We recently hit the road again for a short camper holiday, this time it was a South African Camper Holiday. Our previous camper trip was in Europe when Anika was just 5 months old, shortly after a brain operation! On this trip we had Reuben, a 2 year old energetic boy and Anika is already 7 years old and now uses a wheelchair.
We partnered with Maui South Africa to test one of their new Iveco 6 Berth Campers (Motorhome) to see how it suits special needs family travelling. This is the largest fully equipped camper currently available to rent in South Africa. As far as campers go, this is luxury personified. It has an automatic gearbox, heated spring loaded bucket seats in front, wooden flooring, airconditioning, gas stove, fridge/freezer and all the utensils you might need.
We collected the vehicle in Johannesburg, a stone’s throw from the O.R. Tambo International Airport. A very friendly, and very thorough gentleman named Richard, showed us how every feature of the camper van works. After the training/induction session and all the paperwork were done, we headed off, literally into the sunset, as it was getting late!
The great thing about the camper is that it’s so quick to setup camp that we decided to only have a very loose-knit route planned, and to camp when and where we felt like it. By 6pm the kids felt like it! (This is after we left our home town of Nelspruit at 5am, drove 300km, did a quick follow up visit with Anika’s Orthopaedic Surgeon after her recent foot operations, delivered products for our online store, collected the camper and drove another 300km!)
We decided to stay over on a working farm, Waaidam, which has camping facilities and accommodation, and is situated just outside Harrismith in the Freestate, South Africa. It was a freezing evening outside but luckily the owner, Willem, invited us to use his very unique conference hall, which has a huge stone fireplace/BBQ! The next morning we scraped pieces of ice from the outside of the camper, something we’re definitely not used to being from Nelspruit, where the winters barely get cold enough for a jacket!
Our next stop was at ATKV Drakensville, in the Northern part of the Drakensberg, where we stayed over for the night and then headed off to our favourite beach side town of Ballito on the Kwazulu Natal North Coast.
We camped at Dolphin Holiday Resort in Ballito, just 50km north of Durban. This is a great campsite which we highly recommend. It is a 2 minute walk to the beach, shops and a great restaurant called Mozambik, while still being protected form the coastal wind and elements.
After 4 nights in Ballito, we reluctantly started driving back north and spent our last night at Mahai, a campsite in the Royal Natal Nature Reserve. This is one of the most scenic and spectacular places we’ve ever camped at.
Shortly before this trip, Anika got her new Ottobock Avantgarde CS, foldable wheelchair with a Freewheel adaptation for our future travels. The camper door and space inside was more than adequate to load and store the wheelchair easily. It was also super easy for Anika to get into the camper with the low door step and move around inside as everything was in reach.
What we loved about the Camper Van
- An amazingly easy drive for such a big vehicle with the 8 speed automatic gearbox and the driving position being stand out features
- Enough storage compartments to help organise all the bits and pieces
- A very efficient aircon system that helps with cooling and heating
- Lots of natural light from all the big windows and roof lights
- The kitchen was very well equipped with enough utensils, including microwave, 2 hob gas stove, kettle, toaster, fridge/freezer (although small) and even tupperware for the left over braai (BBQ) meat!
- Seriously quick to setup camp. Park, connect the electricity, setup the table and chairs outside, have a beer
- We could park at the beach, get the kids into their swimming gear, go for a swim and one of us could quickly pop back up to the parking area to prepare lunch in our fully equipped kitchen. How convenient is that!
- We could stop at anytime, anywhere for a toilet break seeing as the toilet was travelling with us
- We could unpack all our clothes and gear at the beginning of the trip and only had to pack it again at the end. No lugging around heavy suitcases and nothing left behind in hotel rooms
- The kids could get used to their new environment and sleep in the same bed every night even though we were moving around
We had a great trip and loads of fun as a family and the camper made it super easy. If you want to see multiple places and move along, if and when it suits you, a camper holiday is perfect for you!
We look forward to exploring more areas, countries and continents in a camper and will definitely consider using Maui in future.
Have you had a camper holiday? Leave a comment below as we would love to hear from you!
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