I saw them across the slipway, looking intently into each other’s eyes. Wanting to steal a shot of the Storms River Mouth with them in the foreground. I skirted around the slipway and surreptitiously slipped my long lens on in midstride. Just as I was lining up the shot, the man looked straight at me and started to walk over to where I was standing. I’d been busted!
‘Excuse me, would you mind taking a photograph of us… I’ve just proposed to my girlfriend?’ said the young man whom I’d thought was going to remonstrate with me about his privacy.
After a full down-on-his-knees reenactment of the earlier proposal, I learned that Alroy had driven Charné all the way from PE for the proposal.
My introduction to Storms River Mouth Rest Camp had been somewhat less romantic. With a new entrance gate under construction there was a long traffic jam of cars getting into the park, and when I finally made it in, a gravel-road detour without any signage to Reception had me drive all the way down to the restaurant looking for where I should book in.
But after half an hour of fiddling about, a veritable cavalcade of other lost souls and I eventually booked in and were directed to our respective camping sites, caravan stands or chalets.
Chuffed with my “view, no power” site on the edge of the ocean, only a stone’s throw from the sparkling ablution and laundry block, I decided to set up my tent before exploring the grounds.
Storms River Mouth Rest Camp Images
I wanted to familiarise myself with the Rest Camp’s layout first, and from the tent area, headed west through the adjacent caravan park to the other caravan sites located between the chalets on the slopes above and the ‘oceanettes’ below. With the swimming pool below the Dolphin campsite where I was staying, and no houses to interfere with the view of the sunset in the west, I think it’s the better placed of the two sites.
Having reached the western end of the rest camp, I tramped east and (after discovering throngs of foreign tourists with the same idea), I was pleased to be able to detour up the short Loerie Trail. This 1km trail and its longer cousin, the 3.7km Blue Duiker Trail, both head up the forested and fynbos-covered slopes above the resort and offer visitors the opportunity to see magnificent birds such as the Knysna Loerie – and, of course, the tiny and shy Blue Duiker.
When I got to the river mouth viewing platform above the adventureactivity centre (there is kayaking, snorkelling, boat rides and scuba diving on offer here) and beyond the restaurant, I decided against taking the 1km River Mouth Trail to the suspension bridge over the Storms River, opting to give my weary legs a rest and to tackle it in the morning if I had time.
Instead, I bought a couple of cold beers from the well-stocked shop with which to bid the sun farewell later. And, although the weather had looked ominous all afternoon, after meeting the happy young couple and returning to my campsite, the clouds peeled back miraculously and I then spent a sunblessed hour watching the seaside tableau of children playing, the dassies darting over the rocks and porpoises gambolling about in the waves – and ended up having a staring competition with a Black Oystercatcher until the sun went down.
After a simple supper and a Scottish nightcap, I decided to read for a while, but was soon lulled to sleep by the rhythmic surge of the sea.