives lots of space to roam around but swimming is best avoided due to the powerful rip tides.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Executive, Beach and Presidential suites can accommodate children, as can all rooms in Oceans 2.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots (advance notice required)

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Families Should Know:

Parents should be mindful that there are drop-offs from terraces which could be hazardous, and the pool is unfenced. The Presidential Suite leads straight into the pool so not suitable for non swimmers or unsupervised children. There are strong rip tides in the ocean.

Distances:

  • Shops: 3-4 mins' drive (Wilderness)
  • Hospital: 20 mins' drive (George)
  • Airport: 20 mins' drive (George)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Oceans Wilderness overlooks Wilderness Beach, about halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on South Africa's Garden Route.

By Air:
The nearest airport is George (26km), which is about a 20-minute drive, though you can also fly to Port Elizabeth (278km). If coming from abroad, fly into Cape Town (428km) and either drive (5 hours) or take a connecting flight from there.

From the Airport
It's a 20-minute drive from George to Wilderness. Taxis are available, but most guests hire a car and drive as there is minimal taxi infrastructure locally.

By Car
Hiring a car is a great way to explore the area - see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

More on getting to South Africa and getting around.

Airports:

  • George Airport 26.0 km GRJ
  • Port Elizabeth Airport 278.0 km PLZ

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 0.6 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

From the moment we arrived we knew this place was special. Our initial greeting was so warm and personal it felt more like visiting friends than arriving at a hotel. Our room was amazing and the view breathtaking, we saw a sea otter on the beach outside our room and watched dolphins while having breakfast on the veranda.

10/10,

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