Going camping in South Africa is not only affordable, but also loads of fun. The country’s natural bounty can be enjoyed in the bush, at the beach, in the desert, or in the mountains. And with great weather almost year round, especially in the summer, it’s never a bad time to go. Here are our picks for the best campsites in South Africa.
1. Beaverlac, Cederberg
Beaverlac is situated on 5000 hectares of verdant valley surrounded by the stunning Olifants River Mountains. This secluded area has a glorious campsite with two rivers running through it. Because of its beauty, this campsite is extremely popular and booking is essential.
2. Magalies Sleepy River Campsite, Magaliesberg
Magalies Sleepy River Campsite is situated on the banks of the Magalies River, with indigenous trees providing shade. Each campsite is supplied with electrical points and BBQ facilities, and is near to ablution blocks which contain toilets, baths, showers, laundry basins and sinks. The campsite also has a large pool, changing rooms, and shaded parking.
3. The Beach Camp, Tietiesbaai
If you don’t want all the fuss of pitching your own tent, The Beach Camp is the place for you. As the name suggests, this campsite is just metres away from Tietiesbaai Beach in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve. There are absolutely no day visitors or walk-ins allowed, so booking is essential.
4. Ilanga Resort and Caravan Park, Banana Beach
This three-star resort not only has a beachfront campsite, but also a caravan site and chalets. With an amazing beach just a short walk away, great fishing and much space for children to run around in, this is a great place for a family getaway.
5. De Hoop Campsite, Richtersveld
Part of the De Hoop Nature Reserve, this campsite is small but comfortable. With only 20 sites available, a communal kitchenette (no cooking facilities or equipment) and communal bathrooms, it is intimate and peaceful. Guests can enjoy the many hikes and walks in the nature reserve.
6. Mazhou Campsite, Mapungubwe National Park
Situated 40km from the main gate of the Kruger National Park, this campsite only accommodates 10 tents or caravans. Each site has a power point and is shaded by giant trees, and the campsite has communal bathrooms. It’s perfect for a family wanting to visit the Kruger Park during the day while saving some money on accommodation.
7. Driehoek Farm, Cederberg
With a maximum of six people per campsite, Driehoek Farm is perfect for a family weekend away. Surrounded by the amazing Cederberg Mountains, this farm offers guests various accommodation options with camping being the least expensive and most popular. The campsites are along the river and are shaded by trees.
8. Yellowwood Forest Campsite, Morgan Bay
This peaceful forested campground lies on the banks of the Inchara River on the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast. You’ll be surrounded by lush vegetation from the huge forest, various birds (it’s ideal for bird watching), and the refreshing sound of the rushing river.
9. Kromrivier Campsite, Cederberg Tourist Park
This breathtaking campsite lies on the little farm of Kromrivier. From crystal clear water from mountain streams to blooming kranzes, this beauty will astound you. It is also the oldest tourist destination in the Cederberg Mountains.
10. Mvubu Campsite, Addo Elephant Park
With six campsites on the banks of the Sundays River, these campgrounds is sometimes visited by the occasional hippo. This campground is only accessible by high clearance vehicles only and is 45 minutes away from Addo Rest Camp.
11. Coffee Shack Backpackers, Coffee Bay
This amazing backpacker lodge offers several different accommodation options, with camping being the least expensive. You can pitch a tent right in the yard. All the facilities are clean and simple — all you really need for a few nights in the stunning Coffee Bay.
12. Gecko’s Place, Port St John
You have to driving 7km down a gravel road to reach Gecko’s Place, but it’s worth it. With unspoilt forests, mountains and empty beaches, this campsite is both affordable and picturesque. The campsite has electricity and an ablution block.
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This article was originally published on January 19, 2015.