After over 100 days of camping in South Africa we have seen a lot of campsites. Sometimes the scenery is amazing and at other times the facilities are great. In this post we’ll list our top 5 campsites in South Africa.
1. Kwass Se Baai Campsite
This campsite is situated in Namaqua National Park. It’s also one of SANParks’ best hidden parks. There are no SANParks signs anywhere and you’ll have to drive 73 kilometers over a bumpy gravel road to get to the Groenrivier gate. To drive in the park you definitely need a 4×4. Nine small campsites can be found along the coast within the Groenrivier section of the park. To get there you’ll have to go a deep sandy road. After about 18 kilometers through the sand, we arrived at our little dream spot: Kwass Se Baai. Since this campsite only got four spots and due to the fact that there was no one else we had the beach and surroundings all to ourselves! This included the playful seals on the rocks at the beach. The cool thing about this place is that they build this circular wall which protects you from the wind. In the middle of this spot they made a braai pit so you can enjoy a bit of food and heat while gazing at the stars. You have to bring everything yourself (including water) and then just make it work. It’s a paradise on the South African West Coast.
There are several beautiful spots around Drakensbergen. We chose Injisuthi, a quiet place high in the mountains with some stunning views. KZN Wildlife is running the place and you can hire either a cabin or camp on the grass. You can choose your own spot and thus your view. There are different hikes that you can do in the area and if you’re in need of a map be sure to get one at the reception. We decided to hike the Grindstone Caves – Cateract Valley trail. Eight hours (!), six river crossings, three waterfalls, wet shoes, a wet map and ten liters of lost sweat further we arrived back at the camp. If you want to cool down after your hike you can take a dip in the river next to the campsite.
Next to the Soutpansbergen you’ll find Zvakanaka. The friendly owners Gail and Alistair created a little paradise with a wonderful view of the Soutpansbergen. If you arrive at the entrance you’ll see some signs that direct you to one of the beautiful campsites they build. We chose ‘Sam’s place’ which has a spectacular view of the Soutpansbergen. This wonderful campsite has a shelter with an oven, fresh water, gas, and electricity. They also have two lovely secluded cabins in the forest. If you feel energetic you can do a hike in the mountains. It’s also a perfect stop en route to Zimbabwe.
4. Punda Maria
Way up North in Kruger National Park you’ll find the Punda Maria campsite. If you’re here you’ll have to pick a campsite over a bungalow. The special thing about Punda Maria is that there is a waterhole right in front of the campsite. Especially in the dry months this is full of activity. You don’t even have to go on a game drive to see some game. Just pitch your tent, grab a chair and some drinks and watch the animals come and drink. When we were there we saw dozens of elephants, buffalos, zebras, and kudus drinking. The cool thing is that there are some lights as well so when it gets dark there is a chance that you’ll see lions or the occasional leopard! If you feeling hot yourself as well just take a dip in the pool.
5. Ebb and flow
If you’re driving down the Garden Route and stop near Wilderness then you should definitely camp at Ebb and Flow. This campsite lies next to the river between two cliffs. There are a lot of activities like doing a hike to some waterfalls, canoe down the river or take a boat trip. It’s a beautiful green environment where you can easily spend a couple of days. If you’re a bird lover you’ve come to the right place since it’s a birder’s paradise. The Knysna Turaco is flying from one cliff to the other so get your binoculars and camera ready!