In South Africa we love to camp by the coast when it’s warm, but when it’s cold we head to the bush! Those of you who aren’t scared off by the cold will even actively seek out the best places to enjoy snowfall.
Here is our specially selected list of great South African campsites to visit in winter.
Tshipise – Limpopo
“Tshipise” means “something warm” and as the name implies, it enjoys a year-round sunny climate and hot mineral springs. No wonder it is a favourite winter camping destination. Tshipise is located near the Kruger National Park and is especially ideal for travellers en route to and from Zimbabwe. Game-viewing, horseback rides, fishing and the majestic baobab-dotted landscape await you.
Golden Gate Highlands National Park – Free State
This is one of the best spots in South Africa to experience snowfall. Golden Gate is packed in summer, but the chill keeps visitors away in winter so it is not unusual for you to have a whole campsite to yourself. If you are worried about the cold you can enjoy cosy accommodation with a warm fireplace at a luxury log cabin at the Highlands Mountain Retreat.
Underberg and Sani Pass – KwaZulu-Natal
The charming southern Drakensberg villages of Underberg and Himeville are great bases for 4×4 trips up Sani Pass, where you are almost guaranteed to see snowfall. This is the perfect opportunity to break in your Mazda bakkie with its new Mazda canopy. There are several camping spots, but to really make the most of the snow at the top of the pass, check yourself into the Sani Mountain Lodge.
Lower Sabie Rest Camp – Mpumalanga
If it’s a bush experience you’re after, this is one of the Kruger National Park’s most popular rest camps. Located on the banks of the Sabie River, which is one of the few Kruger rivers that flow all year round, Lower Sabie makes for fantastic wildlife spotting opportunities.
Richtersveld National Park – Northern Cape
Richtersveld is another favourite with bush lovers. The park has seven campsites, but during winter the KokerboomKloof campsite is recommended. It is very hot during the summer months but stunning in winter. If you want silence and long walks this is the ideal destination for you, but not if you want a “glamping” trip. This is typical rustic camping and you even need to bring your own water.
The Baths – Western Cape
The Baths is situated two hours outside of Cape Town on a citrus farm in the scenic Olifants River Valley. Its Mediterranean climate and of course natural hot water springs of 43º Celsius make this a perfect winter camping experience. Hot natural baths, hiking, tennis and nature walks are just a few of the attractions to entertain you. There is also a fully licenced bar and kiddie’s play area so you can enjoy outdoor living in a comfortable way.