A few of the Getaway team hit the Beaverlac campsite over the long weekend recently, a mere two hours from Cape Town. Tucked high up in the Olifants River Mountains above the quaint little town of Porterville, lies a secluded campsite in a valley surrounded by spectacular mountains and enchanting rock pools.
These are my 10 tips for making your camping trip to Beaverlac a pleasant one.
1. If you’re used to being one of very few campers in a remote location then you’d better not travel to Beaverlac over a long weekend. This campsite is well known and incredibly popular among families and their pets. If you’re an amateur camper or travelling with your kids, this is an ideal campsite. There is a shop filled with groceries, firewood, drinks, ice and a small fridge that you can use at reception.
2. Stop in the town of Porterville to pick up the last of your fresh supplies. They sell gigantic 2kg bags of chips at the Spar that could sustain your family and all endemic species for a few hundred years, at least.
3. Remembering a sink plug, toilet paper and a few chairs would have made this a more tolerable experience. A head torch is also an indispensible asset.
4. Drag some handy seasoned campers along for the trip; they always bring whatever you’ve forgotten.
5. Pop up tents are the bomb! They are super easy to set up – simply throw it into the air and watch it magically unfold in front of your eyes. To fold them up – just think of it as an enormous circular window visor, it’s as easy as that. A blow-up double bed mattress doesn’t fit comfortably into this little gem. As the mattress expands and pushes the walls of the tent outwards, the roof starts closing in. However, I couldn’t wait to jump into my cozy brown and turquoise army bunker and felt like I was safely wrapped in a snug little cocoon all night long.
6. Just to hike up to the well known Totem Pole pool takes an hour and a half. If, like us, you are pressed for time, there are a few alternatives that are just as spectacular. The main rock pool is not even ten minutes from the campsite. If you turn right just before it, you’ll find a path that takes you up to the bum slide and a few other tranquil pools. This hike takes about half an hour.
7. Take a bird book. Beaverlac’s rich diversity of birds includes the Black Eagle, Jackal Buzzard and brightly coloured sunbirds, a bird lover’s paradise.
8. Bring practical and mathematically minded friends. They created a “˜warming drawer’ from a spare grid, a few hot coals and some tin foil. For the amount of meat we braaied (dedicated to Jan Braai on Braai Day) this was absolutely, without doubt the most ingenious creation all weekend.
9. Remember to pack camping clothes. Jeggings, bright orange socks with thongs and exposed milky-white ankles just doesn’t quite crack the cool camper look.
10. Bring a floppy hat, sunglasses and your swimming cozies but don’t forget to pack your beanie, gloves and thermal undies. This place experiences weather not dissimilar to typical unpredictable Cape climatic patterns and conforms to the “˜four seasons in a day’ stereotype.
Tel Office/Shop 022-931-2945, www.beaverlac.co.za
Prices per night per person:
Age 12-adult R45
Age 4-11: R25
Under 3: Free
R15 per car entrance fee
R40 per dog (per night)