Last weekend I succumbed to peer pressure and went camping. I did a 39 day trip through Africa at the beginning of 2000 and after camping for most of those 38 nights I vowed I would never, ever camp again! But the group invite for a weekend away was sent and I don’t like to miss out … so I saw the inside of a tent again.
Our destination was Beaverlac in the Cederberg and my goodness it is beautiful. The entire journey was less than three hours including missing a few turnoffs on the way out of the Mother City and the bathroom break so it’s a completely do-able trip for after work on a Friday.
Beaverlac is situated on the Grootfontein Farm and as a Natural Heritage Site the farm is committed to preserving this wilderness area tucked up in the Olifants River Mountains. The farm is surrounded by mountains and also has the good fortune of having two rivers running through it; the Ratel and Olifants. This makes for great fishing and even better swimming!
Facilities at Beaverlac are basic – there are no laid out camp sites; everyone just finds themselves a spot wherever they see fit and there is no electricity so make sure you pack the braai grid. The ablution blocks are clean and I was lucky enough to always have hot water! There is also a shop on site which sells wood, ice and other necessary provisions.
However, our party of eight (and two dogs) were not here to inspect the showers – we were here to kick back and relax and that we did.
The two rivers have, over the years, channelled their way into beautiful pools and waterfalls. Most of our group went for a walk on Saturday to Tontem Pools – this is about 5kms from the camp site and once you get to the pools you are normally rewarded with being the only ones there. If however you are not in the mood for a long walk, or as in my case you have an eight week old puppy to keep an eye on, then rest assured that you will be able to cool down on a hot day. A huge mountain pool, complete with waterfall is only a five minute walk from the campsite and we spent a good few hours here. This pool was fantastic – it was almost as if someone had designed it with a lovely flat rock to sit on right at the waters edge!
The tranquillity of Beaverlac is wonderful. Although the camp site is large there never seemed to be too much noise and campers generally stuck to the ‘no noise after 10pm’ rule. Even the dogs seemed to behave themselves! So if you are looking for somewhere to really, really relax then head to Beaverlac – you can walk in the mountains or you can just lie in the shade and catch up on some reading; the choice is yours.
At R35 per person per night camping (and R30 per dog) the rates will not break the bank either! If camping is really not your idea of fun then there are a number of wooden cottages available for hire at a slightly higher price.
Beaverlac: +27 (0)22 931-2945