Backcountry Airplane Camping in South Africa

Jared Watney Tropicfeel Explorer

Jared Watney

My name is Jared, a media creator that started his career simply by documenting and sharing what interested me. I have a YouTube channel called Jared Watney, which currently has over 160,000 subscribers that support and follow my journey in filmmaking.
South Africa
4 days
South Africa
4 days
Adventure Rural getaways Skyline

When places can be reached one-third of the time by air—your options for a spontaneous camping trip really open up. Places that are usually impossible to see by car can be flown over. Time to load up and explore the inland mountains of South Africa.

In order to land our small plane safely you need about 300 meters of flat space. It took me nearly 9 months to feel confident enough to do a trip like this after getting my pilot’s license.
Don't leave any garbage behind! South Africa has stunning landscapes that have to kept as is. Each time you visit a place, treat it like your home.
Off-road 4x4 trails to explore mountains are found everywhere!
In order to land our small plane safely you need about 300 meters of flat space. It took me nearly 9 months to feel confident enough to do a trip like this after getting my pilot’s license.
Don't leave any garbage behind! South Africa has stunning landscapes that have to kept as is. Each time you visit a place, treat it like your home.
Off-road 4x4 trails to explore mountains are found everywhere!

Flying and camping around South Africa in 4 days

DAY 1

Airplane takeoff in South Africa

Take off location

Highway airfield. Located in the heart of the Garden Route in South Africa. This little farm strip is home for a small number of Aircrafts. Our plane ZU-EIF is one of them. The grass strip is approximately 650m long and about 850ft above sea level. This is our start and end location. It's time to lock and load and get out of here.

Louvain Camp in Suth Africa

Louvain: Camp Location No 1

In the middle of the ""Klein Karoo"", a long, narrow dirt road marks our landing location for our first day. This road is part of a guest farm called “Louvain guest farm”. Tonight however we won’t be staying at the lodge but under our airplane wings. There is almost nothing out here. A perfect place for Camp No.1

Mountain landscape in South Africa

Landrover Defender mountain top exploring

A flying trip is not only about flying but exploring. A 4x4 road led us to the tops of one of the most beautifully located hills. Views North showed us the Kammanassie mountains, South, and we could see the famous Outeniqua mountains. A perfect place to scope out our next day activities.

DAY 2

Airplane and Land Rover in South Africa

Wake up in frozen camp

We planned for the cold, but not for the freezing cold. Somewhat painful to breath in the outside air at night because it was so cold, we were about to find out why. We woke up to our tent almost completely frozen. The plane covered in frost. It was time. Time for an Airplane snowball fight.

Airplane camp in South Africa

Take off to secret camp location no2

Once the planes and ourselves had defrosted, it was time to pack up and make our way to location no 2. On the base of a mountain rage and a landing strip none of us had ever landed at. We were now 3 planes strong. Once we had done a few low approaches to make sure we were safe, it was time to touch down and set up camp.

Campfire with stars and Land Rover in South Africa

Evening flight and campfire dinner

Tents now setup, lunch time has passed it was time to take Ant, our defender driver for a flight to see the mountains from above. There is something really special about flying around sunset. Deceasing to end the day on a high note with beautiful light can never be a bad thing. Camp fire dinner time and insane stars. What a day.

DAY 3

Morning airplane flight in South Africa

Morning flight with friends before packing up

One of the most insane sunrises I have ever seen. The mountains streaming morning light in to warm us up is always an incredible feeling. Its time to pack up, fly the area for a short bit and then head to location no3. 1.6km of INSANE runway. Next Stop Rooiberg.

Airplane Camping in South Africa

Land on 1.6km runway

Once we landed on the unnecessary long runway. We were greeted by a friendly staff member of Rooiberg lodge. Rooiberg is a incredibly beautiful olive farm. The driver picked us up in a game drive vehicle and drove us through the plantations to the lodge. The lodge is equiped with a pool, a campsite and individual cabins. A perfect fly away venue.

Airplane Camping in South Africa

Night at bush lodge

After sleeping in tents and using most of the food we had packed, we were stoked to have a night in a cabin and eat some well cooked food. The lodge made us a few fresh pizzas, broght us a bottle of wine and lit a fire along side our accommodation. Sharing evenings with close friends in nature is what It's all about.

DAY 4

Valley flying canyons in South Africa

Valley flying in nearby canyons

Another insane sunrise has us eager to get back to our planes to explore the surrounding area. We spotted a few HUGE canyons and we all had the idea in the back of our minds to hopefully do a few canyon runs. Once we looked for underlying dangers like power lines, we all lined up and routed through the Canyon from North to South. One of the most INSANE experiences iv ever had!

Airplane trip in South Africa

Time to end the trip and route home

Ending this trip on a high note, I took a moment to reflect. How incredibly lucky I am to have the opportunity, this tool (plane), close friends who share similar passions and brands like Tropicfeel that enable me to experience life like this. Time to Route South East, homebound to Highway airfield.

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Before you travel

  • Pack as light as possible in the plane and the balance in the vehicle as you will need to land short and can't have any additional weight
  • Make sure your sleeping bag is able to deal with 0 °C - 3 °C temperatures.
  • Pack as light as possible to avoid any additional weight that can get in the way on an adventure trip like this one.
Backcountry Airplane Camping in South Africa

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Journey created by
Jared Watney Tropicfeel Explorer
Journey created by

Jared Watney

My name is Jared. I am a creator that started his career simply by documenting. Working on super yachts and filming the process of what it was like to be yacht crew seemed to be a topic many were interested in. 160 000+ subscribers joined to follow the journey and my career in filmmaking began. Yachts started to bring me onboard to film how they stood out, what makes them unique and to film portions of their journeys from A - B.
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