A Holiday Camp Out

The Midlands MagazineJanuary 30, 2023

We look at a few camping spots where you can spend a night or two – whether it’s just you, a partner, or the kiddies too.

For nature lovers, and those who are looking for a more rugged outing experience and something different than chalets or cottages, camping is the way to go. Whether it’s just for one night or a few, below we look at four camping sites and what they offer, so grab your tent, sleeping bag, potjie, your favourite flask, and of course a pack of marshmallows, and let’s go on a trip! 


Bushwillow Caravan Park is just 21 kilometres out of Howick, along the Karkloof road. It’s nestled below the lush indigenous forest; and has several dams around the park. The Shaw family has lived here since 1852. It is a true gem of a place for those seeking tranquillity, fine bird-viewing spots, and fun, or challenging, hiking trails leading right up to the top of Mount Gilboa. It’s worth the huff and puff to enjoy the breathtaking views! But, if you prefer just staying put, you can swim or float around on a tube in one of the dams or wander around the gorgeous flower gardens. 

The camping sites are grassed, have power points and the ablution block is clean and spacious. The 2022 rates are R125 per person per night, and R85 for kiddies under 12 years old, but during peak times and long weekends the prices are R150 and R95, respectively. 



Mount Park Guest Farm is located in Dargle, just over 20 kilometres from the Dargle/Impendle turn-off in Lion’s River. It can’t be missed as it’s nestled right at the foot of the iNhlosane Mountain which offers several hiking trails. There is a dam for swimming or fishing, as well as a children’s playground, and a field for all sorts of ball games. 

While you have options to either stay in one of the cottages or the main house, which is over 100 years old, the camping facilities will bring you even closer to the surrounding natural beauty and an Oak tree that’s over 150 years old! There are 19 grassed campsites with electricity points and ablution blocks with showers and one including a bath. There are portable braais available and dishwashing facilities. The weekend rates are R160 per adult and R80 per child, and midweek is R120 and R60, respectively. Longer-term stays are also available. If you prefer something a bit less rugged, glamping is also an option. There are three tents available, two with two beds and one with four beds, with all the necessary provisions to have a comfortable stay. 


Speaking of glamping (just to keep those who like a more luxurious camping experience in mind), family-owned Gowan Valley Guest Farm offers KZN AfriCamps tents all fully-equipped with two bedrooms. It’s ideal for a romantic getaway or a holiday with the family (children can stay for free if they’re under two years old). Some of the features include a wood-fired outdoor hot tub, air conditioning, and electric blankets. It’s self-catering with options to pre-order breakfast and dinner baskets. Gowan Valley Guest Farm is ideally situated along the R103 in Balgowan with the Mpofana River flowing alongside it, which only invites fun picnics, swimming, or relaxing walks in the indigenous forest. There is also a 500-year-old Yellowwood tree! If you think glamping is more your thing, the available rates for low season midweek and weekend, high season, and peak season are available from the Gowan Valley website. 


Glensheiling Caravan Park is also along the R103, just a few kilometres from Nottingham Road. It is described as “our piece of paradise” and “where our guests are our family” and you will feel right at home. There are 30 camping sites with available electricity points. The sites vary from the more secluded to open areas near the dam. Boasting absolute tranquillity with a variety of activities, from bass fishing in the dam, and swimming, there are boats and a raft, and a floating jetty. There is a foefie slide for all who dare to adventure and the kiddies will love the trampoline. Or you can explore and walk in the pine forest or natural bush with spectacular views, or play a variety of games like pool, table tennis, croquet, darts, and chess at the communal braai area at the dam. The ablutions are semi-private consisting of a bathroom and shower with cold and hot water available. The prices for camping are R150 per adult per night and it’s half-price for children under 12 years old. During Easter and Christmas prices will vary.   


If you are not a regular camper, don’t let the idea of it put you off, you will be too busy adventuring to worry about the comforts you left at home, and they will be there when you get back, but if you are an avid camper why not try somewhere new? Wherever you choose to visit this holiday season you will not be disappointed with the fresh summery breeze, open vistas,  and fun activities suited for everyone – maybe take an extra stash of marshmallows just in case.   


Words by: Alicia du Plessis