I was not raised in a camping/caravanning family. When I was a little girl my mother told me, “Camping is not a holiday! A holiday is a relaxing stay in a luxurious hotel where everything is done for you. Why would you want to stay in a tent or a caravan with no modern conveniences when you could be more relaxed at home!” That’s why we hardly ever went away on holiday. We couldn’t afford it! I do remember going to The Kruger National Park when I was seven and The Lakes, Wilderness when I was 13. I thoroughly enjoyed both of those holidays! There were odd weekend trips in chalets at odd venues but other than that – no we stayed at home. “After all,” my dad would say – “we live in a holiday resort – the most beautiful place in the world – why would we want to go anywhere else.” And yes – I was content to enjoy the seaside town where I grew up but just because it was the most beautiful place in the entire world didn’t mean that I didn’t want to see other places!
So when I grew up I really had the attitude that camping was not my scene until I went to deepest, darkest Africa which required a 4×4 vehicle and roof-top tent. That was my first introductions to the joys of camping in the wild and I loved it! There is something very special about being in the bush, cooking your food over an open fire and doing your ablutions in inadequate facilities – sometimes even digging a hole for the deed. It’s called ‘communing with nature.’ For a few years we did this on trips to Botswana and some parks in South Africa but then we got soft and decided that air-conditioned chalets were more comfortable – and way more expensive!
Now that we’re retired and want to travel more widely we’ve settled for the cheaper option of an off-road caravan – and I’m so glad we have because it is great! It’s not as rough as roof-top tenting and not as soft as chalets. It’s a happy medium of outdoor cooking and relaxing and sleeping in a dry comfortable bed! If you’ve been following my blogs you will know that we had a great trip to Kgalagadi earlier this year and today we set off on another caravanning trip.
We were up bright and early and left Struisbaai at 6:00 am. An old friend of Earl asked us to meet him for breakfast in Riversdale. They hadn’t seen each other for 4o years and it was great for them to catch up.
Travelling the Garden Route is always a pleasure as it is so picturesque. We passed by Little Brak, Great Brak, Mossel Bay, George and finally reached Wilderness and The Garden Route National Park where we are staying at Ebb & Flow Rest Camp. What a beautiful place it is. We set up camp and then went to George to do some shopping.
Our camp chairs are stored in bags and Earlie thought he’d packed two but the one turned out to be a tripod! So we went to Cape Union Mart to purchase another one. While there we spotted a few things we thought might be useful for our new camping life – like a super bright spotlight torch and electric cool box!
I have made some wonderful blogging friends from a many countries around the world and for their benefit I am going to describe the South African Braai. The word braai rhymes with cry. It is the shortened word Braaivleis which means roasted meat. Loosely translated it means Barbeque but a barbeque is not quite the same as a braai!
South Africans use invasive, alien wood to make a fire for their braai. Electric braais and Gas Braais are not considered proper braais. Every campsite in South Africa provides braai places and almost everybody braais when camping. Most South Africans braai at home at least once a week. You can braai almost anything and Fish Braais are quite popular if you catch your own fish. But the most common food braaid is chops and “boerewors” Boerwors is unique in South African. The word means Farmer’s Sausage. It contains 90 percent beef or a mixture of beef, lamb and pork. The other 10% is made up of spices and other ingredients. Not more than 30% of the meat content may be fat. Boerewors may not contain any “mechanically recovered” meat (meat derived through a process where meat and bone are mechanically separated). Potatoes are wrapped in tinfoil and cooked in the coals. Any vegetables can be cooked this way too. A salad also usually accompanies a braai. Some people also make cheese, tomato and onion sandwiches on a braai – so delicious.
It was very pleasant here today and we were visited by Helmeted guineafowl.
The Egyptian Geese passed nonchalantly by before taking to the water
Fortunately the rain held off until the braai was done but we still managed to eat under the canopy without getting wet and afterwards everything looked clean and fresh.
Hopefully the weather will be sunny tomorrow as we have some great bird walks planned. Watch this space!