Gauteng may be the most densely populated of South Africa's provinces, but there are many beautiful oases in the highveld countryside where camping is one of many outdoor pursuits that may be enjoyed.
Here are five we found in various parts of Gauteng's 18 000km2 expanse.
Malonjeni Guest Farm, Vaal
Only half an hour from the bustling hub of Johannesburg, Malonjeni offers a rustic respite from city life on a 260ha farm.
A major drawcard is the antelope species that abound here. There are a dozen magnificent buck to be seen on the game drive, so take your camera and binoculars along.
With a choice of 250 electrified caravan/camping sites in the grassy main camp and a further 120 in the more sandy bush section, campers have a wide selection to suit their preference – with or without trees and with or without safari tents!
The farm is fitted out with modern ablution facilities, a pub, restaurant, tuck shop and braai facilities – plus a pool for summer camping holidays.
A host of activities is on offer: a 7.4km hiking trail, game drives, mountain bike track, putt-putt, table tennis and many idyllic picnic spots.
You’ll pay R380 per stand per night. Bookings can be made on 082 309 8075.
De Rust Caravan Park, Tshwane
If you’re a true-blue camper in search of tranquillity under a canopy of beautiful indigenous trees, then this campsite is perfect.
To retain its unique appeal, De Rust does not permit children, caravan rallies or pounding music that can spoil an otherwise relaxing sojourn in the bushveld. Sites are also limited to 25, each with its own barbeque facilities and power supply.
Awarded five stars in its TripAdvisor review and described as “a pleasant surprise”, McGuigan61 said they were “welcomed by a very courteous owner Jan who walked us around the camp site giving us various options where to pitch. We choose site 16 next to a faster-flowing part of the Pienaars River and the sound of the water was indeed soothing.”
Located within the Finfoot Conservancy, the location is well maintained and birding is a favoured pastime with 280 species recorded to date. These include the rare African finfoot, half-collared kingfisher and the white-backed night heron.
A 500-year-old wild olive tree and a 450-year-old karee tree mark the start of a nature trail where early morning walks treat campers to wild flowers, tortoises, butterflies and, for the very quiet, wildlife species such as kudu and impala. Larger species may be seen on a game drive through a patrolled, fenced-off section of the main reserve.
The more motivated might also enjoy the 7km mountain biking trail around the conservancy.
Call 083 282 7292 for reservations.
Anchor Creek Marina, Sedibeng
For well-lit, secure camping on the water's edge of the Vaal Dam near the town of Deneyesville, look no further than Anchor Creek Marina. Each campsite is set up on a grassy area with braai facilities and nicely appointed ablutions with hot water available. Campers also have the option of enjoying meals at the Deck Restaurant overlooking the water.
Many water-based activities may be enjoyed here. As if boat rides, fishing, skiing, wakeboarding and tubing are not enough, there are also tours on the dam wall, amusement park rides for young children and paddle boat rides and a water slide. This is also a great fishing spot.
Rates are R80 per night per tent plus R120 per person sharing.
For bookings, call +27 (0)16 371 2029.
Weaver’s Roost Resort, West Rand
Along the R563 to Hekpoort, 17km from Krugersdorp, Weaver's Roost Resort is a tranquil retreat where massive big trees, mountains and river offer solace for the soul.
Small game species and birds are the main wildlife attractions, while children and energetic adults will revel in a water slide, swimming pool, trampoline, hiking trail, game drives and various sports.
Campsites are supported by modern, clean ablution facilities and loud music, dogs, motorbikes and taxis are not permitted to disturb the serenity. Sites cost R120 per site per night plus R25 per person per night (6 maximum) and R35 for electricity per night.
Weaver’s Roost is near the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, access to hot-air ballooning, 4x4 routes and a Big 5 reserve.
If the peace and quiet of nature becomes too much to endure, the Silverstar Casino is only 30km away.
Call +27 (0)14 577 0001 or 082 890 1492 to book.
Rotundus Resort, Ekurhuleni
Rotundus Resort is a family-orientated holiday destination that includes a dedicated camping area.
Family fun is guaranteed in the form of swimming pools with water slides, a playground, mini-golf, train rides, kiosk and pub.
Under the spreading shade of large trees, 40 braai sites have been laid out, and there are large grassy areas for the camping fraternity, along with a caravan park and chalets.
On the first Saturday evening of every month there's a dance in the main hall, which is also hired out for weddings.
Find Rotundus about 15km from Springs along the R29 Ermelo road. It is conveniently located centrally between the towns of Springs, Devon, Nigel and Delmas.
You’ll pay R75 per tent per night plus R40 per person per night. Call 011 730 1100 or 082 590 9345 to book.