Drift in and settle down.
Finding a place to camp at short notice over a long weekend is tough. And if you want to take your dogs along, finding a pet-friendly resort with a stand available is even harder.
Number of stands:40
Water: Yes, shared
Pets allowed: Yes
GPS: S 34°07.830’ E 19°50.808’
Shop: No (wood & ice available from Cansius)
Braai Facilities: Yes
And, if the long weekend includes Heritage Day – or Braai Day as we like to call it – your chance of getting a place to pitch is almost zero.
But we were in luck – Khomeesdrif had a spot left!
Khomeesdrif Caravan & Camping site is situated right on the banks of the Riviersonderend River in the Western Cape, at the foot of the Sonderend Mountains.
The resort is just 7km from the town of Riviersonderend in the Overberg, and is easily accessible − there are only a few kilometres of good gravel road to travel after turning off the national highway.
It’s impossible to miss the turn-off to the resort, as there is a big painted tractor-tyre erected as a sign right at the entrance of the resort.
Khomeesdrif derives its name from a nearby crossing, or drift, in the Riviersonderend River. The last persons to cross the river here by horse carriage were Oom Fanie de Kock and his daughter, Miemie, in 1904. Later, a new wooden bridge was opened, followed by the current day Bokrivier concrete bridge.
The first couple of sites at Khomeesdrif are spread out on a big area of grass on your left, just as you enter the resort. Then there are eight sites to your left, and two on the right behind the “reception” – an old, blue caravan under a tree, which has a small table and camping chairs in front.
These sites, which take up about half the area of the resort, are spread out (each with at least one big tree for shade) and very spacious: the borders are not even demarcated. You will know where to set up camp by looking for the braai pits, and if you have booked, there will be a small reservation sign below a tree.
To give you an indication of just how big these sites are, I can tell you that our neighbours had eight tents erected in a big circle…
The second half of Khomeesdrif has over 20 sites on the left and right of the road, and these sites border each other. They are clearly demarcated, and each has a braai facility. This section of the resort is not grassed, as the dense tree canopy does not allow enough light through for growth.
Although the resort does not have electricity points, the shared ablutions provide hot water via solar power, backed up by gas. There are flush toilets, and the facilities are wheelchair-friendly.
Khomeesdrif recently added a wooden cottage that sleeps 6. The cottage is about 30 metres away from the campsite, situated on a large piece of higher ground and surrounded by a huge open grass area. The view from the stoep is beautiful.
But, coming back to the camp… Right at the end of the road, you reach the river (only one or two sites actually have river views, as vegetation is in the way), where the resort has built a large wooden deck. This is a communal area under a marquee roof, and there are a few wooden table-and-bench units. There are also a few braais fastened to the railing that overlooks the river.
There is a small “beach” down on the river, from which you can swim or catch some carp or barber. Boats and tractor tubes are available on request if you want to head out on the river. Or you can bring your own canoe and go for a paddle.
If water-based activities are not your style, you can also go on a hike, or go mountain biking or even quad biking. (The latter is by prior arrangement only).
Bird watchers should be on the lookout for blue crane, kingfisher, and eagles.
Dogs are welcome at Khomeesdrif, and our two critters had a whale of a time, running over the grass, racing up and down the river bank, and splashing about madly in the water. The resort also allows horses by prior arrangement.
There is a big jungle gym under the trees for the young ones.
Apart from the fact that Khomeesdrif does not have electricity, there is also hardly any cellphone reception; I found only one spot a few metres away from our site from where I could make a quick call.
I love camping resorts like this, where you can really break away from the hustle and bustle of the work week. Looking around, I could see children having a good time playing “old-school” games… not a single digital device in sight. I was even a little jealous of our neighbours’ kids who spent hour after hour playing Swingball!
Finally, I have to give a special accolade to the managers of the resort: Rykie and her husband Cansius. Twice a day, Cansius makes his rounds through the camp, towing a trailer filled with bags of wood. He stops at every site to ask how things are going, and whether you need any wood, ice or water. Rykie also popped in on Saturday to have a chat.
It’s the personal touches like these that draw campers back to a resort time and again.
By Francois Huysamen
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