7 family-friendly camping spots ideal for a long weekend

2015-03-11 09:19
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We've always been of the opinion that a long weekend is a great time to go camping, and when they happen to fall on the cusp of summer and autumn - even better. 

It gives you enough time to really go all out and settle into your campsite properly. Instead of arriving on a Friday evening and having to pack up on a Sunday afternoon, leaving you with only one day to really enjoy the experience, you have an extra  day or two (if you plan your leave right) to create a more relaxed time all in all. 

SEE: All the Easter fun across SA's major cities

We've selected seven campsites from across the country that would work perfectly for families who feel like getting away from it all and living simply for a few days. 

Breede River Goose, Bonnievale

Situated on the banks of the Breede River, just outside Bonnievale, Rivergoose is a super fun spot for all ages. 

Sites available: 8

People per site: 6

Ground cover: Lots of grass right next to the river and patchier grass under the lush shade

Ablution & facilities: 2 ablution blocks with flush toilets and hot water. No electricity. Each campsite has its own braai. 

Things to do: There are three canoes available to guests to row upstream, a rope swing across the river from the campsite provides hours of entertainment for young and old alike and you can also go on a barge cruise. If you feel like venturing further afield, there are wine farms a-plenty to check out in the Robertson Valley. 

Contact: 082 759 5727

Ebb & Flow, Wilderness

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

Mahai, Drakensberg

Located in the Royal Natal section of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park, Mahai can be found in one of the Drakensberg's most beautiful valleys, close to the legendary Mont-Aux-Sources. The campsite itself is rather large and hugely popular with nature lovers and those looking to break away from all the hustle and bustle. 

Sites available: 
Mahai caters for 400 campers and caravaners 

People per site: Not stipulated, but probably 6

Ground cover: Grassy

Ablution & facilities: Ablution blocks with hot and cold water, a communal wash area and a number of electrical plug points.

Things to do: Hiking is the main drawcard for this part of the Drakensberg, but you can also get out in nature on horseback or go trout fishing at the nearby Mahai Dam.

Contact: +27 33 845 1000

Glen Reenen, Golden Gate

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 braaing 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

Buffelspoort, Gauteng

Less than an hour's drive from both Pretoria and Joburg, Buffelspoort is a great option for a quick weekend family break. It is an ATKV resort, which means it is very much slanted toward an Afrikaans-speaking market. As with many of these kinds of resort, there is a fully-fledged waterpark as well as a full range of facilities including everything from a hair dresser to a bottle store. 

Ground cover: Grass for camping, paving for caravans

Ablution & facilities: Beautifully maintained ablution blocks, an on-site restaurant, ATMs, hair salon... yup, you're pretty sorted while staying there. It is a resort after all.

Things to do: Everything resort-related: swimming pools, supertubes, table tennis, pool tables, horse riding, golf. You can also explore the surrounding towns - Hartbeespoortdam and Groot Marico

Contact: +27 14 572 1000

Pretoriuskop campsite, Kruger National Park

Quite simply... Marvelous. #perimeter #pretoriuskop #krugerpark #christmas2014 #myhappyplace #familyvisits

A photo posted by Yolande Marx (@yolandemarx) on

Fun fact: Pretoriuskop is the Kruger Park's oldest rest camp! It's located in the south-western corner of the park, snuggled among spectacular granite outcrops, with Shabeni Hill being the most noteworthy.     

Sites available:
 45

People per site: 6

Ground cover: Sand or grass

Ablution & facilities: Well-maintained communal ablution blocks and scullery. Every stand has electricity, a bin and a braai. 

Things to do: Go on game drives! Located in the southern region of the Kruger Park, the game viewing around Pretoriuskop is absolutely fantastic. The camp also has its own pool and a cute little curio shop to browse through.  

Contact:  +27 (0)13 735 5128/32

MacNicol's, Bazley Beach

#bazely#MacNicols#resort#sea#viewFromRoom#beautiful

A photo posted by Judy Hartin (@judyhartin) on

Located on the banks of the Ifafa Lagoon, almost halfway between Scottsburgh and Hibderdene on the KZN South Coast, MacNicol's is an excellent spot for families with little kids to kick back and relax. Best of all? When you arrive, the resort's staff actually set up your campsite for you! 

Sites available: 128

People per site: 6 people per site

Ground cover: Mostly grass, most sites are also shady

Ablution & facilities: There are eight different ablution blocks as well as other services such as laundry

Things to do: As with Dolphin Holiday Resort, MacNicol's also has a four-star rating and offers a full range of holiday-resort-esque activities - swimming pools, trampolines, jungle gyms, tv rooms etc.

Contact: 039 977 8863 

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