Loves and life on the Garden Route in South Africa

Through the eyes of volunteer coordinator and crazy cat lady, Sharon

Wes Kus spring break  October 15, 2016

My partner and I recently had the most awesome spring break to South Africa’s west coast via gorgeous Barrydale situated on the edge of the Klein Karoo on the scenic R62

The first day was also the birthday of one of our friend’s who we went on our road trip with so we celebrated it with lunch at the iconic Diesel & Cremé in Barrydale with the best milkshakes in South Africa. And my god were they good! My Red Lady (red velvet cake) shake was to die for! 

The interior of Diesel & Cremé takes you back in time

Honeycomb, red velvet, strawberry and Turkish delight double thick shakes


After a drink at the Dung Beetle Bar and a nightcap on the Karoo Art hotel’s veranda, it was back to the beautiful Inkaroo cottage-highly recommended- where we stayed overnight which overlooks the town of Barrydale and from the wisteria covered veranda.

The wisteria at Inkaroo cottage


We had an early morning start to a magnificent sunrise over the town’s church steeple and then breakfast at the well recommended Clarke of the Karoo. 

Breakfast under the grape vines of Clarke of the Karoo


Last stop as we headed out the town was a quick wine tasting at Star Hill wines at the Akker farmstall. Their delicious peach & pear chutney is also worth putting in your shopping basket.

Wheat fields in the Swartland


Getting to the west coast is fairly simple. You just follow the R62 then connect with the N1 via Robertson and Paarl where you get onto the R45 through Malmesbury, the heart of the Swartland, and up through Vredenburg and onto beautiful Paternoster with its little white houses with coloured shutters famous for its crayfish (lobster) industry. 

Paternoster from the beach

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Calitzdorp “Walk the History” taken from the Calitzdorp.org.za website (Calitzdorp heart of the Klein Karoo) April 24, 2015

I had to share this great webpage on the historical walking tour one can do in Calitzdorp from the Calitzdorp heart of the Klein Karoo website. Hopefully myself, partner and friends will be doing one of these historical walks tomorrow. Here is the link to the webpage: http://www.calitzdorp.org.za/index.php?p=23&listfunc=list&listcatid=51

CALITZDORP HISTORY

This fertile valley was originally a lake.  The soil is mainly alluvial and agricultural crops are grown 1 km on either side of the rivers (Nel’s and Gamka – lion in Khoi).

Early writings prove that the Khoi called Kannaland “the valley with no grass”.  Evidence of early San and Khoi peoples are evident in numerous rock paintings found in the surrounding mountains.  In 1821, land was granted to JJ and MC Calitz who named it Buffelsvlei.  This name was derived from the local vegetation and animals found here.

In 1853, the Calitz’s donated land for a church and school to be built, as Oudtshoorn proved to be too far to travel for their monthly “Nagmaal”.

In 1910, the population was 4000 and a larger church and school were needed.  Both buildings were completed in 1912.  The church has a neo-Byzantine style with a Marseilles roof.  It is a good example of the sandstone architecture of the ostrich-era in the Klein Karoo.  It was declared a national monument in 1991.

Also in 1912, building commenced on the old Standard Bank building, presently housing the museum, and the Nel’s river dam.  This dam wall was the first of many to be built in South Africa, using cement.

Subsequent drought, the great flu epidemic, and the collapse of the ostrich feather industry, played havoc amongst the community.

New hope however, came to Calitzdorp in the form of a railway line (in 1924) and electrification (in 1937), as well as the construction of the first cement road between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn (also a first for South Africa).  The new R62 was built in 1978.  Today, this Klein Karoo thriving community is known as the “Port Wine Capital of South Africa”, the “Fruit Basket of Kannaland”, and the “Heart of the Klein Karoo”.

CALITZDORP ON FOOT

HISTORICAL ROUTE NO 1

CENTRAL VILLAGE AREA

The general architecture of the central village area of Calitzdorp is English-derived and its beauty is that of severe simplicity in the so-called Karoo style.  Many of the older homes were built as “church houses” (tuishuise) for the temporary accommodation of farmers travelling to town for church services.  These tiny structures – some of them almost dolls’ houses – are mostly to be found in the vicinity of the DR Church, a national monument that has been the main feature of the town for 98 years.

1. DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH (DECLARED A NATIONAL MONUMENT IN 1991)

(Open Monday to Friday on the vestry side, i.e. the southern side – Key also obtainable from the Museum).

In 1855 work was commenced on a church, although the congregation only became an independent congregation in 1873.  Less than a decade later, in 1880, the inauguration of the newly enlarged church took place, but by 1909 this too had become too small and it was decided that a new building be erected.  Twenty-six plans were submitted and in 1910 the old building was demolished, and work on the present church began in all earnest.  Stone was brought by ox wagon from Swartkop (Vlei Rivier) and dressed on the building site.  The pulpit, made of yellow- and stinkwood, is from the previous church.  According to tradition it was made in the workshop of AP Blignault’s Wagonry.  The organ was erected by GW Price and Son of Cape Town.  The organ was a gift from the 3 Potgieter brothers of Rietfontein and Buffelskloof which they imported from Hamburg in Germany.  Each brother gave 800 pound i.e. a total cost of 2 400 pound.  It has 1 495 pipes (7 sets of pipes).  A new electric console was installed in the South gallery in 1964.  The pews, shaped like benches, are of solid oak and can seat 2 000 (1 400 + 600) people.  Please note the beautiful steel ceiling.  Acetylene gas lamps were in use up to 1937.  The enormous vestry table (5,2m) had to be made on site.  The clockwork and bells, the latter cast in Germany cost 425 pounds and were donated by Mr and Mrs JJ Grundlingh.  The cast-iron enclosure dates from 1899.

SOME INTERESTING FACTS

Foundation stone: Laid on the 17th of December 1910.

Inauguration: April 1912.

Style: Neo-Byzantine with a Marseilles roof.  It is a good example of the sandstone architecture of the ostrich-era in the Klein Karoo.

Architect: WH Louw, Paarl.

Building Contractor: JP Strydom.

Supervisory Architect: JG Vixseboxse.

Total Building Cost: 12 790.00 pounds.

DR Church

2. 29 ANDRIES PRETORIUS STREET – De Eerste Pastorie

In December 1858 JJ Grundling, a member of the church committee responsible for selling church erven for the establishment of a village, bought this stand and had the house built shortly afterwards.  Sixteen years later, in 1874 it was let out temporarily, serving as parsonage for the first DRC preacher, Richard Barry.  The second owner, JCD Potgieter, who bought it in 1876, was the son of the first true ostrich farmer, Hermanus L Potgieter of Rietfontein.  The house has remained in the family ever since.  Note the beautifully balanced proportions and positioning of the different elements in the facade.  (Casement windows have almost disappeared in Calitzdorp).  The shutters, front door and gutters are not original and the loft staircase was removed years ago while the original thatched roof is hidden under a corrugated iron replacement.  The matching wing and garages at the back were added during the 1990’s.

3. 27 ANDRIES PRETORIUS STREET – Tristan da Cunha

The first owner of this endearing cottage was JJ Stimie who acquired the stand in 1859 and built the house.  At the time he served on the same committee as his next door neighbour, JJ Grundling (2).  It is however the wife of the third owner, the cobbler John Baldwin, who is generally associated with the house.  Happy Sarah Baldwin was a well known dressmaker (the mirror used in her trade is to be seen in the museum), and a very active member of the English community playing an important part towards the erection of the St Mark’s Chapel in Queen street.  In 1857 she, as a six year old, had arrived with her family (Miller) in SA from Tristan da Cunha, and when the Baldwins bought the property in 1878 it was named after the island.  Happy Sarah’s son-in-law, George, was the son of Gustav Nefdt, the first person ever to have succeeded in climbing Towerkop mountainpeak near Ladismith.  He achieved this amazing feat in 1885 while still a schoolboy, oblivious of being one of the initiators of mountaineering as a sport in SA!  The house is one of the very few here still with a thatched roof and casement windows.  The exterior is for the most part original except the front door, shutters and lean-to additions at the back.

4. CHURCH STREET – Directly behind Tristan da Cunha

This plot is among those proclaimed in 1859 and the original house might well date from approximately the same period in which case it would have had a thatched roof with parapet gables.  It was planned according to the typical early Cape-style cottages, i.e. consisting of three connecting rooms in a row, similar to the original Tristan da Cunha interior.  A few years back the interior of this one was, however, also completely altered.  The exterior is totally unadorned and basic with slightly low eaves.  The tiny sash windows, rain-water collector at the top of the down pipe and little loft door showing its cross-shaped construction, are very pleasing.  (The gutters are new).  According to tradition it was once the home of an herbalist (“bossiedokter”).

5. 1 CHURCH STREET

Karel Petrus Fourie, a farmer from the Gamka Valley, had the house built as a “church house”, most probably in the late 1890’s or early 20th C, though the proclamation of the plot dates back to 1875.  The facades of these delightful cottages are in actual fact identical to the symbol for “house” around the world, which is the same as “house” seen through the eyes of a child:  a door in the centre with a window on each side.  The high roof, common in this area, is not only aesthetically pleasing, but has the practical function of keeping the house cool during the extremely hot summers.  The same is true of the abundant use of Cape Dutch shutters.  Note the scalloped facia board.  The front door, the side windows and shutters are not original.  It is unfortunately in a poor state of repair.

6. 3 CHURCH STREET – Die Hooisolder

Originally church property and built as a barn with huge doors facing east onto the town’s first outspan.  It was changed into a dwelling for JW Pretorius after he had bought it in 1898.  It had had a single-story lean-to on the western side which functioned as stable but this was later built up to the height of the rest of the structure and the top floor used for fodder – the only means of entry being through a window by making use of a rope ladder.  Relatives of the late Cape Town artist, Nico Prins, were tenants of Pretorius who farmed in Groenfontein and used to collect the rent every three months by bicycle.  Much later during the ownership of LJP Boshoff who had acquired it in 1948, one of Calitzdorp’s well-known tailors, Koos Wagenaar, occupied it until his death in the 1960’s.  After this it was the joint inheritance of several people before the present owner obtained it.  Although a number of similar buildings are to be found on farms in the area, this is the only one in the centre of town, adding hugely to its pastoral atmosphere.  Ate of original construction:  ca.1860/70.

7. 5 POTGIETER STREET

Since this is one of the last single storey flat-roofed houses still remaining in town (recently restored and electricity installed) it has become a little treasure.  It is in a style familiar throughout the country originating during the latter half of the 18thC where it became associated with Malay or slave dwellings.  The door, tiny casement windows and solid shutters are original, creating a facade with simple but beautiful proportions and harmony.  In this region these houses are nicknamed “platjies” (flat as opposed to raised).  The plot was proclaimed in 1875 and the little cottage might well date from more or less that time.

8. 3 POTGIETER STREET – Andante

In 1875 when this plot was proclaimed, it, together with the adjacent one on the western side, were acquired by FG Odendaal and W Verschuur trading from these premises as FG Odendaal & Co.  Years later in 1907 a certain NL Fouche (farmer) who had previously bought them from the wagon-builder GFJ Koertzen (a member of the town-council), sold this specific one to HW Olivier who might have constructed the house, although legend has it that it was built by the next owner, Ernst Potgieter.  The price of 155 pounds (R310) which Potgieter had paid the insolvent estate of Olivier in 1918 would have been outrageous for an empty plot since the value of these at the time averaged about R24 (except if Potgieter replaced an existing building with Andante).  Potgieter was one of three brothers who had donated the organ for the present church, and was also the owner of the farm Rietfontein as well as the builder of its ostrich palace.  Nevertheless, Andante has modest Edwardian characteristics like the double front door, etc, while the beautiful imitation grain-painting of its interior was a typical Victorian practice.  An unexpected feature is the tripartite walls of one of the rooms.  The imitation stone decoration of the exterior plaster-finish originally became fashionable during the 1890’s.  It is unfortunate that its two roof-ventilators were removed since they were an integral part of the overall design.

9. 2 POTGIETER STREET

Here we have yet another variation of the Karoo style with a still smaller and lower cottage, a fact which tends to create the illusion that the two front windows are oversized.  It seems to be in its original condition except for the gutters.  Note the beauty of the plain parapet gables in contrast to the elaborately gabled garage next door.  This specific variation of this style could well be the most common in Calitzdorp, for there are four identical houses nearby, all of them built as “church houses” but unfortunately altered beyond recognition.  The addresses of these are:  4 Potgieter street – directly next door – 1 and 6 Lourens street and the little garage just opposite 6 Lourens street and the little garage just opposite 6 Lourens Street.  The plot of 2 Potgieter street was proclaimed in 1882.

10. 33 ANDRIES PRETORIUS STREET – Oude Huis

This building probably dates from the 1880’s and might be described as a Karoo-variation of the Georgian Style.  At a certain stage a girls’ hostel was housed here, during which time two extensions were added at the back.  Fortunately these were demolished.  Please note the interesting gable with the double door and small twin windows at the back as well as the unusual shutters.  The building had, according to old photographs, a beautiful parapet which partly hid the roof.  The stoep and verandah are later additions while the front door and gutters are modern.

11. 2 LOURENS STREET

This is a most charming little building.  Its history can almost be read by looking at the “steps” formed by the parapet as it gradually becomes lower towards the back – the front part with the moulded parapet being the oldest, followed by two later additions.  The square window in the side wall is quite rare.  According to tradition the original part had a cloth ceiling.  It was in the 1880’s the office of the first Calitzdorp agent of law, Ter Brugge.  The back room once housed a blacksmith.  Its outside door has since been closed up.  In later years this tiny building once became a “church house” and even a permanent dwelling.  It is a pity that its condition and environment are in such a shocking state.

12. 25 VOORTREKKER STREET

One of the town’s builders from the past, Koos Roux, was responsible for several attractive Victorian-style houses, including this one which was built in the late 1890’s as a “church house” for the farmer Flip Nel of Groenfontein.  When the latter died of the Spanish flu in 1918 it became the property of the tailor, Van Eik.  He lived here for many years while his workshop used to be a small “platjie” in Queen street.  Note the fretted balustrades typical of the Regency-style, and other decorative features as well as the charming extension with its raised parapet, at the back.

13. 21 VOORTREKKER STREET –

This well-preserved cottage built by Koos Roux served as a “church house” for Danie Nel of Groenfontein.  Pay special attention to the Regency-style fretwork i.e. the beautiful fan shaped decorations.  At the back there is a small stone building which was part of the original stable and is, apart from the church, the only remaining stone building in the village.  According to tradition the major part of this street block was in the past a kind of quarry that provided the clay for building, and it was surrounded by a boundary wall.  Voortrekker Road, previously known as Bloekomlaan (Blue-gum Avenue), became Calitzdorp’s third main road in the 1970’s.  At this time many cottages similar to this one were demolished and most of the trees destroyed in order to widen the road.  The plot was proclaimed in 1891.

14. 37 ANDRIES PRETORIUS STREET

This particular plot was only officially proclaimed in 1903.  In 1897 Andries Pretorius street (formerly known as Barry street) was extended diagonally in a northerly direction and passed right through the spot of this future plot.  A certain Jan Potgieter of Buffelskloof obtained the property in the early 1900’s and had the existing building altered into a “church house”.  Much later it became the dwelling of successive butchers, one of whom had a nightmarish experience one night in 1990 when the roof collapsed.  The disaster revealed a clay roof (brakdak) underneath the corrugated iron sheeting, so far the only one of its kind known in town.  (Clay roofs were being replaced with corrugated iron as early as 1875).  The fact that all the windows, shutters and front door were replaced by modern ones in the late 1980’s, as well as the pergola added, complicates accurate dating, but it remains worthwhile for its interesting parapet with raised centre-piece.  There used to be a garden and orchard before the butchery was erected next door.

15. LOOKOUT POINT – Northern end of Andries Pretorius street

From here there is a terrific view of the Swartberg mountains.  On certain days they become transparent like expensive cut glass or seem as delicate as an exotic veil.  To the right there is the solid form of Besemkop (Broom Hill), so called for the thin reeds which grew there.  After a midday thunder storm, when the sun shines through the scattered clouds, the whole landscape turns to gold.  The valley in the foreground is mainly occupied by apricot orchards and vineyards, and is bordered by houses and other buildings flittering like a precious necklace.
If by any chance you have additional information about buildings in town, please contact Malan Roux at 4 Church street or c/o.  Tel (044) 213 3790.

Revised 2010

Malan Roux

CALITZDORP ON FOOT

HISTORICAL ROUTE  NO 2

QUEEN STREET

Queen street was the most important road into the village and when it became the main street it naturally must have been the centre of activity. As the village slowly expanded and shops moved elsewhere, the existing buildings, some of which occupied the same sites as others before them, were changed into Victorian dwellings. A great number of these were the property of the Brinks and their close relatives, an influential family of the time. The beautiful poplar trees which used to line the street were destroyed during a violent storm in 1930. The street joined up with the “Road to Little Jerusalem” (Oudtshoorn) as the old road was then called because of the great number of Jews who resided in that town. On the eastern side along the street can be seen the canal (“leivoor”), the work of the harness-maker Koos Roux (also builder of several houses elsewhere in the village). It was originally faced with stone, and coincided with the construction of the historical Nelsrivier dam between 1913 and 1918. At the instigation of Dr Jannie Nel (relation in marriage to the Brinks) the street was tarred in 1943 by one Broodryk. It is also interesting to note in passing that the first cemetery was located in the area of the present Queen’s Lodge. In the name of “restoration” (a totally misunderstood term), reckless alterations are unfortunately being carried out from time to time. As a result the street as a valuable culture historical heritage is losing it’s specific character of authenticity at an alarming tempo.

1. CORNER OF QUEEN & GEYSER STREET – Handelshuis

The use of the splayed corner, as can be seen here, is directly derived from the late Georgian style.  The building is one of the last to have been erected for a member of the Brink family, i.e. in 1908 for JSF (Frik or Grasveld) Brink.  It became the major shopping facility for the builders and constructors of the Nelsrivier dam.  Frik, later assisted by his son, Johan Ludolf, operated the shop till 1918.  In recent years it was modified into its present state with the back part becoming a permanent residence.  Fortunately it has retained most of its original exterior characteristics.  According to tradition there had been a water-mill on the same site.

2. 20 QUEEN STREET – KAROO LIFE

This used to be the dwelling of Calitzdorp’s best-known wagon-builder, Andries Blignault who was an esteemed resident and the grandfather-in-law of the well-known Afrikaans author, Audrey Blignault.  Though the plot had been proclaimed as early as 1857, the present house dates from the 1880’s when it was most likely built by Blignault.  Until a number of years back it was considered the best local example of the late Georgian style, but was regretfully spoiled by insensitive alterations when fake sash windows and shutters replaced the originals and the interior changed beyond recognition.  Prior to that its beautiful Regency style verandah was also removed.  According to tradition the pulpit of the second church (re-installed in the present one) was constructed in the workshop which used to be at the back of the main building.  Cobblers also practised their craft here.  As late as 1964 the municipal minutes referred to this property as “die skoenmakers-erf” (the cobbler’s plot).

3. 21 QUEEN STREET

This late Victorian house was designed and built for attorney LJ Bredell, son-in-law to the ostrich Baron, Gert Olivier of the “Towers”, Oudtshoorn.  Shortly after his marriage in 1907 the architect must have been operational in a wider area for there exists an identical house in Oudtshoorn.  Bredell was also paymaster fot the labourers constructing the Nelsrivier dam as well as local DR Church secretary.  One is immediately struck by the little decorative gable – a whimsical Baroque indulgence.  The wing to the left is a later addition.  On the whole the house is typical of the period.

4. 16 QUEEN STREET

Up to quite recently this shop was most definitely one of the most precious in the street.  It had an extreme simplicity and honesty as well as a general constraint, typical of the late Georgian style.  Despite careful restoration, something of this was somehow lost, possibly by the over eager use of colour.  But since it had been in a bad state of repair, one is glad that it was saved from total neglect.  The splayed corner (a late Georgian invention as mentioned earlier) indicates that there once must have been a road running down in the direction of the river.  The verandah supported by boiler tubing uprights, is of the type that became fashionable in 1860.  During the Calitzdorp District Races of 1880 and 1885 the shop was also used as tote office and meeting place of enthusiasts of horse-racing.  The last shopkeepers were members of the well-known Katz family (see 14 Queen street).  It dates from the second half of the 19th century;  the plot from 1881.

5. SHOP – “KONTREIWINKEL”

Burned down on the 5th of January 1999.

6. 14 QUEEN STREET

The esteemed teacher, Willem Verschuur, bought this property in 1878, possibly from WJ Hansen who had been the first teacher of the DR Church school, inaugurated in 1857.  It served as dwelling, shop and postal agency (Hansen being postal official for six months in 1860 and Verschuur from 1877 to 1885).  In 1883 it changed hands becoming the firm Fleming and Mudie who in their turn sold it in 1887 to one MJ Lourens.  Six years later the Verschuur descendants bought it back and it remained Verschuur property till 1943, the last of whom being WE Verschuur (headmaster of the school), who traded here for many years.  The new owner, LA Pretorius, however, sold it two days after purchase to M Katz who’s family was to become the best-known Jewish shopkeepers in Calitzdorp.  The main structure as well as the front door of the house are still original although its thatched roof and wolve-end gables were abolished (see photo in museum).  This modification might have coincided with the addition of the stoep and verandah in the 1880’s.

7. QUEEN STREET – St Mark’s Chapel

Before the erection of the chapel (1880) all services of the local Anglican Church were conducted in a room of a private house.  It was due to the zeal of Happy Sarah Baldwin that the chapel was eventually built.  The bell was cast in London and bears the date 1880.  During 1908 the church was enlarged by the addition of a vestry and fitted with a reed ceiling.  The beauty of this building lies in its stark simplicity.  There is a possibility that it could be the second smallest Anglican church in the world – the smallest being St Jude’s in Scotland.

8. 12 QUEEN STREET – Homestead

The Homestead is a rather interesting structure.  At the back, part of the original building, dating back to the first half of the 1800’s, can still be seen, including its double casement windows and in the loft a section of the thatched roof, now covered with corrugated iron sheeting.  This first little cottage was situated on the farm of CC Stassen.  In 1887 one JN Stassen sold it to JJS Geyser (1851-1896) who between 1887 and 1890 extended and enlarged the front part into a double-storey.  (In the 1880’s flat-roofed double-storeys had become quite popular mainly because of the availability of iron roof sheeting).  There is a vague awkwardness about it, yet fascinating, recalling aspects of peasant architecture.  After Geyser’s death it became the joint property of his descendants and Brink in-laws.  An interesting feature of the outbuilding is the unusual parapet.  During the late 1880’s Geyser’s father, Frederick, used it (according to tradition) for his butchery, and in the 1920’s one Kallie Oosthuizen also had his butchery here.  Still later it became the service station of one Sam Fivaz (1930’s), though at the time still in the hands of Geyser’s beneficiaries.

9. QUEEN STREET – Police Station & Magistrate’s Office

The main section of this plot dates from its proclamation in 1892 at which time it became the stand for the “church house” of the wagon-builder, JF Koertzen, who in the 1920’s served as council member.  Before it was demolished to make room for the present building it had become known as the spookhuis (haunted house), belonging to Ferreiras who also had a bakery on the premises.  The present building was erected in 1939 in the Neo-Cape Dutch style and was enlarged in 1986 by an addition on the left.  It had its hay day in 1991 when awarded the Kristo Pienaar prize for best-kept garden of any police station in the country.

10. 7 QUEEN STREET – Port Wine Guest House

The drawing depicts the house as altered in the 1880’s (wolve-end gables abolished) and 1930 (Regency balustrade and posts replaced by brick) before it was renovated in 1997.  It’s alignment to the street indicates that the original structure must have existed before the street was built.

11. 4 QUEEN STREET

Originally built for JSF Brink, it later, in the early 1900’s, was utilized as an attorney’s office by CC Brink.  At a stage it also served as post-office as well the home of the postmaster, although it remained Brink property.  The style was inspired by the 16th C Italian architect, Palladio, and may be described as Neo-Classical.  Characteristic use is made of rooms on either side of a shaded stoep.  The windows of these rooms came from the now demolished ostrich palace, “The Towers”, in Oudtshoorn.  After 1830 massive mouldings became increasingly popular.  An example is the cornice of this building.  The decorative outer corners (or quoins) are also evidence of a growing exaggeration and rustication.  The fretted balustrade on the stoep is from the house next door (2 Queen street) taking the place of the previous lattice work.  The house has been in the Brink family since it was built.

12. 3 QUEEN STREET

This beautiful little late Victorian house was built in 1915 for Hansie Vinson, daughter of JSF Brink.  The use of the so-called “bull nose” verandah, like this one, became general practice from 1900.  Features which distinguish this house as a genuine architectural statement of it’s time, are e.g. the compactness of design, pleasing proportions of the different elements, and the use of appropriate decorations.  Despite it’s relative “modernity” as compared to many other buildings in the area, it can be considered a real treasure.

13. 2 QUEEN STREET

Contractor Van der Westhuizen built the original Victorian house for Tom, son of JSF Brink, in 1911.  When it was modified in 1937 to it’s present style, the characteristic asymmetrical positioned gables of the original were retained.  The heavily moulded doors and spacious stoep with it’s abundance of pillars create a feeling of status and luxury, typical features of Edwardian buildings.  It still belongs to the Brink family.

14. 1 QUEEN STREET

Originally built as a shop for JSP Brink in the 1880’s by aforementioned Van der Westhuizen though it was also utilized as a police station, “municipal” office in 1917 and as an hospital during the flu epidemic of 1918.  It was only later that it was changed into a residence.  The most striking features of the facade are the parapet and cornice as well as the beautiful Georgian windows on the ground floor.  (The stepped parapet is of the type used on the Cape town houses of the 1830’s).  At one stage the building was fitted with a Regency veranda similar to that of the Art Gallery near the opposite end of the street (see no 4).
If by any chance you have additional information about buildings in town, please contact Malan Roux at 4 Church street or c/o.  Tel (044) 213 3790.

Revised 2010

Malan Roux

 

Exploring the Karoo- Calitzdorp (updated) April 1, 2015

Filed under: Explore,Garden Route,Karoo,roadtrip — shadreyer @ 12:37 pm
Tags: , ,

Once again I am getting a longing to explore more of the wonderful Karoo- I must have been Khoi in a previous life- so this month I have decided to do a weekender to this small town.

Calitzdorp is quite small with a population of less than 9000 residents of which at least 83% are mixed race. It is known as the fruit basket of Kannaland (Khoi translation is “the valley with no grass”) and is the port capital of South Africa. If it was later in the year, around November, I would have a choice of delectable fruits to have for breakfast but I shall just have to try the bottled and fermented variety for lunch, that this town is famous for, instead. The ostrich industry also makes up a huge part of its economy.

Another reason I want to take a visit to this small town is to stroll down the streets and try and see if I can get a historical walking tour with one of the locals. I want to visit the Tristan da Cunha house, 27 Andries Pretorius street, in particular.

But for now I will wait as I have another 3 weekends until my little road trip. The link for this little town’s tourism webpage can be found here: http://www.calitzdorp.org.za/index.php?p=3

Update 22nd of April 2015

So this weekend we are off to Calitzdorp and my two volunteers are coming with. We have booked two beautiful straw bale cottages on the side of a vineyard called “Strooi Kooi”. Here is the webpage for our weekend accommodation:  http://www.strooikooi.co.za/

 

Cape Town to Knysna: Best En Route Stop November 14, 2014

Hit the open road and head up the Western Cape’s famous Garden Route to the laid-back coastal town of Knysna. Beautiful beaches, picturesque lagoons and lakes, rolling hills and majestic mountains make up the glorious scenery of the Cape’s famous scenic coastal route, with a plethora of quaint towns along the way.

Travel South Africa

Make the charming farming town of Grabouw your first stop as you pass through the spectacular scenery of the Elgin Valley. Offering uncluttered quietude, exquisite surroundings, cosy eateries, and expertly crafted wines, Grabouw is home to the famous ‘Appletiser’ apple orchards.

Move on to the picturesque town of Swellendam, which is not only the largest youngberry growing area in the world, but is also bursting with heritage, culture, architecture. Lying at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, Swellendam is the third oldest settlement in South Africa.The ancient indigenous forests of the Tsitsikamma line the coast from Wilderness to Knysna where you can enjoy adventure trails and hiking, bird-watching, canoeing on the rivers, sliding through the tree canopy or simply taking an easy walk through the forest to gasp at the size of a yellowwood tree over six hundred years old. Brave the heights of the Bloukrans Bridge and bungee-jump the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee at 216 metres.Elgin ValleyFollow the rugged coastline to the seaside town of Mossel Bay, which is exactly halfway between Cape Town and Knysna and an ideal place to stop and rest. Long, white sandy beaches and warm Indian Ocean waters make for a welcome break from driving. Alternatively, if you have a few days, take a boat trip to Seal Island, go horse riding along the beach or visit nearby Botlierskop, a private game reserve that gives visitors a taste of South Africa’s legendary game viewing experience. Mossel Bay is also where to visit to try one of the country’s biggest thrills: cage diving with great white sharks.

From Mossel Bay, the beauty of The Wilderness greets you next with a ribbon of dazzling white sand and blue surf-speckled ocean stretching away far into the distance. A true nature-lover’s paradise, broad beaches, well-marked hiking trails, and unique ecosystems of bird-filled forests, rivers, and lagoons make Wilderness the perfect place to lay your head for a few days and unwind.Fiona Ayerst WordPressThe last stop before reaching Knysna is the sleepy agricultural town of George. Nestled against the majestic Outeniqua Mountains, George is best known for its world-class golf courses, so treat yourself to a game on your way through.

Final stop: Knysna! South Africa’s favourite holiday town lazes on the shore of a shallow lagoon with breath-taking mountain and sea views and an array of things to do. Head to the Waterfront, which buzzes with restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, and bars; take the ferry to the Featherbed Nature Reserve and stroll along its cliff-top paths, or walk one of the trails in the surrounding Knysna Forest.

http://www.turbinehotel.co.za/blog/cape-town-to-knysna-best-en-route-stops/

 

For those who love the South African great outdoors… October 28, 2014

25 Of The Best South African Campsites To Pitch Your Tent This Summer

But the outdoors nature that is so intrinsic to average South African families kept us exploring more. Rallying around the “African TV” on a frosty July evening in the Berg, or flipping the Coleman’s to a kitchen table on a warm December at the coast, camping is a core part of our culture. It’s not like we even have to travel far from our comfort zones; the best campsites in South Africa can be found within mere hours of major cities; and swapping the suburbs for sleeping bags will, as always, be a way of life this summer.

Mahai River Campsite, Royal Natal National Park

Family friendly and clean, Mahai Campsite in the Royal Natal National Park section of the Drakensberg offers one of the best camping experiences in South Africa.

This big campground is set in one of the Drakensberg’s most beautiful valleys. The Mahai Campsite offers clean ablution and washing up facilities, as well as electric and non-electric campsites. From the Mahai Valley where the campsite is situated you can choose from a range of novice to advanced hikes, as well as fly fishing close to camp. The only thing you’ll ever need to worry about is remembering to zip your tent on the way out so wayward Chacma baboons can’t get in while you’re out hiking.

Mahai Campsite is best suited to families and couples.

Mahai Camp Bookings: Call 033 845 1000 / 1071/75 / 1001 or emailcamping@kznwildlife.com

Find it: Mahai Campsite on Google Maps

Tietiesbaai Beach Camp, West Coast

Tietiesbaai in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve up the West Coast offers the best of South African camping next to the sea.

The amusingly named bay on the west coast is a favourite when it comes to rough and ready camping next to the sea. With its distinct rugged West Coast edge, the campsite at Tietiesbaai provides a diverse range of campgrounds to suit the tastes of every outdoorsman, even if cold showers and no electricity are par for the course. Setup near the ablutions for campsite convenience or choose a spot away from the crowd and nestle among the rocks for private holiday bliss. There are 60 caravanning and tenting sites available (grass and ground); none of them have power points. The possibility of strong South-Easters calls for sturdy tents, and if it gets all too much, the delightful village of Paternoster is just 6km down the road.

Tietiesbaai Campsite is best suited to families.

Tietiesbaai Camping Bookings: Titietiesbaai only accept fax or snail mail bookings. So if you’re up to the task of excavating a fax machine or figuring out how to post a letter you can get them on 022 752 2015 (fax) or mail The Municipal Manager, Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, Private Bag X 12, Vredenburg, 7380.

Find it: Tieitiesbaai on Google Maps

Fiddlers Creek Campsite, Orange River

Fiddlers Creek Campsite

The banks of the Orange River are as enviable a location as any to setup camp this summer, and Bushwhacked Adventures’ Fiddler Creek Campsite will surely not disappoint you and your friends. Nestled on the banks of the Orange River, Fiddlers Creek Campsite is a certain wilderness escape with some mod cons to enhance the outdoors experience. Each site is equipped with an undercover kitchen, washing up basins with running water, countertops, lights and power (220V) and a built in braai area. There’s a bar, pool table and volley ball court, and the Orange River Rafting excursions available at Bushwhacked, which range from half day to 5 day trips, come highly recommended.

Fiddlers Creek Campsite is best suited to friends.

Fiddlers Creek Bookings: Call 027 761 8953 or email info@bushwhacked.co.za

Find it: Fiddlers Creek Rest Camp on Google Maps

Bruintjieskraal Campsite, Baviaanskloof

Bruintjieskraal Campsite on the shores of the Grootrivier in the Baviaanskloof.

The perfect base from which to explore the spectacular Baviaanskloof Wilderness area, Bruintjieskraal Campsite boasts one of the most idyllic settings in which to roll out your tent. It’s located at Grootrivier Poort, the entrance to the area, and spreads out on the shores of the Grootrivier. There are 10 spacious campsites on the riverbanks and another four further afield, each with a flush toilet and separate shower and braai facilities. Hot water is available, but you need to bring fresh drinking water with you. The Bruintjieskraal Campsite is an excellent base for exploring your surroundings from on scenic walks, or swimming, fishing and game viewing.

Bruintjieskraal Campsite is best suited to families and couples.

Bruintjieskraal Campsite Bookings: Call 084 515 0993 or emailinfo@bruintjieskraal.co.za

Find it: Bruintjieskraal on Google Maps

Motswedi Luxury Campsite, Mokala National Park

Motswedi Luxury Campsite offers comfortable 'glamping' in the Mokala National Park.

Heaven for nature lovers and hikers, Mokala National Park offers “glamping” in a beautiful landscape in close proximity to wildlife. The luxurious Motswedi Campsite is home to just six camping spots, all of them are naturally fenced by camel thorn trees. Each campsite features its own ablution facilities complete with a solar powered geyser, kitchen area equipped with a two-plate gas burner, a gas fridge/freezer, outdoor braai and washing up area. There’s even a breakfast nook overlooking a waterhole where animals come to drink, which is just perfect for game viewing. Even with the comfort of the camp, there is no fuel, electricity point or shop here, so come prepared.  And if all else fails, the lodge has its own restaurant if you’re in desperate need of a bite to eat. A knee-high electric game fence keeps large animals at a safe distance.

Motswedi Luxury Campsite is best suited to higher budget campers.

Motswedi Luxury Campsite Bookings:  Call central reservations on 012 428 9111 or 082 233 9111 or email reservations@sanparks.org

Find it: Mokala National Park on Google Maps

Beaverlac Camping, Cederberg

Waterfalls and rock pools make for great summer camping at Beaverlac in the Cederberg.

This comfortable, pet-friendly campsite is a great choice for a fun weekend getaway from Cape Town. Cozy up in the foothills of the Olifants River Mountains just 2 hours from the Mother City – Beaverlac offers excellent hiking opportunities and a chance to breathe some fresh air in a picturesque natural setting. It’s a great place to enjoy mountain biking, hiking and exploring the wilds. There are two scenic mountain bike trails, one 14km long and another shorter, 10km trail for beginners. The famous 1-day Leopard hiking trail is well worth a try, with stops at spectacular rock pools and waterfalls en-route. There are also numerous caves to explore, offering great rock art sightings.

You don’t have to walk far to enjoy the area’s stunning rock pools – the closest is a five-minute walk from the camp and there’s another just 20 minutes from your tent. The campsite itself is rustic and peaceful with ablution facilities, some offering hot water, braai areas and a well-stocked shop.

Beaverlac Camping is best suited to friends.

Beaverlac Bookings: Call 022 931 2945 or email info@beaverlac.co.za

Find it: Beaverlac on Google Maps

Buccaneers, Cintsa

Camping at Buccaneers Backpackers at Cintsa offers lots of activities such as horse riding on the beach.

A favourite amongst nomadic backpackers and outdoorsmen, Buccaneers is located on the spectacular Wild Coast on the eastern shores of South Africa. The campsite is hemmed in behind the giant sand dunes of Cintsa Beach, bordered by giant guava trees overlooking the lagoon from the west. The campsite at Buccaneers is equipped with one of the most awesome communal kitchen areas I’ve ever seen! Buccaneers also offer chalets, a restaurant and lively bar, swimming pool, canoes and booze cruises. Of course, the beach, renowned for its breathtaking setting, is a big draw card and it’s a stone’s throw away from where you camp. Guests here enjoy a variety of daily activities, most of which are free. In addition, you can learn to surf, take a horse trail, go mountain biking or visit a traditional Xhosa village. Buccaneers, Cintsa is ideal for a fun-filled camping holiday with friends, especially over the New Year period.

Buccaneers is best suited to friends.

Buccaneers Bookings: Call 043 734 3012 or email buccaneers@cintsa.com

Find it: Buccaneers on Google Maps

Tsendze Rustic Campsites, Northern Kruger National Park

Tsendze Rustic Campsite is a popular camp ground in the Kruger National Park.

Image by Roger & Letitia from There and Back

Located just 7km from Mopani Rest Camp in the famous Kruger National Park, this rustic camp boasts 30 camp sites set out in two circles, each surrounding excellent kitchen and ablution facilities. The facilities are basic; hot water, electricity and lights are provided via solar power and gas. This Tsendze Camp, one of the newest in the Park, has quickly become very popular for its superb setting and excellent bird and game life, including elephant, buffalo, zebra and various antelope. Lions and leopard have also been spotted here.  Campsites offer privacy – another plus – and the feeling of being in the midst of the wilds is what makes Tzendze so special.

Tsendze Rustic Campsites is suitable for anyone looking for camping accommodation in the Kruger Park.

Tsendze Camp Kruger Park Bookings: Call 013 735 6535 / 6

Find it: Tsendze Campsites on Google Maps

Stoney Ridge Campsite, Colenso

Stoney Ridge Campsite, KwaZulu Natal.

If you’re heading for the scenic Natal Midlands, this is the ideal campsite. Stoney Ridge is located amongst 6000 acres of unspoiled natural beauty on a private game farm offering superb game viewing and bird life, as well as 4X4 trails. The campsite is located in shady environs on the banks of the Bloukrans River and offers excellent ablution facilities. It’s popular with four by four enthusiasts, both for off-road training and for the excellent trails in the area. Campers can enjoy the facilities of the restaurant if they wish.

Stoney Ridge Campsite is best suited to families.

Stoney Ridge Bookings: Call 036 354 7012 / 073 697 5108 or emailinfo@stoneyridge.co.za

Find it: Stoney Ridge on Google Maps

Albert Falls, Pietermaritzburg

Albert Falls near Pietermaritzburg, KZN.

This family-oriented campsite is located just 24km from Pietermaritzburg in the 3000-hectare Albert Falls Dam and Game Reserve. Excellent bass fishing, and watersports on the dam are all part of the magic in this idyllic setting. The campsite offers camping for at least 20 tents and caravans, well-maintained ablution facilities with hot and cold water, electric lights and power points.

Albert Falls Campsite is best suited to families and friends.

Albert Falls Bookings: Call 033 569 1202 or email albert.falls@msinsi.co.za

Find it: Albert Falls Dam on Google Maps

Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, Tsitsikamma National Park

Camping in the Tsitsikamma National Park affords you magnificent views like this one at Storms River Mouth.

If you’re planning to visit one of the most breathtaking regions in South Africa, the Tsitsikamma National Park on the spectacular Garden Route is an ideal choice. Storms River Mouth Rest Camp offers an unbeatable setting stretching 5km towards the seashore in the eastern section of the Park, where dolphins frolic in the waves and the Southern Right Whale makes it presence known. Guests here have access to 80km of dramatic rugged coastline and every facility for a pleasant camping experience. There’s a communal ablution block, Laundromat, kitchen facilities, restaurant and store. But that’s not the reason you’re here. The birdlife is unbeatable and Otter’s and animals native to the region are waiting to be discovered on the shore and in the forest.

Storms River Mouth Rest Camp is best suited to couples, families and friends.

Storms River Mouth Rest Camp Bookings: Call 042 281 1607 or emailgrace.valela@sanparks.org

Find it: Storms River Mouth Camp on Google Maps

Glen Reenen Rest Camp, Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Glen Reenen Rest Camp at the Golden Gate National Park.

The magnificent Golden Gate National Park is named after the exquisite shades of gold reflected by the sun on its famous sandstone cliffs. Nestled here is the popular Glen Reenen Rest Camp, offering the ideal base from which to explore the Park’s 11 600 hectares where a variety of wild animals roam free and exquisite birds have made their home. The campsite has a coveted spot in the Park, which is located in the breathtaking Maluti Mountains in the Northern Free State just 22km from Clarens. Its landmark is the famous Brandwag Overhang, a golden rock that stands sentry at the entrance.

Found in the trees on the banks of a stream, the campsite offers full ablution and braai facilities as well as power points at some of the sites. Hiking and mountain biking are common activities, but the exquisite setting is reason enough to come here and relax.

Glen Reenen Rest Camp is best suited to families and couples.

Glen Reenen Campsite Bookings: Call 058 255 0909 / 058 255 1000 or emailgoldengate@sanparks.org

Find it: Glen Reenen Camp on Google Maps

Mac Nicol’s Caravan Park, Bazley Beach

An aerial view of Mac Nicol's Caravan Park at Bazley Beach on the KZN South Coast.

From the moment you arrive at Mac Nicol’s on the South Coast of KZN everything is taken care of for you – surely this is how most camping trips should start? The staff helps you erect your tent while you enjoy a cup of tea and the sea air – relaxation is a natural progression of events. Located less than 100km from Durban on the magnificent KwaZulu-Natal coastline just 90m from beautiful Bazley Beach and the Ifafa Lagoon, the campsite offers every facility for the perfect holiday… spotless ablutions, laundry stations, entertainment, communal braais and lots of facilities for the kids. The chalets have a four star rating, but you can enjoy all the benefits even if you’re camping here.

Mac Nicol’s Caravan Park is best suited to families.

Mac Nicol’s Caravan Park Bookings: Call 039 977 8863 or emailmacnicol@scottburgh.co.za

Find it: Mac Nicol’s Caravan Park on Google Maps

Soetwater Resort & Medusa Caravan Park, Kommetjie

Soetwater Resort is a seaside campsite on the Cape Peninsula.

This stunning little coastal resort between Kommetjie and Scarborough in the Cape is a very popular weekend retreat. With a rocky coastline offering a few sandy bays and two artificial tide pools, swimming is popular here and watching fishermen and crayfish divers return with their catch is another regular pastime. You can also take a walk to the top of Slangkop to see an abandoned radar station from the Second World War, visit the quaint fishing towns of Kalk Bay and Simonstown, or explore famous Cape Point. The resort itself is located in the southern part of the Cape Peninsula on Lighthouse Road, an undeveloped coastal terrace that is preserved for its biodiversity. There are a choice of campsites here including those with, and those without electricity.

Soetwater Resort & Medusa Caravan Park is best suited to families.

Medusa Caravan Park Bookings: Call 021 783 4146 or emailresort.bookings@capetown.gov.za

Find it: Medusa Caravan Park on Google Maps

Secret Falls, Tulbagh

Secret Falls Campsite in Tulbagh, Western Cape.

Nestling in the foothills of the Groot Winterhoek Mountains amongst 150 hectares of spectacular countryside, this little campsite is only accessible via four by four vehicles. Located just 100km from Cape Town, Secret Falls offers room for just seven tents, but the site also offers a private swimming pool. This spectacular area is home to some excellent hiking trails and mountain biking is also popular here. This is camping in unmatched scenery for those who love the great outdoors and are happy to rough it.

Secret Falls Campsite is best suited to couples.

Secret Falls Tulbagh Bookings: Call 082 393 4704 or email marcnadia@mweb.co.za

Find it: Secret Falls Tulbagh on Google Maps

Cobham Campsite, Southern Drakensberg

Enjoy rustic countryside camping in South Africa at the Cobham Campsite, Southern Drakensberg.

Image by Péter Béla Molnár from flickr.com

Camping in the Southern Drakensberg doesn’t get much better than this! Cobham Campsite is located 11km from Himeville Village in the southern part of the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, about 150km from Pietermaritzburg. The campsite is rustic and sites aren’t designated, so you can pick your own spot. There are various braai areas and the ablution blocks do offer hot water. The location is quite beautiful and offers great hiking, bird watching, fly fishing and swimming.

Cobham Campsite is best suited to families and couples.

Cobham Campsite Bookings: Call 033 702 0831

Find it: Cobham Campsite on Google Maps (approximate location)

22 Waterfalls, Porterville

The view from the Third Waterfall at 22 Waterfalls Camping near Porterville.

Set at the foot of the Olifants River Mountains 4km from Porterville in the Cederberg, the 22 Waterfalls Campsite offers an opportunity to get up close to game and birdlife. Named after the famous hiking trail which covers 22 Waterfalls along the way, the campsite here offers a rustic bush setting and a choice of sites with or without electricity. Campers can go game viewing in the nearby Cederberg Leopard Conservation area; enjoy superb bass fishing and mountain bike trails. There’s even an animal farm for the kids. The area is famous for its rock paintings in various caves and there’s a beautiful pool and waterfall close by.

22 Waterfalls Campsite is best suited to families.

22 Waterfalls Bookings: Call 022 931 2339 / 082 878 1358

Find it: 22 Waterfalls on Google Maps

Cape Vidal, KZN

Cape Vidal Camping by the coast in the north of KZN.

Camping in the exceptional wetland beauty of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park is a unique experience, and this little campsite, which offers just 8 sites, is the ideal location from which to experience the magic and beauty of the surroundings. Go snorkeling, swimming, fishing or bird watching, laze on the beach or enjoy whale and bird watching. This exquisite coastal retreat is located in a sheltered bay offering pristine beaches and your choice of adventure along hiking trails exploring the fascinating wetland area. View hippo, crocodile, elephants and buffalo, loggerhead and leatherback turtles, playful dolphins and elusive whales. The Cape Vidal campsite offers shady spots, ablution facilities and electricity plug points. It is located 37km from St Lucia.

Cape Vidal is best suited to families and friends.

Cape Vidal Bookings: Call 033 845 1000 / 1071/75 / 1001

Find it: Cape Vidal on Google Maps

Gariep Dam

Gariep Dam Campsite

The perfect stop over point halfway between Cape Town and Johannesburg is Gariep, just off the main highway 200km from Bloemfontein. Camping here is at Gariep Dam, the largest dam in the country. The dam borders a huge nature reserve of the same name where many buck species and zebra roam free. Whether you’re using this location as a stopover, or are planning to spend some time here, there’s plenty to do, including various watersports, fishing, sunset cruises and excellent game viewing by boat. The campsite offers 122 sites in all, 16 of which have their own ablution blocks. Other facilities include braai areas or you can enjoy the restaurant located here, as the resort also offers chalet and caravan accommodation.

Gariep Dam Campsite is best suited to families and friends.

Gariep Dam Camping Bookings: Call 012 423 5600

Find it: Gariep Dam on Google Maps

Vic Bay Campsite, Garden Route

Vic Bay Campsite is one of the most popular camping sites on South Africa's Garden Route.

Victoria Bay is an immaculate alcove located between George and Wilderness on the spectacular Garden Route. The tiny inlet, squeezed between high cliffs, offers beautiful sea views from the elevated grassy Vic Bay Campsite. Surfers love it here as do fishermen. The beach offers safe swimming and an excellent restaurant. There are 36 campsites, many of which have individual ablutions and all with tap water. The campsite also offers electricity.

Vic Bay Campsite is best suited to families, friends and couples.

Vic Bay Campsite Bookings: Call 044 889 0081 / 073 800 7096

Find it: Vic Bay Campsite on Google Maps

Warm Baths Camping, Gauteng

Warmbaths Camping

A total of 300 camping sites (15 luxury + 285 caravan sites) means Forever Warm Baths is well-equipped to handle the crowds that flock to this very popular location in the peak season. Guests are guaranteed a comfortable camping experience with every facility available to camp at ease. Warm Baths is a major tourist attraction, because of the mineral baths, and this luxury campsite makes visiting this region of Limpopo a pleasure. With excellent ablution facilities, the resort, which is very popular with families, is located close to Johannesburg and offers an exciting bush atmosphere. Over weekends and school holidays you have to stay for a minimum of two nights.

Warm Baths Campsite is best suited to families and friends.

Warm Baths Camping Bookings: Call 012 423 5600

Find it: Warm Baths Camping on Google Maps

Augrabies Falls Rest Camp

Camping at the Augrabies Falls National Park

If you want to camp inside the remote Augrabies Falls National Park, this is the only place available. No matter – it’s an excellent campsite that has found its rightful place amongst the regions iconic Quiver trees. It’s spacious and well-organised, and the ideal base from which to explore the Augrabies Falls National Park at leisure. There’s a restaurant here, a choice of three swimming pools, a central area with a fully stocked shop and a petrol station. A highlight of a visit here is the breathtaking views offered from viewpoints along wooden walkways in front of the camp. The 56-metre Augrabies Falls is quite impressive too, especially when the Orange River is in flood. The walking trails in the area are another big draw card.

Augrabies Falls Rest Camp is best suited to families and couples.

Augrabies Fall Rest Camp Bookings: Call 054 452 9205 / 9200 or emailreservations@sanparks.org

Find it: Augrabies Fall Camp on Google Maps

Spekboom Tented Rest Camp, Addo Elephant National Park

Spekboom Tented Rest Camp at the Addo Elephant National Park offers more luxury to campers than it does DIY tent pitching.

Image by Michael McCrae

Located in one of South Africa’s most famous national parks, Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth, Spekboom Camp offers some glam camping in the bush. Tents are already set up so there’s no need to bring your own. In fact, they are more like cabins than tents; you’ll enjoy real beds on wooden floors, towels and cookware to make your stay more comfortable. In addition, the camp has its own watering hole, so you will see elephants, buffalo and warthogs up close when they come to drink. The camp is located in a fenced area inside the Spekboom Hide in the main game area of the park, around 27km from Matyholweni Gate and Camp, and 12km from Addo Rest Camp.

This tiny camp comprises just five fixed tents on decks with two beds, two chairs, a table, braai unit and solar-powered light per tent. Ablution facilities including communal showers, and toilets are within walking distance of the tents. Although there is a curfew at the camp and you cannot go on night game drives, you will still see various nocturnal animals come to drink at the camp’s waterhole and the stars are so clear in the sky they look as if you can reach out and touch them.

You can bring your own linen and cooking equipment with you, or hire cutlery, crockery, cooking utensils and bedding. Guests are provided with dishwashing liquid and a cloth but must bring their own firewood and torches.

Spekboom Campsite is best suited to couples.

Spekboom Tented Rest Camp Bookings: Call 042 233 8600 or emailaddoenquiries@sanparks.org

Find it: Spekboom Tented Camp on Google Maps (approximate location)

Berg River Resort, Paarl

Berg River Resort near Paarl offers fantastic family-style camping in the heart of the Cape Winelands.

Camping in the famous Winelands is not only scenic, it’s also loads of fun for the whole family. Berg River Resort is located in the midst of this spectacular area in the Paarl Valley, just 60km from Cape Town, between Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. The resort offers a variety of accommodation options, including a campsite, and various facilities include an Olympic-sized swimming pool, children’s pool and waterslide as well as the river itself, where guests can enjoy swimming and canoeing.

The campsite offers 150 stands with grass for tents or caravans, most of which also have electrical outlets.  There’s a café for daily essentials, a play area where kids can enjoy ball games, an animal farmyard with goats and donkeys and free trampoline and tractor rides for the kids. The area is a joy to explore, with a number of museums, art galleries, restaurants and wine farms nearby as well as the Drakenstein Lion Park, Bien Donne Herb Farm and the Paarl Bird Sanctuary nearby.

Berg River Resort is best suited to families.

Berg River Resort Bookings: Call 021 863 1650 / 52 or email info@bergriverresort.co.za

Find it: Berg River Resort on Google Maps

Pitjane Fishing Camp, Borakalalo National Park

Pitjane Fishing Camp is at the Borakalalo National Park.

Located on the northern shores of the Klipvoor Dam in the Borakalalo National Park, this excellent campsite is shaded with Acacia trees and offers traditional reed-walled ablutions with flush toilets, showers and hot and cold water. Although it’s mainly used by avid fishermen, the rustic campsite is an ideal spot from which to explore the spectacular eco game and nature reserve. There are 20 campsites scattered throughout the grounds, each with its own braai area and running water. Visitors enjoy relaxing in the spectacular surrounds, fishing, birding, going on picnics and guided walks.

Pitjane Fishing Camp Bookings: Call 012 729 4101 / 2 or emailborakalalo@mtnloaded.co.za

Find it: Pitjane Fishing Camp on Google Maps

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