A camping guide to the Eastern Cape 

Those looking to camp in the Eastern Cape are truly spoilt for choice. Many campsites can be found close to wildlife and nature reserves, the coast, and notable landmarks. Furthermore, there are options for every kind of camper – from the glampers, to the ones who would prefer to rough it out. This is a truly remarkable way to experience the unique beauty of South Africa. Here are some campsite options for your trip… 

Marlu Farm Camping 

Located in the Karoo Heartland, Marlu is a convenient base from which one can explore attractions of surrounding areas. This private site can accommodate up to twenty people, but operates on one reservation at a time – ensuring that campers are able to have a private, personal, and comfortable experience. The site is based on a riverbank below the Grootriver Mountains, from which the fresh water is supplied. Although there is no electricity on the site, hot water is available through a gas geyser, and paraffin lamps and candles are provided. Other facilities include a private toilet (including a shower), kitchen area with a sink and counter, and parking under the trees. The main house on site offers TV, free Wi-Fi, and a cash bar available if campers select dinner options when booking. 

Campers can enjoy watching birds, kudu, and other game in the area. They can fish, swim, and canoe in the river if it is full enough. 

Coombs View Tented Camp 

This one is for the glampers. Coombs View is a popular self-catering guesthouse found in the Frontier Country area. The campsite consists of three furnished tents – one with two rooms including a double bed and two singles, another with a double, and the third with two singles. Each tent has its own bathroom. Guests can make use of the swimming pool, kitchen, and wifi at the main lodge. Other facilities include tea, coffee, and braai facilities in the tents, access to pets (by request), concierge. Game drives, babysitting, and airport transfers can be arranged by prior request. Guests can also enjoy guided tours, and bird watching. 

Areena Riverside Resort 

Along the Kwelera River in the Wild Coast of East London, Areena Riverside Resort boasts a variety of activities and attractions. Accommodation options include luxurious self-catering timber chalets, cottages, and rondavels. Two to six people can stay at each unit, making it perfect for family getaways. On the side of the river, five timber chalets allow you to bird watch and view game from a deck that overlooks the river. 

Guests can do zipline tours at the “Adventure Village”, or try the quad bike safari. Other activities include canoeing, paintballing, and pellet gun shooting. Children and teens will love the childrens’ pool, playground, and tennis court – and all can enjoy the farm on which emu, sheep, turkeys, and goats graze. 

Van Stadens Resort 

The Van Stadens Resort is a large but tranquil escape from the city, that still has close access to local malls, shops and restaurants. Guests are welcome to bring tents or caravans to the lawns, or they can book the rondavel, chalet, or one of the beach houses. Activities include sand boarding, peddle boating, paddle skiing, canoeing, fishing, table tennis, and of course, swimming in the lagoon. Stays are free for children aged 5 and below! Children can enjoy the swings, and trampolines. 

Alpine Swift Trails 

This one is a true getaway in the Southern Drakensberg, with various kinds of accommodation including campsites, wild campsites, a self-catering cottage and rondawel, single rooms, and a chalet. Play tennis and swim in the natural pool next to the main camp site, which can sleep up to 10. Wild camping involves picking your own spot along the river, under the trees. Feel free to bird watch and explore the many trails. Pigs, sheep, cattle, and horses graize nearby. 

Facilities for those staying in buildings or main camping include braai options, basins, and tables, chairs, water, power points, bathrooms with showers, security, a grocery store, and Wi-Fi and a swimming pool available at the restaurant for R50 per person. 

For wild campers, the bathrooms and restaurant may be a bit of a longer walk depending on which site you choose (50 to 500m), and there are no electricity points available. 

Other activities include tennis, gym, mountain biking, hiking, catch and release fly fishing, trail and road running, and range driving for R50 per person. 

Woody Cape Backpackers and Nature Lodge 

Surrounded by the Alexandria forest in the Addo National Park, this large lodge allows for privacy for any visiting groups or individuals. It also offers several different accommodation options, including self-catering chalets, dorms, and campsites, fit for various budgets. Facilities include a swimming pool, access to free Wi-Fi, braais, communal kitchen, restaurant and bar, bus stop and free shuttle service, cleaning services, and a short walk to the beach that makes up part of the Alexandria dune field, which is the largest active dune field in the world. 

All pets are welcome! However, dogs must be kept on leads at all times, and owners must clean up after them. Outdoor activities include Addo tours, canoeing, horse riding trails, and overnight hikes. The lodge is situated nearby the Kariega River, where guests can canoe, fish, and enjoy game reserves and boat cruises. 

Elundini Backpackers 

Found in the Amathole Mountains close to the village of Hogsback, Elundini Backpackers offers guests an affordable getaway. Traditional buildings come with eco-friendly toilets and solar electricity. Activities include cooking classes, isiXhosa language lessons, and village tours. Mountain biking trails and hiking options with local guides can be booked in advance, unless you would like to explore them yourself. Charging points are available in the main building, and there are toilets with showers on site for guests. Self-catering is optional, with staff available to cook meals if requested. Other trails and a game reserve can be found in surrounding areas.