With the Kruger National Park on your doorstep how can anything possibly compete, when it comes to camping? Popular campsites like Berg-en-Dal, Maroela, Satara, Balule and Letaba tend to place other camping experiences in the shade, when it comes to bush camping holidays.
But Mpumalanga is not the Kruger alone. Mpumalanga also embraces forests, mountains, gushing rivers and waterfalls, mountain passes that make you gasp and some of the most magnificent scenery in the country.
The province is not dubbed ‘paradise country’ for nothing and big game is not the only draw card, albeit a major one. Towns like Dullstroom, Barberton, Sabie, Graskop and Pilgrim’s Rest, and landmarks like Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes provide plenty of other opportunities for experiencing the outdoor lifestyle.
And not everyone wants to brave Kruger’s large and family-oriented campsites during the school holidays and festive season. For this reason we’ve come up with a list of other campsites worth at least one visit. Some of them are a stone’s throw from Kruger, others centre around flyfishing or the Panorama Route. Some are small and tranquil, others are family affairs. There is something here for everyone.
I Wanna Go Camping! 6 Great Campsites in Mpumalanga
Merry Pebbles Resort, Sabie
Just about everyone who used to holiday in Mpumalanga during the eighties remembers Merry Pebbles. It was popular back then, and remains so today, mostly because of its perfect position on the banks of the Sabie River, just outside the small forestry town of Sabie. Camp stands are shady, grassed and have electricity.
There are four large ablution blocks, a number of kitchen sculleries and a laundromat. You can’t book your favourite spot, however, as the campsite operates on a first come first served basis. And things can get busy during peak season and holidays. But everything’s catered for – there is a restaurant, a small shop, an ATM and swimming pool.
Expect trout fishing, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking and river tubing. You are in the heart of waterfall country and close to the Panorama Route.
Sabie River Camp, Sabie
A relaxing hour drive to and from the Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon, Gods Window and various other spectacular scenes like Mac-Mac, Lone Creek, Bridal Veil and Sabie Waterfalls, Sabie River Camp offer a range of pre-erected self-catering tents; some on stilts and wooden platforms, as well as spacious Luxury Safari Tents with en-suite bathroom and kitchenette.
Luxury Safari Tents are pitched on a solid foundation and boast a well-equipped kitchenette (complete with fridge, two-plate stove as well as all utensils needed for self-catering). They also offer grassed and level camp and caravan sites. Our well grassed and level camp and caravan sites, with electrical points are very popular with campers and caravan alike.
Blyde Canyon A Forever Resort, Panorama Route
Blyde Canyon A Forever Resort is the home of the Three Rondavels and is the only resort offering direct access to the world famous Three Rondavels, the Blyde Canyon Gorge and the World’s End. The resort offers both 3 and 4 star self catering chalet accommodation.
The 100 chalets can accommodate from one to six persons, have one or two bedrooms and a combination of double and single beds, depending on the type of unit. The chalet accommodation is complimented by a private and secluded caravan park, offering 30 sites. The camp is serviced by two ablution blocks and a laundry.
Croc Bridge Safari Lodge, Marloth Park
The Croc Bridge Safari Lodge is situated on the banks of the Crocodile River and borders the world famous Kruger National Park. Located less than 1km from the Crocodile Bridge Gate to the park, the lodge was designed and laid out with guests in mind; the views over the park and the Crocodile River are spectacular and one can easily spot game from the lodge.
Here you will stay in one of six luxury, double en-suite tents which are all equipped with air-conditioners. There is a open plan, thatched lapa which is available for preparing meals and braai facilities are provided. Enjoy an early morning cup of tea or coffee while listening to the sounds of the bush coming to life!
Expect a swimming pool at the lodge, ADSL Internet and on-site parking
Amanzimlotzi Riverside Bush Camp, Hoedspruit
Amanzimlotzi Riverside Bush Camp is a bush camp in the Greater Kruger Park on the Klaserie River, 46 km from Orpen Gate and 35km from Hoedspruit. No luxuries, except the unbelievable night skies with no light or air pollution and free sounds of the wild most nights; the roar of lions and quite regularly leopards, the howling of hyenas and the chattering of monkeys.
For avid campers who bring their own tents and equipment, there is have a lovely, flat and spacious area set aside for camping. There is a small building that contains a kitchen and the ablutions. You can walk freely on the 30 ha farm. There are marked hikes in the dry bush and along the river.
Expect a pool which is open during the summer and if we do not use it our restaurant / lapa can be used for private braais.
Olifants River Lodge, Middelburg
Set in the heart of the Olifants River Valley, only an hour and a half from Pretoria Accommodation, Olifants River Lodge is a great stopover to the Kruger, or weekend getaway from Gauteng. As far as family weekends away go, Olifants River Lodge is hard to beat.
The camp sites and caravan park trail along the Olifants River bank, stands are well grassed and shady and the lodge provides a number of ablution blocks. It caters to families in a big way and children can ride pedal-powered boats on the river, swim in the pool, play table tennis, volleyball, spend time on the jungle gym in the kids playground and go on horse rides.
Expect hiking trails, bird watching, fishing and, at an extra cost, rock climbing, mountain bikes, as well as the restaurant and the bushveld bar.
Panorama Chalets, Graskop
The secret to Panorama View is, the view. Set right on the escarpment the vistas out over Graskop gorge and the lowveld are pretty spectacular and as far as settings go this one is difficult to beat. The swimming pool overlooks the valley and the surrounding mountains in a way that makes one feel one has escaped from it all.
The bonus is that the campsite has only 21 grassed stands, some of them also overlooking the gorge, each with an electrical outlet. Not every stand is shaded but that doesn’t stop its being popular, and if you want to stay there during holidays you’ll probably have to book ahead. There’s a no noise policy after 9pm.
Expect hiking trails, a big swing and foefie slide, quad bikes, 4X4 trails, abseiling, river rafting and horse riding. There is also a little coffee shop for light meals and breakfasts.
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