I guess it’s not good form to start a caravan and campsite review with a disclaimer, but I’m still going to do it: I am an Overberg klong … which means that I might be a bit biased in favour of anything to do with my stomping ground.
However, in the case of Kam’Bati River Resort, you don’t need to be biased to say that this is a first-class caravan and camping site.
And, if you are wondering whether this Overberg klong is being honest, just remember that Kam’Bati won the coveted Readers’ Resort of the Year prize in the Great Outdoors Guide 2017. That’s right, of the more than a thousand resorts in South Africa, our readers voted Kam’Bati as the best!
So, let me tell you more about the resort. Kam’Bati is situated on the farm Jubileeskraal, about 20 kilometres from Swellendam, right where the Sonderendrivier meets the Breede River before winding its way down to the sea.
Kam’Bati has an interesting history. The resort was named in honour of Jacobus Cornelius Badenhorst (23/11/1925 – 1/12/2004), grandfather of the present owner ( Jaco Badenhorst). This grandfather was known to family and friends as “Batie”… hence the name Kam’Bati. On one wall of the reception there is a framed copy of the eulogy delivered at Oom Batie’s funeral. In this moving tribute, one gets a glimpse of the trials and tribulations endured by the hardy farmers that settled along the Breede River.
It describes how Oom Batie’s father lost his farm and was forced to work as a bywoner. (English ‘sharecropper’ – although I have never found that word adequate in describing what in Afrikaans is known as a bywoner.) But, through hard work, Oom Batie and his beloved wife Anna managed to buy Jubileeskraal for the following generation of Badenhorsts to enjoy and expand.
To get to Kam’Bati, you have to drive about 3km on gravel road after turning off the N2, but the road is fairly good and any on-road caravan should be able to handle it easily. Access to the resort is controlled by means of a big electronic security gate.
As soon as you enter Kam’Bati, you’ll see what the fuss is about and why it is such a popular camping and caravan destination. When stopping at the reception/office, you look down on a massive parking area to your left, on the luxury Africamps safari tents, the huge trees covering the camping sites, a beautiful dam, a landscaped entertainment area with pool, and right in front of you there’s a putt-putt course. And these aren’t even near the total of the amenities at the resort!
Kam’Bati is a fantastic place for couples, families or camping friends. With kid-friendly swimming pools, waterslides, putt-putt, a playground, and canoes on the river, the young ones are guaranteed to have a ball. During my visit, there were tents and caravans galore, with lots and lots of kids just having fun. Kam’Bati really is a place that ticks all the boxes for young and old alike.
Kam’Bati Resort Images
The resort has 96 grassed stands, which are divided into 4 camping blocks – the A, B and C block are all on the river, with the E Block higher up some 150 metres back.
Although there are almost a hundred stands, you won’t feel cramped even with the whole family on holiday, because the sites are about 90 square metres in size on average.
All the stands have access to electricity, and use normal 3-pin 220V plugs, so there is no need for the Blue Adaptor. There are shared taps serving the sites with safe drinking water.
Often, the difference between a good resort and a great one comes down to one thing: ablutions. Kam’Bati definitely falls under the latter! There are three ablution blocks, with a total of 18 showers and 18 toilets. There is a bath in the ladies section of the A Block.
A big plus is the fact that the staff continuously cleans and services the ablution blocks. Although the campsite was full and there were plenty of kids, the showers and toilets were always pristine.
Braai facilities are available at each site – and there’s nothing that can make you more relaxed and tranquil than sitting under a big tree in front of your caravan, with the smell of a freshly-lit fire filling the air, and gazing over the flames at the view across the river. Bliss!
If you are in the mood for a party, head up to Bati’s Pub (cash only), where you can order drinks, play pool, or watch the game on television. The bar is open at weekends from 10h00am until 22h00pm.
Kam’Bati has a small, cash-only shop at reception which stocks the basics, including wood and ice.
For those who like to explore the area around them, the Overberg has a fascinating history – especially the nearby town of Swellendam. I would really recommend that you visit the Drostdy Museum. The museum has re-printed Edmund H. Burrow’s two books on the area: Overberg Odyssey and Overberg Outspan. Try to get hold of them – they will make any trip eastward over Sir Lowry’s Pass a whole new experience.
Another place to visit is the little historical village of Suurbraak, some 46 kilometres from Kam’Bati. There is a great little restaurant called Paradise Organic, and an interesting man who makes quirky rustic furniture. His small workshop is in the main road – it’s called Zairu Rustic Garden Furniture.
Another interesting thing to do is to pack a picnic and explore the nearby Tradouw Pass. The pass was the ancient route of the Khoisan people. It translates as the “way through for the women”. The caves in the deep valley have numerous galleries of rock paintings left by these fascinating people. The road over the pass was eventually built by Sir Thomas Bain, and opened in 1873. The whole of the Overberg is a treasure waiting to be explored.