Beaverlac is a rustic and isolated, pet-friendly campsite that lies about a two and a half hour drive from Cape Town over a dusty mountain road. It’s a paradise nestled in the mountains, far from civilisation. The undisturbed natural landscape is made up of beautiful rock formations and dense bush, littered with gorgeous, natural, freshwater rock pools.
If you’re looking for great camping in Porterville, this is the place for you.
We recently set up camp in Beaverlac and settled into a simple lifestyle of Braai-ing, swimming, rock pool jumping, hiking, and watching the sunset turn into a star-filled night sky. This post will give you an inside look at this little nirvana, and help you to get the most out of your Beaverlac experience.
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The Beaverlac campsite is one of the best camping sites in the Western Cape. The largecampsite surrounds the shop, office, and ablution blocks in a relaxed way. There are no demarcations for individual camping spots, which allows you to pick any spot that feels comfortable. This also leaves lots of open grassy areas between the trees, especially when it is quieter.
There are plenty of braai areas scattered around the campsites, and it’s likely that you’ll be able to set up camp right next to one of them. You’ll need to bring your own braai grid and other cooking utensils, but the well-stocked shop sells bags of wood for a reasonable price. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making an oxtail potjie.
There are ablution blocks throughout the campsite. Only some of the blocks have hot water, but all have showers, sinks, and toilets.
Camping prices are roughly R70pp per night, and it’s about R30 per car.
For those who prefer a more comfortable camping experience, or don’t have a tent, there are cottages available too. They range between R200 and R400 per night, depending on what you’re after. These cottages offer a great option for Porterville accommodation.
Beaverlac is warm. The highs in mid-summer generally sit around 31°C, (though it can get much hotter), and nighttime lows of about 17 °C. This sort of heat is one of the factors that makes Cedarburg camping so appealing.
In offseason it gets a bit too chilly for camping but any time between October and April you’ll be more than warm enough. Fortunately, the rainy season coincides with the colder months, so if you go in season you likely won’t have to deal with the rain.
That being said, night times can sometimes get a bit cooler, and you should be prepared for that. Bring a sleeping bag or a warm blanket, and some warmer clothes, just to be sure.
Dealing with the heat:
The heat at Beaverlac requires adequate preparation. There are a few things you can do to manage it, other than jumping into a cool, fresh rock pool (our favourite method).
- Firstly, you need to be sure to bring sunscreen. The sun is sublime, but its also intense, and sunscreen is imperative if you want to spend time basking in it. We suggest higher factor sunscreens, and water resistant if possible. You’ll be in and out of water all day and won’t want to waste time re-applying.
- Secondly, try and find a camping spot near some trees. Shade will be your best friend, and trees are great at providing it. If you have an umbrella, wigwam, or shade cloth, bring them along. You’ll be thankful.
- Lastly, whenever you move away from your campsite, bring water. Bring lots of water. The more the better. The heat will dehydrate you quickly, and there’s nothing like a big swig of cool water to soothe the effects of dehydration and keep it at bay.
Tip; the rock pools have cool water, even in the warm summer months. To keep your drinking water chilled, pop the bottle in a pool and find a rock to hold it under. Store them there whenever possible.
The rock pools and waterfalls – Beaverlac’s biggest attraction
Strung together by the Ratelrevier river, the Beaverlac rockpools are where visitors tend to spend the majority of their time. We think you’ll want to do the same, especially once you’ve witnessed them first hand.
They are magnificent and completely natural, although it appears that they have been designed perfectly for human enjoyment. Most of the bigger ones even have their own waterfalls.
Smooth stone surfaces slope gently into the water with the ideal gradient. This smooth stone also surrounds the pools and is perfect for tanning or an afternoon snooze.
There are little coves tucked away around the edges, so even on busy days, you can usually find some privacy. Bring a lilo or other floaty devices. Bobbing around in the pools is incredibly tranquil.
There are several pools. We’ve listed our three favourites below.
The main pool is about a five-minute meandering bush walk from the campgrounds. It’s the easiest pool to get to, and very comfortable once you’re there.
It has a great waterfall and a rope that you can use to get up on top of the rocks above the pool. Once you’re up there, you can stay and explore, or jump down into the rock pool below.
The totem pools are aptly named as such due to the impressive totem-pole-resembling stone pillars which surround them. There are several pools.
The largest one has a waterfall flowing into a cave you can swim in, and is walled on one side by a large stone cliff. You can jump off this cliff too, just have someone check the water for rocks with a pair of swimming goggles before you jump.
It’s a striking sight, and well worth the roughly forty-five-minute hike. The hike itself is stunning, and really shows off the natural beauty of the area. It’s a bit of a steep hike sometimes, but most beginner hikers shouldn’t have a problem. Just be sure to bring lots of water.
The secret pool is about a fifteen-minute walk on flat ground. It’s quite similar to the main pool, but offers a change of scenery, and is often less busy. It also has some interesting areas to explore around it. There are huge slabs of smooth stone, sloping gently away from the pool into the distance.
These large flat sections of stone are scattered throughout the area and offer a great platform for bum sliding. If you find water trickling over these sections, with a bit of moss to make them slippery, have a slide down. It’s great fun.
Final thoughts: switch off, disconnect
Beaverlac is a great camping getaway in the Cedarburg, ideal for residents of Cape Town and the surrounding areas. Cellphone reception at Beaverlac is scarce, and the campsites aren’t supplied with electricity. We strongly encourage that you switch off your phone, disconnect, and enjoy the peace, beauty, and tranquillity this place has to offer.