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10 Top Campsites in Cape Town and Surrounds
A selection of some of the best places to go camping in Cape Town and surrounds
A selection of some of the best places to go camping in Cape Town and surrounds
When sunny skies roll in, what could be better than a rustic getaway in the Mother City’s tranquil great outdoors? Cape Town's spectacular natural surroundings, majestic mountains, coursing rivers and sweeping valleys make for the ideal setting for such a laidback camping vacation, and, fortunately, a whole host of spots exist just for this purpose. What follows, then, is an overview of some of the most scenic and well-situated campsites and campgrounds in the Western Cape (and arguably the world) to help you get back to basics.
All you need is a tent, a few trimmings and a penchant for adventure. Good luck!
PLACES TO CAMP IN CAPE TOWN AND SURROUNDS
Situated up in the Cederberg region’s Olifants River Mountains (between two and three hours from Cape Town), Beaverlac – which forms part of a wildlife- and vegetation-rich natural heritage site – is an ideal camping spot for nature lovers and those seeking some much-needed tranquillity and quiet. Facilities include both designated campsites and more formal cabins with toilets and showers (some with hot water), as well as a well-equipped shop that stocks a range of goods – wood, wine, beer, ice, meat, tinned foods and toiletries amongst others – necessary for a comfortable, memorable holiday in the great outdoors. Campers can also partake in a variety of activities in the surrounding area, including hiking, cycling, swimming and fishing in the nearby rivers and rock pools.
Fees: Per car: R15;Adults: R45; Children age 4 – 11: R 25; Children under 4: Free; Dogs: R40
Grootfontein Farm |Porterville |+27 (0) 22 931 2945
The Beach Camp
The Beach Camp is located on the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve near the quaint fishing village of Paternoster (roughly two hours from Cape Town). Unlike your typical campsite, accommodation takes the form of either intimate wooden A-shaped huts or comfortable bedded twin tents (campers are just required to bring sleeping bags). A communal fireplace, licensed bar, well-stocked kitchen tent and ablutions with warm water are also available; although, the relatively rustic site has no electricity. Apart from spending days lazing on hammocks and soaking in the spectacular sea views, guests can also hike, horse ride or mountain bike through the reserve, go on seasonal wild flower walks or partake in guided sea kayak tours. As this is a popular spot, booking in advance is essential and is done via an online system (www.beachcamp.co.za).
Fees: Prices vary significantly depending on season and accommodation type, and are quoted individually when bookings are made.
Soldatenbaai |Cape Columbine Nature Reserve | Tietiesbaai |+27 (0) 82 926 2267
This scenic campsite is found on the beautiful Bainskloof Pass (roughly one hour from Cape Town) and offers 26 camping spots, all of which have their own designated braai area, and six of which are private with personal ablution blocks. The facility has a picnic site that can hold up to 120 guests and a number of short, fun hikes with breathtaking views are within easy reach. Although the campsite has no electrical points, a generator supplies the communal ablution facilities, ensuring hot water and lighting until 10pm nightly. Making a booking beforehand is a must, especially during peak seasons and school holidays.
Fees: Standard sites (off-peak): R200; standard sites (peak): R240; Private sites (off-peak): R320; Private sites (peak): R390
Note: Prices are per site, not per person, and each site can accommodate up to six people maximum; a once-off conservation fee of R30 per adult and R15 per child will also be charged on entering the reserve.
Limietberg Nature Reserve| Paarl |+ 27 (0) 21 483 0190
Palmiet Caravan Park
This caravan park and campsite in the picturesque coastal village of Kleinmond (roughly 90 minutes from Cape Town) boasts 142 stands in total – 108 of which have electrical outlets – as well as four communal ablution blocks with clean toilets and washing facilities. The scenic seaside region in which it is located is one of Cape Town and surrounds’ top spots for whale watching from August to November, and the area also features a river lagoon ideal for swimming and canoeing and many hiking paths from which wildlife and birds can be observed.
Fees: Rates change seasonally and depending on the location and conditions of the sites (sea-facing or not; with or without power points) but range from approximately R130 to R276 per night per four-man stand. Electricity is charged at an additional R25 per night.
Palmiet Road |Kleinmond | +27 (0) 28 271 8458
Clanwilliam Bulshoek Dam Camping Accommodation
Located in the Cedarberg approximately 23km outside of the charming town of Clanwilliam and only two hours from Cape Town, this rustic campground lies along the banks of the Bulshoek Dam, making it the perfect spot for both nature and water sports lovers. The main site is equipped with communal but discreet washing facilities (showers and toilets are separate), electricity, fresh water, a double basin for cleaning dishes, braai amenities, firewood and ice on request. Optional activities in the area include canoeing, fishing, boating and water skiing.
Fees: R250 per site; maximum six people at each.
Die Vlei Farm |Clanwilliam | +27 (0) 82 533 3995
River Goose Campsite
Found roughly two and a half hours from Cape Town, near Bonnievale on the banks of the Breede River, this grassy, well-shaded camping spot’s prime location makes a wealth of activities possible, including swimming, fishing, canoeing, rowing and leisurely cruises on the Goose River Boat (at extra cost). Communal flush toilets and showers with hot water are present on the grounds, but there are no electrical points and no kitchen facilities bar a wash-up area for dishes. Campers are encouraged to make bookings in advance as space at the site is limited.
Fees: R70 per person per night (off-peak); R90 per person per night (peak season)
Farm Eureka | Gelukshoop Road |Bonnievale | +27 (0) 82 759 5727
Located in the charming village of Kommetjie on the Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula (only 40 minutes from Cape Town), this laidback resort and campground – which is situated only 100m from popular surfing spot Long Beach – makes for a relaxed seaside getaway. The well-maintained site, which also features two cosy chalets, is home to 80 tent and caravan stands, all with power outlets and private built-in braais. Scattered water points and two shared ablution blocks with toilets, baths and hot showers make for comfortable camping; and although no cooking facilities are present, a scullery is available for washing. In addition to the host of things to do in the bustling area, there’s also ample opportunity for entertainment for both adults and children on the property with an on-site games (snooker and table tennis) and television room and kids’ playground available for campers’ use.
Fees: R130 per night for the first two people sharing and R30 per additional person thereafter (off-peak); R310 per night for between one and four people (peak season).
66 Wireless Road |Kommetjie | + 27 (0) 21 783 1634
Oatlands Holiday Village
Just south of the centre of Simon's Town with dramatic views of False Bay, Oatlands (roughly 45 minutes from Cape Town) features a number of different camping levels sporting both tent and caravan sites. On-site facilities include public bathrooms with hot water, a private swimming pool for campers, a designated play area for children, and a recreational room decked with dartboards and a pool table. In addition, the ground’s English pub opens on request for meals and drinks for groups of 10 or more. Apart from this eatery, however, the site is strictly a self-catering spot and no kitchen facilities are available. For those seeking leisure activities, Oatlands is well-situated near to the beach, a golf course and Simon’s Town’s many fascinating historical museums. Booking in advance is essential.
Fees: R200 per night per site (maximum of six people at each site) (off-peak); R250 per night per site (peak season). Rates increase annually.
Main Road |Froggy Pond | Simon´s Town | + 27 (0) 21 786 1410
Bontebok National Park Campsite
Nestled below the Langeberg Mountains just three hours from Cape Town in this diverse and colourful conservation reserve, Lang Elsie’s Kraal rest camp is perfectly located for those nature lovers seeking to soak up the sights, sounds, smells and serenity of the breathtaking indigenous surroundings. The three-part campground comprises a number of tent sites (each accommodating up to six people), a selection of which are equipped with electricity and 11 of which boast tranquil river views but no allocated power points. Being comfortable but charmingly rustic, the spot has communal bathrooms and showers with warm water and a small on-site shop that sells a limited variety of basic goods, including firewood, ice and cool drinks. Although there are no kitchen facilities available, and hence campers are advised to bring their own cutlery and cooler boxes, meat can also be stored in the fridge at the reception area. To wring the most out of the scenic setting, a number of adventurous activities are on offer in the area; these include hiking, bird watching, mountain biking and game viewing, as well as canoeing, fishing and swimming in the Breede River, which runs through the park.
Fees: The campsite’s base rate price ranges from R155 to R190 for the first two people sharing; thereafter additional adults are charged at R58 each and children at R29 each (all such prices are subject to change).
Lang Elsie’s Kraal | Bontebok National Park | +27 (0)28 514 2735
Read more about Bontebok National Park
Table Mountain National Park Campsites
Extending all the way from Signal Hill to Cape Point, this vast and varied world heritage site – which, amongst rocky coastlines, sandy beaches and sweeping valleys, includes Cape Town’s iconic landmark Table Mountain – claims four separate well-appointed tented camps ideal for retreating from the hustle and bustle of city life. Somewhat more luxurious than your classic campground, each site – Orangekloof in a forest in Hout Bay, Slangkop in the seaside village of Kommetjie, Smitswinkel near the entrance to the Cape of Good Hope and Silvermine on the top of Ou Kaapse Weg – features a number of slightly raised, eco-friendly timber structures equipped with single beds (either two or four) and mattresses (bedding and towels must be brought). While all have clean communal ablutions, braai facilities, and fully-equipped kitchen and dining areas in an on-site boma, Smitswinkel also boasts private well-stocked self-catering kitchenettes and en-suite bathrooms with toilets and showers. Although all the wooden tent huts make for supremely comfortable accommodation options, in keeping with the natural surroundings, none have electricity; rather, all tents and amenities are supplied by gas, except Smitswinkel which is solar-powered. Activities available at each camp are as varied as the locations themselves, but range from hiking, cycling and picnicking to surfing, swimming, cray-fishing and snorkelling.
Fees: Base rate prices range from R440 to R550 for the first two people sharing; thereafter additional adults are charged at between R220 and R275 each and children at between R110 and R137.50 each (all prices are subject to change).
Table Mountain National Park |+27 (0)21 422 2816
Read more about accommodation in the Table Mountain National Park.
Tankwa Karoo National Park Campsites
Eight unique campsites lie interspersed among the striking moonscapes, mountainous cliffs, rich plant life and open arid plains of this unconventional park (which is located at the boundary of the Western and Northern Cape, approximately four hours from Cape Town): two of which are formal and established, and six of which are decidedly more informal and rustic, best suited to those eager to rough it. The limited number of stands at Perdekloof and Langkloof – the two official camps – each come with a private bathroom (equipped with a shower, toilet and basin), braai amenities (without grid) and a personal enclosed kitchen that claims a sink but no cooking equipment. Paraffin lamps at Langkloof and solar power at Perdekloof, as well as gas geysers at both, ensure sufficient lighting and warm water. The informal sites, on the other hand, are merely small, unrefined open stands for pitching tents; no ablution blocks, fresh water or other amenities are present here, so they’re certainly not fitting for those campers more dependent on certain comforts. Owing to the harsh terrain, most of the camps, including the two official grounds, can only be accessed with high clearance 2x4 or 4x4 vehicles. Although bird-watching, stargazing and technical driving are all viable pastimes in this stark but spectacular setting, the selection of endemic wildlife that roam the area – think kudu, gemsbok, duiker, tortoises, red hartebeest and zebra – make game-viewing a good option too.
Fees: The base rate at Langkloof and Perdekloof is R185 for the first two people sharing and R90 per additional adult or R45 per additional child thereafter; at the informal camps, the base rate for two is R90 and additional adults and children are charged at R40 and R20 respectively thereafter.
Tankwa Karoo National Park |+27 (0)27 341 1927
Read more about Tankwa Karoo National Park.
A fan of the wild but not the notion of sleeping outdoors? Immerse yourself in nature on one of Cape Town’s many scenic hiking trails.