The moment you turn off from the N7 and drive through the big white walls of Rondeberg Holiday Resort, you know that you are in for a good time. The road down to the campsite is lined with palm trees, behind which vineyards are spread to left and right. In the distance below, you get your first look at the Bulshoek Dam.
Even at the entrance to the resort (situated on a private nature reserve), it’s clear that Rondeberg is expertly managed. Outside, the extensive grass is neatly mown; and inside the reception, the shop is neatly stocked.
Exiting the car at the reception gate, I could already hear the sound of children having the time of their lives, echoing up from the dam about 50m away. Between squeals of joy, I could hear the splashing as the little ones enjoyed the cool water on that hot summer day.
Rondeberg offers various accommodation types, including chalets, stone cottages, a waterfront house, and (of course) camping and caravanning.
And, as if those were not enough options, there are four types of camping and caravan stands to choose from.
The general camping area is set a short distance from the dam. All 14 sites are on neat, lush grass, with electricity and braai facilities. Not all the stands have trees for shade, so make sure that you book in advance to get one of the prime spots. Ablution facilities are spread throughout the camp, with more than enough toilets and showers. There is a bath available in the family bathroom. The facilities are kept meticulously clean all day long! Laundry facilities are also available.
Rondeberg also offers two camping sites right on the edge of the glorious Bulshoek Dam; these cost a bit more than the general stands. A maximum of six people is allowed per site. Each Water’s Edge site has a key to its own bathroom, which consists of a shower, a basin and a toilet.
These sites also have electricity and braai facilities.
The water’s edge is the perfect camping spot for families. You can look out at the dam, and take only a few steps to be swimming with the kids, lounge under the trees, or just relax on the lawn. And, as a bonus, the sites are right next to one of the children’s play areas which have swings and a small trampoline.
The final two options for campers are the Luxury and Private stands. The six Private camping units are set higher up in the camp (to the left as you enter the resort) and each consists of a small brick structure with a bathroom (shower, basin and toilet), a built-in braai, a paved area next to the braai for parking your vehicle, dishwashing facilities, and a grass stand where you can pitch your tent or motorhome.
The four Luxury camping sites are the same as the Private units, but they also include a fully air-conditioned bedroom that can sleep up to four people (one double bed and two single).
On the right side of the resort, you’ll find more accommodation options in the form of self-catering chalets. Set not far from the dam, the chalets will provide you with luxury-living at the Rondeberg resort. The front-row chalets look out directly onto the water (no campsites in front), but even the chalets further back have stunning views of the dam and the mountains.
There are two 4-sleeper and two 6-sleeper chalets, as well as an 8-sleeper unit. All of the chalets are air-conditioned, and have braai facilities and large private lawns spread out in front of the buildings.
For a more rustic experience, visitors can stay in one of the three stone cottages. The cottages are on the left of the resort (looking down from the entrance), just below the Private camps, and close to the outdoor swimming pool. Built from stones that come from the farm, the cottages have a double bed, a kitchenette with cutlery, microwave, fridge and kettle, and a private braai outside. From the openplan bedroom, you walk into a large stone bathroom that will make you feel as if you are showering out in nature, in a private cave! There’s an extra-special design to Stone Cottage number 3, which has a live sycamore tree growing in the bathroom.
Lastly, there is the Luxurious Waterfront House, which is situated right on the water’s edge. The Waterfront House is a massive threestorey stone building with 5 bedrooms (4 double and 1 single).
The house has a big stoep on which you can while away the day, looking out over the Bulshoek Dam. There is a fully equipped farm-style kitchen, a built-in braai (in the living area), and a separate dining room. In total, the house has 3 bathrooms (1 upstairs and 2 downstairs).
Rondeberg Resort Images
What to do
With the stunning views over the Bulshoek Dam, it would be easy to spend your whole day sitting in front of the tent, chalet or cottage, just enjoying some time off and having a braai. But, for those who like to get out and about, there are both land and water activities to enjoy.
The Bulshoek Dam has a storage capacity of 7 500 000 cubic metres, and although it’s not as big as the nearby Clanwilliam Dam (which is almost 17 times bigger), it’s more than big enough for some water-sport fun. The slipway to launch your boat is situated between the camping area and chalets, and there is enough space to keep a small boat tied up on the small bank.
If you’re feeling energetic, take your canoe out for a row. And, for the powerboat fans, the dam is great for skiing. You can also enjoy a leisurely sunset cruise up the river.
Rules of the water are strictly enforced. While I was checking in, I heard management ask a visitor who wished to launch his boat to first present all his licensing documentation. And, while I was on a boat-trip on the water, they were quick to stop a boat that was going around the dam in the wrong direction. (For safety, all skiing and boating activities take place anti-clockwise.)
There is also fish in the dam (mainly bass), so fishermen can take their rods and try for a catch.
If you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, Rondeberg offers you a short hiking trail on the private nature reserve in the Cederberg Mountains. Leave the campsite and head out through the relatively newly-planted olive orchard, and up the western side of a small mountain. Going up and around the mountain will provide you with a beautiful, full view of the campsite and dam. If you continue clockwise, at the back of the mountain, you’ll see a valley below which has the Olifants River running through it; and, further on, the actual dam wall. Please note that you are not allowed to take photos of the dam wall.
It can get pretty hot in the Clanwilliam area, so I suggest that you do the hike early in the morning, or in the late afternoon. I did both: one just before sunset, and another the next day before the sun was up. Pack a small breakfast (I suggest some lekker leftovers from the previous night’s braai) and head up to see the sun rise over the opposite hill. As the first light of day hits the mountain, you’ll be surrounded by a red glow that highlights the aloes scattered around.
The views over the dam in the early morning will fill you with a sense of peace and contentment.
Bird watchers must keep their eyes open, as over 135 species have been documented in the area.
• Swimming (pool and dam)
• Playground: Swings, trampoline
• Pool table