Spring is in the air in the Eastern Cape! It’s most noticeable in the morning light as the sun rises a bit earlier and there’s an oddly comfortable chill in the air. This is a beautiful time of year in Addo (September, October, November) as the proteas and wildflowers burst into bloom, and our wildlife gives birth to the next generation of most beloved residents. Whether you’re outdoorsy, a committed van-lifer, or a family looking for fun, this is a region worth exploring at a slower pace. After our usually-mild Eastern Cape winters, spring is just about the perfect time for a weekend of camping in the wonderful wilderness; from Kabouga to the coast, there are camp sites waiting for you to glory in the golden air and exquisite outdoors of the our varied region.
In this guide, we’ve included:
- A list of essentials
- Campfire entertainment
- Locally inspired recipes/dishes
- Add-on activities
Pack up the caravan, fishing and swimming gear, and your sense of good, old South African fun; Sitrusoewer has everything you could need for a riverside family weekend. Located on the meandering Sundays River and surrounded by citrus orchards, Sitrusoewer brings to mind family holidays of bygone days with a bar, lapa, and communal braai area, canoes and jungle gym. The communal kitchen is stocked with fridge, microwave, and two-plate stove for those who enjoy a few comforts while camping. Popular activities include fishing, paddling, birding and long evenings around the braai.
PEARSON PARK [Colchester]
Hello, golden beaches and gorgeous views of river & sea! A paradise for watersports and nature-lovers, Pearson Park is located on the banks of the beautiful Sundays River with easy access to endless kilometres of our famous Eastern Cape beaches – it’s a bush and beach location like no other. Pearson Park is just 3km from the Addo Elephant National Park’s South Entrance, Matyholweni. Visitors can look forward to comfortable, shady, grass sites and endless adventures: fishing, beach fun, sand-boarding, paddling, boating and, of course, the most stunning sunsets.
ADDO REST CAMP [National Park – Main Camp]
Caravan and campsites are available at the Addo Rest Camp, accessed via Addo’s Main Gate, with communal ablution and kitchen facilities. Camp sites are equipped with 220V power points and a wooden table and benches. A maximum of six people, one tent and one vehicle will be permitted per site.
PARKVIEW SAFARI LODGE [Colchester]
The wonders of the wilderness await at ParkView Safari Lodge – with the convenience of modern bathrooms, of course! Located in Colchester, with both the beach and the national park just minutes away, there’s nowhere better to set up camp, spread out and enjoy a complete disconnect from everyday life. Each camp site has its own braai, and there is a swimming pool and volleyball court on site. Settle into a camp chair, toast a marshmallow and enjoy the enormous night sky.
Nieshoutkloof, outside Kirkwood, is just the place to settle in for a week-long stay: enjoying both the wonderful attractions of Addo and our sweet, slow lifestyle. Park your caravan or pitch your tent under the acacia trees, put on a pot of coffee and breath in the citrus-scented air – you’ll pick up that holiday vibe in no time! Nieshoutkloof features a communal lapa, ablution facilities and braai area.
HOMESTEAD B&B [Addo]
Caravanners, van-lifers, and campers are welcome at Homestead. With 15 years’ experience hosting travellers, Homestead brings a unique offering for campers with an on-site bar area, dam and deck a bit of social time. This is a good choice for foodie campers as the deck allows you to spread out marvelous campfire meals for all to enjoy.
KROMRIVIER FARM STAYS [Paterson]
Kromrivier is the perfect location for campers looking to get a bit further off the beaten path. Located on a working farm with hiking and biking opportunities in the surrounding mountains, this is an outdoorsy adventure just waiting for you. Set your own pace, while watching the gentle activity of farm life as the kids meet chickens, geese, sheep and cattle. It’s the simple life on a platter, with hiking and biking thrown in for good times!
MVUBU CAMPSITE [National Park – Kabouga]
This exceptional section of the Addo Elephant National Park is accessible with high-clearance vehicles only – a little slice of paradise. At Mvubu, located on the banks of the Sundays River, there are only six campsites, ensuring a secluded excursion into the wild. While swimming, paddling and fishing is permitted, be aware that there are hippos in the river. Kabouga is not a Big-Five area of the park.
A list of essentials
Find out from your hosts what facilities are available and pack your camping basics. Below is a list of don’t-forgets.
- Biodegradable soap
- Toilet Paper
- Bug spray
- Fresh water
- Head lamp
- First aid kit
Stargazing app (download before you go for an incredible look at the heavens).
Trails app (Plan your next-day’s adventures around the campfire).
A local birding book or app (download our Addo birding checklist here).
Naturalist scavenger hunt (good for keeping the little ones busy).
Locally inspired recipes/dishes
- Rusks & moerkoffie or rooibos tea on the fire. Moerkoffie will give you a kick into next week, and the rooibos plant is endemic to the Cape Floral Kingdom.
- Smores. While they’re not strictly local, nobody is saying “no” to melted marshmallow & chocolate, and they’re really fun to make!
- Warthog boerewors and roosterbrood. Pick up fresh roosterbrood when you pass A Taste of Africa in Colchester, or at another farm stall along the way.
- Potjie. What could be better than a potjie pot bubbling away on the fire? Here are seven great recipes to try.
- Braai. No recipe needed. You bring, you braai. It’s our way.
- Forage. You never know what you’ll find in the wild until you try. Approach with caution, and certainty about what you’re foraging. Here’s a starter guide.
- Fresh citrus, jams and marmalades. Addo is the largest lemon exporter in South Africa and the region produces 12 different citrus varietals. Eaten fresh is best but a warm roosterbrood with butter & marmalade is a food memory waiting to happen.
Depending on where you’re camping, you might want to add an additional adventure to your weekend. Here are Addo’s top adventure activities: