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Awesome adventures + activities at these epic campsites

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Awesome adventures + activities at these epic campsites

From Ceres to Knysna – affordable getaways (some are pet friendly)

Last updated: 3 April 2023

You could sleep in a natural cave, swim in hot springs, camp on a forest deck or hike a natural heritage site. Here are 10 charming camping spots across the Western Cape, from Ceres to Knysna, for an affordable getaway. 

STAY ON AN APPLE FARM

On the back corner of Vergenoegd, an apple farm in Ceres, you'll find a private and exclusive campsite, Apple Camp by The Riverstone Portfolio. With a covered braai area, and firepit for ambience, you'll spend hours relaxing and braaing under the African skies, while kids splash around in the river (pets can come, too). The campsite can be booked out to one group at a time for up to 20 people. Plus, it’s ideally situated amongst award-winning wine routes. 

Tip: For a more luxurious stay, The Riverstone Portfolio also offers 3 self-catering properties on Palmietvlei Farm in Wolseley
Rates: From R950 for 4 people p/n for Apple Camp; R430 pp (for 3-8 guests) for Riverstone House


The Riverstone House | Palmietvlei Farm | Romansrivier | 083 499 1524 | @theriverstonehouse | Image: The Riverstone House

HIKE AND SWIM AT A NATURAL HERITAGE SITE

Tucked high up in the Olifants River Mountains, above Porterville (between Tulbagh and Citrusdal), you’ll find hiking paths, rock art and rock pools. Beaverlac is situated in a secluded 5000 hectare valley on Grootfontein Farm, surrounded by mountains and two rivers. The rustic and tranquil campsite offers meditative peace and a spectacular mountain pool with a waterfall within a 5-minute walk. Plus, it’s pet-friendly. 

Tip: A wide variety of hiking and mountain bike trails and rock pools are available for visitors
Rates: R40 per vehicle entrance fee, from R80 per adult p/n


Porterville | Western Cape | 022 931 2945 | Web | Image: Beaverlac

DIP IN THE HOT SPRINGS IN CITRUSDAL 

Lounge in pools that are naturally heated to over 40 degrees Celsius in the Olifants River Valley of Citrusdal. The Baths Natural Hot Springs has hot and cold pools, spring-water baths, hiking trails, mountain biking, bird watching, tennis, a trampoline, pool table and children's playground. There are 25 shaded caravan and camping sites with braai facilities and electrical points. No pets allowed.

Tip: It has a 2-night weekend policy, only accepting both Friday and Saturday bookings
Rates: R180 per night (midweek); R220 per night (weekend)


The Baths Natural Hot Springs | Citrusdal | 022 921 8026 | Instagram | Image: The Baths 

SLEEP IN A NATURAL CAVE

A private nature reserve at the top of the mountains in Aurora offers beautiful views of St. Helena Bay. DanielsHoogte is only 90 minutes away from Cape Town by car. The reserve is thriving with fauna and flora and there are many hiking and cycling trails. You can pitch a tent in a natural cave, accessible by road and equipped with a braai area and an ablution block with solar-heated running water. 

Tip: Look out for eagles, duikers, caracals, porcupines and baboons
Rates: R800 per night for 2 people, sleeps 12


DanielsHoogte Private Reserve | Aurora | 082 779 9333 | danielshoogte@dgtwines.co.za | Image: DanielsHoogte Private Reserve

TAKE A TRIP TO THE CEDERBERG 

Pitch your own tent at the campsite or stay in one of the tents already set up at Gecko Creek. There’s a lapa with a kitchen where you can prepare food or head to the boma and cook outdoors. While you’re there, explore nearby caves, hike or cool off in the pool. Take a look at the website for specials. No children under the age 16 and no pets allowed.

Tip: There’s no electricity or lighting at the accommodation site; take your own torches
Rates: R170 per person (own camping equipment); R270 per person for set up tent


Gecko Creek | Cederberg | info@geckocreek.com | Website | Image: Mark Schultz 

SLEEP BENEATH A CANOPY OF TREES  

The Forest Camp is eco-friendly and off the grid. There’s ready-made tented suites and one camping site, the Owl Camp, where visitors can pitch their own tent. Each site has a private, open-air kitchen (with gas for cooking), semi-enclosed shower and compostable toilet. Hot water is supplied via the old fashioned “donkey boiler system” (wood supplied). Hike the Forest Trail for free or explore Gansbaai and Uilkraal. 

Tip: There’s no reception/check-in office, you will receive all the info you need prior to arrival
Rates: R1,365 for 4 guests (Forest Camp)


Platbos Forest Reserve | Gansbaai | 076 923 3349 | Instagram | Image: Platbos Forest Reserve

GLAMP AT THIS RIVER SITE FOR A STEAL 

Wolfkop Camping Villages are in the Cederberg on the banks of the Olifants River, a World Heritage Site. There are two types of camps, a more simple camping option with some shared facilities, called Biesievlak, and a glamping option, with more luxuries and private ablutions, called Golden Valley. Plus there’s loads of activities, like guided hikes, canoeing, floating down the river on bodyboards, horse-riding, mountain-biking, wine tastings, tea tastings, and more to keep you busy. The cherry on top? CapeTownMagazine.com readers get an incredible deal at Wolfkop Camping Villages.

Tip: Every year, in February, you can spoil the family with magic shows, an animal garden, craft activities, and dancing at The Wolfie Familie Festival.
Rates: From R262 to R525 per person sharing a tent


Cederberg | 083 260 4822 | Instagram | Image: Wolfkop Camping Villages

RIDE A FOEFIE SLIDE, SWIM IN THE BREEDE RIVER  

This camping site has no power, but there’s loads to keep you busy. Launch from the foefie slide on the river banks into the Breede River’s deep swimming areas or hop onto a canoe for some fun on the river. You can also go hiking or birdwatching. Rivierplaas is a working farm near Worcester, offering campsites for tents, caravans, and motor-homes. The grassy campsite with plenty of trees and shade is family-friendly, has braai areas, and hot-water showers. 

Tip: The venue is pet-friendly at R150 per pet
Rates: From R380 per campsite (for 4 people), per night


Rivierplaas | Scherpenheuwel | Worcester | 084 710 0139 | Instagram | Image: Rivierplaas

EXPLORE A CAVE, LOUNGE IN A ROMAN BATH

When the Montagu Guano Caves and tunnel was cleared of bat poop (guano) and excavated, thousands of spear-head artefacts were found. You can take a scenic tractor or Jeep ride to the mountains to see the cave for yourself. There are various accommodation options, from campsites with taps and electrical points to tented units already set up for you, as well as furnished cottages. Visit the spa, lounge in a Roman bath or take a dip in the beach pool. There’s also a super tube and other slides. Kids can visit the animal world or go horse riding. 

Tip: Day visitors are welcome from 8am - 5pm
Rates: From R110 per night


Montagu Guano Cave Resort | 5.8km outside Montagu, R62 | 023 100 2972 | Website | Image: Guano Caves 

CAMP ON A FOREST DECK   

In the Knysna Forest you’ll find Diepwalle, where you can camp on a timber deck. The Camping Decks can accommodate a three-man tent, plus there’s a braai and dining area and electrical points. Pitch your own tent or stay on one of the tented decks. Enjoy day walks, go mountain biking, bird watching, or have a picnic at one of the scenic viewpoints. 

Tip: Explore the Garden Route’s beautiful beaches, lakes and mountains.
Rates: From R355 per night for 2 people; conservation fees are R42 pp, per night if you are South African and do not have a wild card


Diepwalle Forest | Knysna | grace.valela@sanparks.org | Website | Image: Garden Route National Park 

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MORE THINGS TO DO OUTDOORS 

Camp or stay in cottages at Cederkloof Botanical Retreat.

Go simple or glamp at the Return to the Source festival.

Take a hike to Elephant’s Eye

Explore the Western Cape with this small town bucket list.

Keep yourself busy with one of these 7+ Things To Do This Week(end)

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