Earlier this year, my wife and I fulfilled our life-long dream of becoming permanent campers − or gypsies, as people who choose this lifestyle are called.
Unsure, scared, but excited, we gave up our permanent home, placed our furniture in storage and booked our first campsite.
We had never camped in a caravan before, so it was after lots of looking around that we bought a Gypsey Romany in excellent condition.
I have to mention that I have read Kamp & Karavaan (and before that Caravan & Outdoor Life) for many years, which helped us to take the big step.
People, we were so surprised! It is heaven on earth!
You make friends like never before in your life – cheers to you, Roy and Eireen Langford from Gonubie, who were our neighbours for a month.
Anyway, now our grass is always mowed, our swimming pool cleaned and kept heated, our garden is watered, and our water and electricity and rates and taxes are all included for less than R3 000 per month.
It’s great to be a pensioner.
What also helped was the top-class service we received from Montagu Caravan Park, where we stayed for almost two months. The resort is rated three stars and is situated in town, within walking distance of everything.
The owners stay on the property (they also own Silwerstrand, next to the Breede River in Robertson), so service and security is excellent. Entrance is strictly monitored, and no day visitors are allowed.
The layout of the resort in Montagu is on two terraces, and it is always kept neat and clean. It is a beautiful, tree-rich area with a big dam. The geese and ducks welcome you from the start.
The camping sites are large, mostly on grass, but with some that have paving − especially for longer-stay campers). Water and electricity points are comfortably close by.
There are more than enough ablutions which are cleaned twice a day, and “white gold” is supplied.
Montagu has two heated swimming pools, and a communal hall where fans can watch the Springboks on television. Two other halls are also available to rent for functions.
This resort is worth its stars; and apart from campsites, there are chalets and wooden huts.
Everybody we spoke to agreed that Montagu sets a high standard which other resorts will not easily match.
Montagu is surrounded by mountains, and thus is heaven for rock climbers. For us older folks, there are many hiking routes, suited to all shapes, sizes and fitness levels. Lover’s Lane, Piet-se-pad, and Cogmanskloof Roete are just a few of these.
Even when just walking through town, you will be amazed at all the old houses; and, of course, there are the hot springs, restaurants and museums.
There is a flea-market on Saturdays where you will find interesting things to buy, delicious food and great people.
There’s so much to do, and the lady at the Information Centre is always eager to assist.
So, for those who are hesitant to hit the road full time: Just do it!
You will not know how great it is until you try it. You might be pleasantly surprised, and then wonder why it took you so long to decide.
It was in Caravan & Outdoor Life that I recently read the quote by Jack Kerouac: “Because, in the end, you won’t remember the time you spend working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamned mountain!”
Naas & Lynn Kemp