Nestled within the impressive Cederberg Mountains, Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge, is South Africa’s best kept secret jewel and consequently our very worthy “Hidden Gem of the Week”!
Gecko Creek is a self catering campsite situated on a stunning private nature reserve that we think you will love. Accommodation is very affordable and you can choose to sleep in either a rustic cabin or a tent – all of which have breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.
For you backpackers wanting to explore the Western Cape, we think Gecko Creek is a MUST visit. As soon as you arrive you will feel at ease with the camps charming and calming atmosphere! Just don’t be surprised if you return for home equipped with dreadlocks and a drum after enjoying the camps “hippy” lifestyle too much…..
Being a bush camp the accommodation is quite basic with the cabins and canvas tents being designed purely just for sleeping. Even though it is still more “glamping” than “camping”- you should still expect a little walk (50-100 meters) to get to the toilets and showers. But being in the bush there are many shrubs and bushes for you to do a secret bushman pee in (ssshhh we won’t tell your friends back home if you don’t!).
Both options are equipped with twin/double beds with mattresses and overlook the valley.
There are currently three cosy cabins at the campsite. The highlight of opting for this accommodation surely HAS to be the added extra of the decked balcony and hammock! Laying back in one as you sway slightly, with a beer in one hand, as the sun goes down surely has to be one for the memory bank. The only downside might be having to share hammock with the person you came with!
The safari style canvas tents are excellent value for money. You have the added reassurance that it won’t fall down as you haven’t put the tent yourself!
However the tents are very close together, so when the campsite is full, you can hear other campers in their tents like they are in your own.
In the heat of the summer you will not want to leave here! Just remember, as you soak up that South African sunshine, to keep applying sun-screen…. We don’t want you you getting out looking more red lobster than tanned goddess!
The Boma (a South African Barbecue facility) is a really magical part of Gecko Creek Campsite, bringing you all together as you settle on a beanbag for the night. The talking point is the fire placed in the middle of the Boma.
The man who runs the camp, Glenn, comes by the Boma each night to make this social fire (one of which he is always proud of – and rightly so as it tends to be huge!). It is evident that Glenn not only comes for his fire making duty but also to sit and mingle with all of his guests. He clearly enjoys chatting with everybody from different walks of life and we assure you this man has stories for days!!!! Together with his wife Monica they add to the charm of the camp and are highly knowledgeable of the surrounding area and have a wealth of information about what to see and do.
Each night, at the Boma, a drum circle is also created allowing you to bong on an African drum as and if you please – it really doesn’t matter if you haven’t any rhythm for it really it just about creating atmosphere! You are obviously free to spend time away from the action alone at your tent or cabin but we suggest spending time in the social areas as it would be a shame for you to miss out on the social but relaxed fun.
After all that drumming and chitter chatter around the Boma during dinner we recommend you allow yourself a moment of silence to appreciate the stars – that really are like ‘diamonds on velvet’. It has also been said that (no doubt by Glenn) that you are able to see a shooting star every 10 minutes!
Fully equipped kitchen
Salt water swimming pool
A Boma – an open fire to gather at
Populated by the Cape Leopard, Baboon, Antelope, Lynx and 165 bird species including the magnificient Black Eagles, we suggest you bring you binoculars.
Bottles of rooibos tea (a South African favourite) is also left outside of the kitchen for the camps local feathered friends. It’s clear that they wait each morning for their breakfast tea as they gather in the masses eagerly awaiting it in the morning!
Location, location, location
The campsites spectacular setting make it the ideal hub from which to explore the Cederberg. A short distance away is the Olifants River which has the richest variety of endemic fish species of all rivers south of the Zambezi, including the Yellow Fish and Red fin Minnow.
For something extra special we suggest you take a scenic helicopter flight at low level through the Cederberg. When you book to stay simply mention to Glenn and Monica you are interested and they will help you organise as they are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about this activity!
– Bring bug spray.
– Plan your trip according to the time of year you travel. For example if you visit during the Summer you will need a high factor sun-lotion and your swimwear.
– Pack your walking shoes.
– Research the hikes and walks that you might like to do before you visit.
– Pack plenty of food for you Braai and drink. As half the charm is cooking yourself at the camp and making the most of their lovely facilities including the braais (South African for barbecue).
– Please note the accommodations DO NOT HAVE ELECTRICITY or lighting – so be sure to bring your own lantern or torch. There are however electrical charging points in the kitchen.