Strand & Gordon’s Bay Caravan Parks.

There are 3 caravan parks in the area – Voortrekker Park in the Strand (the one I stayed at) Kay’s Caravan Park which is also in the Strand and Hendon Park Holiday Resort which is in Gordon’s Bay.

Please be aware that what I express here are merely my own opinions and others may disagree with what I write and show.To be honest none of the 3 are great but I am glad I chose Voortrekker to spend a few days at while I explored the surrounding area.

Security entrance to Voortekker Park.
Security entrance to Voortrekker Park.

While there was a security guard on duty there still appeared to be a lot of cars that just came into the park, had a drive through and then left. There were also break-ins of some caravans, that looked as though they were being stored there, over the weekend.

The office.
The office.

Just a warning if you are planning to stay at this park.  From 4pm on Friday afternoon to Monday morning the office is closed and if you have not booked and pre-payed  security will not let you in. Also you cannot pay directly at the park but must wait for documents which you then take to the Municipality or Pick n’ Pay to pay and take the receipt back to the office. Very strange!

Holiday
Private Holiday Units.

Just to the left as you go in is another gated area which has pretty good looking holiday units. I am not sure if anyone is allowed to live there permanently but it did appear that some were.

Some of the rather tatty looking chalets that are available.
Some of the rather tatty looking chalets that are available.

Chalets are available from R600 in high season to R500 out of season for a luxury 6 berth chalet.

One of the better grassed sites.
One of the better grassed sites.
My set-up at Voortrekker Park.
My set-up at Voortrekker Park.
The ablution block.
The ablution block.
Inside was kept clean and tidy and there was plenty hot water.
Inside was kept clean and tidy and there was plenty of hot water.

All in all I enjoyed my stay at Voortrekker Park and of the 3 parks I looked at would definitely vote it as my no. 1 of the area.  Contact No is +27218504169.

The next park that I went and had a look at was Kay’s Caravan Park (+27218531129) which is also in the the Strand. To be honest this is more like a park with mostly permanent residents and only has about 18 stands for casual campers.

Entrance to Kay's Caravan Park.
Entrance to Kay’s Caravan Park.

One of the permenant wooden structures in the camp. These buildings are realy close together and I would hate to see what would happen in the event of a fire.

One of the permanent wooden structures in the camp. These buildings are really close together and I would hate to see what would happen in the event of a fire.

Some of the 18 sites that are avaiable for casual camping.

Some of the 18 sites that are available for casual camping. I have seen worse.

The ablution block which looks worse than it actually is.

The ablution block.

The last park I went to have a look at was Hendon Park in Gordon’s Bay and potentially it should be the best of the three. I found it really strange that while both parks fall under the same municipality they seem to operate on different  dates as to when high season starts and finishes. Most places don’t offer discounts to over 60’s during high season so although the basic prices for Voortrekker and Hendon are the same I got a cheaper rate at Voortrekker because they were not charging high season rates.

Security entrance to Hendon Park.

Security entrance to Hendon Park Resort.

Camp sites which are right next to the beach.

Camp sites which are right next to the beach.

Ablution Block whic was locked and barbed wire fenced so I could not have a look.

Ablution Block which was locked and barbed-wired so I could not have a look.

Brocken fence next to river and open to the beach so not too sure about  the safety aspect.

Broken fence next to river and open to the beach so not too sure about the safety aspect as people can just walk in off the beach. I would also worry if I had children with me.

There are some nice looking chalets which range from R850 in peak season to R560 out of season.

There are some nice looking chalets which range from R850 in peak season to R560 out of season.

Something is not quite right here  At Voortrekker there were at least 6 or 7 sites being used the whole time I was there but at Hendon Park there was nobody there on the day of my visit and when I drove passed over the weekend there was just 1 lonely looking caravan parked in a lot of empty space.

As you will see I have given  contact numbers for the parks as I have been getting a lot of e-mails asking me about bookings and prices. Please contact them directly for information.

Gordon’s Bay.

Gordon’s Bay, a picturesque coastal village just a few km’s from the Strand, is set against the steep slopes of the Hottentots Holland Mountains and is one of the 3 towns that form the Helderberg Basin. This Mediterranean style sea side village is home to the South African Naval College and only 50 minutes from Cape Town and just off the N2 high way.

I asked a few of the locals where the Strand stops and Gordon’s Bay begins and all said the start of Gordon’s Bay is at the new harbour or Harbour Island.

Harbour Island
Harbour Island

The new harbour
The new harbour
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There are lots of shops and restaurants situated in the harbour.
You can also try your luck fishing off the horbour wall.
You can also try your luck at fishing off the harbour wall.

Pleasure trips on luxury yachts and cruisers are available for charter from both harbours.

Looking accross the bay one can still see the famous ships anchor with GB on the side of the mountain which has been there for many years.
Looking across the bay one can still see the famous ships anchor with GB on the side of the mountain which has been there for many years.

As one drives into the centre of Gordon’s Bay through the narrow streets you will find many street cafes, bars and restaurants and if you are a seafood lover this is the place to be.

Trawlers Sea Food Restaurant int he centre of the village.
Trawlers Sea Food Restaurant in the centre of the village.

The SA Naval College is situated in the old harbour area.
The SA Naval College is situated in the old harbour area.
Fishing boats in the old harbour.
Fishing boats in the old harbour.

There are some interesting restaurants in the old harbour and this one is called
There are some interesting restaurants in the old harbour and this one is called the Happy Oyster.

Gordon’s Bay is  known for it’s safe bathing with both the Main and Bikini Beaches attracting thousands of happy sun worshippers on weekends during  hot summer days. Bikini Beach is a Blue Flag Beach and is situated next to the old harbour.

Bikini Beach blue flag status.
Bikini Beach blue flag status.
Bikini Beach.
Bikini Beach. This was taken on a weekday so only a few lucky locals were there.

I am sure that early on Gordon’s Bay was more of a holiday town with not many people actually living there. Now days, what with the high way and fast cars many people live here and commute to work in Cape Town. There are some some really amazing houses that have been built on the beach front and on the side of the mountain  offering some spectacular views over False Bay looking toward Cape Town. On a clear day Table Mountain and the mountain ranges round Cape Point are clearly visible.

Some of the houses right next to Bikini Beach.Houses right next to Bikini Beach.

House built on the side of the mountain. Hopefully they don't allow building any higher.
Houses built on the side of the mountain. Hopefully they don’t allow them to build  any higher.

A new structure built high above the bay. The next shot gives you an idea of the view they have from this point.

A new structure built high above the bay. The next shot gives you an idea of the view they have.

I don't know about you but I would find it difficult to leave and go to work.

I don't know about you but I would find it difficult to leave and go to work.

Gordon’s Bay, as is the Strand, is only ten minutes away from the Helderberg Wine Route and brewery and a 15 minute drive over the Spectacular Sir Lowry’s pass takes you to the fruit route at Elgin and Grabouw. The village is on the scenic coastal route to Hermanus and the whale route. During September and October whales can be seen in False Bay. For the more active there is a walk above the village on the Danie Miller trail and you can explore the historic cannon and Foogon wheel walk at Sir Lowry’s Pass or have  a dip in the Crystal Pools in the Steenbras Valley.

The Strand.

Well here I am at the start of the second part of my travel adventure to try and cover the coastline of South Africa from Alexander Bay, on the West coast, all the way to Kosibay on the East Coast in my little old Sprite caravan. So far I have completed the journey all the way down the west coast to as far as Tableview and am now heading up what I will call the Western Cape South Coast and starting off again  at the Strand.

The Strand (the beach) , also known as the Gem of  False Bay, with it’s endless white beaches, is situated about 50km’s east of Cape Town at the foot of the Hottentots Holland Mountains and along with Somerset West and Gordon’s Bay forms part of the picturesque Helderberg Basin.

In 1714 the Strand was founded as a holiday and fishing resort, it’s main attraction being “the strand”,  consisting of 5 km’s of sandy white beaches lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean in False Bay. The beach is recognised as one of the best and safest bathing areas in South Africa

5 km's of safe bathing in the warm Atalantic Ocean.
5 km’s of safe bathing in the warm Indian Ocean.
Having fun on the beach
Dylan Frick having fun on the beach

The beach front promenade is lined with restaurants, pubs and coffee shops as well as entertainment areas, such as Dune Park, with putt-putt (mini golf), water-slides, tidal pool and a heated Olympic size swimming pool.

Putt-putt (Mini Golf) at Dune Park
Putt-putt (Mini Golf) at Dune Park

Waterworld.
Waterworld.
One of the many beach road cafes.
One of the many beach road cafes.
The beach road goes on for km's and has some pretty impressive buildings along the way.
The beach road goes on for km’s and has some pretty impressive buildings along the way.
More modern buildings linning the beach road.
Modern buildings lining the beach road.

This one reminds me of a design I have seen from somewhere overseas?
This one reminds me of a design I have seen from somewhere overseas?

The Strand is basically split into two parts –  The beach-front area and 2 or 3 streets back, away from the beach, is a small business section and many of the older housing properties – but most of the action takes place along the beach front.

The Strand Pavillion.
The Strand Pavilion.

Some of the shops housed in the pavilion.

Some of the shops housed in the pavilion.

Next to the Pavilion there are trading stalls which are open 7 days a week.
Next to the Pavilion there are many trading stalls which are open 7 days a week.
You can even buy fish for your supper there.
You can even buy fish for your supper there.

For the sporting enthusiast Strand offers a wide variety of organised sport such as golf, tennis, bowls, rugby and squash and on the water-sport side there is surfing, sailing, powerboating, paddleskiing, boardsailing and of course fishing and diving. It is close to the wine route  and there are many interesting places nearby to be explored.

All in all I enjoyed the 5 days I spent here and in Gordon’s Bay but I can tell you that over a hot summer weekend the place really gets packed out with beach lovers and holiday makers so that even 5 km’s of beach doesn’t feel like quite enough.

Melkbos to Table View.

Well here I am back out on the road again to continue my voyage of discovery round the coast of South Africa and have just discovered that there was still 1 post I needed to do to complete my trip down the West coast so here it is.

Melkbosstrand still has an old established feel to it. There are modern shops and some pretty upmarket looking houses but overall it has not really been developed to the extent of such as places as Big Bay just 10 km’s down the road towards Cape Town. As usual I am going to let my photographs do most of the talking.

Old style house on the beach front
Old style house on the beach front
One of the more modern houses next to the beach.
One of the more modern houses next to the beach.
The beach front which offers safe bathing and apperently good fishing.
The beach front which offers safe bathing and apparently good fishing.

As one leaves Melkbosstrand and travels towards Cape Town you drive along next to undeveloped beaches, where I saw quite a few fishermen with lines in the water, you have to ask yours self how long will it last and especially as you arrive at Big Bay.

I first went to big bay about 40 years ago and there was pretty much nothing there apart from a parking area, a small shop and not much else. It was a very popular spot for surfing in those days and also a great place to go to for a braai (BBQ) above the road in the picnic area or at the beach.

Wow has it all changed over the years. It is now a massive sprawling mass of houses, developments and shops and apart from the actual beach area is not recognisable.

Big contingent of life gaurds there - not to mention the "car" gaurds.
Big contingent of life guards there – not to mention the “car” guards.
Some of the shops where there just used to be one small cafe.
One of the shopping centres  where there just used to be one small shop.

Big Bay with Table Mountain in the background.
Big Bay with Table Mountain in the background.
You can still buy on the beach at Big Bay but it is going to cost you big time.
You can still buy on the beach at Big Bay but it is going to cost you big time.
One of the developments next to the beach.
One of the developments next to the beach.
One of the developments in the area we used to picnic in years ago.
One of the developments in the area we used to picnic in years ago.

Moving on a bit closer to Cape Town is Blaauwberg.  It was a place I used to visit frequently as I had friends that lived there. Looking at Blaauwberg today, while there has been growth and quite a lot of change,  it has still somehow kept its character of the past.

"Ons Huisie" resaurant is on eof the most famous attractions of Blaauwberg.
“Ons Huisie” restaurant is one of the most famous attractions of Blaauwberg. Great sea food.
Another well known attraction in the area. I remember, years ago, going to some great "dinner dances" here.
Another well known attraction in the area. I remember, years ago, going to some great “dinner dances” here. The old place is looking really good these days and also has great sea food.
A reminder that the sea can be a dangerous place.

A reminder that the sea can be a dangerous place.

The last stop on my west coast journey before reaching Cape Town was Table View which is one of the fastest growing areas in the greater Cape Town area. Most of the housing developments are a few km’s from the beach area and are growing at an incredible rate

An hotel going up right on the beach front.

An hotel going up right on the beach front.

Some of the old and new developmets along the beach front.

Some of the older and new developments along the beach front.

A final shot from Table Tiew of Table Mountain and the wreck of the bulk carrier Seli  which went aground just off Table  View beach in a gale on the 8th September 2009.

A final shot from Table View of Table Mountain and the wreck of the bulk carrier Seli 1 which went aground just off Table View beach in a gale on the 8th September 2009.

Well, sadly, (for me anyway) that is the last of my posts on the West Coast of South Africa and I have now just started on my journey up the Western Cape south coast. I am at the moment staying in the Strand / Gordons Bay area and am going to slowly make my way up the coast to such places as Rooi Els, Hangklip and other small towns as I move toward Hermanus.

I hope that many of you who have been following my travels up to now will continue you to do so in the future. I love getting feedback and comments and watching the number of visitors to the site grow by the month. In fact I have been staggered by the numbers as I thought, when I started out, that it might be looked at occasionally by family and friends, but I have been getting visitors from all over the world  in ever increasing numbers.

See you on the other side of Cape Town.

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.