Where to camp in South Africa
South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The country boasts some of the most breathtaking landscapes.
Getaway Magazine put together some of the most beautiful camping sites in South Africa, and we have listed them below for you.
Limpopo is a South African province bordering Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. It's known for bushveld and wildlife reserves, including part of Kruger National Park. West of the Kruger is the craggy Blouberg mountains and Makgabeng Plateau with ancient rock art. Near the provincial capital Polokwane, the Arend Dieperink Museum and fossil-rich caves of Makapansgat explore history dating back to early hominids.
Zvakanaka Farm Soutpansberg (-22.977981, 29.952550)
On top of the Soutpansberg, just north of Louis Trichardt, the beautiful Zvakanaka Farm is the perfect stop en route to Zimbabwe, Tuli or northern Kruger. The four campsites are private and well-spaced, and the two larger stands have a boma for extra shade and protection from the elements.
There’s a small, communal pool a short distance away and the shared ablutions are neat, tidy and beautifully built, with an attention to detail that’s so often lacking in larger, public campsites.
Be sure to bring your binos for the excellent bird life, and your walking shoes to tackle some of the many short trails around the farm and up the nearby ridge.
Mazhou Campsite Mapungubwe National Park ( -22.240303, 29.408439)
Mazhou is a peaceful campsite of 10 stands, surrounded by absolutely breathtaking scenery. Mapungubwe National Park is a World Heritage Site and the camp is an ideal base to start your exploration. Go on sunset or night drives or explore the park on foot with the guided walks. Don’t miss the guided Heritage Walk which takes you to a graveyard on Mapungubwe Hill. The site has a wonderful sense of history and the views from on top are breathtaking.
NORTH WEST PROVINCE
Bush Camps Botsalano Game Reserve (-25.560855, 25.709919)
For an affordable taste of the Kalahari, Botsalano Game Reserve is a prize – a thornveld escape that’s close to Joburg and has an abundance of springbok, gemsbok, buffalo, and giraffe. With luck, you might even spot a rhino. Four rustic bush camps, each with basic ablutions (cold/donkey boiler showers), are scattered around the park in the unfenced bush where blue and violet-eared waxbills busy themselves in the acacias. Botsalano is an excellent first stop for trips into Botswana.
Augrabies Rest Camp Augrabies Falls National Park (-28.593904, 20.337711)
Augrabies National Park is best known for its wonderful main waterfall which, on average, dumps over 300 cubic metres of water per second down its 56m-high face. In full flood, that figure has gone up to an astonishing 7800 cubic metres per second, but if things get that wet you probably won’t be camping. The campsite itself is typically SANParks – neat and tidy, with communal ablutions, kitchen, and laundry facilities. There are short trails, viewpoints, and a restaurant, and mountain biking is permitted on the main roads.
Potjiespram Campsite, Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (-28.074629, 16.963089)
Situated in South African’s far northwestern corner, right on the Namibian border, the Richtersveld is for experienced campers looking to get as far as possible away from it all. You’ll need to bring everything with you to Potjiespram, although drinking water isn’t a problem as the campsite lies right on the banks of the Orange River. Winter and spring are the best times to visit when the temperatures are cooler and the region’s famous flowers are on the show.
De Hoop Campsite, Richtersveld (-28.183206, 17.177670)
Not to be confused with the nature reserve in the Western Cape of the same name, De Hoop Campsite lies southeast of Potjiespram, upstream on the Orange River. Enjoy the best of both worlds as you camp on the banks of the Orange, surrounded by the beautiful Richtersveld bush. Like Potjiespram Campsite, De Hoop is definitely one for the more experienced camper. It offers a brilliantly rustic environment, literally in the middle of nowhere between South Africa and Namibia.
Kambro Campsite and Farm Stall, Britstown (-30.416351, 23.565799)
Kambro Accommodation and Farm Stall have six grassed campsites, each discretely spaced, with electricity, a light and a private braai. With no major city lights for over 200km in any direction, Kambro is a wonderful stargazing spot and the perfect place to enjoy the silence and wide open spaces of the Karoo. Be sure to check out the selection of preserves and biscuits in the farm stall; the springbok pies are also excellent.
Die Mond, Tankwa Karoo (-32.543689, 19.542150)
The lush green grass and wide, cool waters of Grootrivier make Die Mond Campsite a true oasis in the hot, dusty Tankwa Karoo. After hours of unrelenting rock and sand in all directions, it’s wonderful to feel the lawn beneath your bare feet as you dive from the bank into the deep, refreshing river. There are no preallocated sites, it’s first to come first served, but there’s plenty of space along the riverbank, and if you are lucky enough to get away midweek, you’ll probably have the whole place to yourself anyway.
Coastal Camp Sites, Namaqua National Park
It’s hard to single out any specific camping spot from Namaqua National Park’s nine coastal camping sites, which are spread out along 40km of pristine west coast shoreline. Without a 4×4 however, you’ll be limited to the two southern campsites near the Groen River Gate – Delwerskamp and Groen River Camp. North of the gate, the track gets very sandy and 4X4 is definitely required. If we had to pick one site, it would be Kwass se Baai, about 20km north of Groen River. It’s one of the smaller campsites, with only four stands, and there’s a beautiful sandy beach nearby – perfect for west coast sundowners!
Gariep, A Forever Resort, Gariep Dam (-30.605555, 25.502290)
Gariep Dam campsite is an excellent stopover on the long N1 drive between Joburg and the Cape. It’s neat, clean and covered in lush grass, with beautiful views (especially at sunrise) over the small yacht-filled bay that lies directly in front of the campsite. There’s plenty for the kids to do – Putt-Putt, tennis, trampolines, and more – plus swimming and canoeing on the dam. If you have a bit of time, the guided tour of the main dam wall and turbines is definitely worth it too.
Koningskop, Citrusdal (-32.499003, 18.848462)
Relax on the green lawns of this beautiful rooibos and citrus farm, just west of the N7 between Citrusdal and Clanwilliam. You can explore the farm trails on foot or bicycle, and swim or fish in the dams. There are also two 4×4 trails which head up into the nearby mountains, with beautiful views of the Swartland and Cederberg.
Miller’s Point Caravan Park, Simon’s Town (-34.228424, 18.469935)
Miller’s Point Resort is 5km south of Simon’s Town, as you follow the M4 towards Cape Point. Large boulders line this stunning stretch of coastline with sheltered, sandy coves in between. The wind shadow protecting the northern side of the point makes for some beautiful, sheltered swimming areas – if you can stand the icy water!
Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, Garden Route National Park (-34.022236, 23.885529)
Storms River Mouth Rest Camp is the jewel in the crown of the Garden Route National Park. Between the pounding surf and steep cliffs of indigenous forest, wood cabins, caravans and camping sites sit side by side along a beautiful, narrow strip of coastline. Many of the sea-facing stands are reserved for caravans, so if you’re in a tent, ask for stand numbers 101 to 112 to ensure the best sea views, but be aware that these stands don’t have power.
Mvubu Campsite, Addo Elephant National Park (-33.340898, 25.360591)
Mvubu is a small campsite on the banks of the Sundays River in the Kabouga section of the Addo Elephant National Park and serves as a wonderful base for exploring the park while enjoying quiet evenings in the bush. If you’re not out exploring the park on self drives or hikes you can relax in the river and pools inside the camp or set out on a day of bird watching.