Camping in Mossel Bay is synonymous with Mossel Bay and Hartenbos. Year after year when school holidays and the shutdown period pull all South Africans into vacation mode for a few festive weeks, caravans upon caravans, and ground tents upon rooftop tents (and the odd campervan with a Suzuki Jimny in tow), can be seen making the trek from (usually) ocean-deprived areas like Gauteng, the Free State and parts of the Northern Cape for a bit of beach time.
Peak season is a busy time of the year around camp sites; just as you pack up, pull out your tent pegs and wave Mossel Bay goodbye, another family arrives to make the spot home. If you are new to the area chances are good that you won’t always find a last-minute-dot-com space in peak season to pitch your tent, even when you are booking more than 6 months ahead of time.
In a way, that’s the beauty of camping in South Africa, the familiarity families have with specific camp sites (and even with specific camp site numbers); it might have started out when your grandparents put in a tent peg one December holiday in 1973, and then your parents did the same years later, and now you are following in their footsteps. Year after year families pitch their tents next to neighbours who they haven’t seen since the last holiday; then it is all a camaraderie of hugs, how-are-yous, kids running around, and potjie- and braai time from middle December to that first week in January before all scatter back to their provincial corners of South Africa.
If you are new to camping or just want a change of scenery and try out a different spot just know that the campers with the ongoing ‘same place, same time, same people’ booking year after year usually reserve “their spots” which are without a doubt the best stands in terms of proximity to the bathroom, privacy and more than often, ocean view. For December holidays you can try to beat the system by making a booking and paying a deposit in the beginning of the year (yes, even as early as the first week of January) to avoid disappointment. The same goes for Easter holidays, not as busy as December, but booking in advance will count in your favour.
However, before poke a hole in your camping mattress and lose hope… there is an alternative solution (and personally, this is what I like to go for).
Pitch your tent any time but December!
Camping in Mossel Bay and elsewhere out of peak season usually gives you the best rates (often half the price or even more), a more quiet camp ground and also a bigger chance to bag one of the best stands that will bring the beach right to your camping stoep.
Also, if you are a pensioner you can easily camp for 3 months in one spot for more or less a R100 a day out of season.
So why not grab a calendar closer, see what national holidays are coming up where, put in maybe an extra day of leave and make a long weekend of it by going camping in Mossel Bay!
Sounds like a plan, right?
PITCH IT HERE: 4 Spots – from Beach to Bush – where you can go camping in Mossel Bay (and surrounding areas)
Go on, make a booking and pitch your tent.
To pitch my tent with no prosy plan,
To range and to change at will;
To mock at the mastership of man,
To seek Adventure’s thrill.
~Robert W. Service
De Bakke Santos Holiday Resort
If waking up to the ocean is what you are after for your holiday you might want to pitch your tent at De Bakke Santos Holiday Resort; it is situated right next to the ocean where there the two pristine beaches (and one boasts Blue Flag status) and it is quite a sight to wake up to. There is a total of 370 camp stands and on the De Bakke side of life you can camp or stay in one of the 46 chalets, while the Santos side only has camp sites. De Bakke Santos Holiday Resort is in the heart of Mossel Bay with the majority (and almost all) of the restaurants and shops within walking distance.
Distance to Mossel Bay: You are in it, you can’t get any closer.
Cost: Starting at R175 per night (maximum 6 people per site) and going up to R645 per night in peak season. There are special rates for long term stay campers.
Other accommodation: Yes, there are one-, two- and three bedroom chalets.
Ablutions for campers: Very neat and modern (showers and bath tubs), you need to take your own toilet paper.
Electricity: Yes (remember to take your blue caravan adapter 16 A).
Cellphone reception: Yes
Nearby attractions: De Bakke Santos Holiday Resort is right in the heart of Mossel Bay, and the area can easily be explored on foot. Read more about what to do in Mossel Bay, or have a few coffee experiences, learn how to make your gin at Cafe Gannet and if adventure calls your 4×4 wheels head to Attaquaskloof to discover parts of the old ox wagon trail.
Website and contact details: www.debakkesantos.co.za | 076 058 7153/044 690 3760.
Molenrivier only opened its grounds to campers during December 2018 and while it is still new, this place – which has only 9 sites – is already a firm favourite among those who want to be close enough to Mossel Bay for a day outing, but still far enough for the peace and quiet of nature. Molenrivier is situated in a valley between Friemersheim and Great Brak and they offer walking trails, there is an abundant bird life, a 4×4 trail, and if you are lucky enough you might even see a bush buck. Owners of Molenrivier are very hands on the camp site to ensure everything is in order, and that all are happy; due to their friendliness and the size of the Molenrivier you have a more personal camping experience, something you definitely won’t find everywhere.
Distance to Mossel Bay: 35 km (12 km to Great Brak).
Cost: Starting at R60 per campsite and then R60 per person (maximum 4 people per site).
Other accommodation: No.
Ablutions for campers: Unisex shower and toilet stalls; neat, clean, spacious and with the best view of the dam.
On-site facilities: The bathroom-wash-scullery area has a little info corner and small library. There is a dam for fishing.
Electricity: Yes (normal 3-prong plug).
Cellphone reception: Not really, but a walk up the hill will allow you to make a call and check your Whatsapp.
Pet-friendly: Yes (but not in season).
Nearby attractions: Molenrivier is a few kilometres outside of Groot Brak (Great Brak). Stop by at Brothers Coffee Roastery for a cupping session and explore the galleries and gift shops – like Periwinkle, La Chocolaterie Rococo (handcrafted Belgian chocolate) and Die ou Pastorie Tea Garden and Gift Shop – or go taste Boplaas’ wines at Klipheuwel padstal (Klein Brak) where there is also a bike track and Salty River Beerhouse. For a wilder experience treat yourself to a game drive at Bottelierskop and the vintage petrolheads can get lost at the Kobus Halliday Car Museum (just take note that you need to make a booking with the owner in advance to visit; it is R50 per person, and unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos).
Website and contact details: www.molenrivier.business.site | 082 854 8805 | 083 216 0018.
The Kattekwaad Tenthouse is situated on an olive farm in the close-knit community of Friemersheim, a former mission station that was established in 1870. If you don’t feel like rubbing shoulders with a camper or pitching your own tent, the tenthouse at Kattekwaad is calling your name. Owners, Hannetjie and Robert van den Berg, are salt of the earth people, who live close to nature and pay attention to the little details to make your experience at Kattekwaad one of “I’ll see you again, I will be back”. Plus, they understand the value of good coffee. Their green thumbs are ever-present on the farm from the olive groves, to the blueberries, to the variety of succulents. There is only one tent (for now) and it has its own private bathroom (just opposite the tent), you have a small kitchen with all the necessities from stove to fridge, and there is a lovely braai-read-and-relax area next to the tent. They are completely off the grid, so when Eskom puts its worst load shedding foot forward, you can find comfort in the oomph of the sun and solar power.
Distance to Mossel Bay: 40 km.
Cost: R450 per night for 2 people (R250 if you are staying alone).
Other accommodation: The tenthouse can only accommodate 2 people, but if you are 1 or 2 extra guests (in the same group), it is possible to pitch your own tent (contact Kattekwaad Tenthouse for more information on cost).
Ablutions for campers: The tenthouse uses its own quirky bathroom (just a few metres from the tent) that consists of one toilet, basin and shower cubicle with a beautiful stained glass window (made by Hannetjie herself).
Electricity: Solar power and gas (normal 3-prong plug).
Cellphone reception: Yes.
Nearby attractions: The Kattekwaad Tenthouse is in Friemersheim where you can explore sections of the Fragrance Route which includes Hester Uithaler‘s Tea and Something Sweet Stop, a Shweshwe Shop, a Lavender Nursery (they make Lavender koeksisters!), the historic Friemersheim church which was built in 1870 by German missionaries and a gallery at Avant Garden where a beautiful duck pond beckons you closer to turn into the slow lane of Mossel Bay.
Website and contact details: www.kattekwaad-olywe.co.za | 073 227 5217.
Dibiki Holiday Resort
Before staying at Dibiki Holiday Resort I’ve always heard about this place and every story always brought me to the conclusion that this is a place where something ‘lekker’ is always happening. There is a whole lot of life, humour and good times at this resort with its 30-odd campsites and chalets; it is situated in a residential area of Hartenbos (fenced off, of course) not too far from Hartenbos River and lagoon, peaceful and quiet with a swimming pool, a bar and more to keep you busy.
Distance to Mossel Bay: 11 km (Dibiki is situated in Hartenbos).
Cost: Starting at R120 per person (without private ablution) and R150 per person (private ablution) and going up to R760 (for 4 people) and R820 (for 4 people) per night. Special rates for caravan clubs and pensioners (long term stays possible).
Other accommodation: Yes, one- (sleeping 2), two- (sleeping 4) and three- (sleeping 6) bedroom chalets as well as bachelor cabins (sleeping 4 in two single beds and a bunk disc bed).
Ablutions for campers: There’s a play on the word ‘biki’ (bietjie) all over Dibiki, even at the bathrooms were the men go to ‘staanibiki’ (stand-a-little-while) and the women go to ‘sitibiki’ (sit-a-little-while). The facilities are neat and clean and if you forget your hairdryer, don’t worry, there are two to use in the bathroom.
On-site facilities: Swimming pool, children’s play park, lapa, bar, trampoline, information and travel desk, television room and laundry facilities.
Electricity: Yes (normal 3-prong plug).
Cellphone reception: Yes
Wi-Fi: Yes (reception area).
Nearby attractions: Dibiki is situated in Hartenbos, and thanks to its close proximity to Mossel Bay you can wine, dine and do all that is fine in the area. See suggestions above (mentioned at De Bakke Santos Resort) of things you can get up to in the area. Between Hartenbos and Mossel Bay, the list of things to do is endless, if you want to keep the kids busy click here and have a look at what blogger, Tulips & Phoenixes, got up to in the area with her family.
Website and contact details: www.dibiki.co.za | 044 695 1532.
Here are some other campsites in the Mossel Bay area where I’d like to pitch my tent in the future:
Riverside Holiday Resort (Klein Brak) camping – Klein Brak,
Pine Creek Caravan Park – Groot Brak,
Glentana Caravan Park – Glentana, and
Dwarswegstrand Resort – Groot Brak.
What about you? Did you go camping in Mossel Bay, Hartenbos and surrounding areas and have recommendations? Let me know!
Disclaimer: I was hosted by Mossel Bay Tourism for the duration of my trip. All opinions are my own. Duh.