Relax, unwind and become one with nature at one of these awesome outdoor camping hotspots
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 (approximately two to three hours from Cape Town), Grootfontein farm, Beaverlac’s homeland, adjoins the Groot Winterhoek Mountain Catchment Area and the Cederberg Leopard Conservation Area. The natural heritage site is surrounded by wild mountains and is an ideal camping spot for nature lovers and those seeking some much-needed tranquility 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 other goods. Campers can partake in a variety of activities in the surrounding area including hiking and mountain biking, swimming and fishing in nearby mountain rock pools and rivers. There are also several caves on the farm, some of which are decorated with rock paintings that are protected by the National Monuments Acts.
Cost: Entrance fee: R20 per car | 18 years and older: R55p/p | 4 – 17 years: R35 | under 4 years: FREE | Dogs: R50 per dog per night
NOTE: Booking is now required for camping and all persons 18 years and older are required to register on the Beaverlac website. Day visitors are no longer allowed.
Camping Facilities: Gates open at 7am and close at 9pm | There is no electric points in campsite | Cash only | Own braai grid in required
Grootfontein Farm | +27 (0) 22 931 2945 | www.beaverlac.co.za
This scenic campsite is found on the beautiful Bains Kloof Pass (roughly one hour from Cape Town) and is part of the Limietberg Nature Reserve – a vast 102 000ha of mountains, wildlife and fynbos. The site offers 20 standard campsites, all of which have their own designated braai area (don’t forget to bring your own braai grid). Hot and cold water ablutions are available, as well as firewood at the main gate, a public telephone and a jungle gym. In addition, there are seven fenced off private campsites, each with its own kitchenette, shower and toilet should you wish to have a more private camping site. There is a maximum of six people and two cars allowed per each campsite. The facility also has a picnic site that can hold up to 100 visitors and a number of short, fun hikes with breathtaking views.
Cost: Prices per the standard campsites (1 – 6 people per night): R300 (off-peak) and R345 (on-peak) | Prices per the private campsites (1 – 6 people): R500 (off-peak) and R570 (on-peak).
Camping Facilities: No electrical points, although a generator supplies the communal ablution facilities, ensuring hot water and lighting until 10pm nightly | It is essential to book beforehand, especially during peak seasons and school holidays | No pets are allowed
Limietberg Nature reserve | Paarl | +27 (0) 21 483 0191
Palmiet Caravan Park
This caravan park and campsite in the picturesque small coastal village of Kleinmond (roughly 90 minutes from Cape Town) boasts 170 stands in totals – approximately 100 caravan and 70 tent sites – where six people are allowed per a site. The ablutions facilities are clean and modern with hot showers and baths as well as flushing toilets. The scenic seaside region in which the campsite is located is one of Cape Town and surrounds’ top spots for whale watching from August to November. What’s more, the site also has direct access to the beach and lagoon as well as the Palmiet River which is ideal for a number of activities such as swimming, canoeing, tubing and boardsailing. For the land-loving campers, there are many hiking paths in and around the area from which wildlife and bird can be observed. The park itself is beautifully grassed and terraced with well-established trees and shrubs to divide the stands and providing majority with much-needed shade.
Cost: Rates change seasonally and depend on the location and conditions of the sites (sea-facing or not; with or without power points), but range from approximately R158 to R260 per night per four-man stand. Additional adults must pay R52 per person per night.
Camping Facilities: No pets are allowed
Palmiet Road | Kleinmond| firstname.lastname@example.org
Clanwilliam Bulshoek Dam Camping Accommodation
Located approximately 23km outside of the charming town of Clanwillaim and only two hours from Cape Town, this rustic campground lies along the banks of the Bulshoek Dam, making it the perfect getaway for both nature and water-sport lovers. Found on a working piggery, the family-run farm is a safe environment for the whole clan where the camping sites are found on lush lawns (some even have their own private ablution facilities). The Bulshoek Dam is ideal for water-sport enthusiasts as power boating, skiing, canoeing are a common occurrence as well as boasts an outstanding fishing spot for Bass and Carp. Boats are safe in the dam as launch sites are close to the camping sites.
NOTE: All camping sites are fully booked from 21, December 2015 to 3, January 2016.
Cost (Rates are per night): R250 per site
Camping Facilities: Ablution facilities available (separate shower and toilet) | Electricity available (guests must just bring their own long extension lead and caravan plug adapter) | Braai facilities | Shade is limited and owing to the areas heat, it is advisable guests bring enough gazebos and shade covers.
Bulshoek Dam | +27 (0) 72 124 7747
Located in the charming village of Kommetjie on the Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula (only 40 minutes from Cape Town city centre), this laidback resort and campground – which is situated only 100m from popular surfing spot Long beach – makes for a relaxed seaside getaway. There are 75 level, grassed stands for caravans and tents; some which have more shade than others. All stands have 15amp electricity and built-in braai facilities (remember to bring your own grid) and are surrounded by strategically planted trees, shrubs and islands of fynbos in aim to separate the stands. The well-maintained site has clean ablution blocks that are semi disabled-friendly (although accessible with a wheelchair, assistance may be needed). In addition to the host of things to do in the area, there is also ample opportunity for entertainment for both adults and kids’ on the property with an on-site children’s playground and a games room consisting of a table tennis table, a pool table and also a separate TV room available for camper’s use.
Cost (Rates are per night): Rates change seasonally and range between R160 and R360 per site per day. Additional adults must pay R30 per person per night.
Camping Facilities: The campsite is wheelchair-friendly with assistance and all roads are tarred and the area is well lit at night | No dogs are allowed
66 Wireless Road | Kommetjie | +27 (0) 21 783 1634
Bontebok National Park Campsite
Nestled below the Langebaan Mountains just three hours from Cape Town is 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 41 camping and caravan sites located close to the Breede River – each accommodating six people. Although not all sites are equipped with electrical outlets, no private generators are permitted on site. Being comfortable and charmingly rustic, the spot has communal bathrooms and showers with warm water. There are no kitchen facilities available, and hence campers are advised to bring their own cutlery and cooler boxes. 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.
Cost (Rates are per night): Rates change seasonally and the campsite’s base rates range from R195 to R290 per site depending on whether the site has electricity or not, and a river view or not. Thereafter additional adults are charged at R76 and children at R38 each. (all such prices are subject to change).
NOTE: Rates exclude conservation fee. Rates for SA citizens: R34 per an adult and R17 per a child.
Camping Facilities: Guests should bring their own braai grid and firewood | Tap water comes from a well point and is safe to drink
Lang Elsie’s Kraal | Bontebok national Park | +27 (0) 28 514 2735
Read more about Bontebok National Park.
River Goose Campsite
Found roughly two and half-hours from Cape Town, near Bonnievale on the banks of the Breede River Eureka farm is a grassy, well-shaded camping spot home to the River Goose Campsite. The prime location makes a wealth of activities possible, including swimming, fishing, canoeing, rowing, bird watching and cruises on the Goose River Boat (at an extra cost). Guests have a choice of 15 campsites, some which have more shade than others. In addition, campers looking to do a bit more in the area can visit the Marloth Nature Reserve near the small town of Swellendam, visit Soekershof in Robertson which has 10 hectares of mazes made out of plants, as well as the Robertson Gold Course.
NOTE: Campers are advised to make bookings in advance, as space at the site is limited.
Cost (Rates are per night): Rates change seasonally and range between R100 and R120 per person per night
Camping Facilities: All sites share an ablution block with flush toilets, shower and hot water | No electricity, but do have solar power in ablution blocks | Wood and braai facilities are available | Pets are allowed in off-peak seasons only
Farm Eureka | Bonnievale | +27 (0) 82 759 5727
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 three 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 and Smitswinkel near the entrance to Cape Point – features a number of slightly raised, eco-friendly timber structures equipped with single beds and mattresses (don’t forget to bring your own bedding, or at an extra cost ask for bedding prior to arrival). While Orangekloof and Slangkop have clean communal ablutions, braai facilities and fully equipped kitchen and dining areas in an on-site boma, Smitswinkel has private basic self-catering kitchenettes and en-suite bathrooms. However, Smitswinkel has no washing up or braai facilities and it is advised and perhaps easier to use the boma communal area. Although all the wooden tent huts make three supremely comfortable accommodation options, in keeping with the nature surroundings, none have electricity but instead are supplied by gas. Activities available at each camp are varied as the locations themselves, but range from hiking, cycling and picnicking to surfing, swimming, Cray-fishing and snorkeling.
Cost: Rates change seasonally and base rate prices range between R510 and R545 for the first two people sharing. Thereafter additional adults are charged at R260 and children at R130 each. Smitswinkel’s base rate prices range between R630 and R670 depending on the season (all such prices are subject to change).
Camping Facilities: All camps offer hot water | Fire wood can be bought at an extra cost, otherwise guests can bring their own | Each camp accommodates a maximum of 12 people | All camps are easily accessible by car and have dedicated parking areas
Table Mountain National Park | +27 (0) 21 712 7471
Read more about accommodation in the Table Mountain National Park
Tankwa Karoo National Park Campsites
Eight unique campsites lie interspersed among the striking moonscapes, mountains 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). There are two campsites located at Langkloof and another six located at Perdekloof. The limited number of stands at Perdekloof and Langkloof 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. In addition, there are also informal sites, which are definitely best suited for those eager to rough it. These sites are small, unrefined open stands for pitching tents and no ablutions blocks, fresh water or other amenities are present. Owing to the harsh terrain, most of the camps, including the two official grounds, can only be accessed with high clearance 2×4, or a 4×4 vehicle during the wet season. 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 – making game-viewing a good option too.
Cost: Rates change seasonally, and base rates at Langkloof and Perdekloof are between R260 and R295 for the first two people sharing. Thereafter an additional cost of R54 per an adult and R27 per a child must be paid. At the informal camps, the base rate for two is between R110 and R120 season dependent where thereafteradditional adults will be charged R130 and children R65 (all such prices are subject to change).
NOTE: Rates exclude conservation fee. Rates for SA citizens: R34 per adult and R17 per child (such rates are valid until 31 October 2015).
Camping Facilities: No electrical points | Stand 1 and 5 at Perdekloof are best suited for roof top tents.
Tankwa Karoo National Park | +27 (0) 27 341 1927
Read more about Tankwa Karoo National Park
Plettenberg Forever Resorts, Plettenberg Bay
Situated just off the N2 on the western bank of the Keurbooms River (near the river mouth), in the heart of the beautiful Garden Route, the spectacular Nature Resort sits pretty as a perfect hideaway for weary city-dwellers. The resort has a total of 116 sites where 33 are river sites (with power points) and 83 are standard sites (with power points). There are two ablution facilities on site where paraplegic male and female bathrooms are situated next to ablution 1. Campers have an array of on-site activities to keep themselves busy while visiting the resort including putt-putt, canoeing, fishing, volleyball and swimming to name but a few as well as many off-site activities such as visiting the elephant or snake sanctuary, the Knysna forest, Monkeyland and Rhino Base Camp among many other wonderful things to do and visit! Not to mention, nearby campers have kilometres of beautiful and pristine beaches at their disposal ready to be explored.
Cost: Although rates change seasonally and depend on sites view and position, the price per a site ranges between R75 and R155 per person per night. Thereafter additional adults will be charged R135 per person per night. Only one vehicle allowed per site, thereafter additional vehicles will be charged R30 per day.
NOTE: R5 Conservation levy is excluded from rates
Camping Facilities: Maximum eight people per site | All sites have power points | Rate are per night – minimum two nights over weekends and school holidays and four nights over long weekends | Only suitable, recognised tents, caravans and motor homes allowed to camp in the park.