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5 Affordable Glamping Getaways Around Port Elizabeth

5 Affordable Glamping Getaways Around Port Elizabeth

What is it with camping? Why do people spend a small fortune buying equipment to live rough in the bush when they have a solid roof over their heads and a comfy bed at home?


Well, according to Google there are many reasons. I particularly liked Tim Dowling from The Guardian’s take on it – “Perhaps it’s because camping is to living as cooking is to barbecuing. It’s basically an outdoor version of housekeeping. There is something so primally satisfying about escaping from our reliance on infrastructure that it turns the most tedious chore into an adventure. Suddenly making toast is interesting, just because it’s so hard.”


For us, getting far away from civilisation into the wild is the absolute best way to unwind, destress and enjoy real quality family time together without technology.  I have to confess though that the actual camping bit does not entirely float my boat. A resounding “Yes Please” to counting the stars at night, sharing stories around a campfire, long hikes and afternoon naps under the trees. But “Hell No” to poxy shared ablutions, leaky tents, deflating mattresses and noisy neighbours.


Despite the drawbacks, we seem to have become quite adept at camping (this has been our most financially viable mode of accommodation since we invested in making memories on our cross global expedition to the Canadian Rockies). I am even slightly at risk of becoming a happy camper. But there is still a very large part of me that prefers to swap the “c” for “gl”, to mitigate the roughness of living wild with a little bit of creature comfort and a lot less PT.


Glamping (glamorous camping) can be very expensive, in fact it’s quite easy to spend more to stay in a fancy tent than under a real roof. But we have discovered quite a few affordable glamping destinations – places in beautifully wild locations that have permanent tents with proper beds and built in lighting. Where you get to experience the real outdoors, up close and personal with Mother Nature, but still get a good night’s sleep. Where you don’t have to schlep half your house along and spend hours constructing a temporary abode but where you can still build a campfire and sleep with only a thin layer of canvas between you and the world.


  1. Spekboom Tented Rest Camp – Addo Elephant National Park

Photos courtesy of Sanparks

Tucked right in the middle of Addo lies Spekboom – a fenced off area with five overnight tents and a day visitors’ hide overlooking a waterhole. We love everything Addo, and this little camp is one of the cherries on top. To sit in silence, surrounded by Big 5 territory on the other side of an electrified wire fence is truly something special. Each safari tent has two single beds and a braai area outside. They are surrounded by thick spekboom, so you can’t see anyone else from your tent space. The ablutions are shared and I must say it gets your heart rate up a bit when you have to make a midnight toilet run (from an overactive imagination of what is lurking in the dark, rather than the actual run). If you are really lucky, a herd of ellies will visit the waterhole during the night – there is nothing quite like listening to elephants drinking right next to your tent.

Visit Spekboom’s website

Rates – R930-R1010 per double tent per night (excluding park conservation fees)


  1. Diepwalle Tented Forest Decks – Garden Route National Park

This is one of the most magical places we have ever visited. Tucked in-between the towering trees of the Diepwalle section of the Knysna forest is a network of wooden pathways leading to raised decks – some with permanent tents on, some bring-your-own. We were delighted with our tented deck, it came complete with a rugged tent, two single beds, a little kitchen lean-to, a fridge, an awesome braai, a few unobtrusive electric lights and a plug point. Best of all – it had the most incredible view of the forest, we spotted the rare Narina Trogon and all the activities in the surrounding forest (hikes, museums, viewpoints, drives) are for free.

Visit Diepwalle’s website

Rates – R440 per double tent per night (excluding park conservation fees)

Read more about Diepwalle – The Magic of the Knysna Forest – Camping at Diepwalle


  1. Black Eagle Camp – Kleinrivier Wilderness, Uitenhage

Black Eagle Camp consists of four permanent tents along a stream in Kleinrivier Wilderness, adjacent to the Groendal Wilderness Area just North of Uitenhage. It is the ideal place for hikers, bird lovers or anyone just wanting to get away from the rat race and spend time in the wilderness. You book out the entire camp and it is equipped with all the little luxuries that make camping a lot more enjoyable – nice beds, a great outdoor kitchen with a fridge and a totally unique outdoor toilet. There are lots of hiking trails to choose from and a lovely natural rock swimming pool with some awesome jumping spots just up from the camp.

Visit Black Eagle Camp’s website

Rates – R1750 per night for the entire camp (sleeps eight)

Read more about Black Eagle Camp – Black Eagle Tented Camp – Effortlessly Fun Family Camping


  1. Narina Bushcamp – Zuurberg Section, Addo Elephant National Park

Narina remains one of our family’s most special places to visit. We first discovered it on a signboard at Addo Elephant’s main camp and were thoroughly delighted with the remote, rustic location. Narina consists of four dome tents surrounding a thatched outdoor kitchen and a lapa with braais and a firepit. It is set amidst indigenous forest and has a deck overlooking a river and a really rewarding hiking trail through a dry riverbed up to the top of the Zuurberg mountains. You book out the entire camp, so it is ideal for a family getaway or for celebrating a special occasion.

Visit Narina Bushcamp’s website

Rates – R1275-R1410 for the entire camp per night for the first 4 people, R260 per additional adult, R130 per additional child per night (excluding park conservation fees)

Read more about Narina – The Visitor’s Book at Narina Bushcamp


  1. Aloe Tented Camp

Photos courtesy of Intaba Lodge

We have never actually visited this camp, but it is right up there at the top of our “places to go” list. The camp is tucked in the middle of delicious nowhere near Addo and can sleep a whopping 26 people. It has two large dormitory style tents, a thatched cottage, a central kitchen/lounge area with a lapa, a rock swimming pool and an incredible view. You book out the entire camp, so you can get together a group of friends and family, head to the bush and have an absolute blast.

Visit Aloe Tented Camp’s Website

Rates – R250 per person per night with a minimum charge of R1500, children 6-13 years are R125 per night, under 5 for free.


Do you know of any other affordable glamping destinations near Port Elizabeth? If so, please leave a comment below – we love to add new places to our wanderlist!


Yours in travel




*All rates quoted are valid as at March 2018


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