This summer, head to the coast for some serious chill. From wild camping by the beach to cute coastal chalets, these seaside stays offer fantastic views and plenty of fresh air.

Namaqua National Park

If you’re looking to get away from it all, head to the coastal section of Namaqua National Park. Between the Groen and Spoeg Rivers, there are 10 separate campsites aimed at self-sufficient travellers. You’ll have to bring your own wood, water, camping equipment and supplies, but you can pitch your tent within metres of where the Atlantic Ocean breaks onto the shore. Beyond a fire pit with windbreak stone wall and discreet enviro loo, there’s nothing here. No wi-fi or cellphone reception, no buildings or tarred roads… just black oystercatchers on the rocks, dolphins riding the waves and grysbokkies in the veld. It’s totally wild and after a busy year the silence and solitude are pure bliss.

Good to know

  • Namaqua National Park has availability over the summer school holidays.
  • Rates: R170 per campsite a night, maximum six people.
  • There are just a handful of stands at each campsite. The smallest are Skuinsklip and Skuinsbaai Noord, with two stands each.
  • Most sites are accessible by 4×4 only, but the Groen River campsite can be reached in a sedan on a 73km bumpy gravel road from Garies.

Also read: Scott Ramsay’s report on Namaqua’s coastal campsites

In Namaqua National Park, you can camp almost on the beach, making this one of our top seaside stays. Photo by Nils Backeberg

Could this be the quietest beach in the country? The coastal section of Namaqua National Park is lined with pretty bays. Photo by Rudolph de Girardier, courtesy SANParks

Agulhas National Park

For a holiday that’s a mix of rest and recreation, look no further than Agulhas National Park. The chalets in the main rest camp all look out over the sea and you’ll find the deck is an idyllic spot to kick back with a book or simply drink in the views. But there’s also plenty to do here. Pay a visit to the lighthouse museum and climb the 71 steps to the top for incredible views. Take a picture at the cairn that marks the continent’s southernmost tip. Go on a self-guided walk that takes in shipwreck sites and ancient fishing traps. Further afield you can go wine tasting, horse riding on the beach, birding in the coastal fynbos, exploring on 4×4 trails or browsing in art galleries. Or you could, of course, perfect the art of lazing about at your seaside stay.

Good to know

  • Agulhas National Park has availability over the summer school holidays.
  • Rates: Two-sleeper chalet R1,630 a night, four-sleeper family chalet R2,800 a night, Lagoon House (sleeps eight) R5,500 a night.
  • The sheltered lagoon close to Lagoon House and within walking distance of the rest camp is a lovely swimming spot.

The rest camp chalets have expansive views of the Agulhas coastline. Photo courtesy SANParks


Garden Route National Park: Tsitsikamma

Tsitsikamma’s Storms River Mouth is the setting for the quintessential beach holiday. You can spend hours bobbing about in the balmy Indian Ocean or relaxing on the golden sands; at night the sound of waves breaking on the rocks will lull you to sleep. The location is paradise for water babies, with accommodation a stone’s throw from the sea; choose between seaside campsites, basic forest huts and a range of self-catering chalets and cottages. From your base, venture out to go swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving in the ocean. Take a boat trip on the Spirit of Tsitsikamma or power yourself up the Storms River in a kayak and then float down in leisurely fashion on a lilo. Adventurous types might want to try cliff jumping deep in the Storms River gorge. Whatever you choose to do, you can be sure your summer will be a memorable one.

Good to know

  • Storms River Mouth rest camp has limited availability over the school holidays, but the picture changes in January. Why not plan a getaway later in the summer or a cheeky long weekend?
  • Rates: Campsites R450 a night for 1-2 people, R94 an extra adult, R47 an extra child; forest hut R785 for 1-2 people; chalets from R1,720 for 1-2 people, R280 an extra adult, R140 an extra child.
  • You can also visit the park as a day visitor to take part in the range of activities.

Storms River Mouth rest camp has several cottages and campsite right at the water’s edge. Photo courtesy SANParks

Taking a dip in the clear and balmy water of Tsitsikamma. Photo by Romi Boom.