CHRIS MOERDYK recalls his trip to Kruger Park in a camping van
I am not a happy camper. I don’t see the point of leaving my home comforts for a skinny back-busting stretcher, waiting for wood to turn to charcoal before being able to cook and having to wash up by hand in cold water. I do, however, love the Kruger National Park, but hate having to pack and unpack to leave one camp for another. So, I decided to try out Bobo Campers and my wife and I headed off in a Bobo Discoverer 6 camper.
We could have taken a two-berth or even four-berth camper but we reckoned we’d need more space than real campers who enjoy living in a tin can caravan or tiny tent.
Our first stop was Crocodile Bridge Camp. After we checked in we headed off to choose a campsite. Dead easy, particularly in the Kruger where Sanparks do an outstanding job in terms of clean, spacious campsites and spotless ablution blocks.
We parked among caravans and tents. Other campers spent hours fitting tent extensions for their porches, kitchen and dining areas. Some had erected satellite TV dishes.
I switched off the engine and hauled out chairs and a table from a nook in the side of the camper. From parking to taking the first sip of a sundowner was about three minutes.That night we converted the back table and seats to a double bed, turned on the air conditioner and slept as comfortably as we did at home. We left the bed made up because there was another dining nook we could use.
The highlight of my holiday was parking next to a remote waterhole, having a big lunch and then an afternoon kip.
My next best experience was when a big white Mercedes 4×4 skidded to a stop at a picnic site. Four people leapt out and ran like hell for the public lavatories.
I had to smile at their discomfort. Of course I could go to the loo simply by parking at the side of the road and walking two metres from the camper cab to the lavatory – a boon for geriatric travellers. Initially I approached the toilet with some trepidation because it was one of those chemical jobs but it was a relief to discover that the chemicals toilet technology had kept pace with bathroom best practice so it was entirely odourless. We cleaned it out every three days – also dead easy because the chemicals reduce everything to practically nothing. You just drop on another little bag of chemicals and you’re good to go.
The on-board shower did the job too, but we preferred to use the camp ablution block showers, mostly because I was too lazy to keep filling the camper’s water tank.
Every morning, I just rolled out of bed, unplugged the cable, and drove off into the bush as my wife dreamed on.
At about 9.30 somewhere between Crocodile Bridge and Lower Sabie we parked at a waterhole, sat at our dining table next to a big picture window and had breakfast.
The Discoverer 6 had a fridge that held a week’s worth of supplies and a kitchen unit with a sink, two gas rings and a microwave oven. There was also air con and a reversible fan above the double bed at the rear. The other double bed is above the driver’s cab and the other two beds in the dining area midway along the six-metre length of the camper.
If you are going to camp this has to be the best way of doing it, especially for families.
We drove from Crocodile Bridge to Lower Sabie, Skukuza, Satara and Letaba, all of which offered superb campsites with electricity and water laid on.
Camper vans can survive the night without added electricity but then you can’t use the microwave or air conditioner. We did braai on one or two evenings but mostly we ate at the camp restaurants.
Would I do it again? Sure. It’s a great way of seeing the country without having to pack and unpack. And it’s popular. We saw dozens of campers in the Kruger Park and everyone I spoke to loved the experience.