Galileo Picnic Thursdays are held in Cape Town’s most popular botanical garden
Awesome adventures + activities at these epic campsites
From dog-friendly campsites, canoeing, and 4X4 drives to little-known gems
Last update: 13 March 2021
Experience the magic of camping in a natural cave in a private nature reserve, surrounded with rare Protea species, klipspringer, duiker, lynx, aardwolf, porcupine, and 85 species of birds. Or sleep in the only campsite beneath a canopy of trees in a thousand-year-old indigenous forest. Beaches, waterfalls, mountains, valleys; we’ve rounded up a selection of awesome campsites to choose from.
STAY AT THIS GLAMPING RIVER SITE FOR A STEAL
Wolfkop Camping Villages are in the Cederberg, a World Heritage Site, on the banks of the Olifants River. It’s a wide, flat river, with water so clean you can drink it. It’s perfect for a group of friends or the whole family, especially because right now it’s offering Capetownmagazine.com readers an incredible deal: stay mid-week for R250 per person (minimum booking of 2 people), or weekends for R350 per person (minimum booking of 6 people for 2 nights). There are two types of camps, a more simple camping option with some shared facilities (Biesievlak), and a more glamorous option, with more luxuries and private ablutions, called Golden Valley
Extra tip: All the activities are also reduced. There are 9, including bodyboarding down the river, hiking, canoeing, mountain-biking, horse-riding, wine and tea tastings.
Rates: From R250 per person (conditions apply).
Wolfkop Camping Villages | near Citrusdal, Cederberg | 083 260 4822 | wolfkopcampingvillages.co.za
EXPLORE A CAVE AND LOUNGE IN A ROMAN BATH
When the Montagu Guano Cave and tunnel was cleared of bat poop (guano) and excavated, thousands of spear-head artefacts were found. An archaeologist concluded that the cave, nestled at the foot of the Langeberg mountain range in the Klein Karoo, was an ancient tool factory site. At Montagu Guano Cave Resort you can take a scenic tractor or Jeep ride to the mountains to see the cave for yourself. At the resort, you’ll find various accommodation options from campsites with taps and electrical points to furnished cottages.
Extra tip: Activities include horse riding, hiking, swimming in the pool or lounging in the 35-degree Roman baths.
Rates: From R80 per person
SLEEP BENEATH A CANOPY OF TREES
Platbos is an indigenous forest featuring thousand-year-old trees growing in sandy, alkaline soil. Platbos translates to flat bush, and is named for its flat terrain. Conservationists are set on preserving the rich diversity of flora and fauna found here. The forest offers a choice of accommodation options such as remote log cabins and tented suites. The Owl Camp is the only camping stand available for guests to bring along their own tents or camper vans.
Extra tip: The campsite facilities (a hot water open-air shower, loo with a view, sink, fire pit and more) are for your exclusive use
Rates: From R350
NO POWER, PLENTY OF SWIMMING
Launch from the zipline on the river banks into the Breede River’s deep swimming areas or hop onto a canoe for some river rafting at Rivierplaas. Playgrounds fashioned from fallen trees invite kids to be kids in a safe, family-friendly, outdoor environment. Rivierplaas is a working farm near Worcester, offering campsites for tents, caravans, and motor-homes. The grassy campsite with plenty of trees and shade has braai areas, and hot water showers, but no electricity. You can check the availability, price, amount of shade, size and facilities of each campsite online.
Extra tip: Bring your dog because the venue is pet-friendly
Rates: From R300 per campsite
HIKING, BIKING, AND FLOWING WATERFALLS
Sleep at the foot of the Olifantsrivier Mountains about 4km from Porterville at the 22 Waterfalls Holiday Farm. It offers campsites with or without electricity, accessible with or without 4x4s. You can also opt for self-catering chalets accommodating up to six guests. There’s a hiking trail through fynbos and indigenous trees that takes you past 22 waterfalls. You could also test your skills on the up and down loops of the MTB single track or let the children loose on the family-friendly mountain biking trails.
Extra tip: You may fish in the dams, and children can see many animals at the working farm, and may even be lucky enough to spot klipspringer and ribbok.
Rates: From R280 per campsite
WEST COAST BEACH AND NATURE RESERVE
Silwerstroom is known as a venue for music festivals, but it’s also a beloved resort with magnificent ocean views. Part of the Cape West Coast Biosphere Nature Reserve, between a tidal pool and the Silwerstroom River on the West Coast, Silwerstroom Resort fronts Silwerstroomstrand, so some of the campsites are a stone’s throw from the beach. The resort offers braai and picnic facilities, campsites, and chalets.
Extra tip: If you think the location will inspire your team, conference facilities are available for approximately 20 people.
Rates: From R129 per campsite
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CAVES, ROCKPOOLS, AND STARS IN THE CEDERBERG
Nestled on a farm in the heart of the Cederberg Wilderness Area lies Sanddrif Holiday Resort. The area is known for its spectacular rock formations, rock art, fynbos, and wildlife such as klipspringer. Accommodation consists of campsites with electricity points, and self-catering cottages. Things to keep you occupied include trail running, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, bird watching, stargazing, and wine tasting at the adjacent Cederberg Private Cellar.
Extra tip: You can cool off in the tranquil waters of the Matjies River or the sparkling clear Maalgat Pools (also known by some as the hippy pool), visit caves, and view San rock art.
Rates: From R280 per campsite
CAMP AT THE AFRIKABURN LOCATION
Kudu, gemsbok, duiker, tortoises, red hartebeest and zebra roam the Tankwa Karoo National Park which sits at the boundary of the Western and Northern Cape. Eight unique campsites are perched along the cliffs of the mountain; two at Langkloof and another six at Perdekloof. There are private bathrooms, braai facilities and kitchenette, but no electrical points.
Extra tip: If you’re into adventure and a bit of adrenalin, there are some off-road tracks with two major 4x4 routes.
Rates: From R420 per campsite
Tankwa Karoo National Park | +27(0)27 341 1927 | Tankwa Karoo National Park site
WATCH THE STARS, SWIM IN A DAM, CAMP IN A CAVE
A private nature reserve perched atop the mountains in Aurora offers views of St. Helena Bay. DanielsHoogte is a gem hidden a mere 90-minute drive from Cape Town. The reserve is thriving with fauna and flora ranging from rare Protea species to klipspringer, duiker, lynx, aardwolf, porcupine, and 85 species of birds. Guests can pitch a tent in a natural cave, accessible by road and equipped with a braai area and ablution block with solar-heated running water. Alternatively, stay in one of the self-catering cottages.
Extra tip: Take advantage of the hiking trails and cool off in one of the dams.
Rates: R600 per night for up to 4 people. Thereafter R150 pppn, Minimum 2 nights’ stay, max 12 people per site
SOOTHING HOT SPRINGS IN CITRUSDAL
Lounge in pools that are naturally heated to over 40 degrees Celcius in the Olifants River Valley of Citrusdal. The Baths Natural Hot Springs is a relaxing getaway for nature-lovers all year round with hot and cold pools and spa baths, hiking trails, mountain biking, bird watching, tennis, trampoline, pool table, and a children's playground. Twenty-five shaded caravan and camping sites with braai facilities and electrical points lead to the resort’s pools and hot springs.
Rates: From R120 per person per night
Extra tip: If you prefer, chalets and apartments are also available.
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BIRD-WATCH OR SEEK ADVENTURE IN GREYTON
With 25 grass campsites along the banks of the Sonderend River, expect peace, calm and serenity at charming Oewerzicht in Greyton. Campsites feature reeded shade, power-points, and ablution and braai facilities. Swimming and tubing in the river are permitted, and you may bring your own canoes and fishing tackle. Bird watching enthusiasts will be pleased to know that blue cranes, secretary birds, and guinea fowl frequent the area. Plus, cyclists can challenge themselves on a 25km mountain biking trail. Glamping options and cottages with wood-fired hot tubs are available too.
Extra tip: Bring your dog because it’s pet-friendly.
Rates: From R390 per campsite
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FROM PEACEFUL PICNICS TO ADVENTUROUS ACTIVITIES
Dedicated to the conservation of Bontebok in Swellendam since the early 1800s, the Bontebok National Park Campsite comprises 41 camping and caravan sites close to the Breede River. Adventure activities in the area include hiking, mountain biking, bird watching and game viewing. Canoeing, fishing, and swimming are also available in the Breede River.
Extra tip: On the banks of the Breede River, “Die Stroom” is a popular picnic area with designated braai spots.
Rates: From R285 per campsite
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Lang Elsie’s Kraal, Bontebok National Park | +27(0)28 514 2735 | Bontenbok National Park site
SURF, FISH AND PLAY ON THE WEST COAST
Just 5km from the popular surf spot, Elands Bay, is a historic World Heritage Site surrounded by natural beauty. Venstersklip offers cottages, rooms, a backpackers lodge, and camping. Different types of sites are suitable for camping and caravanning, offering different configurations of facilities, ablutions and parking. The area boasts wild flowers, fishing, surfing, bird watching, San rock art viewing, and more.
Extra tip: Venterklip’s restaurant, The Tin Kitchen, serves homemade, locally sourced dishes in a 300-year-old barn or in the garden.
Rates: From R250 per campsite
ANCIENT ART IN CEDERBERG WILDERNESS
Up in the Cederberg region’s Olifants River Mountains, Beaverlac is a natural heritage site where you can check out several caves on the farm that are decorated with ancient rock paintings. Enjoy an early-morning dip in the dam, or pick one of the picturesque hiking trails and make your way along the river until you get to the rock pool where you can jump in for a swim. There are over 100 bird species, including the Cape rockjumper, the black eagle, the goshawk and the jackal buzzard. There’s also a store that stocks a range of camping goodies like wood, wine, beer, ice, meat, tinned foods, toiletries, and more. Note that there is no electricity at this campsite.
Extra tip: Bring your dog because it’s pet-friendly
Rates: R30 per car + R75 per person
CAMPING HACK: A GREEN TWIST ON FIRE STARTERS
What is a camping trip without a braai or campfire? Damp wood is no problem because Firefly Biofuel fire starters burn hotter and longer – 20 minutes – than petroleum-based products. It’s made from recycled wood and coffee grounds, which means that it’s safe for kids and pets, and (bonus) it acts as a bug repellant too. Even the packaging is eco-friendly: made from biodegradable recycled paper. Plus, these petroleum-free firelighters don’t emit any black smoke and won’t leave your fingers smelling like chemicals.
Extra tip: The new FireSpark Junior Coffee Firelighter is a smaller version that packs just as much punch, especially for green or wet wood. Firefly Biofuel fire starters are available from online stockists.
Be intrigued at these wonderfully unique Western Cape options for unusual accommodation. Enjoy a break without breaking the bank with these budget getaways and these prices are sure to make your wallet happy in our overview of winter accommodation specials. Also, check out our listing for camping options.
There are four hot pools, accommodation for all budgets and various entertainment options at Goudini Spa.
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