Where to pitch your tent when adventure calls

2016-10-22 12:30
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South African holidaymakers are gearing up to hit the long road soon.  whether to flock to popular beach destinations during the December months, a month-long caravan or camping adventure.

While many Saffas will spend days lazing on SA's Blue Flag beaches, the adrenaline junkies among us are paddling out river currents, abseiling down rocky mountain sides, cycling mountain passes or even zip lining between the massive trees in Tsitsikamma.

SA has a spectacular selection of camping sites, of which many are adventure junkie magnets. Adventure lurks in SA's oceans, rivers and mountain ranges, providing the perfect spots for camping sites.

We would like to introduce you to five adventure camping spots that will get the blood pumping! If you haven't ben to them all, start planning your camping adventure today!

Five camping trips for adventurers:

1. Royal Natal National Park

All adventurous Saffas yearn for a trip to the world-renown Drakensberg Mountains. The majestic Drakensberg escarpment stretches from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal and avid hikers flock to KZN for this rocky adventure.

The Royal Natal National Park on the northern side of the Drakensberg mountains is home to the Mahai River campsite where a range of adventure activities can be enjoyed. Hiking, horse riding, climbing, trout fishing and swimming are some of the favourites. Go to the close-by Thendele Camp if chalet stays are more your cup of tea.

Mahai River camp site is a perfect home base for your Drakensberg hiking escape. Popular hikes to tick off during your stay can be found here.

The camping basics:
People per site: 6
Ground cover: Grass
Facilities: Ablustions with flush toilets and hot showers, washing up facilities, electric points on some sites.
Contact: Call 033 845 100 or email camping@kznwildlife.com

A photo posted by Jen Pienaar (@jenpienaar) on

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2. Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, Tsitsikamma National Park

What better way to face your fear of heights and conquer the highest bridge bungy in the world! The Bloukrans river bridge bungy is just one adventure awaiting close to the Storms River Rest Camp. 

Storms River is also the starting point for the Otter Trail and campers can enjoy hiking the first leg of the popular five-day hike. A waterfall and swimming hole overlooks the crashing waves. To the east side of the camp, and on the other side of the suspension bridge, a hike to the lookout point awaits. End off at the beach and take a swim to the float below the restaurant.

Other adventures around the camp includes zip-lining, canopy tours, blackwater tubing and horse riding to name a few. Click here to find your Storms River adventure.

The camping basics:
People per site: 6
Ground cover: Mostly grass
Facilities: The campsite has a shop where souvenirs and basic commodities may be purchase. There is an a-la-carte restaurant, serving light refreshments. There is also a laundromat and ironing room (flat-irons not supplied).
Contact: 012 426 5025

A photo posted by Sugnet (@sugnetkeller) on

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3. Ebb  & Flow, Wilderness

Wilderness is a rower and hiker's heaven! Ebb & Flow rest camp provides the perfect tranquil rest after a day filled with adventure.

There are two popular rowing spots. If you camp at Ebb & Flow, launch your canoe from your camp site into the Touws River! Row (or hike) north towards a spectacular waterfall or south towards the beach. Don't have your own? Eden Adventures will sort you out in no time.

You will find another rowing spot as you drive to Wilderness from George over the Kaaimans River. 

Extreme adventures include abseiling down Kaaimans Gorge or paragliding to Wilderness' Lientjies Klip beach.

The camping basics:People per site: 6
Ground cover: Grass
Facilities: Communal ablution and scullery facilities are available. A games room with a television is available.
Contact: Visit the website here or call 044 877 1197

A photo posted by Hazel Meyer (@hazelmeyer) on

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4. Cederberg Wildlife Area

Calling on the explorers! Be it by foot or bike - the Cederberg has a camp for you! Kliphuis, Sanddrif, Goue Vallei and The Baths are well-loved spots, but our favourite adventure camping pick is Algeria.

Orange and red hues fill the rocky surroundings and you are transported to weird and wonderful mountainous marvel. The Cederberg Wilderness area, roughly three hours north of Cape Town, stretches over 71 000 hectares from Citrusdal to Clanwilliam and boasts ancient rock art and an array of hikes.

Click here for the full Cederberg map.

The greatest adventure is probably conquering the Wolfberg Cracks.

The 5km Seville rock art trail showcases the finest examples of rock art in the district where San people stayed for thousands of years. The Ceres slide and 4X4 routes can also be experienced. Click here for an array of Cederberg adventures.

The camping basics:
People per site: 6
Ground cover: Grassy shaded sites
Facilities: Flush toilets and hot showers, hot water bath in ladies ablution
Contact: 027 482 2403 or 021 483 0190

ALSO SEE: Spa hopping: Your complete guide to SA's natural hot springs

5. Mountain Sanctuary Park, Magaliesberg

This privately-owned nature reserve provides the best of the adventurous Magaliesberg. Mountain biking, hiking, rock pool swimming and rock climbing is what await adventurers in Magaliesberg.

The park has its own 12km mountain bike trail, but the Breed Neck Mountain Pass can also be braved.

Birds and animals indigenous to Magaliesberg can be spotted during nature walks. Hiking trails vary from short 15-minute walks to tough eight-hour hikes.

Rock climbers and abseil enthusiasts can bring their kit and try out the climbs in the park. 

The camping basics:
People per site: 6
Ground cover: grass and ground
Facilities: Braai and grid on each site, ablutions with low energy heat pumps, swimming pool, lapa, electricity on some sites - this needs to be requested. 
Contact: Visit the website here or email stacy@mountain-sanctuary.co.za

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