See Robin Auld, The Native Young, Craig Lucas and more live at Café Roux this month
Soak Up The Views From Your Private Deck On The Ultimate Glamping Experience
AfriCamps have created 11 beautiful boutique tented camps in South Africa, and each is totally unique
AfriCamps’ boutique tented camps are dotted around some of the most beautiful places in the country. AfriCamps at Stanford Hills is for the foodie Africamper. The views from the deck of AfriCamps at Pat Busch in Robertson, with its lush hiking trails, streams, dams, and fynbos, are achingly beautiful. AfriCamps at Kam’Bati in Swellendam, essentially a family resort with three pools and waterslides, is definitely where you take the kids. Kam’Bati’s tents also have a wood-fired hot tub (so do the AfriCamps in Plettenberg Bay, Wilderness, Wellington, the Midlands, Pongola Game Reserve in KZN and at Hoedspruit in Limpopo) and makes for a sweet retreat for couples and group getaways. Wherever you end up, you’ll find that each AfriCamps site is so special, you could visit them all for the South African road trip of a lifetime.
WATCH: GLAMP THE WINELANDS WITH AFRICAMPS BOUTIQUE GLAMPING
WINE-TASTING AND MOUNTAIN BIKING IN WELLINGTON
AfriCamps at Doolhof, Wellington, was the Cape Winelands’ very first glamping camp. It is located on Doolhof Wine Estate, and guests can spend languid afternoons enjoying wine and gin tastings at the tasting room. Once you’ve found your favourite, take it back to your tent along with a platter of snacks. For adventure-seekers, there are mountain bike trails for all levels. After a long day of biking, slip into the hot tub (each of the six tents has one) and admire the Winelands sunset.
Pro tip: Soak up the views. The first settlers in this area were so enthralled by the mysterious hills and valleys that they named the farm “Doolhof” which translates to “labyrinth”.
WINING, DINING, AND SO MUCH TO DO IN STANFORD
AfriCamps at Stanford Hills is located on a wine farm, and is the perfect foodie escape. Stanford has many fantastic restaurants, but you don’t even need to leave the farm because there’s a wine tasting room and a restaurant serving farm-style fare, right on the property. Visit in spring or summer to witness the splendour that is the fields of brightly coloured pincushion. The kids will love the play area where they can meet Crackling, the enormous (but friendly) resident pig. If you’re lucky, you may even meet Stew the sheep too. The five boutique tents on the farm overlook a dam, and the decks are perfect for sipping on some Stanford Hills wine while the sun sets. AfriCamps at Stanford Hills is the only pet-friendly camp, so make sure to bring your doggo along for the journey.
Pro tip: You can take a short flight from the farm’s private airstrip out to the coast. During whale season (August to November) you’ll have a birds-eye-view of these majestic creatures.
ROMANCE, WINE, AND VIEWS IN ROBERTSON
AfriCamps at Pat Busch exudes romance. The views from the deck are achingly beautiful: the 10 private tents are surrounded by verdant mountain ranges in every shade of green, as far as the eye can see. Lush hiking trails criss-cross the 200-hectare property, and you can explore the streams, dams, and fynbos. Robertson is part of the world’s longest wine route, where you can enjoy lazy afternoons tasting some of the country’s finest wines. After a long day exploring, cool off in the swimming pool with a glass of Robertson’s famous MCC.
Pro tip: The Hermit’s Ridge hiking trail is named after the legend of an old hermit who used to live in the Langeberg Mountains. Apparently, he hoarded a fortune in Kruger Rands and the secret of this treasure was lost when he died.
FAMILY FUN, TREASURE HUNTS, AND FAIRIES IN SWELLENDAM
AfriCamps at Kam’Bati is a 100% family-friendly camp. If you visit in the holidays, you’ll find a lively resort abuzz with activities. Spend the day swimming in one of three swimming pools, complete with waterslides, playing a round of putt-putt, or splashing into the river via the swing rope. There are canoes too. Take the kids for a scavenger hunt along the river path, play on the big wooden swing, and harvest veggies from the garden to bring home for dinner. Each tent has a hot tub, where you can unwind after an action-packed day.
Pro tip: Take the kids to Swellendam’s real Fairy Sanctuary: a shelter for elves. Inside this special house and the beautiful gardens, you will find thousands of elves hidden in the most mystical places.
STARGAZING AND A MEERKAT SAFARI IN THE KLEIN KAROO
Ostriches are the big attraction at AfriCamps Klein Karoo in Oudtshoorn - don’t miss the tour if you want to meet these intriguing creatures. The camp is also located in the heart of the Klein Karoo, where the arid scrublands have their own kind of beauty and the quiet is absolute. The 12 tents look out onto a dam in the parched landscape, dotted with aloe and spekboom. Start your day with a Meerkat Safari: head out before dawn with your host, and wait for the sun to creep over the horizon. When it does, dozens of bleary-eyed meerkats emerge from their burrows to start their day: it’s an unforgettable sight. Later, take an ostrich farm tour to see the hatchery and ostriches. The sparkling pool offers some respite from the desert heat, and when night falls, the stargazing is some of the best in the world.
Pro tip: Spekboom is a miracle plant: it survives on next to no water, and soaks up four to 10 tons of carbon per hectare. Ask your host to help you take cuttings to plant at home.
A WORKING DAIRY FARM AND HIKING IN WILDERNESS
The working dairy farm at AfriCamps at Oakhurst, Wilderness, makes for a peaceful break for everyone: families with kids, couples, or friends. The silence is interrupted only by the gentle lowing of cattle, and there are beautiful hiking trails with a secluded waterfall to discover. Kids can cycle the pipe track, explore the farm on horseback, go fishing, canoeing, or watch the cows being milked in the mornings; they’ll be delighted to learn that Oakhurst milk is used for Steri Stumpies – South Africa’s favourite milkshake.
Pro tip: Head into the nearby towns of Wilderness and Plett for endless adventure activities, from paragliding and ziplining to ocean safaris.
FOREST VIEWS AND GARDEN ROUTE ADVENTURE IN PLETTENBERG BAY
AfriCamps at Ingwe, Plettenberg Bay is worth it for the deck alone. Set up a card game, open a bottle of wine, or simply pull up a chair and admire the forested mountain views. There are six tents, three of which have outdoor hot tubs. The forest walking trails are cool, lush, and shady, and you can spend hours exploring them. The camp is also under an hour from several highlights of the Garden Route, like the Tsitsikamma Forest, Storms River, and the Bloukrans bungee.
Pro tip: The adventurous at heart can’t miss Bloukrans, which is home to the world’s highest bridge bungee.
SWIMMING AND FISHING IN THE MIDLANDS
Life slows down at AfriCamps at Gowan Valley, the Midlands. Cattle graze along the banks of the Mpofana River, which meanders through the property. You can swim and fish in the river, or spend afternoons soaking in the hot tub (each tent has one). The highlight of the area is the Midlands Meander: an interconnected series of scenic routes you can explore, with hiking trails, crafts shops and markets, significant historical sites such as the Mandela Capture Site, and the majestic Drakensberg.
Pro tip: Gowan Valley Guest Farm in the mystical Midlands has a 500-year old secret. Take a stroll through the farm to find the gigantic Yellowwood Tree hidden in the forest.
HERDS OF ELEPHANTS ON THE BANKS OF LAKE JOZINI
AfriCamps at White Elephant Safaris is the first camp located inside a game reserve, tucked away at the foot of the majestic Lebombo Mountains. Buffalo, elephant, rhino, leopard, hyena, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, hippo, Nile crocodile and 12 different antelope species roam the reserve. Birders will be enthralled by the 350+ species to look out for. Spend your days on guided game drives and walks. Wind down after a hot, dusty day in the wood-fired hot tub: if you’re quiet and lucky, you may be paid a visit by the roaming antelope.
Pro tip: Track the herd of over 100 elephants who were transported to White Elephant Safaris from Kruger National Park to prevent overpopulation. When the elephants started moving across reserve fences to visit neighbouring reserves’ elephant herds property owners started cutting down fences to allow the elephants to migrate freely.
WATERFALLS AND CANYONS A STONE’S THROW FROM KRUGER
AfriCamps at Mackers in Hazyview is just 25 minutes from the Phabeni Gate of the Kruger National Park, and it is the perfect base for your safari trip. The wildlife in the area is the obvious drawcard: people come from all over the world to experience the magic of Kruger. The camp is also close to the Panorama Route, a scenic road through Mpumalanga linking many attractions, from the Blyde River Canyon and other natural landmarks to fascinating historical towns. The camp itself has 10 tents overlooking the Sabie River, home to hundreds of bird species. Cool off after a long day of sightseeing in the camp’s infinity pool.
Pro tip: Look out for the elusive otters that make their appearance in the camp now and then. These adorable but shy creatures are drawn to the Sabie River where they can hunt for fish.
SAFARIS AND FISHING CLOSE TO THE PANORAMA ROUTE
AfriCamps at Hoedspruit in Limpopo is famous for its excellent fishing opportunities. The 11 tents are dotted around the huge dam, which is home to a large number of carp, bass, bream, and barbel. It’s not unusual to spot nyala, zebra, kudu, waterbuck and bushbuck at the water’s edge. The camp is located between the Kruger National Park and Blyde River Canyon, with many private game reserves in the area, so there are some fantastic day trips to take. Cool off with a drink by the pool when you return, before slipping into the wood-fired hot tub to be lulled by the sound of birdsong, while antelope and zebra pass by.
Pro tip: We all know about the big five, and you can spot them in Kruger National Park during your stay at AfriCamps at Hoedspruit. But did you know we have a “Little Five” as well? The insects, birds, and rodents that make up the Little Five are just as important ecologically as the Big Five. Find out who these critters are and why they are so important on your guided bushwalk at AfriCamps at Hoedspruit.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Each AfriCamps location is totally unique, but the standard of accommodation is consistent. The tents sleep up to five people in comfortable extra length beds complete with electric blankets (two queens; one topped by a single bunk), and have all the comforts you could need. The ensuite bathrooms are fully equipped, and units have both air-conditioning and fireplaces.
The camps are all self-catering, but that doesn’t mean you need to worry about stocking up before you arrive. You can add meal baskets to your booking, which will be waiting for you when you arrive. The breakfast basket has continental spread like fruit, muesli, yoghurt, juice, bread, and cheese, along with bacon, sausages, and eggs to prepare in the morning. You can also order braai baskets, which contain three kinds of meat, two salads, and garlic bread or other sides. Many of the camps also have private hot tubs, where you can wind down while you soak up the sounds of nature.
Plan a getaway with a difference at these quirky and unusual places to stay or have an adventure or just chill at these camping spots. Head to the Winelands for a Sunday wine tasting or plan the ultimate weekend.