Every year we go on a camping over the summer school holiday. We’re not the “return to the same place year after year” type of campers as we want to explore and discover new places. As we live in Port Elizabeth and by the sea, we’re also not bothered by coastal holidays which tends to be windy in summer and effects us badly as we camp in tents. After a lot of searching and researching, we settled on Vloedbos in the Overberg as our destination for December 2015. And there, just off the cross roads between Riviersonderend, Caledon, Hermanus and Napier, we discovered a true camping oasis between all the brown summer fields of the Overberg.
Vloedbos, with its 46 caravan and camping sites (all on lush green grass) and a number of self catering accommodation options, belongs to the Du Toit family and is truly a family run resort aimed at families. We were made to feel very welcome from day one and I barely started pitching the tents when the KidZ disappeared to go and explore everything Vloedbos had to offer. While the KidZ checked out the activities, the Damselfly headed over to the ablution facilities as that is generally her first “tongtippietoets” to see if she’s going to be happy at a campsite. She actually came back to interrupt my solo pitching effort and made me go and check out the excellent bathroom facilities before I could get back to setting up camp.
One of my most important tests of any campsite, especially if it is some distance from the nearest shop – like this one is – is the resort’s shop. The Vloedbos Tuck Shop did not disappoint. It was well stocked with just about everything one needs with the only thing we suddenly needed and couldn’t find there being cinnamon for pancakes. Demichelle offered to get it for us by the next day which was excellent, although we decided to make a quick trip to Napier (and sommer do a couple of Geocaches while we were there). The other very notable thing about the shop is that the prices isn’t a ripoff like I have so often seen in campsite shops. I wonder how much we spent on ice creams while we were there for our 10 days?
The biiiiiiig attraction for young – and old – is the super tube and speed slide. The slide is open daily from 10 am to 12 pm, 2 pm to 4 pm and a final hour between 5 pm and 6. They use a siren to announce the super tube opening and you can be sure that every time that siren went off it was a case of towels being grabbed (and sometimes forgotten) and kids scattering and racing to make the most of their time on the tube. I have to be honest here though and say that perhaps my biggest complaint during our stay was the cost of the super tube. At R5 per ride or R100 per day it does work out a very expensive exercise to have two KidZ and one dad who wanted to ride every day. I tried to explain to the KidZ though that they had to keep in mind that most of the other campers came from Cape Town and only had to drive 2 hours to get there while we had an eight hour drive each way which costs a lot more in petrol. This meant that they had more money available for their kids to ride more often. At least my KidZ understand things like that and I am proud of them for doing so.
We made a deal with the KidZ that they could each get a full day ticket and that we would buy them a couple of loose riding bands for the other days. They also used some of their own money to fill in some blanks. This meant that there were on the super tube every day. Some days more than others. I had my full day as well and believe me, I got my money’s worth. I did realise though that I’m not 25 anymore and my body really knew I was on there for most of the day. In actual fact, I out-rode most of the children that day.
The speed slide isn’t for everybody although I really enjoyed it. I think the strangest thing of our whole stay was the fact that the Damselfly preferred the speed slide over the super tube. Yes, that’s her in the top three pictures and bottom left. The best of all was her first ride. She got to the top and stopped, allowing a few kids to pass her while she gathered her courage. I heard a comment from a boy standing next to me that this aunty is going to scream when she goes down. Well, he was slightly disappointed as she didn’t utter a peep. Even I was surprised at that.
Vloedbos’ brand new 13 hole mini golf course also saw a lot of action from us while we were there. We used to play putt putt a lot more when we were young than what today’s children get to so the KidZ made sure they utilised the course every opportunity they got. Pssst, let me tell you a little secret. Hire your clubs and balls during the last one hour before the shop closes and they allow you to keep it till they open at ten the next day. You can play all evening under the floodlights and perhaps have a quick round the next morning as well. You can thank me later.
A big highlight for the littlies every day is Carlo and the quad train. Ten bucks and the train takes them on snaking route through the whole campsite with bicycles and runners following behind.
One afternoon the campers two tents down from us ambushed the train with water guns. After the ambush the train stayed away for a long time before suddenly appearing again. I immediately spotted that something was up. The kids all had big smiles and at closer inspection noticed hidden water guns and water balloons. They were ready for a second possible ambush. I ran to grab the camera as I knew the ambush was indeed on again. There were lots of screams and laughs from both sides as the first water balloons started flying. Now this is the kind of campsite fun non-campers will never get.
The holiday program, although very limited, was a lot of fun for the kids as well. We unfortunately only stayed till just after Christmas so ended up missing out on a lot of the activities they offered.
If Drama Princess was a member of the Spice Girls she would have been Sporty Spice. And that showed at the holiday program. She was in with a shot in each item she participated in, nearly out throw and catching the boys in the water balloon challenge. Even Chaos Boy participated in the activities for a change. During our stay he didn’t really make a bunch of friends like Drama Princess did, but he was never bored.
As for the Damselfly and myself, we just used the holiday to chill. I promised myself that I would try not to thing of work during my holiday for a change and I didn’t. I binge read under my gazebo, went for walks, swam when I wanted, visited with other campers, played with the KidZ and just did nothing. In fact, I grabbed a second book just before we left home in case I finished my first one. I was done with both in five days. ‘Nuff said. We also spent a day exploring the Overberg coast between Gansbaai and Agulhas, something we really needed more time for. But relaxing was the first priority.
My impressions of Vloedbos? Well, if you haven’t been able to gather that we were suitably impressed from everything above, here it is again. It is a great campsite. Beautiful grassy sites even if there isn’t that much shade yet. Excellent facilities. Well looked after with hands on management. Strict rules about noise. Very child friendly with lots to do for the whole family. Would perhaps liked the wifi to have worked better. Yes, I wanted to see what the world was up to on social media. Vloedbos is the ideal campsite for a weekend camping getaway from Cape Town and perfect for a longer holiday. It really is a shame that we are so far otherwise we would have visited more often. Although most of the visitors were from the Western Cape, I’m sure they will get more and more popular with visitors from further off as word about them gets out more. Will we be back? I sure would like to return some time, but for December 2016 the Drakensburg is a calling.