Do you love the outdoors? Why not try camping this holiday season? There is no better way to connect with nature.
South Africa has plenty of great camping spots - about one thousand of them, dotted all over the country. There are camping sites for every pocket and every taste.
Some sites offer only basic amenities, which usually include restrooms, kitchen and laundry services. Others have tents equipped with king-size beds and en-suite bathrooms.
Some camping sites are small, peaceful parks. Others are action-filled holiday resorts, and may feature swimming, hiking, canoeing, fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding, and so on.
Here are some of the most popular destinations for a camping holiday in South Africa:
The Eastern Escarpment
Do you long to get in touch with mountains, canyons, or waterfalls?
The Blyde River Canyon area is just the place for you. Choose among several camping sites and remember to visit the must-see places: God's Window, Bourke's Luck Potholes and Pilgrims Rest.
The Kruger National Park
Observing wildlife in its natural habitat is the holiday of your dreams?
The world-renowned Kruger Park is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. It has many delightful camps.
The North-East Coast
Kosi Bay, Sodwana Bay, iSimangaliso, St Lucia: all of these places have camping sites with good, tidy facilities. You will stay close to the beaches and get a chance to visit the nearby game reserves abundant with wildlife. Activities include turtle nesting tours, whale watching, game viewing tours, fishing, kayaking, hiking, etc.
The South and Wild Coast
If you yearn for the bustle and the excitement of holiday crowds, you should opt for a camping site near popular holiday resorts such as Margate. Others will head for more secluded sites on the South Coast. Or, even better, head further south to the Wild Coast. Having successfully resisted the onrush of property development, the Wild Coast community is now concerned with the proposed highway construction and strip mining. So, visit it while it is still in its unspoiled beauty!
The Drakensberg Mountains
Lush greenery in the summer, all hues of yellow, red and brown in the autumn...
Whatever the season, camping in the Drakensberg is an unforgettable experience. You can set base in one of the many camping sites and venture onto day trails; you can hike with a tent on your back and sleep in the mountains; you can even sleep in a cave (do book ahead of time, or you may find “your” cave already occupied).
The Great Karoo
The stark beauty of the Karoo semi-desert is best enjoyed from one of several good camping sites. Spending a night or two out in the South African great wide open is a must, because the Karoo is one of the best places in the world for star gazing.
The Garden Route
This part of South Africa has it all: giant yellowwood forests, lagoons, gorges, sandy beaches, rocky headlands... Set your tent in a camping site near the coast, in the vicinity of Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Wilderness or Mossel Bay, and immerse yourself into the beauty of the Garden Route.
The Western Cape
In this area, you will find camping sites situated along the coast, in the mountains and at several dams and lakes. When in Western Cape, visit the Table Mountain, Cape Point and, of course, at least two or three wine farms.
The West Coast
Surfing in summer and a carpet of flowers in the spring: that, in a nutshell, is why the West Coast is a favourite among surfers and nature lovers. There are several good camping sites in the area.
You will find many comprehensive directories of camping and caravan sites in Southern Africa on the internet.
As for equipment, preparation is crucial. It is advisable to plan well in advance. What to bring on a camping trip depends on the type of camping site you opt for, whether you are going with children or not, the season of the year, and so on.
In any case, you are sure to find all the equipment you need (plus some you did not even know you needed) in the bidorbuy camping section, so explore it carefully.