DECEMBER 2020/JANUARY 2021
Yes, it’s true … we love camping! Sometimes it’s in a designated camping area with all the amenities and other times it’s what we call “wild camping” (in other words, no facilities … like in no electricity, no bathroom, no water … just an open piece of land where we can pitch our tent).
At the end of 2020, we’ve decided to go wild camping with a couple of friends next to the big Atlantic Ocean. A great place where we could also welcome 2021 (and hope for a much better new year).
Where is Groenrivier?
For a foreigner, it will be really difficult to find this amazing place … but for South Africans, who are true lovers of camping and nature, this is a well-known spot.
There are several roads leading to Groenrivier, but the most direct one will be to follow the N7 highway from Cape Town and drive in a northern direction towards the border of Namibia. After 445km (276 miles), a small town namely Garies will appear on the left-hand side of the road. Driving through Garies, we follow the dirt road west towards the sea … and then, after 73km (45 miles), the Groenrivier gate will be on the right. Drive past the gate and continue towards the sea … and then you look for a great spot next to the ocean to set up camp.
To camp here, is free (however, there are some designated areas where you need to pay an amount to the owners of the farm that is situated next to the ocean), but we’ve chosen a spot where this was not applicable.
There is a tiny “shop” that sells water and wood (and a few other things) at specific times during the day, but this was about 20km from our camp site … we only visited them every 4th day or so to get extra water and fire wood.
Other than that, we had to bring everything else from home that we needed for one week next to the sea …
- Water (to drink and make coffee/tea) – we got water from the shop to use for shower and washing up of dishes,
- Camp fridge (and solar panels for the fridge – remember, no electricity),
- Shower tent,
- Environmental loo,
- Fire wood,
- And of course, food and drinks
The above is just a shortened list of what we’ve actually took, but I’m sure you get the idea ☺️.
Our camp site consisted of a few tents, a caravan and a trailer with a rooftop tent. For shade, we had a couple of gazebos – something you really need next to the ocean. This setup almost looked like a small neighbourhood – well, a tented neighbourhood!
To keep our meat frozen and the food cold, we needed some sort of a fridge. We had a couple of camping fridges that were powered by deep cycle 12V batteries which are charged by solar panels during the day. This worked perfectly and we always had cold food and frozen meat.
When camping at Groenrivier, this means tents don’t stand in such close proximity as what normally the case is in dedicated camping terrains. Depending on where you choose your spot, your nearest neighbour might be a kilometre from you – thus, nobody is disturbing anyone!
People ask us what we do when we are wild camping … well, we relax and do nothing every day 😁. And then, sometimes we go for long walks on the beach – we were fortunate to have a beautiful sandy beach close to our camp.
When camping, a major activity involves the preparing of food … and most of the time it’s on the fire. Anel, one of our friends, prepared the most delicious home baked bread on the fire. Have you ever eaten fresh baked bread prepared on the fire with real salty butter … you have not tasted better!!
On any camping trip, we always prepare “potjiekos” over the fire (that is some sort of a stew in a black pot). Of course, we have made one on this trip as well.
We had the most spectacular sunsets on this camping trip! Every evening, while sitting around the fire, we’ve watched the sun going down which was probably the most cherished moments of this holiday.
As mentioned earlier, we’ve taken long strolls on the beach every day. The younger ones in our group, were eager to get into the ice-cold Atlantic water, but we’ve preferred a much more relaxing walk on the sandy beach.
Every evening, when we went into our tents, we’ve fallen asleep with the wonderful sound of the waves on our “doorstep”. There is something majestic in hearing the roaring of the ocean while cuddling in a fleece blanket.
And what would a wild camping experience next to the ocean be without catching some crayfish? We were very lucky that we’ve been at Groenrivier while the crayfish season was open. With our permits in hand, the guys (and a very brave girl) got into their wetsuits and caught a couple of crayfish which we’ve cooked on the fire.
Remember those mussels I’ve mentioned earlier in this post? Well, we had a great seafood evening with those and the crayfish. Jacques prepared the mussels with garlic, white wine, lemon juice and grated cheese on the fire … I think that you would struggle to find a better dish than this in a top restaurant!
While we are (still) talking about food … there was this one evening when Berto and Anel prepared fresh hamburger rolls on the fire. After tasting these, I will probably never buy a hamburger roll at the shop again 😁.
On our last evening, Berto took some of the leftover crayfish and prepared a master chef dish in the form of crayfish paella! There is really nothing bad to say about this!
We had an amazing wild camping adventure with good friends. A week by the seaside where the accommodation is for free, we had the best food and great company – you would not want anything more!