Loi­ter­ing with in­tent…

Finweek English Edition - - Letters - GONE FISH­ING

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.

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