When someone who earns his living through camping and everything that goes with it pitches his tent at the same place time after time, it must be a lekker campsite. Rikus Truter of Lekker Kampplekke visits Molenrivierplaas near Groot Brakrivier (Great Brak River) on the beautiful Garden Route in the Southern Cape again.
After a tough, but enjoyable few days at the Kyknet Buite Expo, it was a well-deserved rest for us to relax at Molenrivierplaas again. This beautiful camping gem offers unrivalled peace and tranquillity, with the cry of a fish eagle waking you in the mornings. Pure bliss!
Molenrivier is located about 10km outside Groot Brakriver, in a green gorge next to a farm dam on a working farm. When you pass through the entrance, nothing gives the impression that you are entering a jewel of natural beauty and tranquillity and every time I turn the corner and the beautiful campsite comes into view, I am astonished. Along with the welcome scenery, one of the owners is always on hand to welcome you, making sure you feel right at home.
The campsite is not very big, with only nine grass-covered stands with partial shade. This ensures a peaceful camping experience and offers wonderful exclusivity for groups who want to camp together. The stands all have electricity, and each has its own braai (remember your own grid!). The ablution facilities – uniquely built over the dam – are neat and serviced daily. Thanks to gas geysers, there is always hot water and there are more than enough showers available. However, the water is brackish and sometimes brownish – so, if you’re not happy to drink it, you should bring drinking water along.
Shortly after our arrival and setting up camp, we took a quick dip in the farm dam. You can also bring your fishing rod to see if you can get a bite. Since the fish weren’t playing along, we lit the fire and enjoyed the tranquil silence and beautiful scenery. The forestcovered gorge is home to various bird species and ensures serenity at the camp. If you’re one of those busy camping bees, feel free to pack your hiking boots or bike to explore the area (the hiking trail is quite strenuous and not recommended for children under six). In the evening, you hear the owls calling outside your tent and on a previous visit, we spotted bushbuck and beautiful blue cranes.
It is easy to reach the campsite. You take the tar road from Groot Brakrivier to the town of Friemersheim. About 10km outside Grootbrak, you will find the turn-off to the right at the Molenrivier nameplate. After this, you follow the gravel or two-track concrete road for 400m to the campsite. The campsite is accessible by ordinary sedan vehicle, so everyone is welcome to come for a relaxed camping experience. As the camp is not very big, I would recommend booking well in advance if you want to go camping at Molenrivierplaas since campers always return – and with good reason!
In a nutshell
NEAREST TOWN: Groot Brakrivier (10km)
STANDS: 9 (6 people per stand)
SHOP: No (braai wood for sale at reception)
PET-FRIENDLY: Yes (only out of season, with prior arrangement)
FISHING: Yes (dam)
CELLPHONE RECEPTION: Limited
ACCESSIBILITY: Gravel road (accessible for most vehicles and road caravans)
Out of season, weekends and holidays: R170 per stand and R60 per person per night.
Midweek (out of season): 120 per stand and R40 per person per night.
High season (December): R340 per stand and R80 per person per night.
Month tariff (only out of season): R3 800 per stand (2 people).
Day visitors: R30 per person per visit (only allowed if family/ friends are camping there)
*Children under 6 camp for free
CONTACT: +27 83 216 0018 (Marius Myburgh) | firstname.lastname@example.org
*Prices and facilities highlighted in this article have been provided and are subject to change without notice. – Ed.
Things to do around Groot Brak
The Garden Route, stretching for about 300km along the Southern Cape coast, is a favourite holiday playground. Surrounded by lush forests on one side and a sparkling blue ocean on the other, it offers spectacular scenery, natural attractions and lots of exciting activities.
Kobus Halliday Motor Museum
An absolute must for people who love old cars, engineering, design or taking photos. Situated just outside of Reebok (about 12km from Grootbrak), the Kobus Halliday Motor Museum is any petrolhead’s dream, with a private collection of 104 classic cars, predominantly from the 1950s, that have been beautifully restored. Bookings are essential.
CONTACT: +27 82 970 7213 | email@example.com
Great Brak River Museum:
Learn more about the history of local community from bygone days through various audiovisual elements and unique exhibits in this charming tribute to the beautiful town. Admission is free, but any donations are appreciated. The museum also coordinates history walks to the last remaining 1920s hydropower plant in South Africa and a shipwreck tour to Glentana (during low tide).
CONTACT: +27 44 620 3338 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.ourheritage.org.za
Both adults and children can enjoy the activities at Redberry Farm in George (about 24km from Groot Brakrivier). The fun includes strawberry picking, a ride on the Redberry Express mini train, a small playground, pony rides, several eateries, and a maze to get lost in. There is no entrance fee to visit the farm, and visitors are charged per activity.
CONTACT: +27 44 870 7123 | www.redberryfarm.co.za
This South African landmark is only an hour-and-a-half (120km) from Groot Brak. The Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn offer a heritage tour and a challenging adventure tour to explore this underground wonderland.
CONTACT: +27 44 272 7410 | +27 82 3030029|www.cango-caves.co.za
Mossel Bay Zipline:
Get your heart racing as you take the trip down the Mossel Bay Zipline. At 1 100m long and a mere 90m above sea level, it is the longest over-theocean zipline in the world. If that is not exhilarating enough, you can reach speeds of up to 80km/h on your trip down (dependent on the weather and relevant safety precautions). Mossel Bay is about 30 minutes from Groot Brakrivier, depending on traffic (which can be quite busy especially during holiday time).
CONTACT: +27 68 022 email@example.com|www.mosselbayzipline.co.za
Bloukrans Bungee is recognised worldwide as the highest commercial bungee jump from a bridge and a must for any adrenaline junkie. Jumpers are secured in a full-body harness combined with an ankle connection. If the bungee is too much, you can take the skywalk over the mesh bridge to the bungee platform and back. Bloukrans is about two hours’ from Groot Brakrivier (150km).
Indalu Game Reserve:
Indalu, the Xhosa word that loosely translates to ‘nature’, is about 50km from Groot Brakrivier. It is set between the roaming hills and valleys and has been created as a sanctuary for many rescued elephants, allowing them to roam free in their natural environment. The reserve offers accommodation and adventure activities, including hiking trails and interactions with elephants, game drives, and a 4×4 Eco Adventure experience.
CONTACT: +27 82 990 0395 / +27 990 3831 | firstname.lastname@example.org www.indalu.co.za
Although it’s a bit of a drive from Groot Brakrivier (about 140km), the Swartberg Pass offers an exciting day of exploration, with several 4×4 and mountain bike trails and beautiful natural scenery. It is also the only access road to the famous Gamkaskloof, which is on many adventurers’ bucket lists.FOR MORE INFO: www.mountainpasses.co.za