Umshanti – Buffeljags

OVERVIEW

Location
Umshanti - Buffeljags is located, as the name suggests, on the Buffeljags River, just outside Swellendam.  Swellendam is easily accessibile via the N1 (235 kms and a travel time of approx. 3 hours) and the N2 (230 kms and 2h45m travel time) highways.  We took the N2 on our last visit.  Once you have driven through the town of Swellendam you will find a correctional facility on the left.  Turn left here and the road will take you to Umshanti.  

Road conditions
The N2 is tarred and after the turn off towards the campsite, the road becomes dirt. The dirt road is in a good condition and can be driven in a standard sedan.  However, the road is partly clay and can get tricky just after heavy rains.  

Stands 

The camp site only has 3 stands , which are large and well grassed.  Each stand also has its own 3x3m shade cloth structure with a wooden table and benches.   The ground is soft and it is easy to drive your tent pegs in.

Electricity
Each site has its own electricity connection, but as the stands are large, so bring your extension cord along (just in case).   

Ablutions
There are 2 wooden ablution facilities for all the campsites.  The ablutions are very quaint. There is a toilet, a basin and a shower in each one.  The hot water to the bathrooms is supplied by gas geysers, so there is ample hot water to go around.  The ablutions are always kept neat and clean.  Just be aware that the shower only has a curtain, so wet floors are inevitable after the shower has been in use.

Braais
Each site has a braai drum.  You will need to bring your own braai grid.  Wood can be purchased at reception.

Bins
Bins are provided on the campsites.

Washing up
There is a washing up area adjacent to the ablutions.  

On site
The main attraction a Umshanti is the access to the dam. 
Each site has a beautiful view of the dam and the surrounding mountains.
The dam can be accessed via a steep road or a steep path from the campsite.
Canoes are free for use 
Boat cruises can be arranged with the owner (Kosie)
A smaller, flat bottom boat can be hired for the day
You can book a flight with Kosie on his microlight and have a view of the surrounding area from above
There is a communal fridge/freezer for use by campers
Conference and wedding venue
Chapel for weddings

Contact Details
Telephone   028 512 3787
Cell  072 601 0797
email: umshanti@worldonline.co.za

Comments
We visited this campsite last year and had a wonderful time.  The campsites are really large and the grass was beautifully green.  The shaded area with the table and benches was used extensively, as they face over the dam and the surrounding mountains.  The dam is quite a steep incline away from the campsite, so we had to remember to bring everything along when we went down to the water (the kids moaned every time we asked them to fetch something).  The canoes and the paddle boats were an absolute hit with the kids and we spent most of the day lounging around the dam.  We hired the flat bottomed boat from Kosie for a day.  We packed all our goodies and set out onto the dam for a skottel breakfast.  It was such a great experience drifting along and watching the surroundings unfold as we went.  In hindsight, I would remember to bring a sun umbrella as it did get rather hot.  There was even an inner tube that accompanied the boat, so when the heat got too much, a paddle and a swim were the order of the day.
The only complaint I have was the microlight that would take visitors on excursions early in the mornings.  We would get woken up at around 6am with the sound of the microlight engine roaring above our tent.  This happened over the weekend, but during the week, it was blissfully quiet.
All in all, we had a wonderful time at Umshanti and will definitely return.

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