I grew up camping along South Africa’s Garden Route and have the absolute best memories of caravanning (mostly in George) at the end of each year with my family and friends. So it was a very special holiday when we got to bring the next generation on one of our group camping trips and return to one of our childhood campsites with my parents and our son. Best of all we got to do it in the Volkswagen California Beach which has a pop up tent on top and allows for sleeping inside too. Here’s a few garden route campsites we love going to with kids...
1.De Bakke Santos, Mosselbay.
Come December this place is packed to absolute capacity, mostly with caravaners and if you don’t book early, there’s a huge likelihood that you may not get a patch on the grass. The beauty of this campsite lies in ocean views whichever way you look ( plus we bagged a site right on the cliff overlooking the water) and it’s but a few hop, skips and steps down to rock pools and brilliant swimming beach. Think camp fire, waves lapping on the rocks below and pink skies explosion come sunset. Security is really beefed up here with security guards missioning around on quad bikes, toilets are super clean and there’s a playground for kids. But really, who needs a playground when you have a beach?
2. Carmel Guest farm, George.
If I think childhood campsite, this is the one that comes to mind and what a place to holiday as and with kids. tractor rides that pick the kids up every morning, youth leaders to organize activities in the holidays, game nights, New Year’s eve celebration and morning devotionals for those keen to join. And that’s only half of it- there’s a swimming pool, kiddie’s pool, jungle gym, sand pit, croquet, tennis court and to top it all off mind-blowing views down to the valley below and Victory Bay in the distance. Walk through the forest, enjoy the beautiful garden, spend quiet time in the chapel with said view and also spend a morning or two at a lookout point. For those not keen on camping, there are chalets too. But when it comes to camping with kids, it really doesn’t get better than this.
3. Storms River Valley, Tsitsikamma.
This is another really popular camping spot ( also with cottages for those who prefer an actually roof over their heads) which calls for booking way in advance. In the heart of this adventure hub, this campsite is perfect for those who love the ocean, beaches, forests, trails, walking across swing bridges and general outdoor fun. What a beautiful region to be camping in.
4. Rocky Road Backpackers, Nature’s Valley.
For those not keen on bringing and pitching their own tents, here the tents are already set up on wooden platforms under cover. So rain, wet tents and wet feet are not an issue. There is a lovely big lawn for the kids to run on, a very hot jacuzzi to enjoy as a family ( kids should be supervised at this campsite at all times as the jacuzzi is not covered). Because it is a backpackers you will have to share a kitchen, a fridge and a braai area.
Thank you to Volkswagen South Africa for taking us around the Garden Route. We found the California Beach to be a great vehicle to camp in along this route with the expanded tent on the roof and bed to make within the vehicle as well as table, chairs and awning. This is A vehicle we could easily do a cross country road trip.