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Long-term lessons

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Having been avid readers of your excellent publication over the last few years, and having had the opportunity to travel our wonderful country for a few years, we thought it prudent to pass on some of our thoughts to your readers − especially those thinking of taking to the road for some time to explore, as we did.

After retirement, we no longer wished to live in the busy hub of Gauteng with its traffic and other unnecessary day-to-day stress-inducing ways of life, especially after I’d had my heart bypass which was the result of such stress.

We sold our large Pretoria home, and packed what we thought necessary for an extended stay in a caravan while travelling SA by way of tar roads. We bought a new Exclusive and hitched up the trusty trailer with my bicycle on top.

We then put everything else into storage to be collected once we had decided where to live, and once we wished to settle again.

We had made an early decision to stay at well-maintained and safe private parks for periods of not less than one month, and possibly longer if we enjoyed the park and environment.

As we travelled and met more and more “long-termers”, we realised just how big this community is in SA, and how much we had to learn from the many wonderful people out there.

After travelling for three years, we built a wonderful home in an Estate on the edge of Cape Town, which had access to the N2, N1 and N7, and settled back into home life. We now travel at least five months a year with our caravan to some of the wonderful parks we really enjoy.

We are currently at Di Biki Caravan Park, situated in Hartenbos next to Mossel Bay, and will be here for two months. We are once again enjoying the company of many of the friends we have met along the way.

This is, of course, our favourite camp, and certainly the one that sets the standards for camping in our country.

Lessons Learnt

Do not pack everything but the kitchen sink; rather pack the necessities for camping, enough clothes for summer, and some for the colder periods. You can always top up along the way if need be.

Always remember that others have their own ideas, and also their “own story” about their life and where they come from, so they may prefer parks and areas that are different to yours.

Respect everyone and share where you can in this close community and you will make great friends, as we have − and we now remain in contact and visit, whenever possible, far and wide.

Investigate the Parks you wish to visit by speaking to others who think as you do about your travels, so that it won’t be necessary to up and move from a park which is really not your taste.

Remember always to consider Security, Facilities, Shopping for supplies, Week-end campers arriving − and other things that may make a month difficult. Monthly pensioner rates are available at many parks.

Also make arrangements to be in a park where they allow special rates for pensioners over peak periods.

If you are thinking of taking to the road, don’t give up on your dream. Make it possible, and you will very likely end up with fond memories and a bunch of great friends for your older years.

By Ken & AnnaMarie Juckes

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