truck, rooftoptent,

Explored by those journeying along the N2 through the garden route, Buffeljags near Swellendam in the Western Cape stands out for its famed filling station and mouthwatering roosterkoek, but there are other attractions awaiting visitors.

We set up camp at Umshanti, nestled on the shores of the Buffelsjag dam, with self-catering units and three exclusive camping sites. Securing a spot here is no small feat, as it’s immensely popular, requiring reservations months in advance, and strictly no day visitors are permitted.

Situated just 9 km from the historic Swellendam and approximately 250 km from Cape Town, Umshanti offers a serene escape surrounded by the scenic Langeberge. If you find yourself at Buffeljagsrivier via the N2 from Cape Town, take a left towards Infanta 4×4.

The three campsites at Ushanti boast lush green lawns, catering to tent, camping trailer, and caravan enthusiasts. Each site features a braai area, 220V power, and breathtaking views of the mountains and dam. Kosie, the owner, personally crafts the braai areas, complete with a roof, two wooden benches, and a table. The rustic ablutions offer a touch of simplicity, complemented by gas geysers ensuring warm showers.

Upon our arrival, we promptly unfolded our Front Runner rooftop tent, laid out the Cgear groundsheets, and extended the awnings. A fire was quickly kindled in my Madkon braai, and the evening unfolded with the sizzle of sosaties and boerewors, culminating in the quintessential South African delight, braaibroodjies. There’s nothing quite like a braai to cap off the camp setup.

During our stay, we strolled down to the damwall deck at sunset, soaking in the tranquility. The water below played host to playful fish, accompanied by the distant call of a fisheagle—an idyllic scene that truly transported us to paradise.

Opting for an early night, we rose at 6 am to catch the sunrise. The kettle was soon on the fire, treating us to a delightful cup of coffee as we absorbed the morning ambiance—a moment of pure bliss.

Umshanti welcomes boating enthusiasts, and for those without their own vessel, there’s “Kosie se boot,” a double-decker boat offering cruises on the Buffelsjags dam. Complete with an open deck for braaiing, a bar, and toilet facilities, it accommodates up to 35 people. The area also offers a range of activities, from horse riding, cycling, and wine tasting to mountain biking and microlight flights.


Electricity: Yes
Hot water: Yes
Fishing: Yes
Swimming: River/Dam
Pet friendly: By prior arrangement
Nearest Town: Swellendam


Name: Umshanti Buffeljags Watersport Resort
Location: Swellendam
Accomodation: Camping and self-catering
Pricing: From R160
Contact: Loret
Text and photographs: Rikus Truter