Camping alone in nature is a transcendental experience. It is so quiet without the crowds that one can hear the flap of a bird’s wing, the whispering of shy leaves and the silence-hugging landscape as it stretches awake in the early morning. By Fran Siebrits and featured picture by Jacques Marais
Although camping is a popular activity in South Africa, there are still some incredible campsites where you can be completely alone … surrounded only by nature. Here are our top sites with the most privacy for Wild Card members to enjoy.
1. Cederberg Wilderness Area
Only 250km north of Cape Town is an area renowned for its spectacular plant-life and rugged landscapes just calling to be explored. An unforgettable experience awaits you in the magnificent mountains of the Cederberg! Hike into the mountains and camp anywhere in the wilderness of this World Heritage Site. These vast majestic mountains hold extensive and well-maintained hiking trails. Permits can be obtained from CapeNature and numbers are limited, ensuring low-impact and privacy. Visit www.capenature.co.za for more details.
2. Coastal Campsites, Namaqua National Park
The harsh yet enchanting West Coast of South Africa has stolen many hearts. In the Namaqua National Park, between the Groen and Spoeg rivers, is a stretch of magnificent coastline untainted by the modern world. This coastal strip promises a cocktail of isolation and nature. The stark landscape is transformed once a year in spring when the wild flowers bloom en masse.
Only accessible by 4×4, camping along the coast is on a first-come, first-served basis. Secluded little bays such as Galjoenbaai, Skiploodsbaai, Breekskip, Boggerolbaai and Koringkorrelbaai await the rustic camper. You have to be completely self-sufficient as there are no facilities. The last stop for fuel and water is Lutzville or Garies.
Visit SANParks’ website for info and bookings.
3. Langkloof, Tankwa Karoo National Park
It’s just you and nature at this recently-upgraded campsite. Because there are only two campsites situated deep in this beautiful gorge along the Rhenoster River, the plants and animals are the only other company sharing the space. Each site has its own ablution and kitchen facilities, so you don’t even have to share if another group happens to be there. In between enjoying the privacy this site promises, you can take a drive to the lookout point of the 4×4 trail for an impressive view. The campsite itself is accessible by a high-clearance 2×4; however, 4×4 is recommended in the rainy season. Click here for bookings.
4. Gamkaberg Nature Reserve
If privacy topped with isolation is what you are looking for, then Gamkaberg campsite should be your next camping destination! Situated at the foot of the Gamkaberg, this campsite has an incredible view over the Klein Karoo Valley and the Swartberg Mountains. The two sheltered spots (maximum four people each) have portable braais so you can organise your campsite as you wish. With the limited number of people allowed at a time, it’s quite possible that your group will be the only campers. Visit CapeNature’s website for more information.
5. Motswedi Luxury Campsite, Mokala National Park
There are only six campsites at this exclusive spot, each with its own ablution facility and kitchen. There is even a fridge! Motswedi is the first of its kind in the Arid Parks and even though campers have complete privacy, each site is close enough to the waterhole for excellent game viewing. Camelthorn trees protectively enclose the campsites, aided by a knee-high electrified fence to keep the buffalo from visiting your campfire. There is no fuel or shop facilities available in the park, so arrive prepared. As a special occasion, treat yourself to a meal at the lodge restaurant after a day in the bush. For reservations, visit the SANParks website.