Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Tween & Teen

How Sugar Bay Camp is Completely Different

  • Sugar Bay
  • Category Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Tween & Teen

The word “camp” may conjure up memories of slurry porridge and compulsory exercise, but fortunately there is one camp in South Africa that will have your kids remembering the complete opposite.

In addition to their delicious dining experience, Sugar Bay Kids Camp is also unique in the following seven ways:

1. Activities are not compulsory

Sugar Bay offers over 100 activities, none of which are compulsory. This means that your children are free to choose what they would enjoy every day. Sugar Bay has all the usual camp activities like ropes obstacle courses, paintball, arts & crafts, BMXing, and kayaking, but they also have activities that are not found at most camps like water slides and a 4-station bungee trampoline. 

2. This camp has a beach!

One of the best perks about Sugar Bay is that it has private access to the lagoon and beach. If you live inland and your children seldom have the opportunity to see the ocean, they will love being at Sugar Bay. Free-choice of activities means that they could spend the whole day at the beach if they wanted to, learning how to surf, kayak, stand up paddle board or build sand sculptures.

3. Each child receives individual attention

Although, Sugar Bay can accommodate up to 210 campers at a time, the company is committed to giving each child individual attention. To do this, the camp strictly upholds a 1:3 staff to child ratio to ensure that each child is properly supervised and their needs attended to.

4. Kids from all over the world attend

Your child will make friends from all over the world, because Sugar Bay is an international holiday camp. Children from France, England, America, Mozambique (and more) attend the holiday camps at Sugar Bay. The camp also caters for a broad age group (7 – 17 years old). When children turn 17, they can enrol in a Camper In Training course to become camp counselors.

5. Safety is their most important priority

If you are apprehensive about sending your children to camp, you can rest easy knowing that at Sugar Bay, they will be supervised 24/7. All supervising staff are trained in Emergency First Response and basic child psychology; and all water activities are supervised by qualified lifeguards. There is also an electric fence surrounding the property, CCTV cameras and patrolling night watchmen. The camp also has a zero tolerance policy towards bullying.

6. No cellphones allowed

Children may feel a little apprehensive about giving up their cellphones for a week. However, when they experience the benefits of reconnecting with the real world, they will gladly give up their phones again to spend another week at Sugar Bay. Unplugging from technology is especially important for children and has many benefits. It can improve communication skills, sleeping habits and general quality of life. You will still be able to contact your child by phoning the camp directly.

7. American-style

Sugar Bay is the only American-style children’s camp in South Africa. If you have ever seen an American movie about a summer camp (typically in a woody area with kayaking and camp fires) Sugar Bay is a lot like that.  However, unlike American camps which only run during summer, Sugar Bay hosts 5, 6 and 7-day holiday camps during all the school holidays. They are also open throughout the year for school tours. The other difference is that, while pulling pranks on other children is common in American camps (think of “The Parent Trap”), at Sugar Bay, only the staff members (known as camp counselors) are allowed to be pranked. This contributes to the safe and inclusive ethos.

As a parent, you want the best for your children. Experts in child development agree that a camp experience can help children mature socially, emotionally and morally. In her article, “What’s So Great about Summer Camp?”, Dr Hartwell-Walker, licensed psychologist specialising in parent education, says that a “camp can open a whole new world of friendship, interests, skills and independence for your child.” She goes on to say, “When a camp program is well-conceived and well-executed, your child will come home with an expanded sense of self and enhanced self-esteem.”

Sugar Bay is one such camp. Plus, your kids will enjoy the camp food so much that you’ll be phoning for their recipes.

For more information or to book a camp, please call Sugar Bay on 032 485 3778. Alternatively you can send an email to or check out their website. The camp is located in Zinkwazi Beach, KwaZulu Natal – but they do offer transport from Sandton and King Shaka International Airport.

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  • Shilpa Gupte January 15, 2020 at 10:04 am

    The ‘no-phone’ rule is the best thing about Sugar Bay!
    Of course, all the other features of the camp are perfect for kids, too. It’s really such an amazing place for kids to learn so much, from the activities as well as the other children who visit from around the world. Learning from them about their cultures as well as learning to participate in activities with them gives the kids an opportunity to grow and mature into sensitive human beings.

  • Vidya Sury January 16, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Sounds like a lovely outing for kids to have a truly wonderful vacation, Julie! No phones, beach, the joy of choice when it comes to activities–all designed for an enriching experience involving physical activity and a healthy time. I am sure kids who usually prefer to avoid summer camps will definitely want to go to this one!

  • Felicia Austin January 17, 2020 at 1:24 am

    Oh wow! This camp sounds amazing! I wish I had attended a camp like this growing up. Also, I wish my kids could attend lol only if we weren’t so far away. I really like the rule about the pranks because although most are just for fun, some kids can go too far or do them for the wrong reasons. Thank you for opening our eyes to this camp

  • Richa MIna January 17, 2020 at 2:47 am

    sugar bay camp certainly seems different from the image of camps i have in my mind. more than 100 activities, good supervision and “no cellphones” that too beachside it seems like a great camping destination. i’ll certainly enroll my nephew at least once to see how it is. Thanks for sharing

  • Shilpa Garg January 17, 2020 at 2:59 am

    Wow! Sugar Bay is a perfect holiday camp site for kids. I like that they have so many activities for kids. Activities like ropes obstacle courses, paintball, arts & crafts, and kayaking are not only engaging and entertaining but make them learn so many life skills too. I like that they focus on safety and individual attention is give to kids.

  • Rajlakshmi January 17, 2020 at 4:52 am

    A beach and a camp! Where were these when I was growing up? This sounds so exciting and adventurous. If I was younger, I would have definitely signed up for it. Love the no phones rule. It’s hard to give up phone but I guess their time table would be filled with so many wonderful activities that the kids will not even miss technology.

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