If we’re being 100% honest, KZN is not known for its frigidly cold winters. The truth is, the closer you are to the coast, the more it feels like a cool summer’s day. Inland, however, can reach the real temperatures one associates with winter, with blankets of snow covering much of the Drakensberg between June and August.
In comparison to other parts of the country, the weather in KZN is generally a dream throughout most of winter – warm and dry during the day, with lower temperatures creeping their way in just after sunset.
Escape the cold of winter on the KZN coast, or embrace it as you head inland when choosing to unwind at any of these top 5 camping spots in KZN.
1. Mac Nicol’s Caravan Park – Bazley Beach, KZN South Coast
Located just over an hour outside of Durban, this four-star camp site is a staple on the KZN South Coast and a long-standing family favourite. Literally 90-metres from a long stretch of beautiful, golden sand beach with a calm lagoon and plenty of children’s entertainment, Mac Nicol’s is an unrivalled family camping spot found in this region of the province.
With an extensive entertainment programme, morning tea and scones, bring and braai evenings and pancake nights, the team at Mac Nicol’s take hospitality seriously. The camping grounds offer eight private ablution blocks, large shaded camp sites, electricity, two swimming pools (heated in the winter months) and a small grocery store, which also serves takeaways.
Address: 51 Lagoon Drive, Bazley Beach, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
Contact: Tel: 039 977 8863
2. Dolphin Holiday Resort – Ballito, KZN North Coast
A short 50km drive outside of Durban will bring you to this North Coast gem along the KZN coastline. Also within walking distance of the pristine beaches of Ballito, happy campers are often lucky enough to spot dolphins in the waves from the comfort of their loungers.
Surrounded by lush sub-tropical forest, the campsite is peaceful and well established with a number of well-shaded spots, electricity points with TV connections, a swimming pool, grocery store, restaurant, laundry room, children’s playground, pool tables, volleyball court and more.
Address: Dolphin Holiday Resort, Ballito, North Coast, KwaZulu-Natal
Contact: 032 946 2187
3. Hlalanathi Berg Resort – Northern Drakensberg, KZN
Tucked away in a beautiful, secluded valley is this family favourite at the foothills of the Northern Drakensberg. The site offers fully serviced chalets (if camping in the cold is not your thing) or beautiful, large caravan and camping stands overlooking the Tugela River and Amphitheatre.
Hlalanathi is located half-way between Gauteng and the KZN coast, and is a good 2.5 – 3 hour drive outside of Durban, making for a true city getaway. This modern campsite is host to its own restaurant, swimming pool, tennis courts, laundry, grocery store and also features hiking trails, bass fishing, horse riding and the 9-hole Amphitheatre Golf Course, located right next door.
Address: Hlalanathi Berg Resort, Bergville, 3350, KwaZulu-Natal
Contact: Tel: 036 438 6308
4. Albert Falls Dam and Game Reserve – Albert Falls, KZN
Nestled between the rolling hills of the Karkloof Nature Reserve, you’ll find KZN’s largest dam, Albert Falls. Just 24km outside of Pietermaritzburg, this is a wonderfully welcoming family campsite with large, grassy camping stands spread over 3000 hectares of land. Spot game as soon as you arrive onsite, such as buck and zebra grazing along the banks of the dam.
Albert Falls is home to some of the best bass fishing in all of KZN’s dams, while children and teenagers are spoiled-for-choice with a swimming pool, playground, canoeing, sailing and water-skiing. The entire family can also enjoy the many walking trails amongst the reserve, picnicking, and water tubing. With pristine ablution blocks, electricity points, a small grocery store and takeaway facilities, Albert Falls’ camping sites are divided into two sections: Notuli, overlooking the nature reserve, and Pelican Bay overlooking the dam.
Address: GPS co-ordinates: 29.4361° S, 30.3883° E
Contact: 033 569 1202
5. Cape Vidal Campsite – iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Not quite in the province of KZN, but just a little further into the kingdom of Zululand you will find the unspoiled utopia that is Cape Vidal – making the approximate 4-hour drive out of Durban totally worth your while. The Cape Vidal Campsite is a true slice of paradise, tucked into the dune forest just behind a completely untouched golden sand beach that stretches out endlessly.
In the out-of-season months it can feel as though you have the entire campsite to yourself, making for the ultimate long weekend wind down. This spot is ideal for shore and ski-boat anglers, ocean and beach lovers and divers. The campsite is host to 50 camp stands as well as self-catering cabins, a small grocery store, braai facilities and ablution blocks. As it is found within the protected iSimangaliso Wetland Park, there are game drives available nearby as well as picnic sites and walking trails.
Address: GPS co-ordinates: -28.132018, 32.552347
Contact: Tel 0338451000
Words Haidee Visser