Where’s the wildest place that you’ve camped? We’ve come up with a few of our favourite wild camping spots that offer you a chance to get close to nature in some very interesting and beautiful places!

1. Sleep in a cave: Drakensberg

The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg is home to many remarkable caves where you can sleep over and experience the area’s majestic mountains first-hand. The Pholela Cave in the Cobham Wilderness Area is situated next to a stream and has views of the peaks that enclose Giant’s Cup. With relatively level, sandy terraces and a sheltered overhang, you’ll only need to bring a mattress and sleeping bag to enjoy a good night’s rest.

Pholela Cave, photo courtesy of www.berg.co.za.

Pholela Cave. Picture courtesy of www.berg.co.za.

2. Sleep under the stars: |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Look up at a star-studded sky while listening to the swooshing sound of the mighty river as it flows by. Camping on the banks of the Orange River is a wild and freeing experience, made more fun in the company of family and good friends. Campsites such as Sendelingsdrift and De Hoop are right on the river, so you can cool down when the mercury soars. Even better, take part in a guided river rafting trip and set up camp in a wild and remote spot.

Sleep in a five million-star hotel. Photo by Lynn Robinson.

Sleep in a five million-star hotel. Picture by Lynn Robinson

3. Camping on the coast: Namaqua National Park

The Namaqua National Park has a number of campsites that are well placed along the coastline. The campsites have taps for running water and toilets but other than these basic conveniences, the area lies untouched. Pack a tent, and make your way to where isolation and nature offers a restful escape.

Savour the sea air at Namaqua National Park. Photo by Kate Collins.

Savour the sea air at Namaqua National Park. Picture by Kate Collins

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

John Burroughs, American naturalist and essayist

4. Sleep on the wild side: Kruger National Park

The Wilderness Backpack Trails in the Kruger offer you a chance to walk and sleep in the wild.

On the Lonely Bull and Mphongolo Backpacking Trails you can enjoy four days and three nights of wild living in the company of armed and experienced rangers. There is no pre-determined route so hikers can decide where and when to set up camp. Camping is often in a sandy riverbed where you’re bound to have some visitors of the wild kind. We stayed in a riverbed on the Mphongolo Trail where we’d earlier seen a leopard pass by. On the Lonely Bull, we sat around a fireplace listening to a hippo nearby as it grunted and splashed about… It was a thrilling experience.


Picture by Russell MacLaughlin

5. Unfenced camping: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

With just a small tent we set out on the Nossob 4×4 Eco Trail, a four-day off-road adventure in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The trail runs through the red undulating dunes between the popular Twee Rivieren and Nossob Camps.

After we discovered that the thin covering of our tent would be our only protection, we made sure to stay inside once darkness set in! The Nossob 4×4 Eco Trail stops over at three campsites – Witgat, Rosyntjiebos and Swartbas – and is led by an armed and knowledgeable guide. While we didn’t run into any wild creatures during our nightly stays, we fell asleep to lions roaring and woke up each day to an assortment of animal tracks surrounding our tents…

Sunsets won't be beat in the Kgalagadi. Photo by Kate Collins.

Sunsets won’t be beat in the Kgalagadi. Picture by Kate Collins

6. Sleep on top of the world: Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

A visit to the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Klein Karoo offers visitors the chance to camp on top of a mountain! The Oukraal Campsite sleeps eight people and can be used by both hikers and 4×4 drivers (but can be booked by only one group at a time). The camp is wild and rustic, but with a sleeping bag, food provisions and firewood, you won’t need anything else. The site is undergoing changes to include four new stone shepherd’s huts that will offer further privacy and space. A communal area is available for fireside chats and cooking.

Photo by Kate Collins.

Picture by Kate Collins