WILD CAMPING


DECEMBER 2020/JANUARY 2021

GROENRIVIER

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).

Wild camping at Groenrivier

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.

Our view for the next week

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 …

  • Tents,
  • Lights,
  • 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 tent – for the next week, this will be our home

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!

A few gazebos that gave much needed shade

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.

There are 2 important things to notice here: Yes, dogs are more than welcome (Sasha even had her own bed) and secondly, in the background are the fridges and battery to keep our food cold

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!

Camp sites are spread along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean at Groenrivier. This photo is from our neighbour’s camp

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.

The sun is setting over the shipwreck

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!!

Fresh bread prepared over the fire – a heavenly meal!
Amazing fresh bread, as well as fresh mussels collected from the nearby rocks … yummy!

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.

Steam escapes from our “potjiekos” while the sun sets over the ocean

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.

The sun is setting after another great day
A fire and the sunset … these two are synonymous on any camping trip

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.

The beach as seen from the top of the sand dune behind our camp site
Waves crashing on the 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.

This is how close our tented camp was to the ocean

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.

Time to cook those crayfish
Cooked crayfish cooling off on the grid

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!

The mussels are now cooked and ready to go on the fire for the final touches

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 😁.

Homemade hamburger rolls on the fire

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!

Crayfish paella – the final dish for us before returning back home the next day

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!

Beautiful thunder clouds on our last evening at Groenrivier
With such a spectacular sunset, we say … “Good night, until the next time”
Categories: South African Break Aways

38 comments

  1. Beautiful and incredibly interesting post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That bread looks delicious as do the crayfish and mussels. Well done with your wild camping adventure!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve never been wild camping but this looks amazing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Just WOW! That looks so amazing.
    We’re so looking forward to trying out wild camping once we have converted our Beast!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I loved reading this! The food sounds delicious, the beach is beautiful, the sunsets stunning and the shipwreck very photogenic. And yet I feel this is not for me – I like my creature comforts too much to consider any camping for longer than one night, and I suspect I’d be bored after a day or two at most 😉 But isn’t it wonderful that we’re all different, and there are special experiences out there for all of us if we just look for them!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • ☺️ Yes Sarah, I don’t think camping (let alone wild camping) is for everyone. We grew up with this and therefore loving it, but this is even for some our friends a bit too much!
      I agree, it is great that we’re all different – think of how boring it would be to read of the same places on everyone’s blogs 😌. I’m glad however that you’ve enjoyed this post … even if it was just to appreciate the beautiful sunsets!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. What an amazing wild camping site and the amount of fresh food available is unbelievable. Crayfish and mussels, to favourites of mine. I could spend a whole day just foraging for mussels. There is some brilliant photography here, especially the sunsets although I think my favourite has to be the steam coming off the potjie. Another great post, thanks for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What great outing. Lucky for you where you live in a warm climate. The crayfish looks yummy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for bringing us along. The food looked delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, you seafood looks like glamping! Love camping and your photos. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am SO jealous! Talk about camping in style. What an amazing spot to camp. Not only beautiful but all that food too, and bread over the fire. I have never done that! Will you adopt me…lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😁 Diane, to have you in the family would be a great bonus … I can just image how much we will eat – a different dish (or three) every day!
      Yes, this was a great camping spot and we are already thinking of going back there soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awe thank you! I use to camp since I was a child. Owned a motor home then met my husband. He doesn’t like camping so I settled for a house in the country where it is like camping and I can invite family and friends over to enjoy it too. I still miss camping though.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Heaven! You ate and slept like kings and queens!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wonderful! The place is beautiful, the food looks absolutely delicious… and Sasha looks so happy (and adorable) as well !

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That camping trip was absolutely amazing, Could I please get your bread recipe? Those muscles were huge, here in New England, muscles are a lot smaller. Great post

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, as you can probably tell … we just love camping! Ok, you’re ready for the bread recipe (I hope our South African ingredients are familiar) … it will take some practice to get it right on the fire (if you have not done this before), but it’s worth the try 😉:
      4 cups all purpose flour,
      1 teaspoon salt,
      1 teaspoon sugar,
      1 sachet (10gram) dry yeast,
      4 tablespoons olive oil,
      3/4 cup water,
      * Mix the dry ingredients a bowl
      * Add the water and olive oil
      * Knead and roll the dough into a round ball
      * Place into an oiled heavy based cast iron pot
      * Put the lid on and place in a hot place (sun – if you have 😉) or just with a black bag and blankets to keep it warm
      * In the meantime, prepare your fire. Coals should be around the sides (not all under the pot). Let them cool down slightly ensuring the fire is not too hot
      * After about an hour, take your dough that has risen and knead it down
      * Place it now back in the iron pot, put the lid on and place it on the low heated coals, with a few coals on top of the lid for about an hour and until the bread has risen and is golden brown. Tap the bread and if it sounds hollow, it is done.

      Good luck, I hope you will soon have home baked bread prepare on the fire!!

      Like

  14. Wowwwww ☺☺☺☺ I’m totally jealous. What an amazing place to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Loved that! Wonderful trip – much higher standard wild camping than we ever manage😊 Food looks superb! We know a couple of places for wild oysters and mussels are always plentiful. Not crayfish though – what a size.Nothing like falling asleep to the sound of the sea.
    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wild camping is getting easier (“higher standard” if you wanna call it that 😉) when there’s a couple of friends (everybody bring something) … but when it’s just the two of us, it’s much more simpler 😊.
      Yes, the West Coast here in South Africa is known for it’s crayfish and you’re right …the sound of the waves is an instant sleeping tablet!

      Like

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