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Bon­te­bok National Park, Swellendam

Sunrise over Bontebok National Park

As we drove through the gates of the Bon­te­bok National Park I got “that look” from my wife. That look being “where are the trees?” look. I got a twinge of panic because as far as the eye can see there is just grass. I knew this was going to a long two days if I could not come up with a plan quickly.

Slowly I blew a sigh of relief as we neared the recep­tion area. I could then see that there should be plenty of shade on the camp site, as some of the pic­tures I have seen, showed.

At recep­tion one can buy some of the basics such as bread , wood etc. Beer and wine is also avail­able. Once again I was amazed at how the rules can be bent in South Africa. As soon as their are tourists involved we can sell liquor on Sun­days! How does that work? I can­not go to my local super­mar­ket on Sun­days and buy a bot­tle of wine, but here I am in the “mid­dle of the bush ” and I can buy beer and wine late on a Sun­day after­noon. Huh ? I don’t under­stand.

This is obvi­ously a very pop­u­lar camp site .We were allo­cated a camp­site between num­bers (I think between 19 and 26). The camp­sites worked on a first come first served basis. Even though we arrived just before lunch time on a Sun­day after­noon, there were no shady spots left to choose from. Even­tu­ally we pitched our tents and forced our chairs into the bush for a tiny spot of shade. As the the shad­ows started to lengthen we saw more than one car dri­ving up and down look­ing for shade. The camp site must have been very nearly full.( Ps all the elec­tri­cally sup­plied sites were booked long in advance.)

Here is plenty to do. If you enjoy walk­ing, you must bring your hik­ing boots along. There are three trails to choose from, offer­ing some spec­tac­u­lar views over the park and the river.

For a less active pas­time, I sug­gest “buck watch­ing”. The buck are so tame that you don’t need a long lens to get decent fotos. You can vir­tu­ally drive up up to the buck and and just about stick the cam­era in their faces, and click away.

Next time we go to Bon­te­bok, moun­tain bik­ing and fresh water angling will also be on my list of things to. As with many other camp sites, there is abun­dant bird life( right in the camp site) to keep you enter­tained for hours on end. If this is some­thing that you enjoy, I sug­gest that you bring a bird­ing book along.

Some­thing else that I would do is take my braai down to rivers edge, and relax under one of the shady trees while I watch the kids swim and fish.

Over­all I must say that I was really impressed, here was much more than I expected. I will def­i­nitely go back some time soon, even though we found it quite expen­sive com­pared to many other camp­sites. Then again how many other camp­sites have Bon­te­bok and other game run­ning through it. This I am sure must cost a fortune.

Friends of ours that have also been here, says that the last time that they were at Bon­te­bok, the buck came into the camp­site and were feed­ing of the trees. What a cool sight that must be.

And my wife. She loved it, and also cant wait to go back.

View Map from Cape Town to Bon­te­bok National Park

Con­tact Details
Tel no

+27 28 514 2735
+27 12 428 9111


33°4906.45″ S 19°4820.72″ E

Cell no Email

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+27 28 514 2646

Web­site click here
Camp Details
Near­est Town Swellendam Max Per­sons Six
Elec­tric­ity Yes Chalets Yes

2h50 from Cape Town

Tips and things to do

These tips will prob­a­bly apply to many camp sites, but this is what we thought should not be forgotten

1.Even in sum­mer it can get quite nippy at night, and my wife really missed her hot water bot­tle
2.Hiking boots
3.Fresh water fish­ing rod
6.Mountain bike

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