Monday, March 23, 2009

Lambert's Bay campsite a total dump.

It was dirty, smelly, and surrounded by what may be one of the rattiest chainlink and barbed wire fences anywhere. With crystalline ocean just out of reach. The campsite, right beside the town, smelled of urine where there were windbreaks, presumably from campers who could not be bothered to go to the ablution block, it had ancient plastic bags clinging in rags to the barbed wire fence, had foul-smelling old coals and debris in the fire places, and had an air of deep disappointment and apathy about it.

In Afrikaans? Die plek was eenvoudig vuil. Goor. Die eienaars behoort hul te skaam.

After the well-maintained sites at the green-grassy Abiqua River Camp on the Orange River, the raked sand, clean braais and camel thorns of Aus and wide open Sesriem in Namibia, and the barren and hot but honest site at Tweerivieren in the Kgalagadi, the Lambert's Bay campsite was very, very sad.

I couldn't do it. It was too depressing.

Vince got on his white charger, found a B&B nearby, the Sir Lambert (painted in hard-to-miss large letters on its side) and carried me off to it. He recounts this part of our trip here.

Described in some places as a quaint fishing village, I'm afraid Lambert's Bay is neither quaint nor a village. There is a hardworking factory and fishing industry, with a stunningly beautiful bay whose beach is flanked on one side by the fish factory and the other by a row of incongruous, salt-bitten palm trees, and fronted by ugly grey-brick townhouses. With rare exceptions, the town suffers from the worst seaside architecture, dominated by grey, shiny beige and maroon brick. I saw two beautifully preserved old houses, islands amongst the thick-skinned awfulness of many of the others.

Apart from the Muisbosskerm, see next post, I see no reason to visit Lambert's Bay unless you really, really like gannets. Or fishing. The beaches beyond it are beautiful, but not beautiful enough to make me want to stay in town. I did see an interesting bird hide situated above the river that opens onto to the beach, so perhaps distraction is available there, too.

As an alternative, camp at Paternoster, at Cape Columbine. Paternoster itself is self-consciously pretty and uniform in a forced way, the summer home of many wealthy Gautengers and Capetonians. But the reserve is quiet and the camping stands were very clean and very, very beautiful. And the kreef on our braai were delicious.

For another dismal view of the Lambert's Bay campsite, here is a caravaner's review.

6/24/2010: Please check out Heinrich Wiese's comment..


  1. you have absolutely no idea of what is worth experiencing in this life. lamberts bay is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable places in the cape coast and you are describing it here as a dump.

    Firstly, there much more to the little filthy town as you called it than just gannets and ugly houses. there's peace and quietness everyday. our people doesnt have a lot of money, thats why we dont build castles, and what is a castle more then just material wealth. how are you taking your castle to heaven?

    please keep in mind that empty tins usually makes the loudest noise. keep your opinion to yourself if you dont have anything of value to add.

    theres so much more i'd like to say to you... please come back, meet the locals, go surfing, go fishing, go biking or go have a lekke time on the beach. if none of these activities interests you - you should have never come here.

    as jy nie hou van wat ek te se het nie, wel dan moet jy gaan kak.

    heinrich wiese

  2. Hello Heinrich

    Ek is jammer dat jy vuil taal moes gebruik om jou punt oor te dra.

    Maar ek verstaan dat jy trots is op jou tuiste. Ek sou ook wees. Ek is jammer dat ek aanstoot gegee het. Ek het in Bloemfontein grootgeword: nie die mooiste plek op aarde nie, maar ek het dit lief.

    From our point of view, we were camping. So I think we know exactly what is worth experiencing in life :-) And we focused on the campground, which was terrible when we were there. Ek raai jou aan om self daar 'n tent op te slaan. Dit het gestink, dit was vuil, die doringdraad vol vullis was aanstootlik. We ate fish and chips in town, took it to the beach - the beach was pretty, as I said, the fish and chips some of the worst I've consumed.

    We had camped all over the country and had not met such a dirty, poorly maintained campground. Why did we come to Lambert's Bay in the first place? I came ready to be pleased.

    It gave a flavour to the whole place.

    I am afraid I did find much of Lambert's Bay ugly, in terms of architecture, which is what interests me. "Architecture" to me does not equate with money - I just mean a type of aesthetic, or sense of taste. I am not advocating turning Lambert's Bay into Paternoster, which is at the other extreme, and quite artificial, in its own way.

    So, as a visitor, that was my impression.

    My advice, or suggestion to you is, Start a blog about Lambert's Bay. You are proud of your town and must know it very well, and know what is beautiful and good and special about it. Take pictures, start posting. Show me - and us - what we are missing...I am open to persuasion.

  3. Can you please do us a favour and delete this negative feedback;coz its 2016......

    1. Mariana, this review was written in 2009, as the date states. That was our experience. People can read the date. It was the worst campsite I have visited. If the site is under new management, or if you want to respond in detail to this review, I would be happy to publish your response.


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