Top Easter camping spots

2014-01-21 13:26
This year's Easter long weekend is placed perfectly on the cusp of Summer and Autumn for South Africans to pack their tents and head out for a camping trip somewhere in the wild.

With winter just around the corner, this may be your last opportunity to have a mild outdoor experience, so we've put together a list of 10 great campsites across South Africa.

1. Eastern Cape - Jeffreys Bay, Kabeljauws

Located on the outskirts of Jeffreys Bay, Kabeljauws caravan park and campsite is easy to access and about as close to the beach as you can get. While there is also the Jeffreys Bay campsite and caravan park closer to the center of town, Kabeljauws offers a bit more privacy, quiet and rest while not being too far away from shops and other commodities.

Sites available: 100

People per site: 6

Ground cover: Mostly grass, some ground

Ablution & facilities: Well-maintained communal ablution blocks, braai facilities, a tuck shop.

Things to do: Surf, swim, take long walks on the beach, visit the Billabong factory shop for cheap(er) branded clothing, explore J-Bay's intriguing shops and restaurants.

Contact: +27 (0)42 293 3300

2. Wild coast - Municipal camp site, Coffee Bay

Damien du Toit

Coffee Bay is a hugely popular spot on the wild coast for everyone from hardcore hippies to families with kids. And it's easy to see why... a long, lovely beach, warm waves, rolling green hills, an awesome selection of cool, laid-back restaurants and bars and a whole lot of fantastic accommodation.

What's quite nice about Coffee Bay is the fact that almost all of the backpackers offer some sort of camping option, and that most of the campsites have a bungalow or two for those who aren't too keen on tents. If your pockets are a bit flat, opt for the incredibly lush municipal campsite. It will feel like you're camping in a rain forest, and comes really cheap at only about R20 per person per night. Just a tip: lather yourself in insect repellant and keep those citronella candles burning night and day.

Sites available: 40

People per site: 6

Ground cover: grass and ground

Ablution & facilities: Two communal blocks with flush toilets and showers, braai facilities, lots of trees to hang hammocks in.

Contact: (047) 532 2445

What to do & see: Visit the incredible Hole in the Wall rock formation a few kilometers away, swim, surf, explore the rolling green hills, eat pizzas at Jah Drum, visit the hotel on the point, play soccer on the beach with the locals. Then, well, let's just be honest here, if you like indulging in certain herbs and fungi, Coffee Bay has a lot to offer.

Alternative: Port St Johns

3. West coast - Tietiesbaai

Gone Fishing

This pristine, protected and pretty seaside campsite is located in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve on the West Coast and has both camping and caravan spots available.

If you're one for extreme travel, you will be pleased to know that Tietiesbaai is in fact the furthest westerly destination in the Western Cape. Big shiny boulders, bright blue sea, white sand, fresh seafood... perfect for a relaxing break.

Sites available: 60

People per site: 6

Ground cover: Grass and ground

Ablution & facilities: Two blocks with flush toilets and solar-heated showers, braai facilities

Things to do: Fish, hike, swim if you're brave enough to take on the icy waters, explore picturesque Paternoster close by.

Contact: +27 (0)22 752-2718

Alternative: Elands Bay

4. Garden Route - Ebb and Flow, Wilderness

Krugerpark.com

A little bit of forest, a little bit of mountain, a lot of river and just a few km away miles and miles of untouched beach, that's what the Ebb & Flow campsite in Wilderness is all about. It belongs to SANParks, is incredibly well maintained, offers both spots for camping and caravans and is probably one of the prettiest campsites in the whole of South Africa.

Sites available: Lots

People per site: 6

Ground cover: Grass and lots of shade

Ablution & facilities: Various well maintained blocks with flushing toilets, hot water showers and a bath here or there. Braai facilities available at each site.

Things to do: there are various hiking trails in the area, row, visit Wilderness town, take a loooong walk from the campsite, all along the beach through town and back again.

Contact: +27 (0)44 877-0046

Alternative: Victoria Bay

5. Kruger Park - Tsendze

Krugerpark.com

Tsendze is the Tsonga word for 'tsendzeleka' or 'to ramble around like someone lost in the bush' and as the name suggestes, this camping-only rest camps is one of the most rustic in the famous park.

Located just 7 km away from Kruger National Park's Mopani rest camp, it falls into the Northern section of the park which offers an abundance of large buffalo herds and elephants. The campsites are laid out in a rough figure of eight under and around stands of ancient and beautiful Leadwood, Mopane and Apple Leaf trees.

Sites available: 30

People per site: 6

Ground cover: Gravel. An abundance of trees provide a good amount of shade.

Ablution & facilities: Ablution with hot water showers and flush toilets, scullery, braai facilities, no plug points available.

Things to do: Look out for 'Alexander', a current big tusker with rather impressive ivory, who is often encountered in the area and along the main tarred route between Tsendze and Mopani Rest Camp. Birdwatching, game drives, relax, go for a guided walk with a ranger from the Mopani.

Contact: Mopani for bookings and details +27 (0)13 735 6535/6

Alternative: If you want to camp in a little more luxury, try out one of the tented bushveld camps like Tamboti. While it's not quite glamping, you don't have to go through the rigors of erecting a tent.

6. Ceres - Algeria

Hidden deep in the Cederberg, you will find a magical place with tall trees, a river rushing by and an indescribeable sense of calm - this is Algeria campsite. Located about 45 km from Clanwilliam, the closest town, it truly is a little piece of paradise only accessible via long and winding gravel roads. Although it's a fantastic spot to visit in Spring with all its joyous burst of flower life, the beginning of April is a perfect time to visit weather-wise as the heat has dissipated and the chill of winter hasn't quite made itself at home.

Sites available: 48

People per site: 6

Ground cover: Grass and ground, and most spots also have glorious shade.

Ablution & facilities: there are two ablution blocks - one large and the other quite small - with warm water showers, a bath or two and flushing toilets. Each campsite has a concrete table, a braai area and a power point.

Things to do: There is an incredible array of adventure to be had in the Cederberg - visit the Wolfberg arch, the Pakhuis or the Stadsaal caves and make sure you pay a visit to the incredibly vivid Khoi-San rock art located close to the Stadsaal caves.

Contact: Cape Nature reservations (021) 483 0190

Alternative: 22 Watervalle, Porterville

7. Free state - Glen Reenen, Golden Gate National Park

Krugerpark.com

Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park's sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp.

Although there are rondavels a-plenty, get in touch with the honest soil of the Free State by pitching your tent in the stunning, shady Glen Reenen Campsite. There are braaiing facilities, well maintained bathrooms and a variety of activities to indulge in.

Sites available: 45

People per site: 6

Ground cover: Grass, also plenty of shade.

Ablution & facilities: Ablution facilities were recently upgraded and have flushing toilets, hot water and power points for hair dryers. Braaiing facilities and laundry services are available to all campers. 30 of the campsites have powerpoints.

Things to do: Take a drive through the 11 600 ha park and keep your eyes peeled for Black Wildebeest, Eland, Oribi and bearded vultures. Visit the Van Reenen family graveyard, check out the Brandwag buttress rock formation, the vulture restaurant and the Catherdral Cave. If you're lucky enough to have some warm weather, get your cozzie on and take a dip in the "swemgat" close to the campsite.

Contact: +27 (0)58 255 0000 and Fax +27 (0)58 255 0901

8. Southern Cape - Arniston Resort

Arniston is a magical little town almost, but not quite, at the Southern Tip of our continent with white-washed houses, rocky beaches and an interesting history. Take some time out to relax properly with nothing more than your little plot of land, a tent, some good books and a pair of comfortable shoes to go walking about the town.

Sites available: 101

People per site: 6

Ground cover: Mostly grass

Ablution and facilities: Well maintained ablution with hot showers and flushing toilets, shop close by, braaiing and washing up facilities available.

Things to do: Take a walk to Kassiesbaai, the oldest part of town and a national monument. It's picturesque so take your camera along and be sure to pop in to one of the local-run restaurants to taste the most delicious home cooking. Explore the beaches. Visit the Southern Tip L'Aghullas about 44 km away.

Contact: +27 (0)28 445-9620

9. Northwest - Pitjane fishing camp in Borakalalo National Park



Tourism Northwest

This rustic camp is located on the northern shoreline of the Klipvoor Dam. The campsites are scattered around the grounds, and each has its own braai area and tap. While it is a favourite of fisherman who come and tap the resources of the fish-rich dam, it is an amazing place for anyone who wants to escape the noise of daily life.

Sites available: 20

People per site: 6

Ground cover: Mostly gravel, but some grass. Located right by the river, the vegetation is nice and lush providing lots of shade.

Ablution and facilities: Hot showers and flushing toilets in the ablution blocks. Each camp site has its own braai facilities and a tap.

Things to do: Picnics, guided walks, fishing and bird watching

Contact: (012) 729 4101/2

10. KZN - Little Paradis campsite, Bhanga Nek Kosi Bay

Practically on the border of Mozambique, Kosi Bay is a series of four interlinking lakes in the north of KwaZulu-Natal. The Kosi River mouth is known as the aquarium due to its clear water and abundance of fish species, which explains why it's such an incredibly popular spot for divers.

Little paradise is set close to the Kosi Bay Lake system, approximately 2.5km from the beach. The camping sites are quiet and shady with ablution facilities which are clean and comfortable. The camping sites and small chalet house have no electricity and one needs to bring along drinking water and all other supplies.

Sites available: 16

People per site: 8

Ground cover: Mostly gravel, some grass. Lots of shade.

Ablution and facilities: The ablution blocks have hot water, heated by wood fires maintained by the camping site staff. Braaiing facilities. Bring your own drinking water. No power points.

Things to do: Explore the lakes by diving, walking or rowing. Walk along the beach to Ponta D'Oura.

Contact: 079 373 5461 / 082 857 3363

Tell us about your favourite campsite in the comment section below.

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