Loitering with intent…
I’M NOT YOUR TYPICAL outdoorsy kind of guy. Don’t get me wrong: as a youngster I enjoyed camping with my family as much as the next lad. But that was mostly because of all the inland girls you’re bound to find flocking to our coastal resorts in December.
Now married, it was thus with reservations I accepted a recent offer from friends to go camping – considering that one, I’m not 16 anymore; two, it’s not December; and three, I don’t own one piece of camping equipment. Keen to rekindle the carefree state of mind I experienced as a 16-year-old, I convinced my wife that it was time for us to “invest” in some camping equipment and set out for a great weekend in the bush.
Kitted to the teeth we set out against the Friday afternoon Jo’burg traffic to our destination – a destination tucked away in the mountains, away from everyone. A place that seemed immune to the fast-passed life of the City of Gold. A place that seemed virgin to any crime or act of ill intent.
No later than 3 o’clock on Saturday morning – a mere nine hours after our arrival in the undiscovered gem – were we awoken to a commotion of panic and disbelief. Yup, Jo’burg followed us. The result: many a camper discovered in the darkness that they’d fallen victim to what we now fondly refer to as “Kamp Staaldraad – the sequel”.
No less than three parties in the camp had been “burgled”. Not that there had been any sign of forced entry. But considering you only had a breath of nylon tent separating you and a gang of criminals, burgled and robbed seemed the operative words. We’d lost our (newly bought) camping chairs, gas bottles, cookers and a coolbox. What made it worse is that we were unable to make coffee at 3am in the morning: no gas = no coffee.
In defence of the resort, the response from management was swift and one could sense they were as alarmed as their camping victims to learn what had happened.
Our camping trip ended shortly after 6am when we decided to pack up what wasn’t stolen and pickle back to JHB with the hope of spotting our goods somewhere along the way.
SA is facing a period in which we’ll hopefully see an increase in both local and international tourism – and why shouldn’t we? We have more than the average country to offer: better weather, better beaches (especially over December), better wild life experiences and perhaps even better camping facilities. What’s more, my gas bottle cost more than the accommodation for the entire weekend. Now that’s value!
I sincerely hope the upcoming events we look forward to will be something that will be treasured by all and not a period where our crime spiked.