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How to Run a Campsite

This article gives you tips on how to run a campsite well in South Africa.

Running a campsite in South Africa is a great business for any entrepreneur who loves the outdoors. It will, however, take more than that to make your campsite stand out. 

You will need to be able to keep up with maintenance, marketing and your books all while keeping a smile on your face for the customers.

If you’re motivated, though, buying and running a campsite can be a great way to start a business with low overheads and lots of potential!

Camping

What it takes to be a good campsite owner

Even though this business may seem completely unique, there will still be an overlap when it comes to how you can make it a success. At the end of the day, it is still a business and you will need to manage it as such. 

You will also need to be happy with the fact that you won’t be working ordinary office hours. Campsites are predominantly busiest during the summer months. Over Christmas and New Year, you can expect to be inundated with holidaymakers. 

This will be the same over Easter and other public holidays and so you will need to be comfortable with the fact that you will not be able to take holidays at these times.

Running a campsite also requires that you have some knowledge of camping and the outdoors so that you can assist your customers.

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Types of campsites

Despite what you may think about campsites there are actually a lot of ways that they can differ to one another. 

You will need to think about what kind of facilities, amenities and activities you will be offering your guest. The camping market has expanded in recent years and there are now a lot of holidaymakers that are looking for glamping experiences.

At the other end of the scale, however, there are the die-hard customers that are looking to get back to nature and rough it in the wild. 

Consider for whom you will be catering and what this will mean for your business. The more you offer customers the more you will be able to charge but it will also mean more upkeep and costs.

There are many South African’s who are looking for low-cost holidays as the economy dips and families need to keep a tighter hold on their purse strings. There are, therefore, opportunities in the low-cost sector of the market. 

The low Rand, however, also encourages international tourists that have money to spend on a more luxurious experience.

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Marketing your campsite

Nowadays, if you want people to come across your campsite when they’re looking for somewhere to stay, you need to register on booking websites. Wheretostay.co.za or booking.com are some of the sites that are available.

It is also important to be active on social media and have a website that is up to date. 

Offering activities for kids or events for adults can be a way to draw people to your campsite over others. You will need to let people know about this, though. Publicizing them on social media is a great way to do this.

Identify what it is about your business that makes it unique. Use this to promote your campsite and make it stand out from others in the area. Do you offer niche experiences, do you have a spectacular view or challenging hikes?

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Facilities

Just having a piece of land on which customers can pitch tents is the most rudimentary of campsites. This will probably not allow you to make very much money from your campers.

Adding facilities where campers can shower, wash their clothes, buy food and necessities adds a lot of value to your offerings. The price you charge will increase exponentially as you upgrade and update your facilities.

A great South African sector

South Africa is, in a way, made for camping. The outdoors is abundant, the climate is ideal and there’s a lot of tourism.

Running a campsite will take hard work and commitment. You will need to be working when others are holidaying, and you will always be on call. You will also, however, be able to meet new people and all your days will be unique.

If you find the right campsite to buy, you will also be able to work every day surrounded by the outdoors and natural beauty!



Anthea Taylor

About the author

Anthea Taylor is Assistant Editor at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com as well as other industry publications.

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