For the longest time, we have spoken about taking Maddie camping. She has begged us time and time again and realistically you have to have a bunch of ‘stuff’ to make a camping trip comfortable… for everyone! With Charlotte being just one-years-old, we knew traditional camping wouldn’t happen anytime soon!
When I came across AfriCamps on Instagram – I knew this was bucket list stuff! We’ve all heard those jokes… the only camping I will do is glamping… well AfriCamps offers just that! A full boutique glamping experience at various camp sites across South Africa! From the most beautiful working farms, estates to reserves around South Africa, their custom-designed boutique glamping tents are fully furnished with everything you need for a comfortable self catering stay – from the kitted kitchens, to the spacious showers. You can experience the freedom and beauty of the great outdoors, without compromising on the comforts you love. We were fortunate enough to spend four days and three nights at their Gowan Valley camp in the Natal Midlands as a family and well, it didn’t disappoint!
AfriCamps at Gowan Valley is located in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal’s Midlands Meander route (close enough to all our favourite Midlands spots) and is the perfect destination for a family glamping getaway.
There are a total of five AfriCamps boutique glamping tents situated on the enchanting Gowan Valley Guest Farm surrounded by rolling hills, endless fields, and the mighty Mpofana river. Interestingly enough – most of Africamps camp sites are situated on working farms, reserves, and estates in the country where guests can experience local farm life, taste delicious farm produce and learn how local produce is made while they can connect with nature and rediscover the essence of farm life and the serenity that can come from being in nature. Places where families can spend quality time together, while kids are educated about the animals on the farm, the fresh local produce of the area, and how people can impact the world around them.
AfriCamps partners with local landowners and farmers to set up unique boutique glamping experiences on their properties. The farm owners and their teams proudly manage their AfriCamps location. As true ambassadors of their area, the local hosts go above and beyond to introduce guests to their farming industries and the unique qualities of the region. Our gracious hosts Deanne and Brett Bouwer farm Nguni Cattle and Golden Kiwis on the property and it was so special to watch their team out on the property each and every morning!
The AfriCamps boutique glamping tents was an amazing experience where we could recharge closer to nature and embrace the freedom of the great outdoors from the comfort of their hand-crafted boutique tents – which interestingly enough are almost identical (with minor design differences between their tents) at all camp sites. Their business philosophy is strongly based on the foundation of sustainability and for this reason they empower young local workers to produce all the AfriCamps tents and furniture in their factory in the Western Cape. After hiring and training staff from an area with a high unemployment and crime rate, they embarked on a journey to teach Their team sewing, woodwork, welding, painting, electrical skills and more. Most of their factory staff have become exceptionally skilled employees with skills to use throughout their lives!
Each self catering tent can accommodate up to five guests comfortably in two bedrooms, perfect for family escapes, adventures with friends, and romantic getaways!
Each tent is 75m2 with an elevated deck and veranda of 30m2 with a private braai facilities at each tent. The tent has a fully equipped kitchen with 4-burner gas stove, an open plan living area with lounge and dining table – wit a charming wood-burning indoor fireplace. There are two separate bedrooms that sleep a total of five guests and has an en suite bathroom with luxurious rain shower. There are lights and power points and air conditioning for year round comfort. The tent is fully enclosed with zips, windows and ‘curtains’ which can be closed, rolled up, tied back and completely sealed to keep out bugs and unwanted guests.
The kitchen is full equipped with; cutlery and crockery for five guests, pots, pans and utensils, a four-burner gas stove, a bar fridge with mini freezer, a microwave / oven, coffee press, kettle, toaster, braai utensils, dish washing liquid and a dish cloth and towel. We comfortably made ourselves breakfast in the kitchen on more than one occasion!
One of my favourite things about the tent was the beautiful deck and the picturesque farm views we enjoyed throughout the day! The deck is equipped with a picnic table, two deck lounge chairs and a built in braai facility where we enjoyed a braai most nights during our stay!
We all slept incredibly well during our stay. The absolute peace and quiet was incredible. Falling asleep to the sounds of nature was simply the best! Brett and I were able to sleep in our own room with an extra length queen size bed and the girls had their own with an extra length queen size bed and a single bunk bed on top. Maddie absolutely loved having a bunk bed! All the beds have electric blankets for the cooler months and have crisp clean bed linen and winter blankets! There is air conditioner which services both bedrooms comfortably. Each room has a wardrobe for sufficient storage. There are plug points for cell phones in each bedroom and there is a reading light in each room. Both bedrooms have private access to the bathroom which features a spacious rain shower, a flushing toilet, a wash basin with mirror with modern-rustic finishes. Two sets of bath towels are provided per guest.
My absolute favourite thing about AfriCamps at Gowan Valley was the private outdoor wood-fired hot tubs (which can be found at selected AfriCamps glamping locations) where we could soak up the views in the irresistible steamy water! All we needed to do was light the fire and wait for the brilliant design to do the rest. The hot tubs are heated by an age-old heating principle called natural convection. Simply make a wood fire in the heating coil and the warm water will circulate through the coil into the tub without the need for electricity. Stir the water occasionally, then sit back and enjoy the soothing comfort of our tub. Not only do they warm up your winter getaways, the kids also love it as a splash pool during summer!
Romantic escapes or family breaks – the tub is always a winner! Experiencing the comfort of glamping with the luxury of having a wood-fired hot tub next to our tent. The crackle of the fire and the soothing naturally heated water truly offered the purest form of relaxation.
Another highlight that further added to our glamping experience was AfriCamps breakfast and braai baskets which could be preordered ahead of our stay which basically catered a meal for us each morning and evening. You pay per person and a beautifully put together basket is delivered to your tent early morning or late afternoon ahead of the meal. We throughly enjoyed each basket!
The breakfast basket included fresh milk, orange juice, filter coffee for our coffee press, fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurt, eggs, bacon, sausages, bread, butter, cheese and jam.
While the braai basket included locally sourced meat; steak, wors, chicken sosaties, a green salad, mealie, garlic bread and marshmallows on sosatie sticks.
On the farm, we explored the 4km walk which passes through indigenous forest to an enormous 500-year-old Yellowwood tree, we walked along the Mpofana River, saw the Golden kiwi fields and Nguni cattle and enjoyed a picnic next to the river (where if you’re brave enough – you can tube). There is also a beautiful playground for the kids with swings, an obstacle course and a trampoline.
We absolutely loved our stay at AfriCamps Gowan Valley. Situated on the Midlands Meander, we were able to experience the nature, adventure activities, local crafts and delectable food spots in close proximity.
Our first glamping experience surpassed our expectations and we cannot wait to visit another local camp site to further experience all that AfriCamps has to offer! I love that their rates are super affordable for the luxury stay and overall unique experience!
I would highly recommend a visit to AfriCamps!
Take a look at a few highlights from our trip:
AfriCamps are offering my followers a 15% discount when booking at AfriCamps Gowan Valley using the discount code Maddie&Charlie when booking before 12 November. The booking can be made for now until 1 October 2022, excluding peak season, a minimum of 2 nights per booking. Book here: https://africamps.com/farm/midlands-africamps-gowan-valley/
Thank you for hosting us AfriCamps!
For more information on AfriCamps visit: https://africamps.com/