Way back in the day, when Maputu was still called Lourenço Marques and Biline was called San Martino, our family of four went camping. Will never forget, the first night we were there, after my father had had one too many “aquadents” – (apparently meaning fire water), the wind came up. Not just a little sea breeze, but a howler. When we got back to camp, our hired caravan was almost on its side, our tent was stuck in a tree and a Mozambique monsoon had blown in. I remember my father desperately hanging onto tent pegs while my mother, laughing I might add, screamed instructions from the caravan door. Chaos reigned…
Us kids – my sister and I, looked on in astonishment at this spectacle. After we had anchored down the tent and secured the caravan, we had the most memorable holiday. Ever since then I have always wanted to own a caravan or camper.
Being in the tourism and hospitality industry and having the privilege of staying at some wonderful lodges and accommodation establishment, I never dreamed I would one day be able to “test drive” a motor home and go “glamping”. So you can imagine my excitement when I contacted MAUI Motorhomes and asked about using one of their vehicles and got a thumbs up! As we say out here on this side of the boerewors curtain…I nearly platzed.
The Urban Dictionary’s definition of “Glamping” : Going camping, but with glamour. A combination of the two words. It’s like regular camping, but with nicer things than usual, being warmer, and more comfortable. Glamping isn’t done by usual outdoor types who climb mountains. Shorthand for glamorous camping; luxury camping.
I collected the MAUI Motor Home from the Kempton Park depot on Monday. Have to admit, when I first saw the size of the motor home I was a bit shocked…in a good way. As my son Joshua said to me “mom, this thing is HUGE”. Thulani was my guide and he showed me everything I needed to know, from how to start the vehicle, how the gas geyser works, where to check that the batteries were charging and to how to flush the toilet. (a girl needs to know these things- that’s why we go “glamping” and not “camping”) This particular vehicle was a Mercedes diesel 2.5l 4 sleeper with all the bells and whistles. (see specs below). A single chassis and a definite road cruiser. At almost 3 m high, one definitely has to be careful where one drives. With the air-con perched on the roof, one could easily make a wrong calculation as to the height of the vehicle and knock that baby right off. (the air-con) A few times I had to back up, away from low hanging trees to make sure they didn’t scrape the roof of the vehicle. Road handling was smooth and easy. As I was travelling alone, I did not have to worry that some person of the opposite sex was going to criticize my driving…as males tend to do J . I could ease into the experience at my own pace and not have to be super panicky because someone was watching my every move. I think, being a mom of 5 sons and having a husband, I generally brace myself when I get into the driver seat. It’s obviously a man thing which I have yet to work through.
Before I even collected the vehicle I had already visualised how and where I was going to pack my clothes – so exciting! What a pleasure it was, for once, not to have to lug a suitcase around. From a “glamping” point of view, it was perfect. A place for everything. Toiletries neatly tucked away in the bathroom, which has a flush toilet and a hand shower with a 50L water capacity, specifically for this purpose.
I was able to hang my clothes in the long cupboards and fold and pack my other clothes into the overhead cupboards. MAUI supply bedding, so I did not even have to worry about dragging my own duvet and pillows with. As it was freezing cold at that time, I was so grateful for the aircon/heater and the thick fluffy blankets that were supplied. And the ‘kitchen’…wow! Even a spot for spices! Because there is a 220v plug-in, I was able to use the kettle and the toaster to my heart’s content. I didn’t go the whole hog with the cooking, but did have a braai (outside of course) and took full advantage of the two plate gas stove inside the van, making boiled eggs and breakfast. It worked like a dream!
Being a proud associate of the Riding for a Limb organization and the Kirsty Watts Foundation, (who raise awareness and funds for children who have lost limbs due to cancer and accidents, enabling them to get prosthetics made) my intention was to drive to Durban to meet up with Gerda, Charl and Noel, who were doing a 4000+ km trip around South Africa. Gerda is a double amputee who lost both her legs due to mismanagement of diabetes. She is the first woman and double amputee to ever embark on such a journey on a motorbike. All three of the riders were riding Cayenne motorcycles which had been sponsored by Cayenne in Midrand. http://cayenne.co.za/ (I would LOVE to do this; so maybe next year I will join them) Gerda’s bike – a Honda Integra 750 DCT, was fully automated, so all she had to do was find her balance, start the bike and off she went.
Anyway, back to my trip. After picking up the motor home, I drove down to Pennington on the South Coast, where I stayed at small private caravan park close to the Selbourne Resort and Golf Estate. After having breakfast, I made my way to Nicorene B & B in Yellowwood Park, Durban, where I met Gerda, Charl and Noel. We made our way to Howick and then met again in Van Reenen Pass. Although the motor home is a road cruiser, I still had to stick to the recommended speed limit for the van, which is 110km/hour. Anything over 110km/h made me feel slightly insecure and unsteady, especially as there was a hectic wind blowing. The bikes, travelling at way over my limit, always made it to the next stop at least a half an hour earlier than I did. We all met, together with 5 more riders from Cayenne, at The Famous Green Lantern Inn. Built in 1892, and previously known as Van Reenen Hotel, named after Frans van Reenen, The Green Lantern Inn is a landmark along the mountain pass. Van Reenen’s pass is truly one of the most beautiful places in South Africa and the motorhome perfect for travellers who really want to drink in the spectacular scenery. With the mighty Drakensberg as their back drop and back yard, Oaklands Manor, in Van Reenen Pass, was our stay over point.
A magnificent place, reminiscent of colonial days where the pastime of the rich and famous was (and still is) polo and crocket. Thanks to Annie and Caroline, the owners and managers of Oaklands, we had a fabulous time. Together with the riders, we then made our way back to JHB to much celebration and fanfare. The MAUI motor home was a hit with everyone I met along the way, with almost everyone stopping me and asking if they could please have a peep inside. Included were the petrol attendants at all the petrol stations I stopped at. I was delighted to give them “the grand tour”. Lots of oooh’s and aaah’s J . I honestly had the most fabulous experience with this motorhome. Loved the fact that I could drive around in my own little tiny house.
Looking forward to many more adventures with MAUI