There’s nothing quite like pitching your tent in lush surroundings. South Africans also love their camping, and many of the country’s best campsites are particularly social places. Though there are limited spots in and around the central Cape Town area, there are dozens that are just a short, scenic drive away from the city. Depending on how far you want to travel, and what kind of scenery and facilities you’re looking for at your campsite, one of these 11 will have you covered.
Beaverlac is located in the picturesque Groot Winterhoek Mountains, just a short drive from the town of Porterville. It’s approximately two hour from Cape Town, but is packed full of all the rustic charm you could want for in a remote camping trip. There are several hiking and mountain biking trails that go up into the mountains, as well as rock pools in which to cool off after a hot day. Camp sites don’t have electricity, and you’ll need to bring your own grid for the braai, but there’s a small store that stocks essentials.
Bontebok National Park
South African National Parks manages this idyllic campsite in the Bontebok National Park, outside the Overberg town of Swellendam. Set against the Langeberg Mountains and alongside a tranquil river, it’s a blissful escape from the city. There are also plenty of activities in the region, including fishing, rafting and hiking.
If your focus is on relaxation and rejuvenation, then head to one of the oldest camp sites in the Western Cape at The Baths Natural Hot Springs in Citrusdal. There you’ll find a range of activities for the whole family, from hiking and tennis to trampolines and a playground. But the main focus for most is on the numerous natural hot springs that offer the perfect place in which to spend an afternoon.
This working farm in the Cederberg is set among the most tranquil surroundings, and there are several camp sites for people looking to get away from it all for a few nights. At three hours, or 240 kilometres (149 miles), it’s a bit of a drive from Cape Town, but it’s the perfect base from which to explore this unspoiled region. There are also great walking trails on the farm, as well as dams, rivers, natural pools and waterfalls.
Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway
This is another popular camping region that’s set on a working farm, and it offers the perfect setup for anyone looking to escape the city in pristine surroundings. As the name suggests, there is trout fishing on the farm, but you’ll also find superb hiking and mountain biking trails. It’s set on the outskirts of the town of Rawsonville, which is approximately 90 minutes from Cape Town.
Just outside the quaint town of Greyton is Oewerzicht, a farm and resort that offers a variety of accommodation options, including camping. There’s a river nearby, and you’re surrounded by mountains. If you’re feeling energetic, you can go for a lengthy hike or mountain bike ride, or simply take to the water with an inflatable tube.
This beautiful reserve, run by Cape Nature, is perhaps one of the most picturesque getaways in the Langeberg region. There are several self-catering options in the reserve, but camping represents the best value for money. The camp sites are set beneath beautiful trees, and you’ll find an array of birdlife and incredible mountain views.
Secret Falls, in the Winterhoek Mountains, is best known for its beautiful communal pool with views over the valley below. There are ten grassy stands perfect for comfortable camping. There’s no electricity, but there are hot showers on site and several braai places available for use. Unfortunately, the beautiful views and exclusivity mean it’s relatively inaccessible – you will need to have a 4×4 vehicle to reach the campsite.
The Cederberg is home to some of the most remarkable rock features in the Western Cape, and you can reach these from the popular Sanddrif campsite. The famous Wolfberg Cracks is a doable two-hour hike from the campsite, or you could make a full-day trek to the impressive Wolfberg Arch. A river adjacent to the Sanddrif means that even when summer temperatures soar, you should have enough water to cool off in.
Enjo Nature Farm
Enjo Nature Farm has three great private campsites set in the remote Biedouw Valley. There’s a river that runs through this farm for approximately nine months of the year, and there’s also a dam to cool off in during warmer summer months. The views at Enjo Nature are unbeatable, and the sheer peace and tranquility afforded by the location mean it’s a firm favourite for people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Cape Town.
If you’re looking for no-frills beach camping, then head up the Cape’s west coast to the town of Tietiesbaai. Located just outside the popular town of Paternoster, Tietiesbaai offers a tranquil ocean-side escape. The campsite is located just a short distance from Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, and during spring the surrounding regions bloom to life, as wildflowers pop up across the vast plains.