Six of the best: breathtaking picnicking and camping sites in the Western Cape this summer

by CapeNature

CapeNature has a summer lifestyle holiday choice for everyone, from families to young travellers, adventurers to relaxation-seekers with activities galore on offer at your choice of nature reserves across the Western Cape. But if you just want to get away from it all and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature in tranquil surroundings this summer, you’ll want to bookmark this article which reveals our six favourite picnicking and camping sites in the Western Cape.

1) Tweede Tol

Tweede Tol has become a bit of an institution, so be sure to get there early enough as the gates will be closed once the picnic spots and camping sites have all been snapped up. If you’re lucky enough to get in, you can look forward to a day of relaxed swimming and fun in the company of friends and family.

Tweede Tol is part of the Limietberg Nature Reserve – a vast 102 000ha of mountains, wildlife and fynbos. The site is located at the original tollgate of the beautiful Bainskloof Pass, built in 1853. There are 20 standard campsites, each with its own braai area. Hot and cold water ablutions are available, as well as a jungle gym for children. Firewood is available for sale.

Tweede Tol campsite, Limietberg, CapeNature
A maximum of six people and two cars are allowed per campsite, while extra parking is available at the picnic parking area. Overnight camping rates exclude conservation fees and campers have exclusive use of the Wolwekloof River swimming holes. Day visitors pay the conservation fee only and can enjoy the picnic area and the Witte River swimming holes, although they may not access Limietberg’s hiking trails, the campsite or the Wolwekloof swimming holes. Toilets are available – please take care to keep them clean and tidy. Gate times are 8am to 6pm. More details and directions to Tweede Tol can be found here.

2) Algeria, Cederberg

When the hot sunny skies roll in, the shady and grassy campsite at Algeria provides the perfect remedy for summer. The Algeria campsite on the banks of the Rondegat River has 48 campsites suitable for tents, all with power points.

Just beneath the mountainous environment which is home to the cedar tree, Algeria is a favourite among campers in the Western Cape who are looking to relax for the summer, explore some hiking trails or take on some of the climbing routes.

Be sure to bring your costume in summer as the crystal clear pools are hard to ignore.

Algeria Campsite - Cederberg - Western Cape - by Scott Ramsay

More details and directions to Algeria, Cederberg can be found here.

3) Gamkaberg

Gamkaberg Nature Reserve is a small, tranquil reserve nestled in the Klein Karoo, perfect for frazzled city dwellers wanting to get away from it all. There are three campsites:

Oukraal: this has recently been upgraded, with four new herders huts, and an waterless toilet on site. Each hut sleeps two hikers in two single beds with mattresses, with a shelf around the interior for bags and other belongings. Ou Kraal is an opportunity for hikers, or those with a 4×4, to experience a night in the heart of the Gamkaberg.

Gamkaberg Nature Reserve - high res - copyright Scott Ramsay, CapeNature

Stable Rooms: Located adjacent to the campsite, the Stables offers basic bunk bed accommodation for up to eight people, sleeping in two small separate units, with a heated shower and outside braai facilities.

Gamkaberg campsite: The small campsite at Gamkaberg offers two plots which can accommodate up to four campers each. There is no electricity, but there are heated showers available, and the outside braai is ideal for spending the evening chatting while the stars wink overhead.

More details and directions to Gamkaberg can be found here.

4) Grootvadersbosch

The Grootvadersbosch river crossing

Nestled in-between a forest teeming with ancient yellowwood, stinkwood and ironwood trees, Grootvadersbosch is an oasis of green with plenty to offer, including hiking trails, mountain biking and birdwatching.

Grootvadersbosch has 10 campsites. Each looks onto indigenous forest, providing many opportunities for bird watching. Communal ablution facilities are offered, as well as a thatched communal braai area with fridge, and a children’s play area/jungle gym (no children to be left unsupervised). Campsites have braai facilities, but visitors should bring their own braai grids. More details and directions to Grootvadersbosch can be found here.

For campers looking for more privacy, there are two fenced-off private campsites with exquisite views of the Langeberg mountains, each suitable for a maximum of 6 people and two vehicles. Each campsite has a shower, flush toilet, lighting, scullery and braai place.

5) Anysberg

Anysberg Campsite, CapeNature, by Hans van der Veen

Anysberg Nature Reserve is located off the beaten track near Ladismith, and is renowned for its wide variety of outdoor activities and adventures. Whether its hiking, horse riding, or cooling off and floating weightlessly in the crystal clear reservoir, you’ll be spoilt for choice at Anysberg.

Five campsites are available and there is a communal kitchen area available with gas stove, fridge and freezer. Ablution facilities and showers are close by.  There are braai facilities and the site is wheelchair friendly. More details and directions to Anysberg can be found here.

6) Kliphuis, Cederberg

Kliphuis - Cederberg

Kliphuis, situated on the flower route to the Biedouw valley and Wupperthal, offers a tranquil setting against the backdrop of the famous Rocklands bouldering site which is frequented by local and overseas climbing enthusiasts.

The shady campsite lies in the northern section of the Cederberg reserve, in the Pakhuis Pass. The 14 sites lie on the Kliphuis River – an invitingly cool swimming spot in summer. More details and directions to Kliphuis are available here.

With all of these wonderful camping options, there’s no excuse to not get away from it all this summer break. Remember to book early to avoid disappointment. You can call our reservations team on 021 483 0190 or email reservation.alert@capenature.co.za.

*Please note, certain activities require a permit, over and above the accommodation and conservation fees.

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