Kam’Bati River Resort is 201 KM from Cape Town, on the N2 just before Swellendam. We’ve been keen to visit for a while, having heard many positive reviews. Note, it is a very popular camp site and we had to book fairly far in advance. Leaving earlier would have been a good idea too… you do not want to get stuck in the long weekend traffic over Sir Lowry’s pass.
Reception at the camp site closes at 8pm, so we made a quick stop for wood & ice in Riviersonderend. The stop was not necessary though, as these and many more essentials (firelighters, snacks, non-perishables) are available for sale at camp reception.
The entrance to Kam’Bati is well marked. Please take care when turning off the N2, as the 5km road between the turn off and the campsite is gravel. It can easily be accessed with a normal car, but you need to exercise caution – there are loose stones on the road. The gate is access controlled so you’ll have to ring the bell to get in, but the ladies at reception are very friendly and helpful.
We were directed to the lower camp site, closer to the water – the upper camp site has a view of the pools and lower part of the camp site. The lower camp site is closer to the river and plots have a combination of grass and sand, with a well graded gravel road between plots. They provide shared power points, so please ensure you bring a long extension lead to have power at your site. Sites are numbered, but not demarcated. Your wind deflector could come in handy for this purpose.
After an early breakfast on Saturday, we headed out to Malgas Pont. About 7km from the campsite, heading towards Swellendam, we turned off the National road onto the gravel – at the Spitskop sign post. Our route would take us along gravel roads for about 150KM. Thus, we deflated our tyres for a safer drive. Softer tyre pressures also made the drive more comfortable over the heavily corrugated roads.
From this turn off, Malgas is a 68KM drive through the meadows and valleys of the Overberg’s breathtaking farmlands. We were reminded of the current water crisis, where all the dams we passed were either empty or close to it. Still en route to Malgas, we passed the Breede River Trading Post – a farm style “one stop shop” which was formerly a trading post for farmers, stocking essentials and treats from home-made preservatives to old fashioned ginger beer.
The historical town of Malgas was originally an inland harbour. Today, Malgas is known for having the last hand-driven river pont in operation in the country. The pont is basically a large floating barge that transports vehicles across the Breede River. We took a moment to reflect on how simple life was, when everything was operated manually. They still have 3 men who manually pull the pont across the river, using a simple cable and harness. Awesome experience.
The activity and all that gravel driving called for a well-deserved shower and beer by the fire. We have to note that the showers were not as refreshing as we had hoped. Go to the bathrooms very early or very late if you’re hoping for a hot shower with good water pressure. For us, it turned out to be a quick splash and dash and retiring to bed before some of the kids.
On Sunday, we visited the Bontebok National Park. We started a bit later, as it’s only 27KM away from campsite, along the N2 towards Swellendam. We took a drive through the park, spotting Bontebok, zebra and Blue Crane, among other animals and indigenous vegetation. Day visitors can spend an afternoon at the “Die Stroom” rest camp, with clean toilets, great views and braai stands. This park is well worth a visit, even if only to take a dip in the majestic Breede River.
For more information on the park, times and the animals to be spotted here, please click HERE
Heading back to Kam’Bati for the afternoon, we could see exactly why people are drawn to this campsite. Kids have ample area to play and parents can feel at ease knowing the kids are in a safe environment. The pools are mainly for children, with slides catering for the kids alone. The parents have a fully stocked bar with DSTV, to ensure they never miss the BIG game. Kam’Bati is built for family getaway. For those looking for something a bit more tranquil, this is probably not the place for you as you have the constant buzz of kids around you. With Sunday being our last night, we relaxed into a Veg Lamb pot and enjoyed the evening.
When you do visit Kam’Bati, it is worth noting that the wind can come up quite abruptly and it can be really strong. I do advise you pack in a wind protector and some side sheets for your gazebo, it definitely came in handy on the night.
On Monday morning we departed for the second leg of our journey. More of that HERE