My caravan experience started forty-odd years ago as a 22 year old with a wife and two year old son, living in a old rented 3 bedroom house in a northern suburb of Cape Town.
After a serious bout of whooping cough my doctor recommended I make some lifestyle changes, so we sold all our furniture and used the money to pay cash for our first caravan, a 1972 Sprite Cavalier. I organised a work transfer to the Paarl branch and moved into Wateruintjiesvlei Caravan Park on the outskirts of town where we parked under pine trees with a view of the lake and squirrels visiting us regularly.
Two years later we packed up everything we owned into the Cavalier and Ford Fairlane and moved to Pretoria where we first stayed at Joos Bekker Caravan Park in the CBD whilst looking for the ideal place to settle, as this municipal park only allowed a maximum 3 months stay. We eventually settled in a private park called Wawiel Caravan Park on the Rustenburg road about 25 km from my workplace in central Pretoria. This park had a farm feel to it and apart from a fire that broke out one evening and had us all running for waterhoses it was a very pleasant stay.
Another career move, this time to the newly build Eastgate Shopping Centre prompt us to move to Creeds Caravan Park near Benoni. By now we had two kids so I traded the 16 ft Cavalier for a much larger 27 ft Belvedere and being in the decor trade we refurbished and redecorated it from head to toe. This stayed our home, even when we moved to Pietermaritzburg and stayed in the municipal caravan park, until we sold it in 1982 to become house dwellers again when a third child was expected. This was only the end of my first encounter as a Caravanner living full time under the stars - to be continued.
The included photos (remastered) show how proud I was with my first house on wheels at age 22 and the huge double door double axle Belvedere that we called home for so long.
- Story and photos by Frail Parks