Nearly 50 years ago, Josef and Johanna Tolmay from Drie Rivieren rented a fold-up caravan to take their baby boy to see the ocean. They have been camping non-stop ever since.
In 1969, Johanna and I had been married for only about three years, and our first-born Danie had just arrived. Johanna and I both love the ocean, and we dreamed of the day when we could go show our son the vast waters. But there was one problem: At that stage we couldn’t afford to rent a holiday flat near the sea. So we had to consider an alternative, and that was to rent a caravan. But I drove a 1966 Fiat 1100D. With its limited performance the options of what I could tow were fairly limited – I needed a light caravan with low wind resistance. I soon realised a fold-up caravan was the answer. I started looking and eventually we were referred to someone in the Magagong area in the North West province. They had a fold-up caravan and were willing to rent it to us for R2 a day. We agreed and towed the caravan to Hartenbos. The caravan was similar to a trailer but it had a heavy metal roof. You lifted the roof and then two metal poles – one in front and one in the back – propped the roof up. But that was easier said than done – it took two strong men to lift the roof. With the roof in place, two single beds folded out to the outside. The frame’s sails were permanently fixed to the roof and both beds were supported at the bottom by metal props. These props and the two that kept the caravan stable at the back operated with telescopic poles. The sails of the entire framework were fastened with brackets to the bottom of the beds and the bodywork. I remember there were two single benches with a small walkway in between. It was a great place to sit and had extra beds for two more people. You could lift up the benches – and that was the only storage space in the caravan. The tent also didn’t have any zips, which meant you didn’t have much control over keeping rain, wind or the cold out. You climbed in at the back of the caravan through a door that folded out to the bottom. On the inside of the door was a built-in step; I remember it was a clever plan that made climbing in and out much easier. That holiday by the sea was our camping baptism by fire and an unforgettable experience. Since then we’ve been enthusiastic campers who’ve travelled all over with our Jurgens Expo. I do wish though that we knew a bit more about the origin of our rented foldup caravan. Maybe someone can help with some info.
Someone in the Magagong area had a fold-up caravan that they were willing to rent to us for R2 a day. We agreed.
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