Camping on the Lang Hans 4x4 Trail by Romi Boom

Wild fans were quick to tell us about their favourite camping spots in our mini camping survey. We were pleased to see some lesser-known places under their selection. We think these campsites deserve to be on your travel to-do list. By Arnold Ras

In the Wild camping survey, outdoor lovers ranked campsites in the Kruger National Park tops, while the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Addo Elephant National Park were the runners-up. Among the list of camping favourites were some hidden gems and we felt we just had to share. Have you been to any of these? If not, we suggest you start packing!

1. Algeria Campsite, Cederberg Wilderness Area

A kingdom of crystal clear mountain streams and unforgettable rock formations promises a camping adventure like no other. A stay at Algeria Campsite is your chance to escape the modern world and explore 71,000 hectares of natural beauty. Set up camp on the banks of the Rondegat River, wake up with the sounds of more than 100 bird species and take a dip in the Algeria waterfall. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to spot signs of a leopard. Even if you don’t, you’ll have the opportunity to view something few people ever get to see: ancient San and Khoi rock art. This is the perfect spot to make memories with loved ones.

Fun in the sun at Algeria Campsite. Perfect for the family. Photo courtesy of CapeNature.

Fun in the sun at Algeria Campsite. Perfect for the family. Picture courtesy of CapeNature.

How do I get there?

Algeria Campsite is 250km from Cape Town with a travelling time of about three hours.

Activities: hiking, swimming, birdwatching and traditional rock climbing

Bookings: Contact the reserve on +27 (0)27 482 2403. For accommodation and permit bookings call +27 (0)21 483 0190.

2. Nqweba Campsite, Camdeboo National Park

Pitch your tent at Nqweba Campsite and truly feel part of the natural world in this park. It is a good spot to rough it with family and friends – think shady thorn trees, a shimmering dam nearby and unpretentious adventure. Spend a few hours at the incredible Valley of Desolation where it is almost impossible not to take thousands of pictures. Just remember to grab a few water bottles as the Karoo sun is a force to be reckoned with! Or make your way to Khwalimanzi hide overlooking Nqweba Dam to catch sight of blesbok, Cape buffalo, bat-eared fox and gracious flamingos. Tip: Turn your trip for essentials into a heritage tour and visit South Africa’s fourth oldest town, Graaff-Reinet.

Relax and unwind at Nqweba Campsite. Photo courtesy of SANParks.

Relax and unwind at Nqweba Campsite. Picture courtesy of SANParks

How do I get there?

The gate to the Nqweba campsite 4km outside Graaff-Reinet, off the N9 to Middelburg.

Activities: watersports, hiking, 4×4 trails, game viewing and birding

Bookings: Contact the park on +27 (0)49 892 3453 or send an email to [email protected]. For accommodation bookings call +27 (0)12 428 9111 or visit www.sanparks.org.

3. Doornkraal Campsite, Ithala Game Reserve

Bush junkies with a sense of adventure will without a doubt talk about their stay at this secluded camp for years to come. The campsite has space for just 20 campers, two hot but open-air showers, one loo and no electricity. Basic is brilliant! Who knew that pancakes cooked over a campfire could taste so good? A swim in the Mbizo River a short walk from your tent is a must. Sundowners and a braai on are the way to spend the nights. After turning out your gas lamp, fall asleep to the sounds of untouched nature. This is the ideal hideaway from the modern world and its demands.

The morning after a braai under the stars at Doornkraal campsite. Photo by Roxanne Reid.

The morning after a braai under the stars at Doornkraal campsite. Picture by Roxanne Reid

How do I get there?

Approximately 340km from Durban with a travel time of around 4 hours.

Activities: game viewing, birdwatching, guided walks and 4×4 trails

Bookings: Call +27 (0)33 845 1000 or send an email to [email protected].

4. Richtersberg Campsite, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Don’t even try to get to this spot in a sedan, Boet. A 4×4 or vehicle with high clearance is the only way to explore this park. Although the drive to the campsite can be quite daunting (and scorching in summer), it is difficult not to be amazed at the sight: shaded stands on the banks of the river with views of the mountains in Namibia. The Orange River, South Africa’s longest river, is a beauty, but beware of flash floods during the rainy season. This campsite is perfect for those who want to get back to basics: there’s no electricity and only cold water. Happy bundu bashing!

Waking up with a view: the Richtersberg campsite. Photo by Brian Rowe.

Waking up with a view: the Richtersberg Campsite. Picture by Brian Rowe

How do I get there?

From the N7 (South Africa) and B1 (Namibia) turn off at Steinkopf and approach the park via Port Nolloth and Alexander Bay. The last 80km is a dirt road.

Activities: 4×4 trails, birdwatching and exploring the harsh environment

Bookings: Contact the park on +27 (0)27 831 1506 or send an email to [email protected]. For accommodation bookings call +27 (0)12 428 9111 or visit www.sanparks.org.