Mahai, Gariep or Augrabies: 7 Last-minute camping spots to check out across SA

2019-03-25 12:00
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Are you one of the super smart, sneaky individuals who figured out that if you take just a few tactical days off between the weekends and public holidays in March and April, you can accumulate quite a lengthy break?

With the holidays (and festival season!) fast approaching, many of us are already dreaming of packing up and heading forth to one of SA’s magnificent getaway hot-spots.

READ: Supersize your Easter Weekend. Here's how to turn it into a 17-day, mini-break of note

Campsites often prove particularly popular over this time and, with such a wealth of options, it can be a little overwhelming deciding where to go.

Given that, here’s a run-down on five top campsites across the country:

Beaverlac, Cederberg: If you’re looking for peace and tranquility while connecting with the wilderness, this is the spot for you, just 2.5 hours outside of Cape Town. 

Coastal Campsites, Namaqua: The West Coast in the Cape is known for not only its array of pristine beaches but its various camping options anywhere from 1 hour to 8 hours outside of Cape Town. Why not carry on driving and head to Namibia?  

READ: Glamping between the ocean and flowers at this Northern Cape beach camp

beach flower camp, namaqua national park, south af
(Photo: Ethan van Dieman)

Bruintjieskraal, Baviaanskloof: Situated amongst indigenous trees and in between the Kouga and Winterhoek mountains, the campsite offers a tranquil experience for all.

Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, Tsitsikamma: Known for its adventure activities, Tsitsikamma offers their famous Canopy Tour and guided hikes when you’re not resting at the Camp along a 5 km stretch of sea. If you remain vigilant, you’ll be lucky enough to see a school of dolphins.

READ: Wind your way through these Dorpies of the Eastern Cape: Storms River

Gariep Dam Forever Resort: Situated on the banks of the largest dam in South Africa, the resort offers visitors a peaceful atmosphere and holiday break. There are activities for the whole family such as canoeing, horse-riding, paddle-boats, mini-golf and mountain biking.

READ: 10 things to do on and around the Gariep Dam oasis in the Free State

Augrabies Fall Rest Camp: 12 km from Upington, and situated on both the northern and southern sides of the Orange River, the camps provide sanctuary to a diversity of species as well as the famous “Quiver Tree”.

READ: Exploring the national parks of the Northern Cape

Mahai River Campsite, Royal Natal National Park: Slightly more private, and located right next to the river, the camp is set at the foot of the majestic Drakensberg mountains. For most families, the campsite offers the right balance of nature and comfort with enough activities for all ages.

READ: #LongWeekendEscape: 4 SA camping spot ideas 

Whether it’s camping or you want to turn it into ‘glamping, there’s something for everyone, even those of us on the hunt for a more glamorous experience.

Here are some top tips to make trips as fun and effortless as possible?

  • Get the right sized tent! No one wants to be one of six forlorn family members, stuck in a two-man tent. Be sensible and make sure there’s sufficient room for everyone.
  • Burn, baby burn with a portable cooker top. How else are you going to cook those bacon and eggs the next morning?
  • You light up my life… or at least, your torches and camping lanterns will do so. ?The last thing you want is to trip over tent wires in the dark.
  • Make seating choices fun – and hotly contested. There’s no doubt a lazy hammock will prove popular with everyone. All you need is two trees and a laid-back attitude.
  • Bring out your inner Bear Grylls with a 9-piece pen knife set – the perfect tool for every cooking – and survival – scenario. 
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