In his hit song about this town in the Klein Karoo, David Kramer sings about how the sun sets fire to the Langeberg. When you come camp in these parts you’ll see exactly what he means.
You know you’re close to Montagu when you get to the famous rock tunnel. But how many of us have ever stopped here to find out a bit more about the history of this landmark? The famous road builder Thomas Charles John Bain was responsible for the construction of this tunnel. Even if you don’t know who Bain was, there’s about a 100% probability that you’ve driven on a road built by either him or his father Andrew Geddes Bain. Thomas Bain was a road builder in the 1800s and he completed the tunnel in 1877 to make life easier for those travelling through the Cogmanskloof. The tunnel was made bigger in the 1950s to accommodate passing trucks, and this means that you shouldn’t have any issues towing your caravan to Montagu. This town’s is the personification of Klein Karoo hospitality, with its quaint shops, excellent restaurants and friendly locals who welcome you with open arms. We wanted to get away from the busy city life and decided to head to two campsites in the area. And by the way, Kramer was right: it does look like the setting sun has set fire to the Langeberg… >
MONTAGU CARAVAN PARK Bring the whole family
The Montagu Caravan Park is one of the most popular camping destinations in the Western Cape, and it’s easy to see why. It’s just a two-hour drive from Cape Town and it’s the ideal place for a weekend getaway with the whole family. Once the kids are occupied with all the different things to do, you quickly realise you should actually come camp here for longer than a weekend. Happy kids mean a good time, and here you’ll feel like kicking back and staying for a while. Be warned, though: You have to book way in advance regardless of what time of the year you’re planning on visiting. It’s always busy here, especially because it’s also a favourite gathering place for caravan clubs. The resort is neat, the ablution blocks are modern, clean and neat, the staff friendly, the stands green, the shade ample, and the only way to the describe the atmosphere is relaxed. You can’t really ask for much more, which is why you can’t just rock up and expect to find a spot. We stopped outside the gate one late Friday afternoon on an ordinary weekend in November and requested a stand without a booking. There was one left. It was also not a sales gimmick that places
sometimes use to sell something to you. When we walked through the resort later, it was packed to the brim. Find your spot There are 82 stands on three terraces, all on green grass and most of them under shade trees. The first row of stands lies on the bottom terrace in a row opposite each other as you turn right after you drive through the resort gate. There’s a row of apricot trees that provide shade, but the stands on the right receive a bit more sun than those on the left, next to the dam. The price you pay for the shade is that the grass isn’t as lush as in the rest of the resort so it’s best to bring your own ground cover. The stands are large enough for even the biggest caravans and there’s a brick braai (without grid) and a power outlet with a standard domestic socket. The taps are spread out in the campsite, but you never have to walk more than 20 steps to get water for your coffee. Bring along your fishing gear and see if you can hook a carp, Mozambique tilapia or catfish. Just make sure you release them again. There are also pedal boats if you want to take a trip on the water. The other stands are on the left-hand side of the resort as you drive in, in front and past the cold-water pool on the top two terraces. There are loads of shade trees, grass and shelter from the wind, and this is the spot to be if you want to keep an eye on the kids while they enjoy the supertube. Something else to keep an eye on are the geese and ducks that nonchalantly stroll through the campsite. >
We are very satisfied with the resort and facilities. There’s a lot for the kids to do and you camp on grass under shade trees. The hot-water pool is a hit. We will definitely be back.
They will without a doubt pop in at your stand at some stage. By the way, you are allowed to bring along your pets but chat to the resort personnel beforehand about the dos and don’ts of Spot’s comings and goings. On this side of the campsite is a jungle gym, trampoline, and a pen with a few tame ponies. The little ones will love to see these animals up close. Besides this pool there are two others. The big heated pool is indoors and is in front of the first row of stands. The pool is divided into two sections, with pillars in the water that separate the shallow end from the deep end. There are loungers in which you can relax with a good book before taking a dip in the pool. It does get very hot and stuffy underneath the canopy next to the hot water in the summer months, though. There is also a smaller indoor pool on the upper terrace. This is where you go if you want to have a more relaxing swim because children are not allowed here. Next to the outdoor pool is the café where you can buy ice cream, cooldrinks, or takeaway meals. There’s also a recreation room with a big-screen TV and benches where you can make yourself comfortable if you want to find out the cricket score. There’s a pool table if you want to challenge your brother-in-law to a friendly wager. If you run out of wood or ice, you can go to the reception office to rectify the situation. It costs R20 for wood and R15 for ice.
The resort is neat, the ablution blocks are modern, clean and neat, the staff friendly, the stands green, the shade ample...
Water affairs There are six ablution facilities in total in the campsite and two of them have separate facilities for men and women. The rest are unisex. The buildings are clean and neat an the resort staff come around often to keep it that way. Each shower has its own gas geyser, which means there’s never any danger of showering in cold water if you feel like lying in a bit to avoid the morning rush. The showers are in their own room with a wet and dry area separated by a shower curtain. It’s spacious enough, though, with hooks and packing space, so your things won’t get wet. Each ablution block also has a place where you can wash your dishes and there’s even a container for your leftover food that is donated to the local SPCA.
Doringlaagte is a family resort 6 km outside of Montagu where you make yourself comfy on one of the 70 large stands next to a dam on a farm on the mountain slopes of the Klein Karoo. The campsite is divided into two, with 20 stands on your left as you drive in that are laid out in two rows next to the dam. The rest of the stands are farther back and farther away from the water. On the front stands you camp underneath big shade trees on green grass. At the newer stands at the back the trees are still small and you’ll have to bring your gazebo or flysheet. The one thing we found here that we’ve never seen at any other campsite is that you can have a Jacuzzi delivered to your stand. It’s a loose-standing bath that works with a gas geyser, and at R250 per day (for minimum two days) you can enjoy some hot-water therapy right next to your caravan. You’re not allowed to bring your own inflatable pool, though. Unfortunately it’s unlikely that the Jacuzzi will keep the kids happy for long, but luckily there are pedal boats, row boats and canoes for the kids to use on the water. Best of all is that the use of these is free, but life jackets are not supplied. If your little one is still a bit scared of water it’s best to keep them away or keep an eye on them. You can bring your fishing rod if you want to cast your line in the water. See if you can hook a perch, bream or sunfish. And if you want to catch from a boat, your boat will need a battery engine. Motorboats are not allowed so rather leave your jet skis at home. But the water sports don’t end here. In the right-hand corner of the campsite, right next to the dam, the people of Doringlaagte built a shallow dam for the kids to play in. Here you’ll also find canoes and pedal boats and the water
The one thing we found here that we’ve never seen at any other campsite is that you can have a Jacuzzi delivered to your stand.
is never deeper than knee length. They can swim here as well and slides on the opposite side are sure to keep them entertained for hours. While the kids play you can kick back and relax on one of the loungers at the “Karoo beach”. It’s a man-made beach with white sand and even a palm tree that provides shade. If that’s too strange for you, you can sit on the lawn next to the “beach”. If the hot sun is making you parched, head to the Karoo Beach Bar for some cold refreshment. A G&T on a Karoo beach is probably one of the tastier drinks you’ll ever have. The bar opens at 10 am and there’s even a pool inside the building. >
You can also come watch the rugby here on the big-screen TV. In the heart of the campsite is another bar with a thatch roof that doubles as the resort shop, restaurant and reception. There’s also a TV that broadcasts sport. A few feet from this building is a fenced-in play park with a jungle gym and a trampoline. There are also a few tortoises. The resort’s small pool is also located here. At the campsite’s entrance is a 9-hole golf course. You can leave your driver at home, but remember your short irons because it’s a par 3 course. The ninth hole is something to behold. It’s an elevated tee with the green 50 m below. There are various mountain and veld trails where you can hike or ride your mountain bike. There is also a 4x4 trail if you want to check out if that suspension upgrade was worth the money. Pets are not allowed during weekends and school holidays, but if you come camp here during the week you can chat to the resort management and ask if your dog can tag along. But we’re talking about something like a Yorkie, not a Rottweiler.
The stands are big and even and each one has a tap. You share your power socket (standard domestic) with your
It’s our first time here and the kids have already said they want to come here every holiday. It’s the a neat place, the kids stay busy, and staff are friendly and organised. You can’t ask for more.
nearest three neighbours and you should bring your 20 m extension cord. You get a loose-standing drum braai that’s knee height off the ground. Just bring your own grid. The resort staff come early every morning to clean all the braais. The ablution blocks, with separate facilities for men and women, are in the middle of the campsite. It’s a good 100 m’s walk from the farthest stands. So charge your flashlight’s batteries before turning in for the night. There are no complaints about the bathrooms except that they are not wheelchair-friendly. They are big, neat and modern and there are even hair dryers for the ladies. The scullery is to the side, a short distance from the ablution blocks and there’s also a place where you can clean your porta-potti. The nice thing about Doringlaagte is that the resort is only open to people staying overnight – day visitors are not allowed which means that the campsite won’t feel cramped.
I LIKE IT, IT’S NICE. Everything is as it should be at Montagu Caravan Park. The stands are level, covered with lawn and the trees cast ample shade. Kids will love the pedal boats on the dam, the large jungle gym and the ponies in the pen. The Rossouws, Groenewalds and Vermeulens from Cape Town brought their kids and camped at Montagu Caravan Park for the first time.
SLIM SHADY. Doringlaagte’s better stands are near the dam. The trees that grow here are well established and cast ample shade. The trees at the newer stands are still young and don’t provide much relief against the sun. If you camp on the latter you should bring along a gazebo.
BOTTOMS UP. In the Karoo Beach Bar you can relax in front of a fireplace during cold winter holidays. And in summer you can stretch out next to the pool. Children are not allowed to swim in this particular pool.
The Newells from Somerset Echo West camp with their that 6 off-road trailer they tow with a Toyota Fortuner.
KEEPING IT CLEAN. The ablution block is at the centre of the resort and have separate facilities for men and women. It’s modern and clean, but not wheelchair-friendly. It’s a good 100 m walk from the farthest stands.