A Little Arrr and Arrr…

We may be a bunch of girls but we girls like to do stuff… Cook outdoors type of stuff… And we go camping, in a tent, a real tent.

I love camping. L O V E love it. I love the drive to the campsite. I love the campfire till late. I love the stars in the night sky. I love the early mornings spent watching the sun come up. I love the sleeping in a tent. I love the roasted marshmallows and the crunchies my mom always makes to take along. I love the coffee and hot choc out of travel mugs. I love the sound of the ocean. I love lying around doing nothing at all…

I even love the public bathrooms… before you freak out, I shower with my flip flops on so I don’t get any foot related grossness… but I enjoy the public bathrooms… If you’ve ever been camping you’ll know there’s one at every campsite… the rude person who spends an hour in the shower using all the hot water and then keeps the water running while they’re getting dressed to stop themselves from getting cold. They shower like this every morning and evening just before you want to go shower and leave you with the cold water that has you shivering all the way back to your tent. Sound familiar? Well, I am THAT person.

I love the fact that I don’t have to consider putting the geyser on 30 mins before I shower and then having a five minute lukewarm wash to save electricity and make sure there is hotish water for the next one…

I take as long as I can in the camp shower, washing my hair for the second time that day, singing at the top of my lungs (usually Al Jarreau’s “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone”) and enjoying all the hot water. I confess I also sneakily go just before peak bathroom times to make sure that I beat everyone to the hot water. And also to avoid having to listen to the exaggerated sighing of other campers as they wait for me to finish in the shower.

We just needed a quiet, relaxing weekend away… Sometimes you just have to get away. This past weekend was one such time. The monotony of everyday gets a bit much and escape is vital to survival. For months we’d planned to get away for the weekend… Camping at our usual spot in Langebaan… But at the last minute we thought we should actually make a booking and it was full. Plan B… Problem was that we’re not really Plan B type people…

A few (hundred) phone calls, facebook pleas and Google searches later we were no closer to our quiet, relaxing weekend away… On the advice of friends (who we will probably never listen to again, no offense P & B) we ended up booking at Miller’s Point Caravan Park near Simons Town.

Friday arrived in typical Cape Town fashion… overcast and gloomy… We soldiered on and as we packed the car the sky seemed to clear. So a packing fiasco, a couple of temper tantrums (mine), and a coffee stop later we were on our way. The solution to our packing drama was a genius one, can’t fit it in one car? Take two. Not particularly economical, but incredibly effective. It also had me running back into the house to fetch my nonessential items that didn’t make the first cut… Don’t tell anyone but my hairdryer and flat iron tagged along for the ride and stayed in the car the whole weekend.

We pulled up at our site (number 14) and spent about five minutes picking the best spot to set the tent. The next seven and a half minutes were spent setting up our 6 man tent. Yes, seven and a half minutes… We’re that good! And the following 15 minutes were spent setting up the rest of our camp.

Friday was incredible… stunning weather, quiet, peaceful vibes in the camp. Great start to our quiet, relaxing weekend away.

Saturday dawned cold and wet. No problemo. A “boer maak ‘n plan” but a group of girls make the best of any situation… Cold and wet outside? Stay in bed. Problem solved. Warm under the covers (and still in our pyjamas) is where our citified friend and her little boy found us a bit later.

We spent a lekker morning chilling (literally and figuratively) together. We waited for the ground to dry off and then set up their tent alongside ours. After a short while my sister and I headed off to the store to get some supplies (ie junk food) and as we were driving out we noticed the big grey baboon that was strolling through the camp. Not overly concerned we warned the family and still planned to head out. However, when we saw it headed towards our tent we started getting a little worried and changed direction.

One less than intelligent camper decided the best way to approach the oversized, unfriendly, plundering monkey was to square up against it and throw rocks at it. Not smart. Which he should have realised when it bared its teeth at him… the camper finally backed down when the enraged baboon went for his wife, narrowly missing her… and he and his wife jumped into their car.

Some hair raising minutes, hysterical screaming, noise making and near crying later (after Mr Baboon had terrified my family by jumping on my citified friend’s car) we were all bundled in one of our cars and did the girly thing… We went shopping. But first we called the baboon reporting hotline (I kid you not, there is a hotline for reporting baboon sightings) and were assured that field monitors would attend to the situation.

We drove to the shop to pick up the day’s supplies (and a broom for protection in case Mr Baboon came back) and decided to head to Boulders to see the penguins before venturing back. After a long while we took a slow drive back to the campsite.

We pulled in and all was calm, thank goodness. As we got out the car, our fellow campers regaled us with stories of the entire troop of baboons that came around while we calmed our nerves with penguin sightings and retail therapy. It seems Mr Baboon left only to fetch reinforcements! Reinforcements that raided a tent, broke into a locked caravan and made quick work of the “baboon proof” bins!

We were just relieved to have missed that! We later heard that most days they head through the camp just before lunchtime but the field monitors assured us that they had gone up the mountain and would not be back that afternoon or night.

Later, my citified friend and I went to collect whatever firewood we could find… Within minutes I had collected more than I could comfortably carry and turning around, said to the Princess, “Let’s go drop this back at the site and come back for more…” An awkward silence followed… The Princess was standing behind me, a single twig in her hand… A quick lesson on collecting firewood and a few more trips later we had the makings of a healthy (baboon deterring, we hoped) blaze!

Even with all the crazy “excitement” we had a lovely afternoon of just enjoying each other’s company and the beautiful views. We spent long hours warming ourselves around the campfire, enjoying our dinner and sipping mugs of hot chocolate. We roasted what seemed to be an endless supply of marshmallows and then felt ill afterwards…

Bedtime rolled around and rather than sleep in our separate tents we all packed into the one, safety in numbers and all that I suppose. We woke up early, had an awesome breakfast of bacon and eggs (my mom knows how to camp people!) and waited only for the tent to dry before we started packing up. Hoping to beat the baboons’ daily visit we were out there by 09:35am! We said goodbye to our citified friend and her son and started a slow drive home.

My little sister was my navigator and as I drove she took loads of photos, announcing her subject just before she clicked…

“Those Africa flags… Yes!”

“That pink building…. Aah, missed!”

My favourite though was when she said, “And now I’ll take a picture of Heaven… Yes! It’s good!”

Six years old and she understands some of the mysteries of God!

On a whim we stopped at the Waterfront and jumped on a short boat ride around the harbour. The Steamboat Vicky is apparently the only steamboat in Africa. The captain, Enrico, is a riot and is, in addition to all his crazy jokes, really knowledgeable about the area… Well worth a visit!

With a quick stop for an impromptu photoshoot, a frantic search between the carseats for one rand that we were short for the parking fee and a trip on the N1 highway, we were home.

So that was it, our latest camping experience… not quite the quiet relaxing weekend away we had envisioned but a memorable time nonetheless. Next time? Back to Langebaan for us!

All that’s left is for me to give you an honest review of the place…

Location: was fairly close to home, but out of the city so I give it a perfect 10

Facilities: clean bathrooms but the braai area was a bit far from us so it gets a decent 8

View: mountain on one side, ocean on the other, it’s a definite 10

Wild life: no flies or mosquitos, but a large troop of baboons means minus 10 000 points

That gives it a total score of about -9972 points!

Conclusion: It is the perfect getaway for the criminally insane and adrenaline junkies!

But that’s just my opinion… why not check it out for yourself!

So that puts it at 4 down, 26 to go and time ticking away! Better get cracking on The List!

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4 thoughts on “A Little Arrr and Arrr…

  1. Pingback: Stretch or Starve… | nineteen80two

  2. Pingback: Snap Happy… | nineteen80two

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