The South African ‘Outback’

Camping is engraved into the hearts of most South Africans. A favourite pastime; families and friends gather at remote locations to experience the incredible wonders of the outdoors. There’s something almost palpable about the excitement, the relaxation and the warmth that radiates from people who spend time in nature this way. While there’s every variation of terrain available to avid campers, Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve offers something new; an escape into an area which has been preserved, frozen-in-time even. The otherworldly rock formations and landscapes ooze the feeling of being encapsulated in days gone by when hunters and gatherers roamed this vast land. Rough vegetation, a plethora of interesting critters and rolling valleys of red sand; this is the South African ‘Outback’.

View over the Fynbos plains


Just as our team, at Kagga Kamma today, appreciates and loves the region, so too, did the Khoisan tribes. Many moons and starlit skies ago, the Khoi and San tribes lived off the land; foraging the fynbos, hunting the antelope and sleeping under these very same skies. The San were, in fact, the original Kagga Kamma campers. Their huts, which our Hut Suites are fashioned to resemble, were made from the tall, tough grasses on the property and built to resemble a dome-like shape, much like the typical two-man-sleeper tents of today. These huts would be erected for short periods, while the San people foraged an area. When the time came for the tribe to move on, these huts would be disassembled, left to decompose and return to the earth, and new ones would be made to replace them in a new location.

Kagga Kamma, tucked deep in the Cederberg region of the Western Cape, is a sought-after destination for camping enthusiasts, just as it was to these age-old tribes. Secluded and set against the backdrop of fascinating rock formations, the camping grounds provide for an environment conducive to digital detoxing, relaxation and a night sky lit up with millions of stars; a Milky Way ceiling as far as the eye can see.


Sunset at Swartrug Campsite
Sunset at Swartrug Campsite by @teamus.hb

These camping grounds are the main campsites on the Nature Reserve and can be located just beyond the Kagga Kamma Chalets. There are five stands, alongside one another, each accommodating a maximum of six adults. Made for the enthusiastic but not necessarily hard-core, the stands are within walking distance of ablution facilities, where there is clean, running water. We believe in ‘digital detoxing’ and as such, do not offer electricity at any of our camping grounds; this adds to the experience of spending a night out on the fynbos plains, much like the San tribes would have spent their evenings.


Camping at Bobbejaanskrans Campsite
Camping at Bobbejaanskrans Campsite

Bobbejaanskrans is much further afield from Swartrug and can be located near the start of the Kagga Kamma 4X4 Trail; approximately one hour’s drive away from the Main Lodge. This site is suitable for eight adults and is a true test of rugged camping and camping gadgets. There is no running water or electricity, and there are no ablution facilities available here. The campsite is only accessible by 4X4 vehicle. This space lends itself to stepping away from a modern world to listen to the stridulating of beetles, the crackling of logs on a fire and the wild call of a black-backed jackal.

Joubert’s Werf

Nighttime at Joubert's Werf Campsite
Nighttime at Joubert’s Werf Campsite

The largest of the camping grounds available, Joubert’s Werf is completely isolated and offers space for maximum 20 adults. This retreat into the wilderness can be found along the 4X4 Trail and offers nothing but the scent of fynbos and an endless African sky. There is no running water or electricity, and there are no ablution facilities available here. The campsite is only accessible by 4X4 vehicle. This open space is typical of the kind of area where the San communities would have built their huts; large enough to accommodate a family, with a clearing where they would gather to cook and a view into the plains they would’ve foraged and hunted on.


Wildlife on the Fynbos plains

While the Kagga Kamma campsites are stretched far and wide across the Nature Reserve, there is no better way to be connected to the incredible Cederberg. Evenings are spent around warm fires, igniting tails of red into the night sky, while soaking up the sounds on the evening breeze. Mornings are lit with pale sunlight, casting shadows through the vegetation and onto the soft sand. It is so easy to get lost in thought for hours when surrounded by all this serene beauty.

For more information on camping at Kagga Kamma, please be in touch with our team: We look forward to welcoming you to the South African ‘Outback’.

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