I’d road tripped along the Garden Route several years ago and fell in love with its rugged natural beauty back then, so I couldn’t resist seeing it again on our recent visit. This stretch of wilderness along the South African coastline east of Cape Town is full of wildlife, lush green national parks and pristine beaches. Here, you can get away from the noisy city, towering buildings and the plush hotels of Cape Town. We would be getting out into nature so it only seemed fitting that we should stay in a more rural style of accommodation to match our surroundings.
Africamps offer glamping in several working farms in South Africa, providing guests with a completely natural setting but with the benefits of a boutique style of camping. As we were road tripping along the Garden Route over several days, we stayed at two of Africamps locations during our trip – Plettenberg Bay and Wilderness – both wonderfully peaceful retreats that gave us a true feel of wild Africa. The accommodations are down winding gravel tracks, far away from the road and civilisation with no chance of traffic noise – or noise of any sort for that matter except the tweeting of birds and the chirping of crickets.
Africamps at Ingwe, Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg is a nature and wildlife lovers’ paradise with so many attractions in the area, from walking with elephants to incredible monkey and bird sanctuaries (I’ll tell you more about all the wildlife in my next post!), so we spent three nights at Ingwe so that we could fully explore this part of the Garden Route whilst also enjoying a bit of down time in the gorgeous swimming pool surrounded by fields of green and mountains in the distance.
The views from the deck of the elevated tent were beautiful, and I loved enjoying my morning coffee out here (or my evening wine), looking off into the distance out over the rolling green hills.
We did some wildlife spotting from here too, quietly watching a family of deer grazing on the grass right outside the tent below us.
Africamps at Oakhurst, Wilderness
Not too far from the town of George, about half way along the Garden Route, we only had one night at Oakhurst on our route back to Cape Town but we made the most of it, arriving early, and exploring everything on the site from the swimming pool to the playground hidden deep within the forest.
Oakhurst is a working dairy farm so as soon as we arrived we followed the mooing noises to the barn where we watched the cows being milked and the cute fluffy calves being fed. It was the sweetest thing to watch; Evie adored the friendly baby cows and kept reaching out her hand to stroke their noses.
Then off she went to have a little adventure of her own, helping the ladies with work on the farm, attempting to move wheelbarrows and big buckets. Evie loves being outside, exploring new things, and there is so much natural space for children to run and play here.
Both locations offer different activities including horse back riding, hiking and fishing, but the actual tented accommodations are identical. My mum was a little wary when I first told her where we would be staying. She is not the sort of person who likes camping so words such as “tent”, “glamping” and “nature” gave her a bit of a fright – much to my humour! So when we arrived at a huge decked tent with a fully equipped kitchen, two bedrooms with queen size beds, a bathroom with a proper flushing toilet and a luxuriously hot rain shower, her horrifying ideas of glamping suddenly disappeared!
This is what I love about Africamps; it has all the feels of camping being out in nature with wild surroundings, but with a touch of luxury for those who aren’t actually fans of camping. It provides the best of both worlds!
The front entrance opens up like a normal tent so we could enjoy the warmth of the African sunshine on a sunny morning, or zip it up, throw some wood on the fire and turn the heating on when the nights got a bit chilly.
An extra touch of luxury comes in the form of an outdoor wood-fired hot tub, surrounded by trees and with views over the hills or the forest, depending on which location you’re in. It was rather heavenly to soak in the warmth of the water whilst looking up at the stars in the night sky. Even when it started to rain the tranquil setting didn’t deter us!
Breakfast baskets can be ordered and delivered to the tent in the morning in a wicker picnic basket full of goodies. Our basket included a box of fresh eggs, vegetarian sausages, a selection of fruit and yoghurt, pastries, juice and milk. Tea and coffee is already provided in the kitchen so we had a huge breakfast that lasted us two mornings.
Oakhurst offer home cooked meals which you can buy from the little onsite shop. As we only had one night here and didn’t want to leave our cosy accommodation for an evening meal elsewhere, we bought ourselves a vegetarian lasagne and a chicken pie which we cooked back in our tent and enjoyed with a bottle of wine while the fire kept us toasty and warm.
Apologies but the food was so good that we dug straight in and I totally forgot to take a photo – bad blogger! So instead here’s a photo of my mum and Evie getting the food ready in the adorably vintage kitchen.
You realise how serene a place it really is when night falls and the sky gets dark. With no city lights to interrupt the view, the moon and literally hundreds of twinkling stars lit up the night sky. I stayed out on the deck for over an hour, alone as all the other girls were asleep, and just sat looking up at the sky in utter amazement. In that moment I felt the happiest I have felt in a long time. In my favourite place in the entire world, with my favourite people in the entire world, with all this natural beauty all around me.
I also knew how much Evie had loved it here as she was non-stop smiling, laughing and exploring our surroundings. She even began to say the word “happy” during our stay.
Thank you to Africamps for hosting us on a true natural African experience that made us all extremely happy!
Have you ever stayed anywhere as serene out in nature like this? Do you like camping or glamping? Let me know in the comments below or at: