9 Top spots for camping in South Africa

There are countless options for camping in South Africa’s national parks – here are some of our top spots

READ MORE: 6 Romantic getaways in South Africa you didn’t know about

Eastern Cape

Garden Route National Park
Knysna camping decks

This elevated camp is tucked away in the forest canopy and provides a nature experience as well as basic amenities, including a plug point. Pitch a three-man tent, have a braai and wake up to forest birds chirping away.

Camdeboo National Park
Nqweba Camp Sites

This setting on the floodplains of the Nqweba Dam is ideal for a relaxing time away from home. Grab the sundowners and head to the viewing deck at sunset to watch the changing colours over the water.
Note: No access to the dam from the camping area.

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Free State

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Camp in the shade of the giant red cliffs dominating the scenery, right on the banks of the Caledon River. The setting under the large trees is the perfect spot to relax and unwind.
Note: The main road can get busy during the day, but it quietens down after sunset.

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Mapungubwe National Park
Mazhou Camping Site

Situated 40km from the main gate in the Western side of the park, this beautiful camping area allows you to pitch a tent under giant trees in the riparian forest near the Limpopo River.
Note: The camp is not fenced and there are leopards, lions and elephants in the park.

READ MORE: Camdeboo National Park is a birder’s paradise

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Marakele National Park
Bontle Camp Sites

This is the camp where wildebeest, impala and other game “mow the lawn”. It’s not inside the Big Five area, so no need to worry about lions sneaking up on you.

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Northern Cape

/Ai/Ais – Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
De Hoop Campsite

This is the most popular camping site in the park, and the closest to Sendelingsdrift. Situated right on the banks of the Orange River, you are guaranteed to wind down at the sound of the thundering rapids. At night, fireflies and millions of stars decorate the sky.
Note: 4×4 required to drive in the park.

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Namaqua National Park
Groen River Camp Sites

The park has a number of campsites to choose from scattered throughout the coastal section. Situated on a rocky shore, just south of the Groen River mouth overlooking white sandy beaches, this site is sure to satisfy your coastal cravings.
Note: It is rustic – expect environmental toilets, and bring your own water for drinking.

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Tankwa Karoo National Park
Pyper se boom

Keen to get closer to nature while roughing it? The Tankwa Karoo National Park has a number of sites to choose from, but come prepared with all you need.
Note: No ablutions or running water. A 2×4 might be required, depending on road conditions at the time.

camping in south africa

Western Cape

Bontebok National Park
Lang Elsies Kraal
Situated on the banks of the Breede River, this is a great option for time away with family and friends. Bring the fishing rods, canoe and hiking boots to keep busy.
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Visit sanparks.org for tarrifs and prices