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The fruit bowl of Africa, Cape Town

Cape Town’s spectacular natural surroundings, majestic mountains, coursing rivers and sweeping valleys make for the ideal setting for such a laid-back camping vacation, so load up the camper and make for the coast.

From Cape Town, you can start a coastal road trip to Durban passing through Port Elizabeth and East London along the way. Alternatively, you can head North to Upington  and then cross the border to explore the beautiful country that is Namibia.

Not for the faint of heart

Cape Town is a city for the adventurous spirit. Catch a cable car up Table Mountain then abseil 112 metres back down. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the City Bowl from this height. There are also multitudes of exhausting trails that will get you to the summit.

South Africa has an incredibly diverse shark population. Forty species call the waters around Cape Town home. What better way to meet them, than go swimming with them. Or if cage diving is just a little far out of your comfort zone, head to Two Oceans Aquarium where you can see the ocean predators drifting behind thick glass.

Take in a little history and learn about apartheid. Robben Island is famously known for its maximum security prison where the former leader of the free and democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela, spent 18 years. District Six lays bare some of the more cruel moments of the ‘whites only’ area, exhibiting how more than 60,000 of its residents were forcibly taken from their homes and shipped out to the Cape Flats.

The Iziko Museum, home to hundreds of taxidermy animals, the Iziko Planetarium and Iziko Slave Lodge built by the Dutch East India Company to hold 9000 slaves, convicts and the mentally ill are all on Government Avenue, along with the Houses of Parliament and National Gallery. This single mile could take you a whole day to explore.

Along Victoria Road stretches a line of ritzy drinking holes with beautiful patrons. Surfers at the northern end wait for waves, while at the southern end, you can dip your toes in the tidal pool.With beautiful coastlines so close, it would be a shame not to hit the waves. Beta Beach is a convenient 10-minute drive from the city centre, and is a small beach great for swimming and sunbathing. Right next door is Oudekraal. It’s a protected cove at the bottom of a steep set of stairs, surrounded by trees. Since this area forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, there’s a R10 entrance fee, but it’s is worth the tiny fee.

Smitswinkelbaai is further out of town. Head in the direction of Cape Point and keep a lookout for the tiny gravelled parking area by the side of the road between Simon’s Town and Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Once there, it’s a 15-minute amble down the overgrown footpath until you reach the unspoilt, isolated beach.

An hour of scenic driving from Cape Town will see you arrive at the famous Cape Winelands. It’s a totally different world to the city… there are rolling vineyards, towering mountains and historic wine estates.

Where to stay in Cape Town

TweedeTol campsite is found on the beautiful Bainskloof Pass about one hour from Cape Town. Each site has a designated braai area and all are close to short hikes with breathtaking views. Although the campsite has no electrical points, a generator supplies communal facilities, ensuring hot water and lighting until 10pm nightly. Remember to book ahead.

Palmiet Caravan Park and campsite is set in the coastal village of Kleinmond about 90 minutes from Cape Town. There are 108 sites with electrical outlets. This is one of the top spots for whale watching from August to November, and there’s also a lagoon, ideal for swimming and canoeing.

Located in the charming village of Kommetjie on the Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula, Imhoff Park is only40 minutes from Cape Town. Around 100m from popular surfing spot Long Beach, it makes for a laid-back seaside getaway. Each site has electricity and a braai.

Africa on a plate

Cape Town is so cosmopolitan, you can find incredible cuisine from anywhere around the world. For the best in Portuguese, head to Dias Tavern. It’s packed most nights as they serve big portions at great value. Maharajah does meltingly tender, searingly hot lamb madras and crisp, buttery paratha. It’s the go-to for delicious Indian. The inspired Asian-style tapas and Chinese dim sum continue to draw in the crowds at Haiku. Of course you can also find African dishes. Some of the best African and Cape Malay fare is at Gold Restaurant. They serve game dishes and little local treats like samosas.

The menu at Marco’s African Place includes specialities such asZwelethu’s Favourite Chicken and a platter of pan-fried springbok, ostrich and kudu fillets. End your meal with the tongue-in-cheek Group Areas dessert, comprised of white and dark chocolate mousses.

Try Jardine for pared down, subtle flavours, including tender Chalmar beef fillet with oxtail and tomatoey West Coast crayfish risotto; or La Colombe, where the likes of springbok medallions with celeriac puree in a rich port and truffle sauce will blow you away.

The Roundhouse is on a UNESCO World Heritage Site and evokes the philosophy of ‘a riotous good time’ of the 17thcentury. Vintage cocktails, whole roasts, loaves of fresh, oven-warm bread and decanters of wine are served in beautiful surrounds that include sprawling, centuries-old fruit trees.

Aubergine is a Cape Town institution serving superior, contemporary cuisine using natural flavours and seasonal ingredients. During the summer months, guests enjoy alfresco lunches on the lush terrace and magical dinners under the African stars.

Jason does delectably delicious pies, such as duck and cherry or mac and cheese; and sandwiches with chorizo, pulled pork and slow-roasted lamb. He will have you coming back.

When to go

December through February is South Africa’s main holiday period when temperatures are at their peak. Families from all over the country are joined by many more from around the world. Be prepared for crowds. After September,the weather begins to improve and migrating whales arrive just off the Whale Coast.

Plenty of camper choices

Bobo Campersis South Africa’s most experienced camper hire and motorhome rental company. They have the largest rental fleet in Africa.
Maui Motorhome Rentalsoffer a range of RVs and vehicles for couples or families. They have a depot at Cape Town International Airport.
Kea Campersprovide free transfers, not only from the airport, but also the city. Their fleet is large, new and comfortable.
Britz have always had a fantastic reputation and are located just five minutes from the airport. Transfers are also available, and Britz have a range of vehicles, from your standard adventurer, to voyagers and 4WDs.
Caprivi Car Hireoften do special discounts and offers, so keep an eye out for these in Cape Town. Despite the name, they do offer campervan hire and are very popular in South Africa.
Energi Campersstarted out in 1991 and now have sites in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Namibia. Specialists in motorhomes, they have a range of outstanding vehicles. 


RV Tips for the Cape:

  • Heed the advice of your hosts on travelling around Cape Town, especially after dark.

  • Use bags with zippers, keep them closed when not in use to deter pickpockets, and never leave your belongings unattended anywhere.

  • When driving, always keep your car doors locked, don’t open your door or window to anyone you don’t know and don’t leave valuables in your car.

  • If police or law-enforcement officials approach you, you have the right to ask officers, uniformed or not, to identify themselves with their cards.

  • Drive carefully. Statistically, there is more chance of you being involved in a car accident than an incident of crime.