Five beautiful camping spots in South Africa
Where to park your tent this season
Highlighting only five South African campsites in our beautiful country is no easy task. So with the space allotted, we bring you this tapered range of two very remote campsites, two easily accessible and one somewhere in between.
1. Kosi Bay Campsite, iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Kosi Bay Campsite is situated on Lake Nhlange in the far north of KwaZulu-Natal’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Here lakes, swamps, estuaries and the Indian Ocean merge in a natural interplay that sustains a plethora of bird- and wildlife. This coastal bush setting offers 15 shady open campsites that can accommodate up to seven guests each. Each site has cold running water, braai facilities and a plug point. Two modern ablutions feature hot and running water, flush toilets and showers. Beware though: Kosi Bay is considered a high-risk malaria area and you will need to keep a lookout for hippo and crocodile.
Activities Turtle tours (November–March), hiking trails, snorkelling, swimming, fishing, bird watching and boat rides.
Price Sites with plug points cost R420 for four people per night, R110 per extra adult. The five lakeshore sites (no plug points) cost R520 for four people per night, R120 per extra adult. In addition to camping fees, there is a charge of R40 per adult, R20 per child and R40 per vehicle to enter the park.
Tel 033 845 1000
Web www.kznwildlife.com (bookings), www.isimangaliso.com (more information)
2. De Hoop Campsite, Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
If you really like to get away from it all, and fully self-sufficient camping is your cup of tea, head for the Richtersveld. In this arid park, you’ll find the De Hoop campsite next to the Orange River where it lazily meanders past dry rocky outcrops and large acacia trees. The 12 campsites have ablutions and cold showers. After sunset, you can witness the inky night sky bursting at the seams with sparkly stars.
Activities Fishing, lazing in the river, hiking, bird-watching.
Price From R225 for two people per night. R82 per extra adult, R41 per child. (Maximum 6 people per campsite.)
Tel 012 428 9111 (central reservations), 027 831 1506 (park office)
3. Sanddrif Private Holiday Resort, Cederberg Wilderness Area
Tucked away in the Cederberg Wilderness Area, about 50km of gravel road deep into the mountains, you’ll find Sanddrif Private Holiday Resort. The words ‘holiday resort’ can belie the fact that Sanddrif is blissfully tranquil, with just the grassy, shaded campsites on the Matjies River, a few cottages and views of the Wolfberg Cracks. The campsites have plug points and braai facilities and there are ablutions with hot water.
Activities Hiking, swimming, trail running, climbing or mountain biking. A decent walk will take you to the deep, dark pool of Maalgat. Here you can tan on the rocks, swim and jump into the water (the highest launch pad being about 9m high). Cederberg Private Cellar offers wine tasting and make sure to try the Boggom and Voertsek ales from the Cederberg Craft Brewery. Enjoy the brilliant night sky with views through the telescopes at the nearby Cederberg Astronomical Observatory. View Khoisan paintings and the Maltese Cross rock formation 8km away.
Price R200 per site per night for four people, R50 per extra person. (Max 8 persons per site.)
Tel 027 482 2825, Voip alternative phone 044 004 0060
4. Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, Garden Route National Park
Situated on the popular Garden Route, 68km from Plettenberg Bay, the Storms River Mouth campsite is not off the tourist-beaten track. However, it is still a gem that is well worth the visit. The natural beauty of this spot where cliffs above the river mouth draped in forest vegetation flank the Indian Ocean, is more than enough to refresh any weary soul.
Activities Hiking, swimming, walk across the suspension bridge, boat trips, kayaking and lilo adventure up the river, snorkelling and scuba diving in the Storms River Mouth.
Price There are 112 campsites with prices from R335 for two people per night, R82 per extra adult, R41 per extra child (Maximum 6 people per site).
Tel 012 428 9111 (central reservations), 042 281 1607 (park office)
5. Lake Eland, Oribi Gorge
Situated close to Port Shepstone, Lake Eland has a 80m suspension bridge that offers magnificent views of the Oribi Gorge, as does the guided zipline tour that takes you across 14 slides. On the ground you’ll find zebra, eland, wildebeest and other game grazing peacefully in tranquil surrounds. The campsites are situated on the lake and each has a braai place, electricity and two ablution blocks. The sites are separated by wooden partitions and offer panoramic views over the reserve.
Activities Ziplining, horse rides, self (or guided) game drives, walking and single-track mountain-bike trails, paintball, fishing, picnic sites, restaurant, specific 4×4 routes available.
Prices Between R100 and R140 per person per night.
Tel 039 687 0395 or 083 257 9468
Text: Elise Kirsten
Images: Kosi Bay Campsite – Scott Ramsay, De Hoop Campsite – Teagan Cunniffe, Sanddrif Private Holiday Resort – supplied, Storms River Mouth Rest Camp – Elise Kirsten, Lake Eland – supplied.