best BEACH CAMP­SITES

FROM BUCKET-AND-SPADE SEA­SIDE SPOTS TO RUGGED AND RE­MOTE COASTAL COVES, WE’VE GOT YOUR SUM­MER ES­CAPE COV­ERED

Getaway (South Africa) - - TRAVEL FEATURE -

HONNE-KAMP HON­DEK­LIP­BAAI, NORTH­ERN CAPE

Hon­dek­lip­baai (Dog-Stone Bay) was named af­ter a rocky out­crop that ap­par­ently re­sem­bles a dog – but prob­a­bly only af­ter a solid ses­sion of Klip­pies and Coke. Be that as it may, this West Coast ham­let brims with char­ac­ters and at­trac­tions, and has over time achieved leg­endary sta­tus as one of the North­ern Cape’s premier sea­side hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions. A rather topsy-turvy his­tory has seen the town go through a num­ber of booms and sub­se­quent col­lapses – cop­per, cray­fish and di­a­monds – be­fore set­tling on tourism.

At first glance, Hon­dek­lip­baai ap­pears a bit hap­haz­ard, the beauty of its 14-kilo­me­tre beach not im­me­di­ately tan­gi­ble. The West Coast has a rough edge to it, so don’t come here ex­pect­ing any­thing fancy. But there is a cap­puc­cino ma­chine at The Shack (the barista may be out on a cray­fish mis­sion)! Although the camp­site is set back a street from the beach, it will take you less than a minute to get there. The wa­ter’s icy and tem­pes­tu­ous tides of­ten dump seaweed on the sand, but the dunes and rock pools be­low the light­house are great for ex­plor­ing.

Get the nec­es­sary per­mit, don your (very thick!) wet­suit and dive into the icy At­lantic for a cray­fish or two (in sea­son, of course). Or if surf­ing’s your thing, a reef in the bay of­ten throws up a solid right­hand break. To the south, Spit­fire Rock spews up dra­matic spray when waves thun­der against the rocky shores, and it’s a great sun­downer spot. – JAC­QUES MARAIS

DO IT Honne-Kamp has six sites, each with elec­tric­ity, wa­ter, a pic­nic ta­ble and braai fa­cil­i­ties. The shared ablu­tions are clean and neat, and there’s an on-site swim­ming pool and play­ground. Sam’s Restau­rant is a stum­ble away, as are a few small shops and a bot­tle store. From R380 for a four-per­son stand. 083-321-1600, hon­nepon­dokkies.co.za

KWASS SE BAAI NA­MAQUA NA­TIONAL PARK, NORTH­ERN CAPE

Frost-fisted waves of At­lantic rollers pound a sun-drenched shore­line of strand­veld that for most of the year looks a bit bedrag­gled, but bursts into colour dur­ing spring flower sea­son. Hun­dreds of Cape fur seals weave through the rich kelp forests and come ashore to warm up on the rocks.

Once owned by De Beers, the di­a­mond com­pany do­nated this stretch of coast­line, that is now part of the Na­maqua Na­tional Park, to SANParks when ge­ol­o­gists re­alised there were no gem­stones to be dug up. To­day, this vir­gin shore runs for around 50 kilo­me­tres, thank­fully never touched by heavy ma­chin­ery. The only marks are a few jeep tracks that tra­verse the sand (some sec­tions re­quire skilled driv­ing and de­flated tyres). Look out for the odd gems­bok, har­te­beest and spring­bok along the way.

The four in­di­vid­ual sites at Kwass se Baai have the best set­ting – on an el­e­vated ridge over­look­ing a cres­cent beach, with great views of the sun­set over the ocean. Sim­ple stone walls pro­vide pro­tec­tion from the pre­vail­ing southerly wind and a long­drop toi­let is the only amenity. For old and young alike there is bliss­fully lit­tle to do here, other than ex­plore the veld and coast­line (only on the des­ig­nated tracks), skinny-dip in the icy ocean and warm up af­ter­wards in the blaz­ing sun or around the fire with a cup of steam­ing tea.

– SCOTT RAM­SAY

DO IT There are nine camp­sites on this stretch of pro­tected coast, spread out across 40 kilo­me­tres. From south to north they are: Groen Rivier (12 sites), Del­w­er­skamp (seven), Kwass se Baai (four), Var­swa­ter (four), Bam­boeskamp (four), Skuin­sklip (two), Kor­ingko­r­rel Baai (five), Skuins­baai No­ord (two) and Boul­der­baai (six). Bring all your camp­ing equip­ment, drink­ing wa­ter, food and other sup­plies.

A 4x4 with diff lock and high ground clear­ance is a must, as there are stretches of thick sand. There’s a seal colony of sev­eral thou­sand an­i­mals be­tween Skuins­baai and Boul­der­baai (17 kilo­me­tres north of Kwass se Baai). From R147 per six-per­son site. 027-672-1948, sanparks.org

STRAND­FONTEIN HOL­I­DAY RE­SORT

There’s only one prob­lem with the folks of the Na­maqua West Coast re­gion – they have too much wine and way too lit­tle time to drink it. And they don’t seem to have an off switch, so ex­pect either par­adise or pur­ga­tory.

Strand­fontein is a case in point. It’s a lan­guid dorp for most of the year, but come sum­mer it’s packed with sun seek­ers look­ing for a good time. Strand­fontein Hol­i­day Re­sort is the hub of this bakkie-and-beach party, with two sec­tions of camp­site grass un­fold­ing right onto the main beach. Out of sea­son there’s usu­ally not a soul in sight. And yes, nat­u­rally, there’s wine. Just down the drag in Dor­ing­baai, you’ll dis­cover Fryer’s Cove Win­ery in a unique set­ting right on the old har­bour pier.

If you can pry your­self away from the seafood and Chenin Blanc, ex­plore the dra­matic coast­line be­tween here and Strand­fontein. For more re­mote camp­ing, there are am­ple spots along this coast where you can ‘wild-camp’ right on the ocean’s edge, with only the swish of At­lantic rollers for com­pany, and reg­u­lar whale sight­ings and spring flow­ers from late July through Septem­ber. Win­ters can get rather chilly, with fog and the oc­ca­sional storm. But noth­ing a camp fire and bot­tle of lo­cal red can’t solve. – JAC­QUES MARAIS

DO IT The Strand­fontein Hol­i­day Re­sort (read car­a­van park) is laid out in four sec­tions, but I would rec­om­mend either A Block or Perdeskoen Block. All sites have elec­tric­ity and wa­ter. Stands with pri­vate ablu­tions cost R260. The seafront stands in A Block, which have com­mu­nal ablu­tions, cost R290. Perdeskoen is set fur­ther back and its 39 stands have pri­vate ablu­tions. One ve­hi­cle and a max­i­mum of six peo­ple al­lowed per stand. 027-201 3437/3401, vis­it­nwc.com

KO­GEL BAY RE­SORT

It’s hard to beat the set­ting of Ko­gel Bay Re­sort. In fact, the only way you’d camp closer to the sea is if you slept on the sand. Lush grass banks cas­cade onto a sandy beach over­look­ing False Bay, with the fyn­bos-clad Ko­gel­berg form­ing a nat­u­ral am­phithe­atre be­hind you. It’s to­wards these moun­tains that you’ll cast your eyes dur­ing sun­set when they take on a golden glow that’s strik­ing enough to in­ter­rupt even the most in­tense beach-bat game.

The re­sort has a 1,7-kilo­me­tre stretch of beach-side camp­sites, each with a cir­cu­lar ce­ment braai. The sites either have the lux­ury of soft grass or are sur­rounded by trees that block the view but also the wind, which can be strong. The fa­cil­i­ties are very ba­sic (and sadly, there’s a fair amount of lit­ter in the thick­ets around the camp­site). The soft beach is ideal for a game of touch rugby and the waves are de­cent too, with the nearby Koeël­baai a pop­u­lar surf spot. Be­yond surf­ing, beach ac­tiv­i­ties and two play­grounds in the camp­site, there are three hikes in the Steen­bras Na­ture Re­serve, just across the road. Crys­tal Pools is the most en­tic­ing of these as you tra­verse a se­ries of pris­tine rock pools along the Steen­bras River. It’s only open in sum­mer, from No­vem­ber to April, and per­mits need to be ar­ranged be­fore­hand (R65 per group, steen­bras.na­tur­ere­serve@capetown.gov.za).

Watch out for ba­boons in camp – they’re cheeky and not eas­ily in­tim­i­dated, so keep food well hid­den. A tuck shop runs in high sea­son, but oth­er­wise sup­plies can be bought in Gor­don’s Bay, a 10-minute drive away. – MATTHEW STERNE

DO IT The re­sort, run by the City of Cape Town, does not take walk-ins and book­ings must be done at least 14 days be­fore ar­rival. There are three tar­iff sea­sons, start­ing from R145 per site to R222 in high sea­son. Up to six peo­ple and two cars are al­lowed per site. Pen­sioner groups re­ceive a 40 per cent dis­count dur­ing low and mid sea­son. 021-856-9622 to book, capetown.gov.za

VIC­TO­RIA BAY CAR­A­VAN PARK

In the shaggy green cliffs over­look­ing Vic­to­ria Bay, three sep­a­rate camp­ing ar­eas cut long, neat strips into the bluff. These three grassed ter­races – Western, Rail­way and Sea Breeze – sit above the bay’s charm­ing tidal pool and sandy beach, which from Western and Rail­way ter­races can be reached via a few steep stairs. Both have ex­cel­lent sea views, but Sea Breeze is sit­u­ated above the busy car park.

Dur­ing school hol­i­days and es­pe­cially over Christ­mas, the bay fills with day-trip­pers and the beach gets crowded. Out of sea­son, how­ever, it’s sleepy and serene, pop­u­lar with surfers and an­glers and an ex­cel­lent place to chill out and spot whales (from May to Oc­to­ber). Rail­way Ter­race has ex­pan­sive views over the beach, but Western Ter­race is the more pop­u­lar, with stands ly­ing side-by-side along the cliff face, of­fer­ing a 180-de­gree panorama that’s es­pe­cially spec­tac­u­lar at sun­rise.

Although the bay feels iso­lated, both Ge­orge and Wilder­ness are just 10 min­utes away by car, with the full range of Gar­den Route ac­tiv­i­ties nearby in­clud­ing paraglid­ing, na­ture trails and ca­noe­ing along the Touws and Ser­pen­tine rivers. Ge­orge’s

Gar­den Route Mall has camp­ing sup­plies plus any­thing else you may need. And if you don’t feel like cook­ing, there’s Vikki’s at the Beach, which has ca­sual, out­side seat­ing be­low the Western Ter­race, and serves sand­wiches, piz­zas, seafood plat­ters and beer. – CHRIS DAVIES

DO IT There are 38 stands in to­tal, 20 on Western, 10 on Rail­way and 8 on Sea Breeze. All those on Western Ter­race have pri­vate ablu­tions and wash­ing-up ar­eas, but for stands 30 to 36 they’re a short walk from the sites them­selves. Rail­way and Sea Breeze have neat com­mu­nal ablu­tions and sinks, and all 38 have elec­tric­ity. From R290 a stand at Rail­way and Sea Breeze, and from R370 at Western Ter­race – max­i­mum six per site. No dogs al­lowed. 044-889-0081/083-530-8143, vic­to­ri­abay­car­a­van­park.co.za

BUF­FALO BAY CAR­A­VAN PARK

Buf­falo Bay Car­a­van Park takes the es­tate-agent maxim of po­si­tion, po­si­tion, po­si­tion to the ex­treme, with 180-de­gree sea and beach views from each of the 85 grassed and level sites. In fact, buf­feted by a vi­cious westerly gale on our first-ever visit, we fell vic­tim to our seafront perch, two odd me­tres above the rock pools. When the squalls cleared the next day we had to re­trieve our ket­tle, tent pegs and a tod­dler’s plas­tic bike from the wa­ter. It was a hor­ri­ble night for tent liv­ing, but the view was men­ac­ingly spec­tac­u­lar with writhing swells fill­ing the bay and plumes of spray whipped back­wards like mer­maid’s hair.

In kindly weather, the views from Buf­fels camp­site (as it’s col­lo­qui­ally known) are of­ten of surfers shar­ing the waves with schools of dol­phins. A white cres­cent beach runs for miles from out­side the park gate to Bren­ton on Sea, near Knysna. It’s great for walk­ing and at low tide, cy­cling too. The wa­ter’s warm, the beach (life-guard­pa­trolled in sea­son) is good for swim­ming and surf­ing, as is the rocky point fronting the park (but there have been some shark

in­ci­dents in re­cent years). Safe snorkelling in the rock pools turns up ma­rine life far more in­ter­est­ing than a black­ened ket­tle, and rock and sea an­gling is a big­gie – there’s a slip­way ad­ja­cent to the park to launch ski­boats.

Un­for­tu­nately the nearby Goukamma Na­ture Re­serve is still closed for hik­ing and ca­noe­ing fol­low­ing the Knysna fires. But for horse rid­ing and ca­noe hire, go to River Deck Restau­rant (riverdeck­restau­rant. co.za), over­look­ing the Goukamma. – CATHER­INE HOFMEYR DO IT All sites have 10-amp elec­tric points and wa­ter points close by; ablu­tions are clean and modern with scul­leries and a laun­dry. There’s a su­per­mar­ket and restau­rant within walk­ing dis­tance. Knysna is the clos­est town (20 kilo­me­tres). Rates are from R300 a site for two (R50 for ex­tras) up to R750 in peak sea­son, with ex­tras pay­ing R100. Pen­sion­ers pay R200 a site out of sea­son or a monthly rate of R150 a day. 044-383-0045, buf­falobay.co.za

STORMS RIVER MOUTH REST CAMP

GAR­DEN ROUTE NA­TIONAL PARK This camp falls un­der the Tsit­sikamma sec­tion of the Gar­den Route Na­tional Park en­com­pass­ing the old­est ma­rine-pro­tected area in Africa. Tsit­sikamma means ‘place of much wa­ter’, which is to­tally ap­pro­pri­ate be­cause some of the camp­sites are so close to the sea you can feel the spray flick­ing onto your tent. Ac­cessed via a tarred road, the sites are spread across a grassed area over­look­ing the In­dian Ocean. Fa­cil­i­ties in­clude well-kept ablu­tion blocks, a kitchen area, a well-stocked shop and the Cat­tle Baron Restau­rant at re­cep­tion.

The swim­ming pool is a big hit be­cause the shore here is rocky – a won­der­land of in­ter-tidal and ma­rine life. There is a small sandy beach close to the re­cep­tion area for swim­ming. Spend your days be­tween the wild hik­ing trails, snorkelling the bay with a knowl­edge­able guide (find stingrays and fish such as grunter and cob) or tackle the Storms River Mouth on a kayak and lilo ad­ven­ture.

– ME­LANIE VAN ZYL

DO IT There are 24 tent sites (plus 77 for car­a­vans). Pack shade pro­tec­tion and light­ing as both are lack­ing, and in­vest in a sturdy, wa­ter­proof tent be­cause the camp­site is quite ex­posed to the wind and el­e­ments. Un­touched Ad­ven­tures is based at the rest camp, just be­low re­cep­tion, and of­fers the kayak and lilo ad­ven­ture: pad­dling across the bay, then be­low the sus­pen­sion bridge and up the nar­row­ing river (from R550pp). Or there’s guided snorkelling that in­cludes equip­ment rental (from R440pp). There are also four na­ture trails (in­clud­ing one to an ocean-side wa­ter­fall) and boat trips on of­fer. From R169 pp to camp and R59pp per day for the con­ser­va­tion fees. When book­ing on­line, look for camp­site codes CK6TV or CK6CPV (which in­cludes a power point). 042-281-1607, sanparks.org

DOU­BLE MOUTH

Not far from the muddy roil of the Great Kei River, you’ll cruise into the laid-back sea­side vil­lage of Mor­gan Bay, where most vis­i­tors to this idyl­lic fam­ily hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion be­lieve they have ar­rived in par­adise. If you con­tinue a fur­ther five or so kilo­me­tres along the dra­matic do­lerite sea cliffs to the south-west, you’ll ar­rive at Dou­ble Mouth La­goon, and this is, in my books, the coun­try’s most idyl­lic sea­side camp­ing spot. Sets of warm waves crash onto a pris­tine beach, and you can run or fat-bike for days if you’re keen to ex­plore to­wards Haga-Haga and be­yond. Or re­verse di­rec­tion and head past Mor­gan Bay to cross the Kei River by pont into the Wild Coast proper.

The camp­site at Dou­ble Mouth faces a rocky bay but backs onto the la­goon, mak­ing it a pop­u­lar choice for fam­i­lies, as kids can safely splash about in the shal­lows. Five dif­fer­ent

biomes over­lap here, mak­ing for top bird­ing. The fish­ing is good too, and the area is great for hik­ing, moun­tain bik­ing and trail run­ning. On Trea­sure Beach, just be­yond the camp, a Por­tuguese galleon ran aground in the 16th cen­tury. Beach­combers may still find Car­nelian beads, shards of bro­ken Ming porce­lain and money cowries. The sub­trop­i­cal cli­mate means this spot has good weather pretty much all year round. – JAC­QUES MARAIS

DO IT There are 30 level, grassed and shaded sites, each with sea views, a braai fa­cil­ity, tap and power point. The ablu­tions are get­ting on but are func­tional, with hot wa­ter. Off-road car­a­vans are rec­om­mended, and the gravel ac­cess road gets slip­pery dur­ing rain. Rates from R238 per site to R318, with a limit of six peo­ple per site and a daily con­ser­va­tion fee of R11 an adult (R6 for kids). bookon­line.ecpta.co.za, 043-705-4400, vis­iteast­ern­cape.co.za

WHITE CLAY

White Clay is a small, wildly beau­ti­ful camp­site in the heart of the Wild Coast. It con­sists of three tiers of level stands on a grassy bank over­look­ing the sea, with ablu­tions a few strides away. All sites have an unim­peded view of the ocean and sur­round­ing cliff-tops – wake up to sun­rise over the sea. It’s a short walk down to the beach, which is good for fish­ing and swim­ming.

This is an ideal spot for ac­tive fam­i­lies who en­joy hik­ing and ex­plor­ing. We spent our days wan­der­ing along the top of the sea cliffs dot­ted with graz­ing goats, ron­dav­els and spec­tac­u­lar aloes. For the more ad­ven­tur­ous, guided hikes to Port St John’s are also avail­able, and horse rid­ing and quad bik­ing can be ar­ranged. The cel­e­brated Hole in the Wall and Cof­fee Bay are a short drive away. Dur­ing the win­ter months, you may well spot mi­grat­ing whales and pods of dol­phins from the camp.

When you need a break from the braai, there’s a seafood restau­rant on site as well as a quaint bar and a cu­rio shop that sells char­coal and wood. – SARAH CHANGUION DO IT Camp­ing is from R130 pp up to R170 pp in the De­cem­ber hol­i­days, with no spe­cific limit on the num­ber of peo­ple per site. 083-262-5239, white­clayre­sort.co.za

ROCKY BAY RE­SORT

My sis­ter and I spent our pre­teen years swim­ming on this fab­u­lous stretch of KZN coast while vis­it­ing my grand­par­ents, who lived here for 10 years in one of the log cab­ins. Camp­ing here many years later, I was happy to find that not much has changed at this fam­ily re­sort – even the noisy yel­low train still chugged past on its tracks be­hind the park.

Many semi-per­ma­nent car­a­vans are pitched in the best cor­ners (some even have gar­dens!) and it sure looks like a de­light­ful way to spend your golden years. A sprawl­ing re­sort, Rocky Bay has more than 160 camp­sites, either tucked into indige­nous bush or fac­ing the beach, where dol­phin sight­ings are com­mon and, in sea­son, whales too.

Camp­sites are on level, well­com­pacted grounds, fringed with lawn. Chil­dren flit be­tween jun­gle gyms and ex­plore the rock pools – thanks to lo­cal women who sell buck­ets, spades and colour­ful fish­ing nets at the re­sort en­trance. There are plenty of places to swim, with life­guards on duty in the main bay, and won­der­fully wide, quiet sec­tions of beach fur­ther south.

The re­sort also has a swim­ming pool, vol­ley­ball court, games room with ta­ble ten­nis and pool, and the nearby Sugar Post Restau­rant (a home­made pie is just R55 and a burger R60). A de­cent shop at the en­trance stocks all the es­sen­tials (like ice cream!).

If you’re af­ter thrills, go shark cage-div­ing, out in the ma­rine re­serve near Ali­wal Shoal; the best time is early morn­ing. – ME­LANIE VAN ZYL

DO IT Each stand caters for a max­i­mum of six peo­ple, one car and car­a­van or tent and costs from R215 pp. Pen­sion­ers can rent a site at R3 235 for a full month in off-sea­son. Week­end book­ings need a min­i­mum two-night stay; De­cem­ber/Jan­uary book­ings re­quire min­i­mum 14 nights. There’s a braai area on each site, but bring your own grid. Dogs (two small ones per site) are al­lowed out of sea­son and by prior ar­range­ment. Shark dives costs R950 pp, sharkcage­div­ingkzn.com.

CAPE VI­DAL CAMP

Cape Vi­dal’s camp­site is tucked be­low a forested dune be­tween Lake St Lu­cia and the In­dian Ocean. Shaded from the sub­trop­i­cal sun by a canopy of ma­hogany and al­bizia trees, the camp­site is a short, sleepy stum­ble into the warm sea, home to dol­phins, hump­back whales and five tur­tle species. On its own, it would rank as one of the coun­try’s pret­ti­est set­tings, but it’s made even more spe­cial by its lo­ca­tion in iSi­man­gal­iso, South Africa’s sec­ond-big­gest – and most nat­u­rally di­verse – park.

Boom­ing waves and bird­song are an ever-present sound­track, with solo per­for­mances from howl­ing hye­nas and grunt­ing samango mon­keys. A broad beach stretches for sev­eral kilo­me­tres north and south. You can walk for hours with­out see­ing any­thing man-made. Head out early on a game drive to spot white rhi­nos, kudus, hip­pos and even leop­ards, which can some­times be seen on the for­est roads. Dur­ing sum­mer, the beaches are nest­ing sites for rare leatherback and log­ger­head tur­tles, the largest pop­u­la­tion on the south-east African coast. Rock pools of oceanic won­ders make for great, safe snorkelling at low tide. The ma­rine-pro­tected area per­mits some fish­ing, but re­mem­ber to cast lightly and re­spon­si­bly – seems wrong, doesn’t it, to kill a beau­ti­ful fish in such a pris­tine place?

Cape Vi­dal pro­vides an al­most per­fect beach hol­i­day for the en­tire ex­tended fam­ily.

Just watch out for the vervet mon­keys, which are al­ways ready to raid your cooler box. And be warned: Cape Vi­dal’s pop­u­lar­ity is also its flaw dur­ing peak hol­i­day sea­son, when the camp­site can get noisy and con­gested. So time your visit to the qui­eter months if pos­si­ble. – SCOTT RAM­SAY

DO IT Cape Vi­dal is 25 kilo­me­tres from St Lu­cia. There are 45 camp­sites, with com­mu­nal ablu­tions (hot show­ers) which cost from R560 for four peo­ple up to R800. Ad­di­tional peo­ple pay from R140 to R200. A nearby shop pro­vides ba­sic sup­plies. Sev­eral ac­cred­ited com­pa­nies of­fer guided noc­tur­nal tur­tle tours dur­ing sum­mer. 033-845-1000, kznwildlife.com

KOSI BAY

Just south of the Mozam­bi­can bor­der on the In­dian Ocean coast, Kosi Bay is the coun­try’s largest lake sys­tem, with four lakes con­nected to one an­other and the ocean by twist­ing, reed­fringed chan­nels. The camp­site is on the western edge of Lake Nh­lange, the big­gest of the four dark-blue jewels.

Each of the 15 un­fenced camp­sites is se­cluded from oth­ers by a smat­ter­ing of coastal for­est. At night, stay close to camp, as hip­pos wan­der around munch­ing on grass. Fish ea­gles and rare palm-nut vul­tures fly over camp, the lat­ter feed­ing on raf­fia palms which grow only in north­ern KZN.

Home to the Thonga peo­ple, Kosi Bay and sur­rounds feel more part of Mozam­bique than South Africa. The cur­va­ceous Thon­gan fish­ing traps har­monise per­fectly with the lake’s sur­face and are a fea­ture of the area. The de­signs of the traps date back more than 500 years and are still used to­day to catch a va­ri­ety of es­tu­ar­ine fish (though catches have de­clined in re­cent years due to over­fish­ing). You must al­ways ask per­mis­sion when tak­ing pho­tos of the lo­cal fish­er­men.

Boat tours at Lake Nh­lange to Lake Makhawu­lani are a must-do and a va­ri­ety of com­pa­nies of­fer this ser­vice. Set aside a day to drive to the es­tu­ary in the north, to snorkel in the shal­lows and spot the likes of Moor­ish idols, but don’t get too close to the li­on­fish with their ven­omous spines. The odd moray eel also lurks in the shal­low corals.

The beaches at Kosi Bay on

the shore­line are, like Cape Vi­dal, also nest­ing sites of leatherback and log­ger­head tur­tles. As you would in any game re­serve with danger­ous wildlife, you need to keep an eye on your young­sters. – SCOTT RAM­SAY

DO IT Kosi Bay is in the re­mote north­ern part of iSi­man­gal­iso Wet­land Park and the sand tracks re­quire a 4x4 or ve­hi­cle with high clear­ance. Dur­ing school hol­i­days it can get booked out, so visit dur­ing off-sea­son. Each camp­site has a braai place, cold­wa­ter tap and elec­tric­ity point, and they range in price from R460 for four peo­ple to R660. Ad­di­tional folks pay from R115. Two ablu­tion blocks have hot-and-cold-wa­ter show­ers and toi­lets. 033-845-1000, kznwildlife.com

There’s a reef or beach-break op­tion for surfers off the main Hon­dek­lip beach (top); you can also es­cape the slow­burn­ing buzz of the dorp with a wild camp down the coast (be­low).

Kwass se Baai is one of the most re­mote camp­sites on 2 000-odd kilo­me­tres of South African coast­line.

Wild camp spots (top) near the town are rel­a­tively peace­ful, but out of sea­son the mu­nic­i­pal camp­site is largely de­serted any­way. The sea, for div­ing, swim­ming and surf­ing, is less than 20 me­tres away from the ‘re­sort’.

The camp­ing-only re­sort forms part of the Ko­gel Bay Bio­sphere Re­serve and there are three na­ture walks just over the road.

ABOVE The Outeni­qua Choo-Tjoe steam train used to run through Vic Bay, hence the name of one of the camp ter­races. In the waves, look out for SA’s top fe­male surfer, Bianca Bui­tendag, who calls this tiny cove home.

ABOVE Park the car and hide your keys be­cause ev­ery­thing you need for a fam­ily hol­i­day is within walk­ing or cy­cling dis­tance from your tent.

LEFT It’s a flat 5,5 kilo­me­tres to Bren­ton. TOP LEFT Campers en­joy the best views of all the ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions at Storms River.

A cliff-top trail from Dou­ble Mouth (above) to Mor­gan Bay is ex­cel­lent for trail run­ning, moun­tain bik­ing or an hour’s stroll to the vil­lage’s main beach.

ABOVE White Clay is well sit­u­ated be­tween the Wild Coast hot-spots of Cof­fee Bay and Hole in the Wall, an eight-kilo­me­tre hike away. TOP All the camp­sites are elec­tri­fied and have great sea views.

ABOVE Rocky Bay feels far from the city’s buzz, but is less than an hour’s drive from Dur­ban. The tem­per­ate weather here makes for year-round tent liv­ing, hence the many semi-per­ma­nent res­i­dents.

It looks sandy, but you don’t need a 4x4 for the camp­sites at Cape Vi­dal as the ac­cess road is tarred al­most all the way from St Lu­cia.

Swim­ming in the glassy Lake Nh­lange is enor­mously tempt­ing but keep an eye out for crocs and hip­pos.

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