Africa undoubtedly conjures up images of wilderness and adventure – and what better way to really get into the thick of it than by enjoying your African experience hands-on through camping. African campsite locations are always thought of fondly by most people who enjoy getting back to nature and getting a real taste of the great outdoors. Campfires, camp breakfasts and early morning rising with the sun are a few of the fantastic images that come with camping. The excitement of a new day rising with the sun as you peek out of your tent and greet a new day – in Africa!
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African Campsite: Mnweni, uKhahlamba-Drakensberg, South Africa
This particular African campsite is located in one of the most remote areas of South Africa due in part to the area still being in tribal hands, and the only section of the mountain range not under World Heritage Site protection. The Amangwane and Amazizi tribes still live on these atmospheric, hilly lands, which are host to some fantastic rock paintings, steep hiking trails, a few Basotho dagga smugglers, and next to no tourists. This is one of South Africa’s most authentic wilderness areas open to camping, ensuring a wild, amazing experience.
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African Campsite: Planet Baobab, Makgadigadi Pans, Botswana
This funky African campsite has long been a favourite for those camping in the Botswana countryside. With options to stay in authentic mud or grass hut on a bed of mopane wood and cowhide, this African campsite really blends tribal tradition with an afro-cool vibe. Shaded camping sites with barbecue pits, a functional bar, and a swimming pool all make Planet Baobab a campers paradise and a perfect spot to kick back and meet fellow campers over a cold beer at the communal evening campfire or over some wildlife spotting at the nearby watering hole.
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An idyllic little spot located in a valley surrounded by mountains, this African campsite has four spacious spots and is well cared for and well designed. Rocks clearly mark the pitches, the paths and hot showers are available in clean, tidy toilet and shower blocks. Generator-based power is available in the mornings and evenings, which makes this an ideal little spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life with a group of friends or just with your significant other. Equipped with a swimming pool nearby, this is a perfect African campsite for those looking to explore Namibia off the beaten trail a bit.
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African Campsite: Ruaha Public Campsite, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
This African campsite is simple but exhilarating in that there are no fences or electricity, so you are truly one with nature. A single tree provides shade, which is often shared between visitors and local wildlife, so be prepared for an adventure. On the banks of the Great Ruaha River, this simple African campsite has flushing toilets and cold showers and is a real “back to nature” kind of site. Exploring the Mwagusi River north of the site is a prime viewing spot for the riverbed itself, a draw for local leopards.
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African Campsite: Kapishya Hot Springs, Northeastern Zambia
This welcome spot on the notoriously bad northern roads of Zambia is on the banks of the Manshya River and is home to a natural hot spring, which stays at a constant 40 degrees year-round. This African campsite is rustic and basic, but is located in a riverine forest, and is therefore quite shaded, with thatched gazebos and cement braai spots. Toilets here flush, and donkey showers have hot water. The African campsite can help you arrange game drives, river rafting, and other outdoor activities to take part in around the area, prime for such outings.
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African Campsite: Umthombe Kei River Lodge, Wild Coast, South Africa
Large, spacious lawns and plethora of shady trees, this jungle-like African campsite has a paradise feel to it, and with no predetermined pitches, campers simply pick their favourite spot and pitch their tent. The communal shower and toilet blocks have one shower and toilet for men and one for women. This African campsite has no power and is only a ferry ride away from the southern tip of the Wild Coast. You can take advantage of the wild location by going on your own game drives with freedom and no guide, as well as following one of the well-marked trails to birdwatch. This African campsite is ideal for a base to explore the undeveloped coastline, and you can also row camp boats down the river free of charge. With so much to do, it’s easy to spend a week or more here.
African Campsite: Tsendze Rustic Camp Site, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Many of the African campsites within the Kruger National Park are so big that you feel like you’re at a festival, more than out in the bush looking for animals and getting away from it all. If you’re looking for something wilder and a bit more rustic, head to the Tsendze, in the north of the park. This African campsite is little more than a few grassy pitches, with no shop, electricity, or even reception, but with peace and quiet and only the bush around, you will be glad you chose to go for this more rustic option.
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African Campsite: Masuma Dam, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
This African campsite is one of the most popular and therefore least available in the country, if not in all of Africa. The main reason is the nearby watering hole attracts thousands of animals, including buffalo, elephants, and various predators in the dry season (July to October), and a nearby hide over the waterhole means you can watch the wildlife come and go for hours. Sometimes you need to book as much as a year in advance for a spot at Masuma Dam, so make sure you get in early.
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This African campsite has a somewhat legendary status around Southern Africa as being a quirky and fun place to set up camp for a night (or three!). On the banks of the Kavango River, across from Bwabwata National Park, this eco-friendly African campsite is famous for its hilariously wacky toilets such as the Poopa Falls and the Royal Throne, which overlooks the river set up on a deck, as well as hilarious signs posted all over the camp itself. Each of these African campsites are right next to the river, so you can drift off at night to the sound of grunting hippos. There is a restaurant on-site and a croc-proof pool in the river for swimming.