A nice long weekend at Vloedbos

A view from the top

Whenever we plan a camping trip, the waiting is always the worst part. Counting down the days till you pack, hook up the caravan and head off into the hinterland to begin a restful and relaxing weekend away.

We, along with some friends, had planned a trip for the long weekend to Vloedbos, between Caledon and Napier, last year already.

Having reached the point of departure, I had decided to take Friday off, so that I could have time to pack the caravan with some needed goodies, make sure all was in order (fuel, tires etc) and then grab the kids from school and begin what would turn out to be a long journey.

Knowing that I take it easy with the Tuna (Fortuner) and van, I had planned for a trip of around 3 hours. This was because there was roadworks on Sir Lowry’s Pass and we decided to go via Franschhoek and over the Franschhoek Pass – this made Debbie extremely “happy”.

My dear wife does not like heights and the thought of going over the Franschhoek Pass with the caravan did not excite her one bit.

But, we trundled along, only to come across a stop-and-go on the pass. Be that as it may, we arrived at Vloedbos some three and a half hours after setting off.

Knowing that my oldest daughter, Sarah, had brought her boyfriend with (so it begins) I decided to put up the full tent with the add-a-room so that he had a place to sleep, while Emily brought a friend with her and the three girls would sleep in the van along with Debs and myself.

So, putting up the full tent for the first time – that was great – only to stupidly realize that I had zipped the tent in upside down! Pull the tent out again and start over.

Home sweet home

Getting it right the second time around, connecting the poles and pegging everything down, eventually we settled in front of the first fire.

I managed to get a single bar of signal on my phone as I had to write a report on two CSA Provincial Division 2 matches. However, this proved unsuccessful and had to hot-spot off Kai’s (Sarah’s BF) phone.

I managed to write the report, with my headlamp on so I could see the keyboard, and then clicked send on the mail to SuperSport – but the mail would simply not send. I had to go into Caledon the next morning to submit my report.

Saturday was spent around the pool with the kids enjoying the super tube and speed slide, eating ice creams and having absolute fun.

Woody having fun

I decided to take some of the kids and Robin (new mate) on a little trip on the Vloedbos 4×4 trail, however, we had to cut the trip short as Warryn’s little one did not take to adventuring much.

Night time bliss

Saturday night we lit the fire, downed some scotch, beer and wine and chatted away into the night, only for everyone to bugger off to bed early and leave me stoking the coals by me lonesome.

On Sunday, we decided to head off to a nearby wine farm, Boschrivier, to do some wine tasting. A lovely little place, only they had just four wines to taste.

A Sauvignon Blanc, Rose and two reds, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Shiraz. The Rose was not nice but the Sauvignon Blanc was actually not bad – coming from a red wine drinker.

Boschrivier wines

The Cab-Sauv and Shiraz were good too, so I bought two bottles of the white and two bottles each of the read. Kaa-ching!

We headed back to the camp site, made some lunch, before hitting the pools again. This time, I got some bands myself and joined the kids on sliding down the halfpipe before splashing into the pool below.

Then I headed further up and took on the speed slide – as I had done two years ago.

To my amazement, Emily, only 11, had already done the speed slide of her own accord – man she surprises me with her courage.

Once I had my my thrills in the water, I headed back to camp to crack a Jack Black Pale Ale and chill for a bit. Then decided to grab some of the adults – and kiddies – and head back up the 4×4 trail with the intent on completing it this time.

Debs, not being the thrill seeker in the family, was quite angst at the start. At the second hill-climb, she decided this was not for her, but I advised there was no way but up! So, she decided to get out and walk up the hill along with Robin’s wife, Lauren. That was funny.

So we ambled up the hill, the ladies got back in the Tuna and we continued. The drive was nice, nothing tough at all, but the views were great from the top. We stopped at the little watering hole, which has a single self-catering house alongside, while the kids skimmed some stones across the algae-infested water.

We completed the trip, headed back to the camp and lit the fire while the small kids headed off on the local “train” ride (a quad bike pulling some water barrels made into cars.)

Deb’s and I cooked the last of our meat, wors, chicken and rashers while the Raichman’s and Kleu’s did some steak.

We entered into a debate with “Woody” about his trailer upgrade thoughts, whether he should get a bigger trailer, a Jurgens-type pop-up van or something else.

Woody has his mind set on getting a bigger trailer to fit more stuff.

The peeps headed off to bed while Robin and myself sat around the fire talking football till around midnight before I was left alone again around the fire.

Instead of pondering on my meandering thoughts, I whipped out my phone, loaded up “The Martian” on my VLC player and started watching. At 1am I decided to call it a night and go put my head down.

We awoke on Monday morning with that horrible feeling of having to pack up and go home. Luckily we only had to leave by 1pm so the morning was spent making breakfast while the kids plundered the pool and super tube again.

Us adults meandered around the site packing up before the Kleu’s and Raichman’s departed shortly after noon.

The Atwell’s with their mega caravan tent and everything but the kitchen sink to pack up – oh wait, I had to pack up the little kitchen sink too – we finally got everything down, packed away and ready to leave.

We had to stop at the entrance to hand in the electronic gate key – and luckily we did as I noticed that the kids had left one of the van windows slightly open – and me climbing into the caravan, over everything on the floor to close the window.

Right, now we’re off. Ding-ding, ding-ding – Debbie’s phone goes off and we are advised that there has been a massive accident on the N1 causing massive delays.

So when we eventually got to the N1 at the R44, we went straight on in the direction of Wellington before turning off and coming back into Durbanville.

It was a great weekend and something that I would really like to do again.

Author: Brendon

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