My brother in law and I thought it would be fun to go camping for a few days this holiday.
We figured we had two tents, a Land Rover and the rest we would just figure out. Since masses flock to the beaches, the Klein Karoo seemed to be the perfect choice. Quiet, cool stops along the road and not too far.
The next day my sister played Tetris with our luggage and managed to fit 4 adults, 2 kids and all our baggage in the back of the Landy. The road was cold and rainy and the cool temperature was welcomed. We drove through the Huguenots tunnel and took a right onto Route 62.
We took our time driving through the smaller towns. Robertson, Ashton, Barrydale and then the obligatory stop at Ronnies sex shop.
The road winds through Calitzdorp and takes you to Outdshoorn. I found us what I thought to be a popular camping spot at De Hoek Mountain Resort. We were one of 3 stands being used. It was glorious.
Regular campers (or just intelligent people) would check that their tents have all their components in the bag before leaving home to embark on an adventure. Not us. That would be way to predictable. As we rolled out the 5 sleeper tent we realised we were missing one of the large centre poles. We were essentially one load baring beam short. So as the botanist did in the Martian, we scienced the shit out of it. Well not really. After side splitting laughter on how we were idiots for not checking if we had everything, we stole one of the kid’s tent poles.
It worked. The tents were up. Albeit they looked they had suffered a stroke. We soon realised we also left the peg of the beach umbrella at home too. Because we never camp we used a beach umbrella for shade over our makeshift kitchen.
The tents were up and the kids were in the pool. We enjoyed our first beers as the sun was setting around 8pm.
My sister and I packed the bedding for our two blow up mattresses. I remember asking her why we are taking out the duvet inners. Her reply “It’s the Karoo it’s going to be to hot to sleep”, “good point” I nodded and we stripped our duvets and packet the sheets. Boy were we wrong. For as long as I can remember our mum used to ask us if we had something warm packed before we went anywhere. The movies, Dubai, you name it. Needless to say we get it now. Always pack something warm. (And socks, always pack socks)
The temperature dipped to what felt like arctic climates. It was freezing. It was so cold none of us slept more than 2 hours that night. I tried to get so close to my husband you could say I was trying to wear the man like a jumper. To add insult to our self afflicted injury, both blow up mattresses were deflating at such a rate we could actually hear the air escaping.
5am the car alarm went off. It must have been a bug trapped on the inside or something it was at this point the kids woke up and were so cold they climbed into our tent. I have never been happier to see those naughty little buggers. HEAT! All six of us cuddled and had a little laugh. It was right at this moment that the other camper, a German man, decided he didn’t like our 5am giggle and climbed up the hill to our tent (roughly 200m away from his) “for godz zake it is 5am, please be kwyet” (Yes, typed phonetically) We were so taken a back there was complete silence for about 20seconds before my sister said “Sorry”. We had a quiet laugh about this and cuddled up for another hours sleep.
At breakfast a few hours later we saw he had packed up and it was now just us and one other stand in on the whole camp ground. Sorry angry German man, we were just having fun.
First thing after a hot shower was to find heat for night two. Long pants, socks and 2 comforters were bought at Pep store in Oudsthoorn before we did anything else that day.
We ended up enjoying the camping so much we are now looking to buy our own tent and do this more often. As we were packing up after our two night stay there my brother in law said “camping is no fun if nothing goes wrong, in 2 years we won’t say: Hey remember that time we all slept so well and everything was perfect” Excellent point I think.
But for the sake if survival. Pack socks, always pack socks.