When I was a child, I loved camping. I got to spend so much time outside, making new friends and staying up late toasting marshmallows. As I’ve grown older, though, the idea of constructing tents, walking across a field in the middle of the night to go to the loo, and eating baked beans for three nights in a row doesn’t quiet appeal, if I’m honest. Even so, I know Alexander and my husband would probably love to go.
So what what are the options we said to each other a couple of months ago? Well, glamping – or glamorous camping – sounded like the perfect solution. The children (Alexander would be allowed to bring his best friend) would get to experience all the joys of camping, and I would get to enjoy comfy beds, decent cooking and bathroom facilities.
If glamping sounds right up your alley, then continue reading about our recent visit to Africamps at Hoedspruit, South Africa.
Like a lot of parents life is a constant juggling act – running the blog around family life and my day job means my phone is never far from my hand. Often I feel like I have to be checking in with emails, available to reply or chat to clients throughout the day (although I’m getting better with turning my phone off after hours!). When my husband suggested to go away for a long weekend I didn’t have to think twice. We’d never been glamping so when a friend recommended Africamps, I booked almost straight away. We decided to book Africamps at Hoedspruit, located at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg Mountain, just west of Timbavati Game Reserve and Klaserie Nature Reserve, and within half an hour’s drive of Kruger’s Open gate, it’s an area we hadn’t explored yet since arriving in South Africa 2,5 years ago.
Hoedspruit is about a six hour drive from Pretoria but it didn’t feel far at all. The children were happy reading in the back of the car and the beautiful ever-changing South African landscape kept my husband and me occupied through out. We stopped for something to eat at the famous Milly’s cafe and restaurant on the way down, a must stop if you are ever going in that direction.
Six hours later we arrived.
Check in at Africamps was simple, all facilities and amenities were explained, we were given a little map with a route to our tent, our firewood and braai pack and sent on our way across the dam to our tent.
Slowly, we drove towards our home for the next couple of days ; keeping in mind the free roaming residents on the premises including the nyala, zebra, kudu, waterbuck, bushbuck and many more. How incredible!
The first impression when we parked in front of our tent was how large they are.
The tent we stayed in had a large wooden deck overlooking the lake. Open plan dining area and kitchen with all the amenities one would need, including a fireplace for those cold evenings. There are two separate bedroom sections; one with double bed and another with a double with a single bunk above it. A shared bathroom with walk in shower, toilet and a basin. All very spacious and well appointed.
Outside there is a braai and seating area with a wood-burner hot tub to enjoy when the evening chill descends.
After unpacking, we decided not to waste a minute longer and I went off with the children to explore the grounds whilst hubby would get the hot tub and braai ready.
The reserve boasts spectacular views wherever you are. The sounds of nature and animals simply add to the experience. Bird watching is a must, as I believe they have over 150 different species! In fact both fauna and flora are in abundance, a nature lover’s dream. The dam at the reserve is famous for catch-and-release specimen fishing where you can catch carp of over 10kgs, as well as bass bream and barbel! (Conservation of their fish is very important to them, so make sure to ask your host about their special specimen fishing guidelines.) You can bring your own canoe for a relaxing paddle, or unwind with a drink by the pool.
We ended up booking a guided nature walk the same afternoon, before heading back to chill on our deck with a glass of wine and a braai whilst the children played board games and did some more reading.
We didn’t mind the colder weather at all and enjoyed every minute soaking in the views around us.
Africamps are self-catering, however they offered an additional option of breakfast or dinner in a basket that could be delivered to our tent. Yes please!
We absolutely loved the “Cook your Own” breakfast option. The delectable basket was prepped and ready to collect each morning complete with fresh yogurt, bread, fruit, cheese, butter, jam, bacon and eggs. All ready for us to cook our own breakfast and enjoy it with that incredible view. In the evening we enjoyed the “Braai basket”option which contained three kinds of meat, two salads, and garlic bread and marshmallows! Winner! On the second night we had dinner at a nearby Lodge and on the third night I cooked Alexander’s favourite, spaghetti carbonara.
Apart from the wildlife, visitors flock to the area to explore the Panorama Route’s jaw-dropping landscapes and cultural heritage. The Panorama Route includes all the most beautiful views and vistas, waterfalls and natural wonders of the South African Lowveld. Points to check off your list are Graskop Gorge, Pinnacle Rock, God’s Window, Wonder View, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Three Rondavels, and Blyde River Canyon. Remarkable waterfalls to include on your itinerary are Lone Creek Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Sabie Falls, Forest Falls, Mac Mac Pools, Mac Mac Falls, Berlin Falls, and Lisbon Falls.
With so many options to choose from we opted to go on a guided nature walk, a game drive in a nearby private game reserve (including dinner at the game lodge), a visit to the .. a park and we visited the Blyde River Canyon whilst there. There just wasn’t enough time so we need to make sure we come back but I don’t think that will be an issue.
Glamping is a fantastic way for your children to experience the great outdoors with all the creature comforts of home. You don’t have to worry about getting a bad back, packing, putting up and taking down your tent, or walking half a mile to go to the toilet at night. We guarantee it’s a holiday you and your children won’t forget anytime soon.
* Please note that this is not a sponsored post. We paid for our accommodation, activities and everything else.
Let’s light that fire
The perfect spot to hang out
Reading the Africamps magazine (Picnic blanket by Mungo available at the Golden Goose in Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria – soon more about this beautiful brand including more photo’s!)
Admiring the view
Stopping for drinks whilst on safari
Food baskets on request
Enjoying the Blyde River Canyon boat cruise
Great set up