Camping is a wonderful way to take a vacation, whether with friends, family or even on your own. Camping allows you to get out there, enjoy a more natural connection and become one with your surroundings. South Africa has a host of beautiful camping spots where there’s something for everybody, no matter what they enjoy.
Perhaps you love open landscapes, or perhaps you’re looking for a mountain paradise. Whatever you prefer, South Africa has it all. So, whether you’re seeking amazing seascapes, forest scenery or a complete wilderness, here are some top places to camp that are sure to impress.
The uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
Just two hours to the north west of Durban, you’ll love this impressive World Heritage Site. With its amazing mountain scenery, this park has lots of outdoor activities to enjoy. You’ll see impressive views around each corner, and every one of the four areas of this national park has its own unique offerings. Whether you love to walk and hike, explore caves, go boating or fly-fishing, swim, ride a horse or cycle, you’ll have something to enjoy here and there are more than 15 campsites on offer.
Addo Elephant National Park
The Addo Elephant National park is a huge reserve with lots to see and do. Located in the Eastern Cape, you can enjoy a Big Five safari here or take a hike on one of the southern hemisphere’s largest dunefields. This park covers a huge area that takes in mountains, marine-protected reserves, rivers and semi-arid zones. You can experience a guided game drive or take a self-guided game drive, go fishing, take a hike or walk on the trails, go horseriding, drive a 4x 4 or go bird watching. There are several camps, but if you head to the main camp, you’ll discover a floodlit watering hole, all an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth.
Head to the Garden Route National Park and explore its Tsitsikamma section. Just three hours’ drive from Port Elizabeth, this national park has two rest camps – the Natures Valley and Storms River. You’ll find an exciting coastline at Storms River, together with high adrenaline sporting activities. There’s snorkelling, scuba diving, walking, hiking and boating to enjoy as well as treetop canopy tours, biking, climbing and bungee jumping. Meanwhile, if you head to Natures Valley, you can enjoy a more serene experience, sunbathing on the beach, canoeing or sailing on the estuary.
Cederberg Nature Reserve
The Cederberg Nature Reserve is another World Heritage Site. This national treasure boasts impressive soaring peaks and stone formations as well as sub-alpine habitats. You’ll also see ancient rock paintings here with some of the sites being open for the public to visit. Here, you’ll discover the stunning Algeria campsite which offers swimming in the Rondegat River’s clear waters. You can also enjoy activities such as biking, walking, hiking and mountaineering. All of this is only a two hour drive from the heart of Cape Town.
If your aim is to see some amazing wildlife, this beautiful game reserve should be your first stop. Only a half hour’s drive away from Durban, this is the perfect spot for a short camping trip in a natural environment. You can stay in a stilted tent on the water’s edge and try fishing and non-motorized watersports on the dam. There are also guided walks and game drives to enjoy. Some of the other activities include birding, rock climbing and trying bush meals.
What You’ll Need
As many of these camping sites are a long way from civilization, it is important to make sure you’ve planned ahead for your trip so that you have everything to hand that you could possibly need. You don’t want to arrive at your destination and find that you’re missing something vital like tent poles or your sleeping bag. Make sure to draw up a checklist so that you have everything from the tent and the camp beds to the grill that’s perfect for your trip. Once you have everything you need and as long as you’re well prepared, you’ll be ready to enjoy an amazing vacation under canvas in stunning South Africa. Enjoy your trip!