UNDER THE AFRICAN SKIES
Gather a group of your closest friends, pack your tent and Tabard and enjoy an evening camping under African stars…
Elandskloof Trout Farm
What to expect: Situated just a few kilometres out of Dullstroom (via a dirt road), this campsite is ideal for visitors who want the tranquility of the area without the tourist buzz of the town. Tents can be pitched under the shade of a tree or under a thatched roof (for a small extra fee). Camping facilities include bathrooms with toilets, showers and some with baths, fresh water taps and electricity points (but pack the long extension lead too). Braai drums are available and you can buy wood, ice and charcoal on site. Workers clean out the drums and rubbish bins everyday.
Things to do: Horse riding, game drives, bird watching, hiking, mountain biking, and 11 stocked fly fishing dams. The farm also has a kid’s playground, heated indoor swimming pool, restaurant (on request) and bar with television (so you can still watch that rugby game).
Price: R70pp per day, R50 extra per day for thatch roof areas.
INFO (013) 254 0136, 082 875 8851, email@example.com, www.elandskloof.co.za
What to expect: No luxury here. This is camping in its purest form. The Riverbed Campsite provides space for a maximum of 20 campers with nothing but the stars at night for cover. Facilities include showers and toilets. Bring your own toilet paper, towels, chairs, lighting (there’s no electricity) and other amenities. Here it’s all about getting in touch with nature so it’s not for the lighthearted. Ideal for 4×4 groups.
Things to do: 4×4 trails (graded level two to four), quad biking (bikes not included), hiking, mountain biking, swimming (pool, dam and mountain stream), fishing and bird watching.
Price: R50 per adult, R25 per child under 12. Free for kids under six.
INFO 082 388 3247, 082 388 3249, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ribbokkloof.co.za
What to expect: Possibly one of the most popular camping sites in the area, it is great for families. With 180 camping and caravan sites at 20m2 each, emphasis is placed on space rather than crowded camping. Every site is level, shaded and grassy and includes an electricity point and braai (bring your own grid). Four large ablution facilities, three wash up areas, a coin-operated laundromat and an a la carte restaurant with WiFi connection. There’s also the option to order takeaways. No motorcycles or quad bikes are permitted on site.
Things to do: Swimming (heated and cold pools available), putt-putt, outdoor chess, river tubing, trampolines, jungle gyms, see-saws, tennis on the floodlit tennis courts (rackets can be hired), hiking, pool and mountain biking.
Price: R200pp including campsite (minimum stay of five nights). A refundable gate disc deposit of R100 is required per vehicle.
INFO (013) 764 2266, 073 236 2088, email@example.com, www.merrypebbles.co.za
Swadini, a Forever Resort
Where: Blyde River Canyon
What to expect: A peaceful setting under the foot of the Drakensburg Mountains. Each site has an electricity point, and there are also ablution blocks with showers and which are wheel chair friendly, laundry facilities, wash up areas, a stocked convenience store, bottle store and restaurant on site.
Things to do: Tennis, swimming (heated and cold pools available), trampolines, volleyball, putt-putt and hiking. Swadini is a great base to explore the Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window (but schedule some extra time for the drive from the campsite to the main road).
Price: R50 per site per night and R60pp per night.
INFO (015) 795 5141, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.foreverswadini.co.za
Panorama Chalets and Rest Camp
What to expect: The breathtaking view over the awe-inspiring Graskop gorge is definitely the highlight at this small campsite. The 20 grass-covered sites each have 220V/10amp power outlets and each site varies in size and tree shade coverage. Loose braais without grids (so bring your own) are available for use as well as laundry facilities, a shared camp kitchen with scullery, under cover communal braai area, ablution facilities, art gallery, kiosk, swimming pool, TV and pool room, coffee shop and coin-operated laundromat.
Things to do: The site has its own short hiking trail, which leads into the gorge. Guests can also explore the small town of Graskop or self-drive the Panorama Route. For the more adventurous, the surrounding region offers the popular Big Swing, quad biking and mountain biking trails, gold panning, paintball and more.
Price: R210 for first two people and R60 per extra person per night.
INFO (061) 460 1832, email@example.com, www.panoramaviewchalets.co.za
Mankele Mountain Biking
Where: Between Sabie and Schagen
What to expect: Mountain biking aside, this family friendly establishment also offers two camping sites: guests can choose to pitch their tent on the lawn section or in the secluded bush campsites. Both sites have braai areas, limited electrical points, hot water ablutions and a swimming pool. There is also an on-site coffee shop, entertainment area with TV, pool table and dartboard and a party deck, which can be hired by guests.
Things to do: Gecko River tubing, bass fishing, paintball and mountain bike rides – suitable for both beginner and advanced riders as well as hikers and joggers. Mountain bikes can be rented.
Price: R90pp per night, R50 for children between the ages of two and 16.
INFO 078 801 0453, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mankele.co.za
Olifants River Lodge
What to expect: A vast grassy area with 40 camping and caravan sites along the Olifants River. Lovely views although not particularly private. Each campsite has electricity points, while water points and four ablution blocks (two of which offer separate, lockable rooms with shower, toilet and basin) and dishwashing facilities are shared amongst campers. There is an on-site restaurant, mini-supermarket, coin-operated laundromat and swimming pools (indoor and outdoor).
Things to do: Hiking, horse riding, paddle boating, raft building, fishing and volleyball.
Price: R150 per night for the campsite and R50pp per site.
INFO (013) 243 9401, 082 892 3029, www.olifants-river-lodge.co.za
Tsendze Rustic Camp Site
Where: Near Mopani Rest Camp, Kruger National Park
What to expect: As the name suggests, Tsendze offers campers the chance to rough it out in the bush without luxuries such as electricity, shops, restaurants, ATMs or fuel. All of these are available, however, at Mopani Rest Camp a short 7km away. Tsendze has 30 tent and caravan stands surrounded by Mopane, Leadwood and Apple Leaf Trees that provide ample shade. There are two ablution blocks, two communal kitchens, one fresh water tap per three sites, warm water from gas geysers, lights from a solar battery system and a braai stand and rubbish bin on each site. Very large buffalo herds and elephant bulls are known to travel through the Tsendze and greater Mooiplaas picnic spot.
Things to do: No on-site activities available at Tsendze (when they say it’s rustic, they mean it), but guided game walks and drives can be pre-arranged with Mopani Camp. Guests will be picked up from Tsendze’s main gate and taken to their required activity location.
Price: R255pp per night for two people and R76 per extra adult per night. Maximum of six people per site. Only one vehicle per site, R150 per extra vehicle per night.
INFO (013) 735 6535/6, 082 802 1113, www.sanparks.org
De Voetpadkloof Resort
Where: Loskop Valley, 35km north of Middelburg
What to expect: De Voetpadkloof is situated in a 600ha nature reserve so is ideal for nature enthusiasts looking to unwind while the kids occupy themselves with available activities. Each of the 46 camp and caravan sites have their own power supply and paved area for tents. Facilities include three modern ablution blocks with wash up areas as well as a laundry facility with washing machine and tumble dryer. There are also two swimming pools (one cold, one heated), a licensed convenience store, tea garden and thatched lapas with TV.
Things to do: Walking trails, guided game drive trips, horse rides, mountain bike trails, fishing, putt-putt and a children’s playground.
Price: R430 for two people per day plus R75 per extra person per day (maximum six people per stand).
INFO (013) 245 8500, email@example.com, www.devoetpadkloof.co.za
Kruger Adventure Lodge and Safaris
What to expect: A backpacker friendly camping option for those visiting the Kruger Park (only a 10 minute drive from the Phabeni gate). The campsite is basic with bathrooms and a communal kitchen with fridge and freezer.
Things to do: Although the lodge specialises in safaris into the Park, a number of activities in the surrounding regions can be done through the lodge as well such as bush walks, gechoing, zip lining, abseiling and micro lighting.
Price: R100pp per night, half for kids between the ages of two and 12.
INFO 081 501 6526, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.krugeradventurelodge.co.za, www.krugeradventuresafaris.co.za
Machado Flyfishing Club
Where: Glenshee, 6km from Machadodorp
What to expect: Machado Flyfishing Club is a not-for-profit organisation that has been operating for over 60 years. Although predominantly aimed at keen fly fishers and specifically used during fishing competitions, the camping grounds are open to the public. Sites have basic ablution blocks with warm water, showers and a bath on the women’s side. Majority of the campsites have power outlets and water taps. Braai drums are available and wood can be purchased from the on-site shop. Basins for dish washing, a fish gutting and cleaning facility, tackle shop and a fully licensed clubhouse all on site.
Things to do: Two trout dams and one bass dam for fly fishing (no other kind of fishing is permitted). There are also hiking and mountain bike trails.
Price: R100 per night per site, R20pp per site. Call ahead of time to make sure there are no competitions on the date you wish to visit.
INFO (013) 256 9349, 084 513 8111, www.glensheesa.webs.com
Stone Chat Private Resort
What to expect: This 200ha private resort offers 12 camping and caravan sites, all of which have electricity points. Modern ablution blocks with underfloor heating (a bonus in the colder months), a communal kitchen and a wash up area provide basic camping facilities.
Things to do: Fly fishing in the two stocked dams, birding, canoeing, walking, mountain bike and quad bike trails.
Price: R350 per night, maximum four guests per site.
INFO 083 645 8488, email@example.com, www.stonechat.co.za