R130pp nightly; R60 for kids.
Budget Getaways Review
Let’s face it, municipal resort-style camping is so passe. Shared ablutions, tents pressed together cheek-by-jowl, bodily emissions cutting through the night... No ways, not for us.
Listen, folks, if you want to take on the great outdoors via a pukka camping experience, look no further than Porcupine Rest Camp - a cutting-edge campsite that threatens to turn the traditional camping model on its head.
The camp lies about 45 kays from Laingsburg in a wide valley at the base of the Klein Swartberg - in fact, not far from the iconic Seweweekspoort and nearby to the well-known Anysberg Nature Reserve.
It's here that inspired hosts Allan and Joy Clack have designed and built three private sites offering a combo of comfortable back-to-basics living, privacy, meditative surrounds and… your own ablutions!
Flipping through the guestbook, Porcupine's emphasis on privacy, comfort and exclusivity filters through loud and clear: “I was especially impressed with the basic yet comforting toilet and shower facilities, built to blend in with nature.” says one. “The camp sites are stunning, impressive and so private - unlike other camping places!” gushes another happy camper.
Situated about 70m apart (you read right!), the three sites vary in size and general layout; Sweet Thorn can accommodate a tribe of 16 weekend warriors, while Karee can pack a crowd of eight and River Camp is tailored for groups of up to six.
A seasonal river runs to the front of the camp, in good times offering blessed respite from the Karoo heat. In dry times there's a farm dam for a dip, plus each site is shaded by large trees, so you're unlikely to fry.
Common to all three sites are private reed-walled flush toilets, hot showers powered by a donkey boiler, paraffin lamps (no power points and extension cords to trip over here), a fire and braai area, and a swathe of nice flat ground to pitch your canvas.
What's more, if you're not up to spending a small fortune on camping gear, you can hire the necessary from Allan and Joy.
The farm is yours to explore, with hiking options galore, gentle strolls, bike rides along quiet farm roads, and late night celestial-gazing second to none.
Left the matches at home? Don't fret, your thoughtful hosts have all the basics available for purchase, as well as braai packs and bags of firewood to keep the flames stoked through the night. If that's not enought to sway you, then you'll be glad to hear of the recent additions to Porcupine Rest Camp; a wood-fired oven which is used to bake a rage of delicious farmstyle treats, and a Campers Lounge where you can kick back with a cold one or enjoy a game of pool. What's more, Joy and Allan can even provide you with a hearty meal (if you book it in advance).
Although a new getaway on the Western Cape block, head on the block that Porcupine Rest Camp is all set to redefine the local camping circuit.
"This is definitely a hidden gem. We had a great experience with Alan and Joy that hosted us. We will visit again without a doubt. We would especially recommend it for bikers passing through for an overnight stop (it might turn in to more than one night). Everything you need in terms of camping equipment, food, drinks, fire wood etc. can be provided at the camp which helps one travel light."
(Adriaan Smith, visited Jan 2016)
"I am a new believer in the saying: ''Everything happens for a reason.''..We booked this place at last minute, because our other booking was a disappointment. I am SO happy that we found Porcupine Rest Camp! Everything is so neat and tidy, and so private. The hosts are wonderful, and we enjoyed everything about our stay here. Joy bakes the best bread ever. Definitely one of my favorite camp sites."
(Sybil De Beer, visited January 2015)
"One of the best camping experiences ever. Loved everything about it!"
(Sybil De Beer, visited January 2015)
"What a fantastic camping experience! Everything is top quality, the hosts are great, and we enjoyed every minute of it."
(Sybil De Beer, visited January 2015)
"Highly recommended! Especially for adventure motorcyclist needing an overnight stop when exploring the Klein Karoo. No need to pack your bulky camping gear, equipment, food and so forth. This is camping without any of the hard work or timely preparations. Just arrive, kick of your dusty boots, light the fire and start relaxing. On arrival Allan and Joy prepared everything for us in advance. The “donkie” had hot water, tents were pitched with stretchers, mattress and bedding, camping light, camping chairs, table with all the utensils, coffee, tea, sugar and Ice for the drinks. Joy prepared a delicious salad and a braai pack for us too. The camping sites are neat, clean and private with the distinct feeling of a bush camp. Porcupine Rest Camp really added value to our weekend trip in terms of time, comfort, location and convenience without the added cost. Allan and Joy are fantastic hosts who will cater for your specific needs. We will definitely be back."
(Erwin Steenkamp, visited January 2015)
"Porcupine Rest Camp is off the beaten track in a large valley with only 500 people living in it. It is a destination you make an active effort to visit as opposed to "passing through". The mountains we drove through outside Laingsburg are spectacular, unlike anything we have seen in South Africa. Our hots were superb. Friendly, welcoming, set up everything as we requested and were non intrusive, even when coming to light the fires for geysers and night lamps. They have planned their Camps with detail and thought, which made the experience so much better than we anticipated. The current drought made use of the river and dam a non event and also made us pretty dusty walking around. This though is not the usual state of affairs and will mean we will need to visit again to enjoy these missed facilities. Camping is meant to be a little rough but the little "luxuries" like personal showers and toilets were a superb feature. The stillness and the setting experienced, was food for the soul. We don't usually write reviews post staying somewhere but because of the uniqueness and our experience, we have no qualms recommending them. If you don't enjoy your time at Porcupine Rest Camp, you must be pretty numb on the inside. Husband (not really a get dirty kinda guy), wife (her birthday wish and made booking) and son (6 years old but world traveler) had an amazing time, especially late afternoon/evening around our own camp fire talking, barbecuing and laughing. Thank you so much."
(The Brinkmann Family, visited February 2015)
"We have been around this wonderful country of our over the last couple of years and have stayed at various camping spots. Porcupine Rest Camp stands out as one of the best ever! Alan and Joy excellent hosts, and have created a small paradise second to none. This is a must see for everyone, especially if you are a biker, the ride through the Seweweekspoort is unbelievable and further on through Roux Pass on the way to Laingsburg is perfect."
(Ivan Human, visited February 2015)
"A group of 8 of us spent an amazing four nights over New Years! The set up and attention to detail on these private campsites is perfect. We were so comfortable and well looked after. Some of the group were visiting from overseas so were able to hire tents and sleeping mats, all thoughtfully set up on arrival. A wonderful place to camp, off the beaten track, in a beautiful part of the country."
(Leah Humphreys, visited December 2014)
"Frazzled city-folk beware! Your friends won't recognise you when you return from this little gem of a bush retreat. If you return at all. Best leave details with your next-of-kin in case they have to come and retrieve you from your place of bliss. What sets it apart from other camping spots is: (a) guaranteed privacy: each of the three campsites is cut from its own private section of the bush; (b) convenience: you have the option to hire all you need, at a very reasonable price, and arrive to an already-set up camp; and (c) comfort: no need to "rough it"! You have your own private flush loo, shower with hot running water, and sink area for washing up. Each site is well shaded, and beautifully laid out with such attention to detail that it would be worthy of Conde Nast "Camp and Garden" magazine, if there were such a thing. If you really must be active, there are plenty of hikes in the area. Don't expect to swim though, when we went, the river was more like a paddling pool, but I believe it flows quite strongly after enough rain. We were awoken each morning to a spectacular chorus of birdsong, and were visited regularly by an unbearably cute and curious little mongoose. We never left our little shaded sanctuary at all which is easy if you enjoy bird watching, reading that long-awaited book with a glass of chilled chardonnay at your side, or simply "vegging out" in your hammock."
(Catherine Welsh, visited December 2014)
"Porcupine Rest Camp is really lovely and perfect for people who love camping without crowds. The facilities are amazing, very comfortable, yet nice and rustic. It is a treat for the soul being so immersed within nature."
(claudia batschari, visited October 2014)
"Awesome hospitality form Alan and Joy from the day we arrived until we left. I was especially impressed with the basic yet comforting toilet and shower facilities, built to blend in with nature. Each camp site has their own toilet and shower which makes the experience truly personal. The Donkey (for hot water) was a refreshing campsite experience and I was surprised how well it worked to supply enough hot water. Each camp site has a unique feel to it, so much so to return and experience each one on different visit a definitive must. The beauty and tranquility of the surrounding area must be explored to take back a little bit of the Karoo."
(Quentin Smit, visited September 2014)
"We were made to feel very comfortable and welcome on arrival, the hosts are accommodating and went the extra mile for us. The campsites were spotless, ablution facilities fantastic. Will definitely recommend to all."
(Buddy Payne, visited August 2014)
"The overall experience was wonderful. Our facilities were clean and stocked with all necessities.There were lots of activities for the family and despite to cold overnight temperatures we spend many hours around the fire in a wonderful setting. Allen and Joy were the prefect hosts and we will certainly recommend their rest-camp to friends and family."
(Manu Janssens, visited August 2014)
"As it is still a very new camp site, there are still trails and a lounge that still need to be sorted out but you can still take a hike up the hill to get a stunning panorama of the whole valley. The one thing that I really enjoyed was the fact that you don't have to share your toilets and showers with other campers, each site has its own!! All you have to do is let Allan know what time you want to shower and he will light the fire in time for you to have hot water, nice and rustic. The sites are all set under big trees so that there is plenty of shade and protection from the wind if it does blow. If peace and quiet is what you looking for, I highly recommend Porcupine Rest Camp."
(Wayne Burger, visited September 2014)
"Warm and willing to please hosts Joy and Allan made us feel so comfortable and did everything to make our stay a pleasant one, the camp sites are stunning, impressive and so private, so unlike other camping places. Very "au natural" and peaceful, I was immensely impressed and will definitely be staying there again."
(Natalya Nisbet, visited August 2014)
Where You'll Also Find Us
Addo • Arniston (Waenhuiskrans) • Aurora • Barberton • Barrydale • Baviaanskloof • Bela Bela • Bergville & Northern Drakensberg • Betty's Bay • Bonnievale • Bredasdorp • Bronkhorstspruit • Caledon • Calitzdorp • Calvinia • Cape Agulhas & Struisbaai • Cape Peninsula & Surrounds • Cape St Francis & St Francis Bay • Ceres • Citrusdal • Clanwilliam & Cederberg • Clarens • Colesberg • Darling • De Rust • Dullstroom • East London • Elands Bay • Franschhoek • Gansbaai • George • Graaff-Reinet • Grabouw & Elgin Valley • Grahamstown • Greyton • Hazyview • Hermanus • Hogsback • Jeffreys Bay • Jozi and Surrounds • Kaapsehoop • Knysna • Ladismith • Ladybrand • Laingsburg • Lamberts Bay • Langebaan • Magaliesberg • Magoebaskloof & Haenertsburg • Malgas • Marloth Park • Matjiesfontein • McGregor • Montagu • Mossel Bay • Mtunzini • Napier • Nature's Valley • Nelspruit • Nieu-Bethesda • Oudtshoorn • Paarl • Paternoster • Philippolis • Piketberg • Plettenberg Bay • Port Alfred • Port Elizabeth • Porterville • Prince Albert • Pringle Bay, Betty's Bay and Kleinmond • Rhodes • Riebeek West & Riebeek-Kasteel • Riversdale • Robertson • Rustenburg • Sabie • Sedgefield • St Helena Bay • Stanford • Stellenbosch • Stilbaai • Storms River Mouth & Tsitsikamma • Sutherland • Swellendam • Thabazimbi • Tulbagh • Underberg & Southern Drakensberg • Uniondale • Vaalwater & Waterberg • Van Wyksdorp • Velddrif • Vermaaklikheid • Victoria Bay • Wakkerstroom • Wellington • Wild Coast • Wilderness • Winterton & Central Drakensberg • Witsand • Worcester & Hex Valley • Yzerfontein •