Families and retired folk used to be the only ones pitching tents or unpacking caravans at camp grounds, but these days, more and more individuals are being drawn to camping, with a growing number of young adventure-seekers discovering its joys.
What's not to love about being closer to nature, with easy access to activities like hiking, fishing, kayaking, stargazing, and mountain biking - or simply reading and relaxing around a camp fire with a cold drink and a few marshmallows on a stick? And everything for a reasonable price.
Best spots to go camping in the Adventure Capital of the West Coast
A vacation to the Bergrivier region – the Adventure Capital of the West Coast – is a must if you and your family or a group of friends want to get out into nature and plan a camping adventure.
This stunning region, noted for its wide open spaces and dramatic vistas, is home to some of the world's most pristine and unspoiled nature reserves, marshes, lagoons, mountain sceneries, and more. Small communities dot the landscape, offering a diverse range of activities and adventures to suit all ages, interests, and budgets.
The area also has some fantastic camping spots, and we've listed a couple of them below, along with directions to where you can locate them.
Porterville is a charming community set at the base of the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area on the slopes of the Olifant's River Mountains. Porterville, which offers a range of hiking paths in the Groot Winterhoek, where spectacular rock formations can be discovered, is a treat for outdoor aficionados. Waterval (a popular camping spot) also has a waterfall route with 22 waterfalls weaving their way down the mountainside, alternating with crystal clear pools for a refreshing soak.
For those keen to test their adrenalin levels, there are companies that offer tandem-paragliding and hang-gliding experiences. Bird watchers can also expect to find an abundance of feathered friends. Anglers can throw in a line in the area, and for golfers, Porterville offers a scenic golf course with a beautiful mountain backdrop. There is also an artisanal gin distillery in the mountains above the town and a variety of eateries in the village.
Some of the top camping spots in and around Porterville include the Excelsior Guest Farm, close to the town itself, which offers camping and glamping options with beautiful mountain views; Cedarpeak, which boasts fabulous secluded glamping pods in the mountains above the town; popular Beaverlac with camping sites as well as timber or stone cottages near to mountain streams and rock pools; the Groot Winterhoek Nature Reserve with spectacular hiking trails and rock formations; and 22 Waterfalls with caravan and tent sites as well as cottages that offer access to the 22 waterfalls cascading down the mountain, as well as a farm dam.
Piketberg, which is nestled at the foot of the Piketberg Mountain range, draws visitors looking to enjoy – among many other things - the stunning natural surrounds and the abundant outdoor activities. Birders, 4X4 and outdoor enthusiasts, golfers, wildlife lovers, foodies and history buffs will all be spoilt for choice with a visit to the area.
Top recommended camping spots in and near Piketberg include: Die Ark Camping near Koringberg which offers a fabulous farm stay with fishing, canoeing and swimming, tractor rides, 4x4ing and more; the Goudkop Bush & Detox Camp in Redelinghuys, which has hiking trails, game drives, a restaurant, swimming pool and detox & hydro facilities; the Sandveld Dorpshuys in Redelinghuys, which has a mini animal farm and kiddie’s playground and pool.
Jakkalskloof 4x4, also in Redelinghuys, offers camping and chalets, bush huts, a swimming pool, hiking trails and 4x4 routes to view rock paintings and rock formations, as well as game viewing; Kardoesie on the N7 just outside Piketberg is a farm stay with a restaurant, shop, swimming pool and paintball; Kruistementvlei in Piket-Bo-Berg, which is situated in the mountains above Piketberg, offers camping as well as cottages; Kleine Paradys in Piketberg has camp sites, glamping options in fully equipped caravans, as well as cottages, with guests able to enjoy fishing, a heated pool, kids play area, and farm animals.
Velddrif, a prominent West Coast village that hugs the banks of the lovely Berg River, is one of South Africa's most popular bird-watching destinations. In fact, the Berg River estuary was recently designated as a Ramsar Site and a globally significant area.
Velddrif also offers culinary adventure and cultural experience. When it comes to camping, Velddrif and the nearby surrounds of Aurora and Dwarskersbos, offer some great options, such as Daniels Hoogte which is a private reserve with beautiful views of the Aurora valley; Happy Campers on the Berg River in Velddrif with campers enjoying their own private jetties; Klein Tafelberg 4x4 in Aurora with camping facilities and chalets; the Kliphoek River Resort in Velddrif, which has camping sites and chalets on the banks of the Berg River, with a slipway to launch your boat; Knorvarkie in Velddrif is another gem on the banks of the Berg River with camp sites, caravans, and two glamping tents; Kuifkopvisvanger, also on the banks of the river in Velddrif, is a working farm with cottages and camp sites; the Stywelyne Beach Resort in Laaiplek offers chalets and camping facilities right next to the beach; as does the Dwarskersbos Beach Resort in Dwarskersbos.