We recently had the opportunity to visit the Noukrans Bushcamp along with our family – what a pleasant experience.
This campsite is situated on a working dairy farm, named Goedehoop and is a great place to kick off your shoes, light a fire, breath in some fresh air and just relax. With no cell phone signal and only the sound of tractors, cows and birds in the background, there is no need to keep an eye on your watch. The only thing you have to do is enjoy this piece of heaven on earth!
The Noukrans bush camp is situated in an oak tree plantation, where some of the oak trees date back to around 1920. The huge trees give a lot of shade. Underneath the oaks are mostly grass areas, and visitors are welcome to pick their own spot – as there are no marked out campsites. During our visit we could use as much space as we needed, without feeling that our neighbours were listening to our conversations. There are approximately 10 camping sites but the number of people at the campsite gets monitored, no more than 30 guests will be accommodated, in order to maintain a feeling of space.
With no electricity, and only solar lights in the ablution, it really is the getaway most people dream of. The ablutions are equipped with six hot water showers, six flush toilets, enough mirrors and two neat washing-up facilities. Brown river water is used for showers and toilets and fresh rain water is available for cooking and drinking.
The Noukrans Bushcamp is located 23 km outside of Heidelberg in the Western Cape. Around 12 of those 23 km is along a (good) gravel road, and the bush camp is easily accessible for on-road and off-road caravans, and campers.
We felt like brave adventurers and packed a waterproof backpack and ventured into the Noukrans early one morning. After a 5-hour walk (with swims in between) we reached the waterfall which gave the bush camp its name. Just remember coming back is also a 5-hour trip, so do not waste too much time. If you are not that brave, a relaxing walk anywhere on the farm might be a better option. Although there are no properly marked walking paths and routes, visitors are able to follow vehicle roads or climb a bit of the mountains. There is a swimming facility in the river where Noukrans starts, which is about a 40 minute walk from the campsite, but then you will not experience the majestic cliffs of the Noukrans. Children are not allowed into any river areas without adult supervision.
It is said that, if the area is blessed with good rainfall, two rivers cross the road a short walk from the bush camp, where kids can swim and play among the white pebbles and rocks and parents can sit with their feet in the water collect little white stones to keep as mementos.
By arrangement, children are allowed to help with the milking of the calves. There were also some orphaned calves, which allowed the children assist with bottle feeding. A visit to the milking parlour can also be arranged and visitors can buy farm-fresh, unpasteurised, full cream milk by ordering in advance.
Nature and bird lovers will be thrilled tha representatives of the Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2 spotted 78 different bird species in the area in 2017.
When booking, also enquire about the availability of various products, including freshly baked farm bread, farm butter, different jams and preserves, lamb chops, ice and fire wood. You can also buy a small potted oak tree grown from the acorns of the parent trees.
There are portable braai drums available but remember to bring your own grid.
In a nutshell:
- Electricity – NO
- Hot water – YES!
- Fishing – NO
- Relaxing space – YES!
- Swimming pool NO – just rivers
- Mountain bike routes – YES
- No dogs during busy/peak season – ask when booking
- Closest town- Heidelberg (23 km)
I WANT TO GO, TOO
- Name: Noukrans Bushcamp
- Location: Heidelberg, Western Cape
- Accommodation: Camping
- Pricing: From R70 per person per night
- Contact: Adré Coetzee
- 082 5629658
Text: Loret Truter
Photographs: Roland Straub and Rikus Truter