Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Rondeberg Resort - Bulshoek Dam.

At the beginning of November we decided to try somewhere new to celebrate Colleen's birthday. For quite a while we had been looking to stay at the Rondeberg Resort on the Bulshoek dam, some 22 kilometers north of Clanwilliam on the Oliphants river. It is quite a long drive from Cape Town and there are ongoing roadworks in the area, so we decided to book in on a Sunday for a change as the traffic in the area would be lighter than on a weekday.

I had been looking at their website and they offered 3 different types of camping accomodation. There was General camping at R250.00 per night with a communal ablution block, Private camping at R300.00 per night with your own ablutions, braai area, shadeport and cooking/washing up area. The 3rd option was Waterside camping at R300.00 per night on the waters edge with your own private ablutions. We opted for the Private camping.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon after driving up in rather rainy and windy weather. Cape Town having experienced a severe storm on Sunday morning. However when we arrived the weather was clear but a bit windy. We set up in one of the private campsites and I must say that I was very impressed with what you got for just R50.00 more per night than the general campsites. We opened our trailer under the shadeport and therefore did not even have to erect the tent section.

The Bulshoek dam is on the Oliphants river and is fed from the overflow from the Clanwilliam Dam. The water is fairly warm and very nice and clear. Much nicer for SUP's, kayaks, swimming and boating than the resorts along the Breede River and we spent many hours on our inflatable SUP's. There is a boat launching slipway in the resort. There is a small swimming pool and a tramopline for the kids as well. There is a small shop onsite for a few items such as milk, bread and braai wood etc.

The resort is very well run and maintained and although relatively expensive for a campsite, very good value for money. I had a look at the general campsite ablutions as well and they were spotlessly clean and quite upmarket. We will be back in the new year, probably in April or May when the weather is a bit cooler in the area.

I did not take many photo's but here are a few.  

View from our campsite.


View from the hiking trail.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Altyd Water - Rawsonville

Last month we decided to try somewhere new to us and decided on Altyd Water (It translates as "Always Water) on a farm near Rawsonville just behind the Du Toit's Kloof Winery. There was not too much information available on the internet other than their Facebook page but it did look very nice. We booked our usual midweek 4 nights from a Monday to Friday. It was only just over an hours drive from us so we arrived there a bit earlier than expected but this was not a problem as we had the place to ourselves, other than one other overnight visitor who arrived late on Monday and left early on Tuesday morning.

The campsite is unusual in that there are no marked out sites. There are several electricity boxes spaced out around the campsite and you just choose where to camp wherever you like. The campsite is on the banks of the Smalblaar river, which although not very deep, has crystal clear water and is great for swimming in a few of the deeper pools. There is a cenetral Lapa/Entertainment area with shade cover, benches and basins with taps, so we pitched near this.
The whole site has several trees for shade a lush and green grass in a very beautiful setting.

Here are a few photo's

Crytal clear water

 View from the campsite towards Worcester.

Views around the camsite and farm.

 Looking back at the campsite from downstream.

The ablutions are in one block behind the campsite and get 5 stars.
On the left side there are 2 showers and 2 toilets with wash basins. On the right hand side there are 2 bathrooms with a shower, toilet and wash basin in each. In the centre there is a washing up area.

We had very nice weather except for the Wednesday, when it was cloudy and it rained quite heavily in the evening. However on Thursday morning it cleared up again nicely.

We went into Rawsonville one day to buy a few essentials that we had forgotten to pack. Not a great experience. There are only a few very run down and small supermarkets/cafes there. It is best to take everything with you unless you are prepared to drive all the way to Worcester.

I spoke to the farmer and he advised that if you have a group they will allocate the whole site to you for a weekend if you have 20+ people in your group. Otherwise they do not allow more than 40 people per weekend.

Definitely going back here one day.

New update..... We have returned for another visit in April 2016 and I made a video with a camera drone. I have uploaded it to the log and it shows as a new post.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Silwerstrand Robertson

It has been a while since I updated this blog. Since my last post we have been camping a few times to Leentjiesklip and eventually over a long weekend in September we went with the Trekkers, Laarger 8 to Silwerstrand in Robertson on the banks of the Breede River for 4 nights.

I understand that the campsite is now managed by Antionette, the owner of the Montagu Caravan Park, who has many years experience and does a wonderful job. We arrived around lunch time and were personally shown to our site by a very friendly and helpful staff member. The access road was tar nearly all the way with the last 150 meters or so being gravel. This was not a problem, however a Northerly wind blew for the most part and the other users of the road tend to speed up and down, causing huge clouds of dust to blow over the whole campsite. Maybe a couple of severe speed bumps might help with this. 

It did not take us long to set up and we relaxed and waited for the others to arrive. We had our inflatable Standup Paddle Boards which we inflated and also went for an paddle up the river. Once you crossed a narrow channel upstream there was quite a long and lovely stretch that was navigable. Since we took our boards to Klipkrans in April this year, a few of the other members of the Trekkers have also obtained SUP's.

On the Friday we visited Excelsior Wine estate to go and buy some wine and ended up having a very nice lunch in their restaurant. It seems to be the marketing strategy in the area for wine farms that also have restaurant facilities to have not only very resonable prices for excellent food but to also sell the wines in the restaurant at cellar prices. It seems to work very well for the local tourism industry in the area.

Over the weekend the weather got even better, the dust subsided and we spent many hours on the river and braaing in the evenings with the other Trekkers.

Even though the campsite was fully booked for the weekend, it did not feel crowded as it is very well spread out. The main ablutions were pretty old and dated, but were cleaned regularily. There is a much newer and smaller ablution block near the fron entrance. I think they do plan to upgrade the main ablutions shortly.

On the Sunday morning, which was our last day, we woke up to rain. We were contemplating staying another night to let our camper dry out. However, by late morning the weather cleared up, so we quickly packed up and departed for home.

There is quite a lot of competition for campsights in the area, so next time we will probably try one of the other campsites but am sure that we will be going back to Silwerstrand sometime in the future. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015


For a while I have been looking at going to Klipkrans on the Breede River just outside Worcester. Their website looked good as well as very positive comments on their facebook page and other pages on facebook dedicated to camping. I got a newsletter from the Trekkers Outdoor Recreation Club, laarger 8, to which we belong saying that they were booking a section of the campsite over a long weekend at the end of April. Now as I have mentioned before, I usually try to avoid camping over the weekends to avoid the crowds but the Trekkers are a really lovely bunch of people and at least you would have people you know all around you. In fact as it turned out, the campsite at Klipkrans is divided into 3 sections and we were allocated almost all of the one section with one other party on 3 of the sites, who also turned out to be great people.

We arrived quite early on the Friday, after phoning them to confirm that this was o.k. as after packing the trailer at home we were ready to go. We found the place easily enough as there are good directions on their website. After entering the access gate with the supplied code, we had to negotiate 3km of fairly rough and narrow gravel road to the campsite but took this slowly. There was a list posted on the entrance kiosk door indicating our allocated section and we moved on to a nice grassed site on the waters edge. After seeting up we relaxed under our gazebo as it was a lovely warm day and waited for the others to arrive.

Here is a view over the river from our site.

During the rest of the day several others arrived but most arrived after dark, towing some quite large caravans over the rough dirt access road. I had read a few comments on various facebook pages from people saying that they would not tow a large van along this road but this photo proves that it can be done.

Saturday dawned with stunning weather and we went for a long paddle on our SUP's. There is around a 2.5km long stretch of water on the river that is great for this. However in the afternoon a strong North Westerly came up and we battened down the hatches and sat it out. However it calmed down in the evening and we were treated to a lovely sunset.

Sunday dawned to another stunning day, warming up quite quickly after a farily cold night and we spent most of the day on the river on our SUP's with a few of the other Trekker members also having a go. There are also a couple of kayak's at the campsite available as well. A lot of other campers were also fishing in the river and we saw a couple of nice size carp coming out.

Another photo of the campsite and some sunset shots.

On Monday we awoke to yet another stunning day and this was a repeat of the previous day except that we had a braai at lunchtime. After lunch most of the others packed up and departed for home but we had opted to stay another night.

Tuesday morning dawned again with lovely weather and once our tent and gazebo had dried out from the early morning dew, we packed up and took a leisurely drive home.

This was one of the nicest campsites that we have been to and a repeat visit is definitely on the cards. The ablutions are very good with lots of hot water and there were another two toilets with hand basins situated at the section on which we were camping.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Skurwekop - Robertson

With a break of not camping due to the Easter long weekend and school holidays, which are times when we prefer not to camp as the local campsites get extremely crowded and noisy, I was looking for somewhere to go for a few days and decided to find somewhre new.

With a lot of research on the internet I finally decided on Skurwekop, near Robertson which is about 150 kilometers away from us. It is situated on a farm along a wide stretch of the Breede river and looked very well suited to Standup paddling with nice lawned sites. After checking the weather forecast, which looked good I booked to stay there for 4 nights from Monday to Friday.

We arrived there on the Monday with gorgeous warm weather. We had a great choice of sites as we were the only people there and chose a nice spacious site on the waters edge. We are getting pretty good with setting our trailer up and shortly after we arrived were relaxing with a cold beer. Setting up is thirsty work!

Skipper Navigator
That night we got the braai going in our mini weber braai with a nice salad from home and were priviliged to also have a lovely sunset.

The next morning we woke up to another lovely day, quite cloudy but fairly warm and calm. After breakfast we decided to explore the river a bit while we doing this and went for a nice long paddle. The wind came up a bit so we did not go too far downstream as it meant coming back against the breeze. The owner of the farm, Nico told us however that the river is just as wide and deep for another two ans a half kilometers downstream towards Robertson. Going upstream one can only go about 300 meters before reaching some rapids.

 One of the reasons why we chose to go to the Robertson area was also because of all the attractions in the area. We had a very nice lunch at the restaurant at Rooiberg Winery, just up the road from the campsite. Of course we did a winetasting while there and bought some wine as well. On another day we took a drive, stopping at Arabella wine estate to buy some wine and went on to check out another campsite the other side of Montagu, called Doringlaagte. We will definitely be going there sometime in the future as it is stuated on a large dam, also good for Standup paddling.   

I also took a few photo's of the campsite and ablutions for easy reference to see what to expect if you go there. The ablutions, by the way, are immaculate and very upmarket. On the first night we had the place to ourselves and on the second day, one other couple arrived and thoughtfully chose a spot a few sites away from us.

On our 2nd  last day we awoke to some light rain, which continued most of the day, so we just relaxed in our tent with our ereaders. The rain is just a part of camping. When we awoke on the Friday, it had stopped raining which made packing up much easier.

The campsite is extremely well run and very well maintained. An absolute gem. 

You can click on any of the photo's above to see a larger version.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Karoo National Park.

Again I have not updated this blog for a while. The reason being that we had not been anywhere new. Since the last update we have been to Leentjieskip, Langebaan once and back to Dwarsberg Trout Haven twice. We also do not camp while school holidays are on as it is just too crowded.

Anyway, we were invited to get together with friends from our motorcycling days to their annual rally which was held in Nieu Bethesda this year and because of the distance, we decided to make a camping trip of it and stay at the Karoo National Park near Beaufort West for a couple of days on the way up and then again at Ebb and Flow in the Wilderness on the way back.

Anyway, we arrived there around Noon on a Wednesday, after a 450km drive from home. Just about the maximum distance I like to do in one day when towing the Skipper. It was hot but after choosing a nice site, we set up camp in a short space of time. We are getting pretty good at it now and Colleen is pretty amazing in action.

Skipper Navigator

The campsite at the park is lovely and very well maintained, which is the norm for Sanparks. It is very popular with the 4x4 community as there are many 4x4 trails in the park. Many of the other campers had 4x4 vehicles with rooftop tents. The sites are a bit small but we did see one large caravan which managed to fit in.

The next morning we decided to go on an early morning game drive. The game viewing area's gate open at 6.00am and we were there just as it opened. We decided to do the 45km circular route in a clockwise direction, thinking that we would stand a better chance of seeing game in the flat open area's at the start of the drive than in the mountainous area's towards the end. It turned out just the opposite. The majority of the animals that we saw were in the mountainous last part of the drive. I had forgotten to pack my camera so all we had was Colleen's little point and shoot camera. However I was pleased with the quality of the images that it produced (with a little Photoshop Lightroom tweaking).

Towards the end of the drive we descended the Klipspringer Pass, an absolutely awesome drive and a lovely end to our adventure.

Klipspringer pass

The rest of the day was spent chilling out at the campsite. We also visited the swimming pool at the Bulkraal picnic area and also the main pool near the reception and self catering chalets. Both lovely.

Definitely worth a visit and highly recommended.