Let’s Go Camping

Sleeping bag…check
Tent…check
Fire apparatus…check
Wine…check and double check

Firstly, I would like to say, this wasn’t my idea. As much as I’m all for new experiences, this is not a new experience. We’ve been camping before and if I recall correctly (and I do) we hated every moment of it. On the other hand, I agreed to say ‘yes’ more in 2014 and so here we are.

I was led to believe that a lot more people would be joining us but as it turns out…the prospect of camping can make you fade. Which is what happened to the others. I was determined not to fade, and also… I’d already bought the tent and the tabard.

The view from our tent "window."

Our Destination: The view from our tent “window.”

After a long and winding journey thanks to the not so useful directions. We finally arrived at Wesvaal Holiday resort, where my travel buddy discovered that “resort” has any interpretations. A lanky, sun beaten man met us with a great smile. “Welcome ladies, how can I help you? Are you OK?”

“Hi there, we’ve come camping,” we say in unison (I don’t know why we said it in unison, it just happened like that.)
“Here?” he asked, his smile turning into confusion.
“Yes!” (Oh no, again with the unison).
“Um, have you made a booking? You need to make a booking.”
“Yes, we’ve made a booking,” bestie says, “it’s under Stan.”
Blank Stare. Raised eye.
(Note to self, and others, make the booking under your black name).

Looking increasingly worried, he shows us the parking lot and directs us to the reception slash tuck shop, with pretty much everything you’ve packed in your boot. He asks if we’re the group coming to site B1, I don’t know so I defer to my friend, who says “maybe.” (Maybe? I’m thinking girl, you’re gonna get us kicked outta here.) He is still unconvinced and goes through his papers, while we call the person who made the booking to get more details. It turns out, we are the people coming to B1 and yes we should have led with that.

Ten minutes, and the appropriate amount of small talk, later. We set off to B1 with one of the staff members whose name I forgot. He tells us, it’s pretty safe around here and they are around if there is any trouble. Good to know.

Camp site at the Wesvaal Holiday Resort. Our home for the night.

Camp site B at the Wesvaal Holiday Resort. Our home for the night.

We’re here. Now what?

So, we’ve gone through the effort to come here but now what? The initial plan was to go fishing or rather watch and encourage the members of our group, who have taken up fishing as a hobby, do their thing. However, judging from the lethargy along the river banks…that was going to be really boring. In high school, we studied the film “A river runs through it”  and so when someone says “fishing,” I picture Brad Pitt mischievously fording through the river, and expertly casting his line into the strong waters and wrestling with that prize.

This is not that.

This campsite is known as a good place to go fishing.

Wesvaal is known as a good place to go fishing.

We roll out our mat and camp chairs, sit back, eat lunch and enjoy the scenery. The tall trees were great for shade (later these trees are the reason we don’t notice its about to rain). There’re many groups along the river bank who’ve come fishing. Some are at their rods, others are busy looking busy, a teenage couple snoozes under a tree hand in hand, a nearby family eats lunch on a picnic table and the occasional fish jumps out and cheekily winks at the fishermen. (Not too bad for camping).

As the sun begins to set, the large family in the camp next to us (day visitors) begins to pack up. This is quite a task as the idiom “bring everything but the kitchen sink” comes alive right before our eyes. Containers of food, crockery, glasses for juice and water, mugs for coffee, gas stove, kettle, 20l water bottles, 6 chairs, a picnic table, fishing rods, boxes….gosh! This is their day trip check list what happens when it’s an overnight?

During this time, one of the guys walks towards us with, lifting a large, white packet.
“Hi, are you okay?”
“Excuse me?”
“Are you going to fish?”
“Um, no. We’re not.”
“I have some left over bait but you don’t need.”
“Ja, no. We’re good.
He throws it into the bin, it lands with a squidgy thud. Is that possible? That’s how it sounded (eeuw).

With the day coming to an end we decide to get out tent up. This is the one activity everyone thought we wouldn’t be able to do. In fact, we kept receiving messages asking for pictures. Really, people. We’re not building shelter on Survivor, it’s a tent. How difficult can it be?I usually, read instructions but bestie has done this before, so let those who know lead. Note to self: One of you should always know whats potting.

After a slight mishap with the poles not quite aligning, the photo of which as mysteriously disappeared, we had a win. Exhibit A (take 2)

Putting up a tent is not my thing but we managed.

Not too Shabby: Putting up a tent is not my thing but we managed.

Meanwhile, a troop of kids come out of the dark trees, and by troop I mean three, on their way to an adventure. They kind of paused as they came out out the bushes, I guess they didn’t expect to see us there (it’s like we’ve just been transported back to my trip to Beijing). One of the girls looked incredibly perplexed and couldn’t help but stare a bit . I was equally perplexed by the bundle of what appeared to be a rock, wrapped in a pink blankie that she was rocking to sleep (hashtag no judgies).

When the tent is up and the sun has set. We spot the grounds man walking around turning on lamps as he goes along, he pauses at the end of the road “Are you okay?” he calls. ” Yes, thank you.” (Why do people keep asking us this?) We sit by the river drinking wine, listening to the sounds of the river, the rustling trees and frogs calling out to each other.

The fish keep popping up, clearly happy the fishermen have gone. As time goes by, it seems they’re jumping more and more, little bubbles…all across the river really. Which is a little creepy, but oh, wait…Those are rain drops.

“Bud, did you check the weather forecast?”
“Um, no. Did you?”
“No, I’m sure it’ll just drizzle though.”
“Ja, probably. We’re in the middle of a heat wave.”

It didn’t drizzle though. It actually, bucketed down. Trust us to choose the one day it  rains. Surprisingly enough though, that didn’t dampen thongs too much. The tall trees helped and we were in bed by the time we heard it bucket down. Whew!

“This isn’t too bad,” we say.

“We could probably do this again, right?”

“Might as well. We bought the darn tent didn’t we?!”

I love flowers, so I pretty much take nay opportunity to take a pic.

I love flowers, so I pretty much take any opportunity to take a pic.

Wesvaal holiday resort

Vlakfontein Farm 161
District Parys

Tel/Fax: +27(056) 811-4008
Website: http://www.wesvaalresort.co.za/
Email: westvaalresort@gmail.com

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