Top 10 camping destinations around SA

Top 10 camping destinations in South Africa

Itching to get out of the city and back to nature? There are plenty of great places around South Africa where you can kick off your shoes, crack open a cold one and forget all about the hustle and bustle for a while.

Whether you’re into roughing it in the bushveld or glamping it up in tented camps, there are more amazing campsites around SA than you can shake a tent pole at.

To get you on your way, we’ve put together a list of some of SA’s top camp sites in no particular order.

1.  Tietiesbaai, Paternoster, Western Cape

Once you’re done smirking at the name, you can really start to appreciate just why Tietiesbaai is such a sought-after camping spot. Located on the rugged West Coast, it’s great for campers in search of a rustic escape. Idyllic sunsets, lush hiking trails and impressive ocean views more than make up for the cold showers and lack of electricity. Bring a sturdy, South Easter proof tent for the perfect family getaway.

2.  Fiddlers Creek Campsite, Orange River, Northern Cape

Nestled on the banks of the Orange River in Vioolsdrift, Fiddlers Creek Campsite is a bush camp with some creature comforts to take the edge off. Each site features a kitchen and power points, plus a built-in braai area. Grab your buddies and head out for a river rafting or 4X4 adventure.

3.  Bushbaby Place, Pretoria, Gauteng

Just 30 minutes from Pretoria lies peaceful Bushbaby Place, a laid-back camping retreat where you can pitch your tent on one of 10 rustic bushveld stands. Set within a private nature reserve, there’s plenty of wildlife roaming around with chances to spot zebra, wildebeest and many other antelope. Get the real bush experience without electricity or modern luxuries, and just kickback for the weekend as nature intended.

4.  Glen Reenen, Golden Gate National Park, Free state

Head out to Golden Gate Highlands National Park at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains. Skip the rondhavels and pitch tent at the campsite which serves as a perfect base to explore the park’s 11 600 hectares. Make sure not to miss a hike up to the massive Brandwag Overhang.

5.  Mahai River Campsite, Royal Natal National Park, KZN

Swap your comfy loafers for hiking boots and head to the incredible Drakensberg. It’s hard to pick just one campsite, but Mahai River is definitely worth a mention. This big campground is set in one of the Drakensberg’s most beautiful valleys with the Mahai River running through it. It’s a perfect base for plenty of hikes (both novice and advanced), fly fishing fans can also try their luck in the nearby dam.

6.  Tsendze, Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga

The aptly named Tsendze campsite is one of Kruger’s most rustic camps. Named after the Tsonga word for 'tsendzeleka' or 'to ramble around like someone lost in the bush' it’s definitely for campers who prefer to rough it. Pitch camp under leafy Leadwood, Mopane and Apple Leaf trees, while herds of elephant and buffalo wander by. This is the real outdoors.

7.  Manyane Resort, Rustenburg, North West Province

Located on the border of Pilanesberg National Park, Manyane Resort is the perfect base to get your fix of the Big 5 at one of SA’s best safari destinations. Jo’burgers are in luck, as these beautiful campsites are located just a 2-hour drive from the city. It gets pretty hot in summer, so bring your swimsuit and take a dip in the pool, or just chill out under a shady tree as snuffling warthogs and pronking impala wander by.

8.  Motswedi Luxury Campsite, Mokala National Park, Northern Cape

Not quite so keen on roughing it? Motswedi combines all the beauty of nature, with all the mod-cons a city slicker could hope for. Located close to Kimberley, this comfy campsite has just 6 spots, each with their own ablution facilities, solar powered geyser and kitchen area. All you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

9.  Marakele National Park, Limpopo

Located in the heart of Limpopo's Waterberg Mountains, Marakele has become a 'place of sanctuary' for an impressive variety of wildlife. The park is home to the Big 5, which makes it an excellent, smaller alternative to Kruger. Choose from two accommodation options: Tlopi Tented camp with two beds, private bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen ot, forr the DIY guys, there’s also the Bontle campsite.

10.  Secret Falls, Tulbagh, Western Cape

It’s not called ‘Secret Falls’ for nothing. Located at the foothills of the Groot Winterhoek Mountains, 100km outside of Cape Town, this hard-to-reach spot requires a 4x4 to get to. Only 7 camping spots are available, so it’s also a great secluded spot for couples. With heart-stopping views, awesome hiking trails and challenging MTB roads, it’s well worth the effort.