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We’re always looking for great campsites for a weekend break, and we bet you are too. These 10 campsites near Joburg are all within 3.5 hours drive of the city, perfect for a quick camping trip: if you leave work a little early on Friday, you could be starting your campfire before sunset that evening. Have we missed your favourite campsite? Please let us know in the comments section below. Happy camping!

 
Also read: 37 of South Africa’s best campsites

 

1. Dinokeng Fishing & Camping, Roodeplaat Dam

Location: -25.643167, 28.383944
From Joburg: 1 hour

Dinokeng Fishing and Camping

Dinokeng Fishing and Camping, Roodeplaat Dam. Image credit: campdinokeng.co.za


Situated on the South Eastern side of the Roodeplaat Dam, Dinokeng Fishing & Camping is 15 minutes’ drive from Pretoria and ideal for keen fishermen, with carp, barbel, bream and yellowfish on offer. Those who don’t fish can enjoy picnics, canoeing, mountain biking (bring own bikes) and game viewing in Roodeplaat Nature Reserve.

Number of stands: 28, 17 of these on the water’s edge
Electricity: Yes, at all stands
Braai facilities: Yes, but bring your own grid
Shade: Trees. Two on the water have lapas at an extra cost
Ground cover: Grass
Pets: No
Nearby activities: Game drives in Roodeplaat Nature Reserve and a cycling track
Important info: Strict opening and closing times and no loud music at any time
Cost: Please contact Dinokeng for details
Contact: Tel 0761967150, campdinokeng.co.za

 

2. Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, Bela-Bela

Location: -24.849239, 28.042757
From Joburg: 2 hours

Mabalingwe Nature Reserve

Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, Bela-Bela. Image credit: mabalingwegamereserve.co.za


Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, near Bela-Bela, consists of 12500 hectares of malaria-free bushveld and has all the features of a good family resort. There’s a large caravan park with 77 shady stands plus various self-catering options. The park has a good network of game viewing roads, most of which you can drive with a sedan.

Number of stands: 77, plus various houses and chalets
Electricity: Yes, at all stands
Braai facilities: Yes, grids provided
Shade: Plenty of trees
Ground cover: Grass and sand. Paved area for caravans
Pets: No
Nearby activities: Game drives, horse riding, walks, putt-putt, heated pool
Cost: R130 per stand, plus R70 per person (low season), and R200 per stand, plus R115 per person (peak season). Max 6 people and 2 vehicles per stand
Contact: Tel 0140017010, callcentre4@boschpoort.co.za, mabalingwegamereserve.co.za

 

3. Mountain Sanctuary Park, Rustenburg

Location: -25.853777, 27.473358
From Joburg: 2 hours

Mountain Sanctuary Park

Mountain Sanctuary Park, Rustenburg. Image credit: Melanie van Zyl.


Mountain Sanctuary Park is perched in the mountainous Magaliesberg area, with views of surrounding farmland and the nearby Buffelspoort Dam. The 1000-hectare property, which has been open to the public for four decades, is renowned for its hiking trails and there’s a set of natural pools just a 20-minute walk away.

Number of stands: 30 (20x20m), plus various cottages and cabins
Electricity: Yes, but only at 15 of the stands
Braai facilities: Yes, grids provided. Wood for sale at R25 a bag
Shade: Partial tree cover
Ground cover: Grass and sand
Pets: No
Nearby activities: 7km hiking trail, or climb the nearby ridge (10km). Swimming pool available in camp
Important info: Minimum two night stay over weekends, and minimum of two adults per stand. Request powered/non-powered/shaded stand when booking
Cost: R190 per person (powered stand), R140 (no power). Kids under 12, R100. R45 per vehicle
Contact: Tel 0145340114, mountain-sanctuary.co.za

 
Also read: Top 32 weekend getaways near Johannesburg

 

4. Manyane Resort, Pilanesberg National Park

Location: -25.254793, 27.219427
From Joburg: 2.5 hours

Manyane Resort

Manyane Resort, Pilanesberg National Park. Image credit: manyaneresort-pilanesberg.com


For hassle-free camping in a rugged setting, the Pilanesberg remains one of the best spots for an easy weekend getaway. Manyane Resort has a pool and easy-access water points, and the park itself promises sightings of the Big Five and wild dog. Bring a braai grid, as some are broken, plus a lock for your tent because clever baboons unzip them to get to your food. The resort is just outside the park, so you can leave after work on a Friday without worrying about making it before the park’s gates close.

Number of stands: 95 caravan and 95 camping, plus chalets and safari tents
Electricity: Yes, at all caravan stands and 75 of the camping stands
Braai facilities: Yes, moveable braai drums
Shade: Scattered trees
Ground cover: Sand
Pets: No
Nearby activities: Game drives in Pilanesberg National Park. Park fees R80 per adult and R40 per vehicle
Important info: Minimum two night stay over weekends, and minimum of two adults per stand. Stands are available on first come, first served basis.
Cost: R230 (midweek), R320 (weekend) and R400 (peak season) per stand. Max 6 people and 2 vehicles per stand
Contact: Tel 0145551000, manyaneresort-pilanesberg.com

 

5. Vaal River Campsites, Wolwespruit Nature Reserve

Location: -27.416913, 26.317502
From Joburg: 3 hours

Vaal River Campsites, Wolwespruit Nature Reserve

Vaal River Campsites, Wolwespruit Nature Reserve. Image credit: Dylan Kotze.

For rough and ready camping in a beautiful setting, try Wolwespruit Nature Reserve on the banks of the Vaal River. Each of the 32 campsites has a long drop, a braai area and a rubbish-collection point, and for showers you’ll need to walk to one of the two new ablution blocks – cold water only at present. Sites are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and are spaced far apart along the riverbank. Aim for camp number six which is nearest the ablutions and opposite a short stretch of rapids which make for good angling.

Number of stands: 32, all on the river
Electricity: No
Braai facilities: Yes, but bring your own grid
Shade: Partial trees
Ground cover: Grass and sand
Pets: No
Important info: Barbel, carp and yellowfish (catch and release) can be caught here. R20 rod fee per person per day. Camping allocation is first come, first served. Bring cash, there are no card facilities
Cost: R50 per stand (6 people), plus R10 per vehicle. Park fees R40 per person, once off
Contact: Tel 0836885195, tourismnorthwest.co.za

 

6. Matamba Bush Campsite, Vaalwater

Location: -24.109507, 27.975654
From Joburg: 3 hours

Matamba Bush Camp, Vaalwater

Matamba Bush Camp, Vaalwater.

Matamba Bush Campsite is bush camping at its best. Giraffe, eland, sable and kudu are just some of the wildlife you’ll see roaming freely through this private 400-hectare game farm – there’s even a resident brown hyena that you might be lucky enough to spot. Tau Camp has four stands, each 150m apart, but if that’s not private enough for you, then book Mara’s Camp, the private campsite in the centre of the property. There’s a small pool at Tau Camp that everyone can use, and beautifully-constructed shared ablutions. Don’t miss the wonderful outside shower under the wild Syringa tree.

Number of stands: 4 private and 1 exclusive
Electricity: At Tau Camp, but not at Mara’s Camp
Braai facilities: Yes, with grids and ample wood provided
Shade: Partial tree cover
Ground cover: Sand
Pets: No
Nearby activities: Perfect stop en route to Botswana – there’s an overflow stand for one-night stopovers
Important info: Minimum two night stay over weekends, three on long weekends.
Cost: Tau Camp is R245 per person, kids under 12 R120. Mara’s Camp is R270 per person, kids under 12 R135 (four adults and two nights minimum at Mara’s Camp)
Contact: Tel 0836531287, matambabushcamp.com

 

7. Bontle Camping Site, Marakele National Park

Location: -24.521008, 27.492639
From Joburg: 3 hours

Bontle Camping Site, Marakele National Park

Bontle Campsite, Marakele National Park.


There’s plenty of shade at Marakele National Park’s Bontle Camping Site, so it’s a great place to sit out the heat between morning and and evening game drives through the beautiful Waterberg Mountains – and you don’t need a 4×4 or high-clearance vehicle, as 80km of the park’s roads are accessible by sedan. Marakele is also one of the world’s largest breeding colonies of Cape vulture and the park and campsite have excellent birding.

Number of stands: 36, plus safari tents and a cottage
Electricity: Yes, at all stands
Braai facilities: Yes
Shade: Plenty of trees
Ground cover: Grass and dirt
Pets: No
Nearby activities: Game drives and walking trails
Important info: Wheelchair friendly campsites and ablutions available.
Cost: R265 per stand (2 people) and R82 per person thereafter. Max 6 people per stand. R44 daily conservation fee (not applicable to Wild Card holders). Full rates and tariffs here
Contact: Tel 0147776928, sanparks.org

 

8. Glen Reenen, Golden Gate National Park

Location: -28.506411, 28.618144
From Joburg: 3.5 hours

Glen Reenen Rest Camp

Glen Reenen Rest Camp, Golden Gate National Park.


Set amid the Maloti Mountains with its towering backdrop of gold and ochre cliffs Glen Reenen Rest Camp is the perfect base from which to admire the local birdlife and plains game. On game drives you can look out for the rare bearded vulture and bald ibis, and across the park’s flatlands there are zebra, wildebeest, eland and oribi. In winter this is one of the few campsites in South Africa where you stand a good chance of seeing snow – that is, if you can stand the cold.

Number of stands: 45
Electricity: Yes, at 30 of the stands
Braai facilities: Yes
Shade: Plenty of trees
Ground cover: Grass and dirt
Pets: No
Nearby activities: The nearby town of Clarens is a popular destination for art, crafts and restaurants. The park itself has numerous activities available, from hiking trails to abseiling and canoeing
Important info: Winter snowfall does occur and, in general, the area is prone to sudden weather changes
Cost: From R215 per stand (2 people) and R82 per person thereafter. Max 6 people per stand. R44 daily conservation fee (not applicable to Wild Card holders). Full rates and tariffs here
Contact: Tel 0582551000, sanparks.org

 

9. Meiringskloof Nature Park, Fouriesburg

Location: -28.603675, 28.224508
From Joburg: 3.5 hours

Meiringskloof Nature Park

Meiringskloof Nature Park, Fouriesburg. Image credit: meiringskloof.co.za


In a beautiful kloof, amidst thick indigenous bush and abundant bird life and surrounded by sandstone cliffs and open caves lies Meiringskloof Nature Park. Numerous hiking trails allow you to explore the kloof and caves, and there’s a swimming pool to cool off in afterwards. The 4×4 trails will challenge both the experienced and novice driver and the reserve also offers horse riding and abseiling at an extra cost.

Number of stands: 24
Electricity: Yes, at all stands
Braai facilities: Yes, bring your own grid
Shade: Plenty of trees
Ground cover: Some grass, but mostly sand
Pets: Well-behaved pets welcome
Nearby activities: Numerous short trails in the area. Horse riding, abseiling and 4×4 trail also available
Important info: Minimum two night stay over weekends, three on long weekends. Max 6 people and 2 vehicles per stand. Extra vehicles can park in the main parking area
Cost: R115 per stand (6 people) , plus R45 per person (low season), and R135 per stand, plus R60 per person (peak season).
Contact: Tel 0582230067, meiringskloof.co.za

 

10. Mahai Campsite, Royal Natal National Park

Location: -28.689805, 28.945933
From Joburg: 3.5 hours

Cascades waterfalls, Royal Natal National Park. Image credit: David Rogers.


Royal Natal National Park forms part of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site, and here you’ll find some of the best mountain scenery in the country. Camp on the banks of the Mahai River while the mighty Drakensberg Mountains tower above you. To explore the mountains, buy a hiking trail guide as you enter the main gate. There are some great swimming and fishing spots in the area, plus the stunning Amphitheatre – a massive 5km-long cliff face, 500m high.

Number of stands: 84
Electricity: Yes, at 44 stands. Communal freezer available
Braai facilities: Yes
Shade: Plenty of trees
Ground cover: Mostly grass, with some dirt
Pets: No
Nearby activities: Hiking, horse riding (tel 0364386422) and trout fishing available (rod fees from R100 per rod)
Important info: Hikers must complete the Mountain Rescue Register at the Visitor Centre before and after their hike. Laundry facilities are available in the campsite
Cost: From R360 per powered stand (3 people, low season), and R120 per person thereafter. Unpowered stands from R330 per person, R110 per person thereafter. Kids half price
Contact: Tel 0338451000, kznwildlife.com

 
Also read: 5 unusual Gauteng getaways – these are not average B&Bs

 




  • Selwyn

    Only 1 place is pet friendly?

  • Cindy

    Wish more places were pet friendly