12 South African campsites for all budgets

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Picture the ideal escape. If what comes to mind is pitching a tent, lighting a fire and sleeping under the stars, then South Africa boasts its fair share of destinations to do just that. For some campers, it’s about reconnecting with nature, while for others it’s about getting away from the bustle of the city. Toasted marshmallows, fireside stories, watching the sunrise. These are some of the images that the thought of a good camping trip conjures up. From the Western Cape to Kwazulu-Natal, we went in search of the best camping sites throughout the country.

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Four of the best campsites in South Africa

1) Motswedi Campsite, Mokala National Park, Kimberley

For those who want to add a touch of luxury and convenience to the outdoor experience, Motswedi is the place to set up camp. Each site has its own kitchen with a gas operated fridge and private washing facilities. The campsite consists of six spots that surround a waterhole where animals come to drink and bathe. Stay right where you are and nature will come to you.

photo credit: Johann du Preez via Flickr
photo credit: Johann du Preez via Flickr

Nearest Airport: Kimberley Airport

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How to get there: Head north-west on Maroela Street towards Oliver Road/N8. Follow the N12. Drive to Mokala National Park.
Things to do: This campsite is designed to allow you to experience African wildlife up close and in absolute safety. Sunset and night-time game drives give you the chance to spot some of the 900 animals in the park. Guided horse trails and excursions will also whet your appetite for adventure.
Price: R400 base rate. Extra adult: R140 each. Extra child: R70 each.

2) Bonamanzi Game Park, Hluhluwe, Kwazulu-Natal

This Big 4 reserve is a natural heritage site bordered by Lake St Lucia. It’s the camping destination of choice for avid birdwatchers. The terrain provides an interesting overland experience, ranging from forested areas to savannah grasslands and swamps. If electricity is a survival must-have, don’t despair; the 12 available sites have their own washing areas, braai spots, sculleries and electricity supplies.

photo credit: bonamanzi.co.za
photo credit: bonamanzi.co.za

Nearest Airport: King Shaka International Airport in Durban

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How to get there: Get onto the N2 and follow it for 218 kilometres. Exit the N2 and turn right over the bridge on D123 Road (Bushlands/Bonamanzi Exit). Travel for 1.7 kilometres. Turn left on P2 for 4 kilometres, Bonamanzi is on your right.
Things to do: Those who want to explore the surrounds can embark on a game drive, a guided walk or take to the water on a sunset boat cruise. The Traditional Mysticism Evening entails a trip to the nearby ancient Zulu village where the resident sangoma enchants visitors with spell-binding stories. Guests even get the chance to ‘throw the bones’ and have their fortunes told.
Price: R220 per person per night.

3) Victoria Bay Caravan Park, George, Western Cape

If you’re looking for a campsite that puts you right between the beach and a lush mountainous region that’s great for hikes, then look no further than the Victoria Bay Caravan Park. With plenty of facilities to keep your stay comfortable, this site offers an unmatched level of convenience. With full mobile reception, you won’t be completely off the grid. Other amenities include electricity stands, washing facilities with hot water, a scullery, security patrols and braai spots.

photo credit: http://victoriabaycaravanpark.co.za/
photo credit: victoriabaycaravanpark.co.za/

Nearest Airport: George Airport

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How to get there: Get onto the N2 and continue until you reach the Victoria Bay Caravan Park.
Things to do: The park is situated close to a range of adventure activity providers who offer scuba diving, paragliding and fishing. Take your board along and enjoy a surf or take one of the many hiking trails. For those who want to spend a day on the green, there is a golf course nearby. Whale watching is also a popular pastime at the park during season.
Price: Between R210 and R421 per person, depending on season and camping site.

4) Bush Willow Tented Camp, Muldersdrift, Gauteng

You have to appreciate a camping site that doesn’t require you to bring your own tent or linen. It’s a tailor-made outdoor living experience in an idyllic environment that will have you feeling reconnected with nature in no time. The Bush Willow Tented Camp features hot indoor showers and an outdoor boma area for dining. In winter, electric blankets are made available for hire. You don’t even need to know how to pitch a tent, just pitch up.

pool1

Nearest Airport: Johannesburg Lanseria International Airport

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How to get there: From the airport, take Kyalami Boulevard to Pitts Avenue/R55. Then take Summit Road and the N14. Take exit 287 from the N14. Turn right onto the M5. Turn left onto the R374. Drive to Bush Willow Tented Camp.
Things to do: It’s not quite glamping, but this site does provide a luxurious experience for those who are not accustomed to roughing it. A beauty spa that offers a range of treatments is situated on the lodge. Nearby, you can visit The Cradle of Humankind. The lodge also offers nature walks and is home to a private game reserve as well as a bar and restaurant.
Price: Between R600 and R1260 per night, per 6 man tent depending on the type of tent.

Four of the best value-for-money campsites

1) Secret Falls, Winterhoek West, Tulbagh

Campers with an adventurous spirit and a 4×4 will find their Shangri-La at the Secret Falls campsite, nestled in the Winterhoek West mountains. The available 10 campsites are only accessible by 4×4, which adds a bundu-bashing element to the camping experience. There are waterfalls and pools to be discovered as well as hiking trails to explore.

photo credit: secret-falls-tulbagh.com
photo credit: secret-falls-tulbagh.com

Nearest Airport: Cape Town International Airport

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How to get there: Get onto Settler’s Way/N2 in Crossroads from Borcherd’s Quarry Road/M22. Drive along Kuils River Road/R300, N1 and R44. Take Winterhoek Road to your destination.
Things to do: Hiking is the activity of choice for campers who choose this site. The views are unforgettable. A campsite pool provides a cool refreshment and there are communal braai areas with benches and tables for large groups.
Price: For 1 – 12 adults from age 12+ years: R1560 per night. For 13 – 18 adults from 12+ years: R2340 per night. R70 per dog per night.

2) Areena Riverside Resort, East London, Eastern Cape Wild Coast

Areena has been named one of the top 10 South African resorts for the last 12 years consecutively. Whether you’re looking for a much-needed break, an escape into nature or an adrenaline-filled adventure, this is a one-stop destination for everything.

photo credit: areenaresort.com
photo credit: areenaresort.com

Nearest Airport: East London Airport

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How to get there: Head east from the airport. Continue on the R72. Take the N2 to Schafli Road. Follow Schafli Road to the resort.
Things to do: You can head out onto the river or bass dams in a canoe or sea kayak or fish from the river bank. For adventure enthusiasts there’s an obstacle course, abseiling, a zip line trail and paintball. In need of some pampering? The onsite spa provides an extensive wellness offering, including massage and reflexology.
Price: Off-peak season: R165 per person per night. Peak seasons: R340 – R500 per person per night.

3) Kaia Manzi Resort, Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng

Surrounded by trees on the banks of the Bronkhorstspruit Dam, this resort is a tranquil getaway, especially for those in need of a good fishing trip. It’s also situated three kilometres from the Anton Smit Sculpture Park and 14 kilometres from the Buddhist Nan Hua Temple, so there’s plenty to see and do on site and nearby.

photo credit: @mathew_coetzee
photo credit: @mathew_coetzee

Nearest Airport: Johannesburg O.R Tambo International Airport

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How to get there: From the airport, continue to R21. Take the R25 off ramp. At the end of the off ramp, turn left towards Bapsfontein. At the stop, turn right towards Delmas. At the 4-way stop, turn left towards Bronkhorstspruit. At the road marked as Bronkhorstbaai, turn right. At Kunkweni’s entrance gate, turn right and follow the signs to Kaia Manzi.
Things to do: There’s loads to do at this expansive resort. The Bronkhorstspruit Dam gives access for boating and fishing – a number of bass fishing competitions are hosted at this site annually. There are also swimming pools on site as well as a restaurant, so you don’t have to worry about packing food.
Price: R260 per person per day.

4) Silverstreams Country Estate and Caravan Park, Underberg, Kwazulu-Natal

This farm resort is situated at the foot of the Southern Drakensberg mountains and shares a boundary with the Drakensberg Ukhahlamba Park – a World Heritage Site. Expect magical streams, rolling hills, majestic waterfalls and awe-inspiring views as well as a variety of fun activities that are suitable for the whole family.

photo credit: facebook.com/silverstreamscaravanpark
photo credit: facebook.com/silverstreamscaravanpark

Nearest Airport: King Shaka International Airport in Durban

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How to get there: From the airport, get onto the N2 from the M65. Drive along the N3 and R617. Drive to Silverstreams.
Things to do: This is an all-round destination in terms of its facilities and activity offering. For the adventurous, there are 4×4 routes, horse riding, hiking and fishing. For those who like a good game, there’s table tennis, tennis, bowls, squash and a pool table. There is also river swimming and tubing.
Price: From R220 – R520 per day depending on season.

Four of the best budget campsites

1) Beaverlac, Porterville, Western Cape

As one of the Western Cape’s most picturesque camping destinations, Beaverlac is part of the Grootfontein farm – a natural heritage site with pools, caves and waterfalls. This is the place to be if you want a taste of the wild. If you’re lucky, you may even spot Beaverlac’s most iconic creature – the black eagle.

photo credit: beaverlac.co.za
photo credit: beaverlac.co.za

Nearest Airport: Cape Town International Airport

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How to get there: Get onto Settler’s Way/N2 in Crossroads from Borcherd’s Quarry Rd/M22. Take the N1 and R44 to Dasklip/Cardouw Road. Take Dasklip Road to Beaverlac.
Things to do: There are a number of trails available for hiking and biking. For water lovers, there is a tranquil mountain pool with a beautiful waterfall that’s perfect for an afternoon swim. Several caves adorned with rock art are accessible if accompanied by a guide.
Price: Entrance fee: R30 per car. Camping fees per night – persons 18 Years and older: R60, Age 4-17: R40, Under 4: Free, Dogs: R50.

2) Chelmsford Nature Reserve, Newcastle, Kwazulu-Natal

This reserve covers 6800 ha of thriving land and there are two sites where you can pitch your tent – Leokop and Sandford. The entire area is dedicated to outdoor recreation and is managed by Ezamvelo KZN Wildlife. There is certainly no shortage of activities of Chelmsford – from fishing to watersports, this is an all-inclusive destination.

Good Morning World #chelmsfordnaturereserve You Wanna Be Here on 31st of December – 01st January

A photo posted by Jazz Hip – Hop Festival (@jazzhiphopfestival) on

Nearest Airport: King Shaka International Airport in Durban

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How to get there: Get onto the N2 from M65. Take the N3 to R74. Take exit 194 from N3. Continue on R74 to Chelmsford.
Things to do: Carp, barbell and scaly are some of the fish species that abound in the Ntshingwayo Dam, which is a renowned fishing destination. Water sports that are provided for include sailing, power boating, water skiing and swimming. For the little ones, there are plenty of playgrounds.
Price: Minimum charge: R140. R70 per adult. R40 per child.

3) Magoebaskloof Getaway, Haenertsburg, Limpopo

This camping escape is located approximately four hours from Pretoria. Expect subtropical vegetation, a fresh water spring and a tranquil river. You may even get the chance to see the rare Samango monkey. Each campsite is fully equipped with a fridge, stove, kettle and dishes so you won’t have to rough it without the essentials.

photo credit: facebook.com/MagoebaskloofGetaway
photo credit: facebook.com/MagoebaskloofGetaway

Nearest Airport: Pietersburg Polokwane International Airport

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How to get there: Follow Gateway Street to Landdros Mare Street/R101. Turn left onto Landdros Mare Street/R101. Follow the R71. Drive through to Magoebaskloof.
Things to do: Magoebaskloof is pet-friendly so feel free to take your pooch for a swim in the river. There’s also a challenging hiking trail to tackle. If you’re the fishing type, you can try your hand at catching bass, carp, curper and catfish in the dam.
Price: For 2 people per night: R300. For 3 people per night: R410. Children 4-12 years: R80. Children under the age of 3: Free

4) Swadini, Hoedspruit, Limpopo

Swadini, A Forever Resort, is landlocked by the Blyde River Canyon Nature reserve, the peaks of the Drakensberg and the Blyde River. It’s a destination that could easily turn into the spot for an annual family vacation. Whether you want to escape into nature or just kick back and take a break, this resort caters for everything. The perfect combination between family fun and adventure tourism.

photo credit: foreverswadini.co.za
photo credit: foreverswadini.co.za

Nearest Airport: Johannesburg O.R Tambo International Airport

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How to get there: From the airport, continue to the R527 and continue along it. Turn left onto R531. Turn right onto Swadini Road. Drive to Swadini – A Forever Resort.
Things to do: A heated swimming pool and a baby pool will have you enjoying the water whatever the weather. Then there are hiking trails, putt-putt, tennis courts, trampolines and volleyball. An onsite restaurant offers a variety of buffet and a-la-carte meals.
Price: From R110 – R283 per person per night.

*All prices correct at time of publishing. Please visit the respective website to confirm rates, which may change according to the season.

Featured image: John Hickey-Fry via Visualhunt / CC BY

12 South African campsites for all budgets was last modified: April 10th, 2019 by Renee Fortune