Long-weekend camping made easy: 9 Popular SA camping spots to check out

2017-04-22 12:30 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Cape Town - If you've left planning your long-weekend escape to the last-minute... we know the drill. 

Even the most hardened of home-lovers can't help but feel a little envious of the holiday-makers who bolt off to a long-weekend breakaway on a Friday afternoon, right? 

CHECK OUT: 2017 Public Holidays: How to score all the days for a little leave

So here's the deal... don't feel left behind. We know you've left it until number 99,  but there is still hope out there if you're willing to be creative... and adventurous. 

The best way to make your last-minute long-weekend escape a reality is by opting to camp. While B&Bs and chalets will by now be full-up, camping spots at some of SA' largest and most beautiful campsites might still be available, especially if you're willing to off-road it.   

Check out these popular SA camping spots for last-minute bookers -

Ebb & Flow, Wilderness, Western Cape

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: 044 877 0046

Tietiesbaai Rest Camp, Paternoster, Western Cape 

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: 022 752 2718

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CHECK OUT: 8 Fun spots for water-loving campers

Steenkampshoek, Tankwa Karoo National Park, Northern Cape

If you're looking for a remote campsite, Steenkampshoek is right up your alley. Only accessible with a 4x4, it's so far removed from all civilisation, you will feel like you're going back to your deepest roots.

People per site: 6
Ground cover: Sand
Ablution & facilities: None... you even have to take your own water
Things to do: Hike, 4x4, chill
Contact: 027 341 1927

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ALSO SEE: Love Wild Africa: SA spots to suite your camping style

Warmbaths - A Forever Resort, Limpopo 

The heated pool, tube ride, river ride, wave pool, super tube and cable water ski will awaken the water sport junkie in you, but if that’s too intense for you, try tennis, volleyball or a selection of game drives. Even spot some game by quad bike.

People per site: Up to 8 people
Ground cover: Paving
Ablution & facilities: Pools, cable water ski, go-karts, mini quads, hydro, jacuzzi, kiosk, restaurant, putt-putt, tennis courts - everything you would expect from a Forever resort.
Contact: Call 014 736 8500

SEE: 8 Family-friendly camping spots to check out this summer 

Dolphin Holiday Resort, Balito, KwaZulu-Natal 

The resort has a four-star rating, which means it's just about as luxurious as you can get, using your own equipment to camp. It's family run, well-maintained, close to the beach, only 20km away from King Shaka Airport and delightfully tropical, with an abundance of palm trees and lush shrubs. If, however, resort life leaves you feeling somewhat claustrophobic, it's probably not the best option for you. 

Sites available: More than 100
People per site: Maximum 6
Ground cover: Mostly grass
Ablution & facilities: 4 modern, well-maintained ablution blocks, laundry and communal sculleries
Things to do: The resort has a wide variety of typical holiday resort activities, such as table tennis, communal swimming pool, foosball, pool tables as well as ample areas to just relax. It's also located close to the beach, making it a convenient location for any saltwater lovers. The resort also boasts loads of good birding. 
Contact: 032 946 2187

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Cobham, South Maloti-Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu-Natal

Situated in the southern part of the Maloti-Drakensberg park, Cobham provides a picturesque and rustic break from the humdrum of daily life. Typical of the berg area, its awash with endless vistas of grasslands, rocky gorges and valleys. The Pholela River can be found close-by.

Sites available: The camp is a rustic open area, so you can put your camp up anywhere within the designated area
People per site: There is no set limit
Ground cover: Grass
Ablution & facilities: Small ablution block with hot showers, only four toilets
Things to do: The Pholela River flows close by, so if you're there during summer, hop right in for a swim or do some fly fishing (you can rent a rod and tackle for R55). There are a variety of hiking trails, ranging from quick 45-minute walks, to the more strenuous 15km Pholela River Trail.
Contact: 033 702 0831 

Glen Reenen Campsite, Golden Gate National Park, Free State

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: 058 255 0000 

Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape 

The popular main rest camp of the park offers a wide variety of accommodation units to suit all tastes and plenty of activities to keep visitors busy. A unique feature is the waterhole lookout point, floodlit at night, within the camp as well as the underground hide, allowing close encounters with wildlife at the waterhole.

People per site: 6
Ground cover: Ground
Ablution & Facilities: Communal ablution and kitchen facilities. Camp sites are equipped with 220V power points and a wooden table and benches. 
Things to do: Game drives, night drives, birding and spotting wildlife at the nearby waterhole.
Contact: 042 233 8600

Kabeljauws, Jeffrey's Bay, Eastern Cape 

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: 042 293 3300

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