Camping at Beaverlac – Cederberg
When it comes to camping spots that are surrounded by incredible natural beauty, the Western Cape has absolutely no shortage.
Every 6 months or so Jake and I go on little camping trips. This gives us a chance to get out and be in nature, unplug, get away from chores and to do lists and most of all get away from the noise of the city. You really don’t realise how much nose you’re being bombarded with constantly until you go somewhere totally silent. This really help us recharge and unwind.
My favorite thing about camping is that you get to see the stars, totally unobstructed by all the city lights. If we can we leave the rain cover off the tent so that we can see the stars as we fall asleep.
Two weeks ago we were lucky enough to get to go camping at a campsite called Beaverlac (no there are no beavers) which also offers an amazing view of the stars at night, because it’s so far away from any town or city. The Beaverlac campsite is really popular amongst the locals, and like mosts of the good places in Cape Town, you only really hear about it by word of mouth, which is how I found out about it a bunch of years back. I remember the first night I spent at Beaverlac, I couldn’t stop staring up at the night sky. I had never seen the sky like that before. It was incredible.
What is Beaverlac?
The Beaverlac camping site is a large campsite situated on the Grootfontein farm connecting the Groot Winterhoek Mountain Catchment Area and the Cederberg Leopard Conservation Area . The Cederberg is an amazing place to visit if you want to camp for longer and see more. The area around Beaverlac is also a sanctuary for several species of wildlife, and you can often see Eagles and hear baboons in the distance.
Beaverlac is a wonderful place to enjoy nature, but the main attractions for most people are the stunning hikes and the easy access to incredibly beautiful, natural rock pools. These icy cool pools make for an amazing summer camping experience, especially in the midday summer heat of the Cederberg which can easily get up to 40 Degrees Celcius.
Where is Beaverlac?
Beaverlac is about 2.5 hours away from Cape Town, and is nestled in between the Groot Winterhoek Mountain Catchment Area and the Cederberg Leopard Conservation Area.
This means that you don’t have to drive all the way to Cederberg to enjoy some of the natural beauty that the Cederberg has to offer. It’s more accessible and it’s a more family friendly trip and location, since you don’t have to hike far (an easy 10 min walk) to get to the rock pools which kids absolutely love.
What to see and do there
Once of the reasons Beaverlac is so popular are the rock pools and waterfalls that are so near there. It’s an easy 10 minute walk to the two closest and most popular rock pools.
There are also stunning hiking trails that you can walk to get a feel for the place and really enjoy the natural surroundings.
TIP: most people just relax at their camp site and visit the rock pools dring the hottest part of the day to cool off…this is really worth it.
What to expect from the camp grounds
Beaverlac is a really stunning and fairly well kept spot for camping. It has a large camping ground so even if it’s absolutely packed with people you will still be able to find a stop to set up camp, although sometimes you will have to search for an ideal spot.
There are plenty of trees for shaded camping, and if sleeping in a tent isn’t your thing you can book one of the cabins. The cabins are pretty basic, and they come with a bed, a stove a fridge and most importantly of all, electricity. The regular campsites don’t have access to any electric points.
The ablution blocks
There are quite a few ablution blocks scattered around the campsite, so you won’t have to walk very far to get to one, no matter where you set up. The ablution blocks also have kitchen sinks attached to the outside of them so you have a space to wash dishes. This can come in really handy.
The showers do have hot water, but it can get used up fast so try to shower when there are few other people showering too. Ie, if there is a line for the showers you will have to take a cold shower.
TIP: the ablution blocks are cleaned at intervals throughout the day and a lot of people use them, constantly. For the cleanest bathroom and shower experience try waiting till just after the cleaners have been to your block. Avoid showering at night since the bathrooms aren’t cleaned at night.
Beaverlac has a tiny kiosk where you can buy any essentials you may have forgotten. They sell a few essentials like fire wood, meat, drinks, that sort of thing. But it is a small shop so they may not have everything you need.
The kiosk aslo only takes cash and doesn’t have card facilities at all, so make sure to bring enough money on your trip, just incase. Their prices are a bit steep, but it’s worth it for some essential item you may have forgotten.
The kiosk also has a few deep freezers outside where you can store your meat so that it doesn’t go off on a hot day.
The cabins have electricity, but that’s about it. The campsites have absolutely no access to any electricity points at all.
TIP: switch your cell phone off totally for the duration of your stay. This will help conserve battery life so that you have a functional phone in case of emergency on your way back home.
Cell phone reception
Beaverlac has absolutely no cell phone reception at all. If you need to make emergency calls there is a pay phone at the kiosk and management has access to landlines.
The best time to go
The weather and climate in Cederberg is completely different to that of Cape Town. For one it is completely unforgiving even in winter and the extremes are hard to wrap your head around. Winters are very cold with snow occurring on some of the mountains. The summers are incredibly hot, reaching 40 degrees celsius and above. It’s easy to get heat stroked and severely dehydrated in this type of weather.
I have been to Beaverlac in the middle of summer and found it to be way too hot and uncomfortable for m. this year we went in early Autumn/ late Summer and the weather was absolutely ideal. I think this is the ‘goldilocks’ time to go camping at beaverlac. The only downside is that the days are a little shorter than in Summer, and you will need to triple check the weather before going, as it is near rainy season.
What to take along
Apart from the Kiosk, Beaverlac’s nearest shop is about an hour’s drive, so it’s incredibly important to take along everything you will need for the trip. Since there isn’t any electricity to cook your food, see at night or charge your phone, you will have to get creative with your gear.
Apart from a regular camping packing list, the essentials you will need for Beaverlac are:
- Toilet paper,
- headlamps and torches,
- batteries for torches,
- soap and toiletries (the ablution blocks have none of those)
- Fire starters, wood, kindling, a lighter, a braai grid (if you are cooking your food over the fire)
- A small gas stove for boiling water and cooking food for breakfast
- Warm sleeping bags and thermals (even in summer it can get cold at night)
- Enough food (maybe extra just in case)
- Swimwear and towels for the rock pools.
How to get there
- Follow N7 to Kerk st/ R44 Piketberg
- Merge onto Jakes Gerwel Dr/M7
- Keep right to continue on N7
- Continue on R44
- At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Kerk St/R44
- Turn left onto R365
- Turn right onto Dasklip/Cardouw Rd – this is where the road becomes a dirt road.
- Continue onto Dasklip Rd
- Turn right
- Turn left
You will clearly see a sign for the Beaverlac campsite once you get to the turn off on the dirt road.
NOTE: part of the road to the Beaverlac campsite is a dirt road. Be careful when you are driving here. Drive slow and carefully so you don’t damage your vehicle. Yes this can add to the travel time, but the views along the way are spectacular and this gives you some time to admire them.
How to get to the rock pools
Since the rock pools aren’t visible from the campsite some first time visitors may bet a bit lost looking for them. Luckily the management gives visitors a cute map to help you find the way.
How to make a booking
The management at Beaverlac is quite particular about who they allow to make a booking. This maybe because for trouble in the past, i don’t know. Their website has some pretty straight forward instructions on making a booking, and it’s actually pretty easy to make a booking.
-register on the website. This will give you a username and password to login to their website. – you will need to register your vehicle too
Booking a campsite:
–the driver needs to login to the website and complete a ‘’camping booking form’’
–once you have been approved you will receive the ‘’booking approval’’
–print this out. You will need to show this form at the entry of Beaverlac and this is also where you will pay for your stay. They only accept cash so bring enough along.
Booking a cabin:
—Phone 022 931 2945 to book or inquire about cabin availability. Don’t email, it will be ignored.
— you will need to pay a 50% deposit for a cabin
–E-mail proof of your deposit within 48 hours to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax-to-mail (086 669 2851).
NOTE: when it comes to making a booking you absolutely have to follow procedure here. If you arrive without making a booking they will turn you away. Luckily their procedure is easier than it seems.
You can check out their website for any changes in the house rules:
- Camping is only allowed in the camping area. Do not use Permit Holder’s Sites and do not erect tents near Huts or Caravans.
- No music is allowed in the campsite. This includes music by means of car radios, cell phones and musical instruments of any kind.
- Loud talking and laughing inside the camping area and vandalism, loud drunken, unruly or aggressive behavior anywhere on the farm will not be tolerated.
- Keep your dog(s) under control and ensure that your dog(s) do not pose a threat or become a nuisance to other campers. This includes barking. Dogs are not allowed to swim in the rock pools.
- No firearms, ketties(sling shots), pellet- and air guns, archery, blow pipes and fireworks are allowed.
- No fires allowed outside allocated fire pits or outside the camping area. Extinguish fires before bed.
- No littering in or outside the camping area or at the pools – this includes cigarette butts and bottle tops. Use black refuse bags for your garbage. A small fee is charged to remove refuse bags on your behalf. Please bring it to the office.
- No nude swimming in pools or rivers.
- No glass to be taken to the pools and no soap, shampoo or detergents is allowed in the pools or rivers.
- No motor vehicles are allowed outside the camping area (unless a Permit holder). An R200.00 fine will be imposed.
- No walking on the water pipe lines along the Ratel River or anywhere on the farm. An R1000.00 fine will be imposed.
- Picking of fruit or flowers or the chopping of trees or dry wood anywhere on the farm is strictly prohibited.
- Do not disturb or damage any wildlife.
- No refunds to evicted people or refunds should you choose to depart before the” date out” indicated above.
- The Farmer, Camp Manager and Permit Holders have the right to evict people contravening the rules.
- Campers are requested to stay away from the Africa hut. Our Africa guests are paying for their privacy.
If you still have any questions about camping at Beaverlac you can check out their website: