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Updated: May 27, 2023

We love summer in Limpopo… lazy days under skies that stretch on forever… and let’s face it, Limpopo is HOT in every way, so we’re going to let you in on a little secret…these are some of our favourite camping spots where you can chill out with friends and family over the festive season.

Four of our Top-5 campsites in Magoebaskloof feel like they are far-far-away from the fray but each one is designed to give you a fabulous experience. The owners are passionate about their properties and are friendly faces if you need them but if you prefer peace and privacy, you need not even see another soul. Our final camping choice gives you the opposite experience - at Magoebaskloof Adventures, you are right in the thick of all that an adrenaline junkie could want.

Summer days are here and there is nothing quite like a family camping trip to refresh the spirit after a long, cold winter made worse by loadshedding. Take some time out and enjoy the great outdoors in a spectacular setting. Zwakala River Retreat is hidden away on an eco-friendly family farm in Magoebaskloof. True to its name, Zwakala is a place to come together and just be yourself without too many rules and restrictions… a relaxed family farm where you can let your hair down. Here, you can throw back your head and laugh, go skinny dipping in the river and dry off on sun-warmed rocks. This mountain retreat far away from the cityscapes and mind-numbing highways gives you the space to go for long walks in the early morning light when the world seems serene. Soak up the sun… sit next to a log fire… have deep conversations under a star-lit sky… eat, drink and be merry!

If this sounds like heaven to you, why not stay in one of Zwakala River Retreat’s unique, off-the-grid campsites tucked into the bend of the Broederstroom river where rapids feed a small waterfall, so you are just a hop, skip and a happy jump away from a daily dip or a birding-walk. Kholo’s Campsite is a tranquil, private 4x4 camping site which will make you feel as if you are hidden away from the rest of the world. Kholo’s is centred around a circular seating area with a generous braai and fire pit. On cold, misty days, you will love the large indoor kitchen area equipped with a two-plate stove, but in the summertime, the hot-water outdoor shower with a view is fabulous and there’s also an indoor shower and loo. Go for a dip in the river and soak up the sun in absolute peace or take a stroll up to Zwakala Brewery for an award-winning beer and a great vibe. (4x4’s ONLY)

Rated as one of the best in Limpopo, Zwakala Campsite is set amongst fragrant bushes on the banks of the river, minutes away from a small waterfall and a sparkling natural pool. The cozy wattle and daub kitchen has solar lights, a gas stove and freezer; some kitchen basics as well as a built-in fireplace for cold and misty days! There are deliciously hot showers, flush loos and solar lights in the bathrooms. And with the braai area, fire-pit and pizza oven, Zwakala Campsite is perfect for a group of up to 16 people to spend quality time together. Experience blissful days in this private space with only the gurgling of the river over rapids to break the quietness and, at night, the beauty of a million stars overhead, guarantees you the best sleep ever. If you want to maximise the TLC, why not book a pampering treatment at the River Spa on site?

Whatever you choose to do, you can’t beat the silence, tranquility and privacy that the Zwakala campsites offer. Owner, Denise Tooley says that ‘for campers looking for wide open spaces and a connection to nature, beauty abounds all around at Zwakala River Retreat.’ Although you are centrally located to explore the magical nature spaces of Magoebaskloof or the Craft Brewery on the property, you can also stay put and not see another person for your entire stay. Zwakala is famous for its relaxed riverside days and sun-kissed mornings when the world feels full of possibility. Come closer and meet people who are passionate about this space, our world and each other. L10, Cheerio Road.

For a lot of people, 2022 has been a crazy year and it is oh-so-tempting to put the world on pause for a while. If this resonates for you, we have just the place... Tucked away, high in the mountains of Magoebaskloof, Coral Tree and Forest Camps feel cut off from the world.... a place where you can put your phone on silent and head off on a walk towards the sky, or laze under the trees and read the latest bestseller next to the pool... Much later, you can get the gang together around a crackling braai fire under the endless night sky. No traffic, no deadlines, no meetings to attend and only the sound of birdsong as your morning wake-up call.

We could tell you about the great adventure sports, local distillery or brewery and mountain-bike trails nearby but maybe you just want to know that you don’t have to DO anything.. just go! Camping allows you to avoid the crowds and be alone in some of the most spectacular nature spaces in Limpopo - the ultimate escape. Elspeth and Ralph Humphreys have lived on Tupelo Honey Farm for over 25 years. They have loved every minute of it and this shows in the beautiful venues they share with people who appreciate this wonderful valley and all it has to offer. Choose between their two beautiful, private campsites perched on the plateau and soak up the tranquillity.

The 4x4 road winds past the lush herb gardens and through Macadamia and Avocado orchards up to the indigenous forest belt with fabulous walks along the river. Coral Tree Camp offers a classy alternative to the norm, boasting a bath with a view; a fireplace in the kitchen and a plunge pool with a wooden deck for long, lazy days or you can go for a stroll along the river and spot the special birds along the route. The light-filled kitchen area opens up completely in good weather and the delightful bathroom surpasses all expectations of a standard, basic shower block. Coral Tree Campsite is all about the beautiful natural setting, starry nights and solitude. This private camp is only accessible with a 4x4 but it is well worth the ride and I suspect that once you arrive at Coral Tree Camp, you won’t ever want to leave. (Booked to one group only: minimum of two people / maximum of six)

If you are a keen birder, Forest Camp, on the same property, is the place for you. You will be serenaded at dawn and dusk by birdsong and there are butterflies galore. Designed for a maximum of four people, this private campsite is tucked away in the indigenous forest and has the same kind of charm as Coral Tree with a closed kitchen area and a cozy fireplace when the mist rolls in, but also has a swimming pool and braai area so you can immediately head into holiday mode. I think you’ll agree, though, that what sets this campsite apart is the luxurious outdoor bath in the moonlight where you can soak up the silence. You may choose to just take a digital detox and escape from the world for a while, but electricity and solar backup is available, so you can charge your camp-fridge and cell phone. The camping area has space for various tents and one off-road trailer, or two at a tight pinch. Remember that a 4x4 Vehicle is essential.

You’ll find Coral Tree and Forest Camps at The Herb Cottage off the Magoebaskloof Pass (R71)

If, instead, you want to pick up the pace these holidays and are looking for a camping experience with lots of activities on offer, ‘discover a magical place where mountain meets river and the spirit of adventure is born.’ Magoebaskloof Adventures and Canopy Tour lies at the heart of the George’s Valley (R526) near Haenertsburg and is the perfect base for young-at-heart adventurers. Their rustic campsite is tucked into the tree-line of the indigenous forest perched on the edge of the gorge with spectacular views into the valley. The camping area is set up for adventurers, mountain bikers and school groups so the 3mx3m Safari tents equipped with mattresses, are close to each other and communal living takes the form of ablution blocks with private showers, a kitchen area with wash-up basins, electricity, a fridge & stove as well as a secluded boma with a central camp fire for an evening under the stars after a day of adventuring.

You can choose from tubing and abseiling to the 11 ziplines over gorges and waterfalls or an adrenaline-fuelled kloofing experience. If camping in the spectacular Wolkberg Wilderness alongside pristine streams and unspoiled beauty sounds like your kind of magic, you can get a group together and book a guided hike to summit Serala peak. These trips can take between 2 and 3 days - it all depends on you but remember that pre-booking is essential. Step out of the ordinary and do something spectacular.

Make these summer holidays the best kind of celebration with family, friends and fun in whatever way makes your spirit soar. You deserve it!

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