Go Pitch! 7 LEKKER Garden Route Camp Sites

The Garden Route is synonymous with rest, relaxation and vacation, whether it is for a short weekend break or for the long December holidays. With all the adventure, nature, forest, mountains, beaches, rocky shores, lakes, history and markets (to name a few) going around, it is easy to understand why this is such a popular destination and why visitors return time and again.

Growing up, pitching a tent somewhere along the Garden Route was what we did as a family.

First you arrive, then everyone would hang on to some sort of tent pole, the tent pegs would go in, the chairs, table and gas stove would find a place outside and then kids would scatter into different directions; be it to fish, to cycle, to check out the play park or to go on a canoe.

The Garden Route has no shortage of excellent camp sites. There are plenty. There are camp sites in the bush, next to the ocean and next to a river; camp sites large and small, camp sites well-maintained and clean, camp sites with on-site activities and with plenty more to do within walking distance.

7 Garden Route camp sites where you can pitch your tent or park your caravan

Storms River Mouth Rest Camp

Garden Route Camping

Tent Sites: Yes (maximum of 6 people per site).
Caravan Sites: Yes (maximum of 6 people per site).
Other Accommodation: Yes; self-catering cabins, chalets and cottages (2-8 sleepers).
Electricity: Yes and no (there is a price difference).
View: Some camp and caravan sites are right in front with a view of the ocean, while others are not (there is a price difference).
On-site Restaurant: Yes (Cattle Baron).
On-site Shop: Yes.
Nearest town: If you need the basics, Storms River Village (15km) or Plettenberg Bay (66km).
Things to do: Hiking, swimming, boat cruises, scuba diving, snorkeling and a kayaking and lilo adventure. Not too far from the rest camp you will find Storms River Village with plenty of restaurants and activities such as Segway tours, mountain biking and Canopy Tours, or if you’re brave enough you can go do the Bloukrans Bungee.
Camping Costs: Starting from R300 and going up to R480 per night (for the first two people).
Conservation Fee: For South African citizens it is R54 per adult per day (R27 for children). For non-South Africans, click here. If you have a Wild Card you don’t have to pay the conservation fee.
Where to make your booking and check availability: Online, click here.

Other camp sites in the area: The majority of backpacker accommodation in Storms River Village can make room for tents.

Nature’s Valley Rest Camp (De Vasselot)

Garden Route Camping 6

Tent Sites: Yes (maximum of 6 people per site).
Caravan Sites: Yes (maximum of 6 people per site).
Other Accommodation: Yes; self-catering Forest Huts (2-sleeper, shared ablutions).
Electricity: No.
View: Camp sites are under the forest canopy.
On-site Restaurant: No. There is a restaurant in town (within walking distance).
On-site Shop: No.
Nearest town: Plettenberg Bay (34km). You will find the basics at the shop in Nature’s Valley.
Things to do: Hiking, canoeing and going to the beach and lagoon (within walking distance). Close by at The Craggs you’ll find Monkeyland and Birds of Eden. Nature’s Way Farm Stall is also worth a visit.
Camping Costs: R205 (for the first two people).
Conservation Fee: For South African citizens it is R48 per adult per day (R24 for children). For non-South Africans, click here. If you have a Wild Card you don’t have to pay the conservation fee.
Where to make your booking and check availability: Online, click here.

Other camp sites in the area: Tsitsikamma Sunrise Caravan & Camping and you can also pitch your tent at Rocky Road and Wild Spirit Backpackers.

Plettenberg, a Forever Resort (Keurbooms)

Garden Route Camping 4

Tent Sites: Yes (maximum of 8 people per site).
Caravan Sites: Yes (maximum of 8 people per site).
Other Accommodation: Yes; Log Cabins and Chalets (4-6 sleepers).
Electricity: Yes.
View: Some camp and caravan sites have a Lagoon River View, while others are a bit further away (there is a price difference).
On-site Restaurant: No, but there is an array of restaurants in Plettenberg Bay.
On-site Shop: No.
Nearest town: Plettenberg Bay (10 km).
Things to do: Canoeing, trampolines, fishing (permit needed), putt-putt, swimming pool. There is the opportunity to go birdwatching, hiking and play action cricket and volleyball (seasonal) and the beach is nearby. For more you can go to Monkeyland and Birds of Eden in The Craggs and Plettenberg Bay offers an array of activities such as the Hog Hollow Horse Trails, Radical Raptors Bird of Prey Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre, abseiling, wine tasting, Adventure Land Water Rides, whale watching, diving, Robberg Nature Reserve, Harkerville Saturday Market and Jukani Wildlife Ranch and Care Centre.
Camping Costs: Starting from R100 per night per person.
Conservation Fee: N/A.
Where to make your booking and check availability: Online, click here.

Other camp sites in the area: Keurbooms Lagoon Caravan Park.

Diepwalle Forest Station

Garden Route Camping 8

Tent Sites: Yes (maximum of 4 people per deck).
Caravan Sites: No.
Other Accommodation: Yes; there are Deck Tents but no bedding/towels/crockery/cutlery provided (2-sleeper, shared ablutions).
Electricity: Yes.
View: Decks offer privacy and is situated in the forest and under a forest canopy.
On-site Restaurant: Yes, Diepwalle Tea Garden.
On-site Shop: No.
Nearest Town: Knysna (20km).
Things to do: There are numerous day hikes in the area and from your tent you can hike the 3 circular Elephant Trails (7km, 8km and 9km). A bit further away you can enjoy the cycling trails in Harkerville Forest and explore The Garden of Eden. There is also the ‘Rooted in time’ self-drive 4×4 route. You can enjoy everything Knysna has to offer and visit a beach, go to The Heads, go whale watching, biking (and electric biking), paddling, boat cruises, kayaking, Scootours in the forest and experience Rastafarian Culture at South Africa’s largest Rastafarian Community.
Camping Costs: R200 (first two people).
Conservation Fee: For South African citizens it is R32 per adult per day (R16 for children). For non-South Africans, click here. If you have a Wild Card you don’t have to pay the conservation fee.
Where to make your booking and check availability: Online, click here.

Buffalo Bay Caravan Park

Garden Route Camping

Tent Sites: Yes (maximum of 6 people per site).
Caravan Sites: Yes (maximum of 6 people per site).
Other Accommodation: No (but there are guest house options available in Buffalo Bay).
Electricity: Yes.
View: Yes.
On-site Restaurant: No.
On-site Shop: No.
Nearest Town: Knysna (20km)/ Sedgefield. There is a shop and restaurant walking distance from the caravan park.
Things to do: Enjoy the beach right on your tent’s door step, you can snorkel, fish, swim, go boating and surf. For delicious pancakes and cheesecake visit Flippen Knys (Elalini Backpackers), explore Millwood Forest, have a picnic at Jubilee Creek, eat oysters in Kynsna or head to Sedgefield. You definitely don’t want to miss out on the Market in Sedgefield every Saturday and its pristine beaches, Gerickes Point and the lakes (great for bird watching).
Camping Costs: Starting from R300 per day (first four people) to R750 per day (first two people).
Conservation Fee: N/A.
Where to make your booking and check availability: No booking is required if you are staying over out of season, but during high season it is essential. To make your booking, contact 044 383 0045. Click here to visit the website.

Other camp sites in the area: Monks Holiday Chalets and Caravan Park (Knysna).

Wilderness Ebb-and-Flow Rest Camp

Garden Route Camping

Tent Sites: Yes (maximum of 6 people per site).
Caravan Sites: Yes (maximum of 6 people per site).
Other Accommodation: Yes; there are Family Cottages, Log Cottages, Forest Cabins and Rondavels (2-4 sleepers).
Electricity: Yes and no (there is a price difference).
View: Some camp and caravan sites are situated on the river front, while others are a bit further away (there is a price difference).
On-site Restaurant: No.
On-site Shop: No.
Nearest Town: If you need the basics, Wilderness (4km) or George (20km).
Things to do: Swimming, fishing and canoeing on the Touw River, enjoy the hiking trails, there are two bird hides close by (at Langvlei and Rondevlei), visit Wilderness Beach and Map of Africa, if you have a boat you can go skiing at Island Lake, tandem-paragliding or explore some of the passes forming part of the Seven Passes.
Camping Costs: Starting from R200 and going up to R310 per night (for the first two people).
Conservation Fee: For South African citizens it is R40 per adult per day (R20 for children). For non-South Africans, click here. If you have a Wild Card you don’t have to pay the conservation fee.
Where to make your booking and check availability: Online, click here.

Other camp sites in the area: Swartvlei Caravan Park and Lake Pleasant Resort.

Victoria Bay Caravan Park

Garden Route Camping

Tent Sites: Yes (maximum of 6 people per site).
Caravan Sites: Yes (maximum of 6 people per site)/
Other Accommodation: No (but there are guest house options available in Victoria Bay).
Electricity: Yes.
View: Yes.
On-site Restaurant: No but there is a restaurant in Vic Bay.
On-site Shop: No.
Nearest Town: George (15km).
Things to do: Victoria Bay is all about the beach; so go swimming, surfing, fishing, walking and sunbathing or search for whales from the comfort of your camping chair. George is not too far away if you want to go shopping, watch a movie, go strawberry picking at Redberry Farm, abseiling at Kaaimans River, play golf, visit the Outeniqua Transport Museum or the Garden Route Botanical Gardens.
Camping Costs: Starting from R210 and going up to R421.
Conservation Fee: N/A.
Where to make your booking and check availability: Contact 044 889 0081 or fill in the booking form on the website.

Garden Route Camping Tips

  • Even when braai grids are available, always pack your own.
  • If you want to camp over peak season, best you start booking now; some camp sites are already fully booked but it doesn’t hurt to check back every now and then for cancellations.
  • Always inquire beforehand if you might need a caravan plug adapter to use the electricity.
  • Winter months can get cold, pack accordingly.
  • If you’re camping next the ocean the wind can go in all directions very quickly. Depending on your tent, you might need to reinforce your tent with extra ropes/pegs. The lower the tent, the better (even just flattening your tent and putting cooler boxes on top can help).
  • You can base yourself in one spot and explore the whole Garden Route from your base.
  • If you are staying over at a SANParks campsite, get yourself a Wild Card.

Disclaimer: Prices were valid at time of writing (January 2018).

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