Glamping in Oudtshoorn ~ When we were planning to have a romantic winter weekend in the Karoo, camping was right at the bottom of my wish list (right above walking barefoot on broken glass or letting piranhas eat out of my hand). I mean, 1) a tent in 2) the Karoo in 3) winter. Thank you, next.
And that’s all great because it hadn’t crossed our minds to camp. We’d booked a chalet made from real brick and mortar. But, after some significant disappointment that deserves a disgruntled blog post of its own, we found ourselves on a last-minute hunt for overnight accommodation in Oudtshoorn. Enter: SA-Venues.com.
We wanted something that was warm, comfy and romantic. And that’s where AfriCamps comes in. It popped up right at the top of our search and we promptly booked. But, we knew this wasn’t a sandy campsite with cold water and shared ablutions. We knew this was special. We knew because there were stunning pictures on the website. This is … Glamping in Oudtshoorn.
We headed there in the late afternoon; just in time for the Golden Hour, when the light turns the mountains, scrubby veld and vineyards of the Karoo 100 different shades of gold. But, it wasn’t just the mountainous backdrop or the tranquil sounds of the bush that made us swoon.
We soon headed to our tented chalet and I was an instant convert. Although they are tents in a very broad form of the word, they are so much more. Perched on timber platforms, each chalet is a comfy home away from home, with plenty of added extras and cute features. And, I should add that the host was especially warm, welcoming and thorough in his explanation of available tours and facilities.
There are 12 of these luxury tents, each covering 55 square metres and equipped to sleep up to five people. Both bedrooms have a queen-size bed with irresistible linen, and the second bedroom also has a single bed (above the queen, like a bunk-bed). The bathroom has a spacious and cool look and feel, with elements of container-living and bringing the outdoors in.
The kitchen, lounge and dining area are open-plan; with the added bonus of a fireplace to warm the space on chilly winter’s evenings. There is also air-conditioning for sweltering summer days and cold Karoo nights.
The kitchen is equipped with a gas stove and a small fridge, as well as all of the necessary cutlery and crockery. Tea, coffee and cold filtered water is available too. There is even free Wi-Fi so that you can Instagram every gorgeous part of your AfriCamps experience.
But, the best part, in my opinion, is that the entire front canvas “wall” of the tent rolls up, which means that you can extend the living area onto the outdoor wooden patio, which overlooks the breath-taking countryside. The patio has a table, chairs and a big built-in braai area.
If all camping could be like this, I could certainly get used to it.
As we watched the sun set over the mountains with one of the local award-winning whiskies in hand, we were reminded of just how much South Africa has to offer as a destination. Semi-desert, mountain ranges, bush, forests, waterfalls, beaches, quaint towns and bustling cities. We really do have it all.
We were interrupted by a group of small free-roaming antelope that came to sniff us out and see if we were handing out treats. Friendly piece of advice: they apparently don’t like naartjies. There are also zebra, kudu, nyala, springbok and impala on the farm.
We’re parents, so we really just needed the time alone. But, families that bring their little ones are in for a treat. At the main reception area, there is a swimming pool, a small kiddies’ pool, and a play area.
The AfriCamps tents are set on a working ostrich farm. There are game drives to see the ostriches and learn more about them. There are also game drives to visit the local meerkats. Guests can go stargazing or hiking too.
Nearby, there is the Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, where the hippos can be seen in their watery home while you’re sipping on a strawberry gin and tonic or a cold beer. The Cango Wildlife Ranch and Conservation Centre is a few minutes away from AfriCamps Glamping in Oudtshoorn and is just perfect for families and anyone that wants to get up close to some wild locals.
You can touch a cheetah or have a lemur on your lap, you can pose with a massive boa or cage dive with crocodiles. The magnificent Cango Caves are about 25 minutes from AfriCamps and are well worth the visit.
AfriCamps can be found at various gorgeous locations around South Africa. These are: