SA top 10 camping getaways
Rallying around the “African TV” on a frosty July evening in the Berg, or flipping the Coleman’s to a kitchen table on a warm December at the coast, camping is a core part of our culture. It’s not like we even have to travel far from our comfort zones; the best campsites in South Africa can be found within mere hours of major cities; and swapping the suburbs for sleeping bags will, as always, be a way of life this summer.
- Mahai River Campsite, Royal Natal National Park – Drakensberg
- Tietiesbaai Beach Camp, West Coast
- Fiddlers Creek Campsite, Orange River
- Bruintjieskraal Campsite, Baviaanskloof
- Motswedi Luxury Campsite, Mokala National Park
- Beaverlac Camping, Cederberg
- Buccaneers, Cintsa
- Tsendze Rustic Campsites, Northern Kruger National Park
- Stoney Ridge Campsite, Colenso
- Albert Falls, Pietermaritzburg
1 – Mahai River Campsite, Royal Natal National Park – Drakensberg – This big campground is set in one of the Drakensberg’s most beautiful valleys. The Mahai Campsite offers clean ablution and washing up facilities, as well as electric and non-electric campsites. From the Mahai Valley where the campsite is situated, you can choose from a range of novice to advanced hikes, as well as fly fishing close to camp. The only thing you’ll ever need to worry about is remembering to zip your tent on the way out so wayward Chacma baboons can’t get in while you’re out hiking.
2 – Tietiesbaai Beach Camp, West Coast – The amusingly named bay on the west coast is a favourite when it comes to rough and ready camping next to the sea. With its distinct rugged West Coast edge, the campsite at Tietiesbaai provides a diverse range of campgrounds to suit the tastes of every outdoorsman, even if cold showers and no electricity are par for the course. Set up near the ablutions for campsite convenience or choose a spot away from the crowd and nestle among the rocks for private holiday bliss. There are 60 caravanning and tenting sites available (grass and ground); none of them has power points. The possibility of strong South-Easters calls for sturdy tents, and if it gets all too much, the delightful village of Paternoster is just 6km down the road.
3 – Fiddlers Creek Campsite, Orange River – The banks of the Orange River are as enviable a location as any to set up camp this summer, and Bushwhacked Adventures’ Fiddler Creek Campsite will surely not disappoint you and your friends. Nestled on the banks of the Orange River, Fiddlers Creek Campsite is a certain wilderness escape with some mod cons to enhance the outdoors experience.
4 – Bruintjieskraal Campsite, Baviaanskloof – The perfect base from which to explore the spectacular Baviaanskloof Wilderness area, Bruintjieskraal Campsite boasts one of the most idyllic settings in which to roll out your tent. It’s located at Grootrivier Poort, the entrance to the area, and spreads out on the shores of the Grootrivier.
5 – Motswedi Luxury Campsite, Mokala National Park – Heaven for nature lovers and hikers, Mokala National Park offers “glamping” in a beautiful landscape in close proximity to wildlife. The luxurious Motswedi Campsite is home to just six camping spots, all of them are naturally fenced by camel thorn trees.
6 – Beaverlac Camping, Cederberg – This comfortable, pet-friendly campsite is a great choice for a fun weekend getaway from Cape Town. Cosy up in the foothills of the Olifants River Mountains just 2 hours from the Mother City – Beaverlac offers excellent hiking opportunities and a chance to breathe some fresh air in a picturesque natural setting. It’s a great place to enjoy mountain biking, hiking and exploring the wilds.
7 – Buccaneers, Cintsa – A favourite amongst nomadic backpackers and outdoorsmen, Buccaneers is located on the spectacular Wild Coast on the eastern shores of South Africa. The campsite is hemmed in behind the giant sand dunes of Cintsa Beach, bordered by giant guava trees overlooking the lagoon from the west.
8 – Tsendze Rustic Campsites, Northern Kruger National Park – Located just 7km from Mopani Rest Camp in the famous Kruger Park this rustic camp boasts 30 campsites set out in two circles, each surrounding excellent kitchen and ablution facilities. The facilities are basic; hot water, electricity and lights are provided via solar power and gas. This Tsendze Camp, one of the newest in the Park, has quickly become very popular for its superb setting and excellent bird and game life, including elephant, buffalo, zebra and various antelope.
9 – Stoney Ridge Campsite, Colenso – If you’re heading for the scenic Natal Midlands, this is the ideal campsite. Stoney Ridge is located amongst 6,000 acres of unspoiled natural beauty on a private game farm offering superb game viewing and bird life, as well as 4X4 trails. The campsite is located in shady environs on the banks of the Bloukrans River and offers excellent ablution facilities.
10 – Albert Falls, Pietermaritzburg – This family-oriented campsite is located just 24km from Pietermaritzburg in the 3000-hectare Albert Falls Dam and Game Reserve. Excellent bass fishing, and watersports on the dam are all part of the magic in this idyllic setting.