Archive for the Caravan Parks Category

Ou Skip Caravan Park

When I left Yzerfontein I was still unsure as where my next stop would be. I had driven down and had a look at Ganzekraal and found it to be not to bad but that there was very little shelter or shade from the wind and sun. By the time I was at the turn off to the park the day was really hot and a strong South Easter was blowing so I decided to give it a miss and go straight to Ou Skip in Melkbosstrand.

Ou Skip Caravan Park in Melkbosstrand.
Ou Skip Caravan Park in Melkbosstrand.

Ou Skip is graded by the SA Grading Council as a 3 star resort and is one of the largest caravan parks in the Western Cape. Situated 30 km’s from Cape Town in Melkbosstrand it is adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean – out the front gate, cross a road and a short stroll and you are on the beach.

One of the big differences with this park is that there are about 300 people that stay there on a semi permanent basis and yet there are still over 200 caravan and camping sites, all of which are grassed or have wood shavings and have electrical points, that are available to the public.There are also 12 fully equipped, self catering two bedroom chalets for hire.

24hour manned security entrance to the park.
24 hour manned security entrance to the park.
Check in and Information Centre.
Check in and Information Centre.
Inside the check in centre.
Inside the check in centre.

All the people that work in the centre stay in the park and are extremely efficient and helpful.  The park is really run as a business and there are strict rules as to what is allowed and what is not.

Layout of the park.
Layout of the park.

I took a drive round the area where the semi-permanents stay and some have obviously gone to a great deal of trouble to not only to make themselves comfortable but also to make their sites attractive.

The best set up that I spotted.
The best set up that I spotted.

Probable the same area as a 3 roomed flat.
Probably about the same area as a 3 roomed flat.

The whole park is serviced by 5 ablution blocks with hot and cold water, baths, showers and chemical toilets. Scullery, laundry and ironing facilities are also available. There is also a propane gas refill and exchange station in the park.

My set up at Ou Skip. To be honest most of the other sites had a better grass covering than mine.
My set up at Ou Skip. To be honest most of the other sites had a better grass covering than mine.
One of five ablution blocks.
One of five ablution blocks.

I found the ablution block that I used to be clean and well maintained.

Laundry area.
Laundry area. Clean and in good working order.

The shop which operates over week-ends and durring the holidays.

The shop which operates over week-ends and durring the holidays.

The swimming pool area.

The swimming pool area.

The half size Olympic swimming pool, with kiddies pool, is quite something.

There is also a playground, badminton, volley ball, table tennis, darts, trampolines, DSTV, pool table, putt-putt,  an entertainment hall as well as a small conference centre – max 25 people.

Close by to the park there is  para-sailing, windsurfing, 4×4 trails, angling, hiking, paint ball and bird watching. Just a few km’s to the north is the Koeberg Nature Reserve  where there are 2 great hiking trails – the Grysbok Trail and the Dikkop Trail. They are also only a street away from the fabulous Atlantic Beach Golf Club.

Ganzekraal Caravan Park.

I suppose I should call it by the name on the info sheet I was given which is – Ganzekraal Holiday Resort and Conference Centre but I was mostly interested in the caravan park. I have heard and read so many conflicting reports on the place that I was keen to have a look round and see if I should spend a few days there.

Ganzekraal is situated just off the R27 from Cape Town, about 20km’s from where I was staying at Yzerfontein, so I decided to take a drive and go and have a look round and see if it was really as bad as some people had said it was.

Sign board to Ganzekraal.

Sign board to Ganzekraal.

Security entrance.

Security entrance.

The security lady was pretty friendly and gave me all the info sheets with prices and terms but did tell me that I had only 20 minutes to have a look around. I presume the reason for that was that she saw the fishing rods in the Pajero and they charge an entrance fee if you just want to go in and fish.

A site virtually on the rocks.

A site virtually on the rocks. From the looks of the ground a popular site.

The camping area is divided into 2 sections – a lower section very close to the rocks and an upper section which is a bit further back and higher but gives you a really nice sea view.

Lower section with nicely grassed stands.

Lower section with nicely grassed stands.

Lower section ablution block.

Lower section ablution block.

To be honest the facilities were not great here but looked much neater and cleaner in the upper section block.

Stands on the upper section.

Stands on the upper section.

One of the big problems is that there are no trees or bushes to offer any kind of shelter from the sun and wind and boy was it blowing the day I was there.

One of the showers in the upper ablution block.

One of the showers in the upper ablution block.

As you can see not bad at all and they have obviously done some maintenance work.

Overall I thought the park did not look that bad but I sure would not like to be staying there when the wind is blowing. The one thing which I was told, and this  was confirmed by all I spoke to, was to avoid staying there over weekends as the place gets packed out,  is very noisy,  has a rowdy element and is not very pleasant. I also thought the  pricing  pretty steep at R120.00 in and R115.00 out of season and no pensioners discount. That and the wind factor put me off wanting to spend a few week days there.

Conference Centre building.

Conference Centre building.

Couldn’t have a look round as it was all locked up.

One of the chalets that are available.

One of the chalets that are available.

There are three different prices for the various chalets that all sleep six ranging from, in season, R490.00 to R610.00 per night. Some looked really nice while others, like the one above, appear to be a bit run down.

One of the nicer looking chalets with a stunning view

One of the nicer looking chalets with a stunning view

Walk way down to the beach.

Walk way down to the beach.

One of a few fishermen I saw.

One of a few fishermen I saw trying his luck off the beach.

To be honest I was quite tempted to spend a few days here as it has a rugged charm about it but unfortunately the day I moved down from Yzerfontein was really hot and windy so gave it a miss and drove on down to Melkbosstrand.

Yzerfontein Caravan Park.

This was the second time that I have stayed at the Yzerfontein Caravan Park and to be honest it has become one of my favourites, not only the park but also Yzerfontein itself. The management and maintenance of the park is good and if I had to fault anything it would be that some of the less used sites have become a bit over-grown and shabby. During the week the park was fairly empty but over the two week-ends I spent there it was about 95% full and because I had no booking I ended up on one of the not so good sites.

Security entrance to Yzerfontein Caravan Park.
Security entrance to Yzerfontein Caravan Park.

Information Board.

Information Board.

Very efficient and friendly service at the office.

Very efficient and friendly service at the office.

My set-up on site 35.

My set-up on site 35.

As you can see the ground cover (compared to many of the other sites) is not great but the best thing about this park is the way each site has trees and bushes to protect you from the wind and also afford privacy. Even with a 95% occupancy rate over the week-ends it never felt crowded.

xx vv

One of the many well grassed and sheltered sites.

New electrical connections.

New electrical connections.

Management is in the process of upgrading the electrical connection units and compared to many of connections I have seen at other parks these are great.

There are 4 ablution blocks and you are given a key for the one closest to your site.

There are 4 ablution blocks and you are given a key for the one closest to your site.

I found the ablutions clean and well maintained.

I found the ablutions clean and well maintained.

There are also washing machines and tumble dryers available.

Washing machines and a tumble dryer available.

There are also some facilities for kids but these are not great.

Some facilities for kids but these could be improved.

Access to the beach.

Access to the beach.

Although the park is situated right next to the beach one has to go over some steps to get to it. While it would be great to have a view of the ocean the dunes provide fantastic shelter from the wind.

View from the top of the stairs.

View from the top of the stairs.

All in all I can understand why this is such a popular caravan park as the facilities are good, Yzerfontein is a great place with a blue flag beach and it is only an hours drive from Cape Town. If you are thinking of trying camping or caravanning for the first time this would be a great place to give it a go. This was the case for my neighbours on the first week-end I was there and they loved it.

Leentjiesklip Caravan Park

Langebaan has 3 caravan parks – one right in the centre of the town and two next to the lagoon. I had a look at the one in town on a couple of occasions and have never actually seen anyone staying there which is quite surprising as it is very sheltered, the sites are grassed and the ablutions did not look too bad. Of the two on the lagoon I would definitely choose Leentjiesklip.

Leentjiesklip Caravan Park.
Leentjiesklip Caravan Park.
Good security at the entrance.
Good security at the entrance.

There is no security from the beach at the front but I did not see anyone who was not supposed to be there. It would be a real shame if they did have to  put up a security fence.

Park office.
Park office.

The manager of the park was very friendly and helpful. After chatting to him and other mangers of municipal caravan parks it sounds as if they have an extremely frustrating job trying to get funding and approval for general maintenance and staff.

My set-up which was as close to the lagoon as I could get.
My set-up which was as close to the lagoon as I could get.
Typical area of the park.
Typical area of the park.

As you can see some of the top stands have level concrete areas but all the stands below the road are grass. It does blow pretty hard and there is not much shelter on offer.

One of two ablution blocks.
One of two ablution blocks.

The ablution blocks are not bad and I know that they are busy improving them for the upcoming season.

There are also sites that have their own private ablutions but are quite expensive.
There are also sites that have their own private ablutions but are quite expensive.

Childrens play ground.

Children's play ground.

Permanent residents?

Permanent residents?

There are a number of permanent residents who live in mobile homes within the park boundaries. I put the question mark there as there is talk  that in the not too distant future the municipality is going to sell out to developers. To be honest I think that this area is better than many of the areas that have already been developed and has the best beach frontage to the lagoon. It will be very sad but I think inevitable.

The beach area i front of Leentjiesklip.

The beach area i front of Leentjiesklip.

Tried fishing off those rocks a couple of times with no luck.

Came across this diver on one of my evening walks who had just speared a 2kg Blacktail fish.

Came across this diver on one of my evening walks who had just speared a 2kg Blacktail fish.

This is the way to go camping - pure luxury.

This is the way to go camping - pure luxury.

Also a great way to catch up on some work!!

Also a great way to catch up on some work!!

Met up with Deon, closest to the camera, and Hannes catching up on some work. Deon is Managing director of a company called Omnilog in Krugersdorp and bought the motor home as he has to travel a lot to see clients and feels it more cost effective to flying and having to stay in hotels. Besides that he loves camping.

Sunset over the lagoon.

Sunset over the lagoon.

This is a photograph I took the last time I was at Leentjiesklip a few months ago.

All in all I have enjoyed my two stays at Leentjiesklip Caravan Park and it will be a sad day when they close the park. Maybe sense will prevail and it will survive but I seriously doubt it.

Saldanha Bay.

Situated on the west coast, about 140 km’s from Cape Town, is the picturesque sea side town of Saldanha Bay. It is also positioned  on the northern corner of the largest natural bay in South Africa. The natural deep, sheltered harbour played an important part in the long and colourful history of the area and today still plays a central role in the export and import for the industries of the region.

Saldanha, due to its sheltered harbour, provides excellent conditions for water sport and fishing enthusiasts. During the Second World War it was also extremely important because of its strategic location and safe anchorage as a convoy assembly point. Even today Saldanha is host to a training naval base and the SA Military Academy.

View of Saldanha Bay.
View of Saldanha Bay.
Another view looking more toward the fishing harbour area.
Another view looking more toward the fishing harbour area.

The rock formation seen on the right side of the photograph is known as “Adam & Eve”.

Closer view of the town centre and harbour area.
Closer view of the town centre and harbour area.

The local economy is strongly dependent on fishing, mariculture , mussels, seafood and the harbour trade as well as the established steel industry. The popular SAS Saldanha Nature Reserve, which I unfortunately did not have time to visit, has displays of wild flowers in late winter & early spring and Southern Right whales also visit the safe waters in and around the reserve.

Still a strong military presense.

Still a strong military presence.

Fishing trawler in the harbour.
Fishing trawlers in the harbour.
More fishing boats.
More fishing boats.

Took a stroll to the end of this wharf,  where you can just see that white car,  to see what was going on and found this.

Yes there are fish in the water and some are even catching them!
Yes there are fish in the water and some fishermen are even catching them! The fish is a Stompneus and of legal size.
Came accross 3 young guys practising on their skate boards and managed to get this shot with my trusty Canon G7.
Came across 3 young guys practising on their skate boards and managed to get this shot with my trusty Canon G7.
Nice looking sea food restaurant in the harbour area.
Nice looking sea food restaurant in the harbour area.
Looks like quite a large and active yaucht club.
Looks like quite a large and active yacht club.
Flowers and boats - not your normal mix.
Flowers and boats – not your normal mix.

Saldanha Bay has the normal mix of shops, restaurants and 2 hotels. I would imagine that some of the local shops are really going to battle as there are now 2 big shopping centres that have opened nearby.

The Protea Hotel, Saldanha Bay.
The Protea Hotel, Saldanha Bay.

I had been quite keen to stay at the local caravan park but to be honest had heard some not very nice things said about the park so gave it a miss. I decided to go and have a look and see for myself.

Entrance to caravan park.
Entrance to caravan park. Good securit, friendly manager and the price was good.
Some of the well grassed stands.
Some of the well grassed stands.
The ablution block was pretty well maintained and looked clean.
The ablution block was pretty well maintained and looked clean.

I don’t know if things have maybe changed dramatically recently but I thought the park looked pretty good and I would not hesitate to stay there if I was in the area again. They also have cottages ranging in price from R160.00 (small 4  bed)out of season to the largest (6 bed) at R574.00 in season.

On my way back to Langebaan I saw these iron ore railway trucks waiting to be off loaded.
On my way back to Langebaan I saw these iron ore railway trucks waiting to be off loaded.

The Sishen-Saldanha Project, constructed during the early 1970′s, is the only dedicated iron ore export facility in South Africa. The dedicated railway line runs from the Sishen mine in the Northern Cape directly to the off loading facility in Saldanha Bay harbour. These trains are kilometres in length and if you get stack at a level crossing can take more that 10 minutes to pass.

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