Readers’ Rig Reviewed: Sherpa Tiny, George and Helen O’Brien

Words and images by Richard van Ryneveld

‘You guys must be the best-organised campers there are,’ I said. ‘Wrong!’ said Allan Graham, ‘Completely wrong… wait until you see our friends George and Helen O’Brien. Then you’ll see organised!’ About to set up camp at TO Strand Caravan Park, near Port Edward, I chose a campsite on the banks of the Kuboboyi River; it was a skip and a jump to the long white sandy beach. I quickly realised that the four couples who were already fully set up were mates − the fun and laughter made the camaraderie palpable.

When I introduced myself to these four couples, I could see how organised Allan and Heather Graham, Jannie and Dawn Louw, and Colin and Lowel Fourie were. Noël and Margaret Rorke, the fourth couple, were staying in the chalets. They had just bought a VW Touareg to tow their Fendt Bianco, but wanted to run the Touareg in properly before going walkabout. While we were chatting, I saw a Kia Sportage towing what looked like the sleek nose-cone of a Lear Jet, coming down the paved incline to our riverside camping site. Of course, it was the missing fifth couple of the team, George and Helen O’Brien, in their seemingly small Sherpa Tiny.

The poor people hadn’t even unhitched before I was asking if I could photograph their set-up. It takes them about an hour and half to set up. Eish! When you see how comfortable and well-organised these folks are, it makes me want go out and join an organisational skills workshop. While we were chatting in their airy lounge overlooking the river, I discovered that their philosophy of ‘less is more’ was a conscious decision made when they retired. ‘We lived in Alberton before moving to Hillcrest in 2006. From Hillcrest, we moved to the Umdoni Retirement Village in Pennington. George added, ‘Each time we moved, our idea of ‘reduce, reduce, reduce,’ made more sense.’ I have to say that the more I looked at the way this couple camp, the more sense it made to me.

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