PAR­ADISE CARAVAN PARK

The promised land

Go! Camp & Drive - - Camping Destination -

If you’re look­ing for a beach hol­i­day on the South Coast, close to all the fa­mous tourist spots but secluded enough so you aren’t tram­pled by the masses, Par­adise is the place for you. A nar­row, one-way road winds up a steep hill from the busy R61, in be­tween in­dige­nous trees and the odd ba­nana tree, un­til even­tu­ally you see the park’s en­trance in front of you. By now, Rams­gate, Mar­gate and South­b­room all feel like they’re in an­other coun­try. It’s no won­der that this part of the South Coast is called Canaan. At the gate you have to ring the bell so that Belinda Kirk­patrick can open for you. By the time you park out­side the re­cep­tion of­fice with its small koi fish pond, she’s al­ready wait­ing for you be­hind the counter. To­gether with the re­ceipt for your stand you also get a re­mote for the gate, and Belinda will in­di­cate which road to take to the stands.

Home sweet home

The stands are laid out in a long, straight line on two ter­races, with the ablu­tion block at the fur­thest point. Pairs of stands share a tap and garbage can, and the brick braais are also back to back. The odd caravan you see out of sea­son more than likely be­longs to one of a hand­ful of per­ma­nent res­i­dents such as Colleen Long, who’s been liv­ing here in her Fleet­line parked at the end of the row op­po­site the ablu­tion block for the past few years. The re­sort’s gar­dener and clean­ers greet you with a smile, and stop to chat when they see Colleen. Same goes for the rest of the res­i­dents who walk past on their way to the bath­room, which is neat and clean, the fin­ishes and pot plants giv­ing it a homely feel. Colleen’s daugh­ters have come to visit her, and are stay­ing in one of the re­sort’s self-cater­ing cot­tages. Di­ag­o­nally across from the cot­tages there’s a play­park with swings and a see­saw for the lit­tle ones, and a bit fur­ther on there’s a games room and a recre­ation hall for so­cial gath­er­ings. Be­hind the hall is the re­sort’s bright-blue swim­ming pool, vol­ley­ball court and open-air chess board. The pool isn’t big enough to do laps, but it’s big enough that you can cool down in

I moved here af­ter my hus­band passed away. It fits me like a glove. The peo­ple are friendly, and there’s al­ways some­one to chat to. I also feel safe, be­cause the gate is mon­i­tored and the se­cu­rity com­pany pa­trols the re­sort reg­u­larly.

it af­ter pitch­ing camp. From the stands, a con­crete path runs di­ag­o­nally be­tween the games room and cot­tages to the re­cep­tion of­fice, which also has a few shelves with es­sen­tials such as fire­lighters, cooldrinks and de­ter­gent for the wash­ing ma­chines in the laun­dry room next door. In the laun­dry room there are wash­ing ma­chines and a tum­ble dryer, which ac­cept to­kens you can buy at re­cep­tion. Be pa­tient with the ma­chines; they’re old, and won’t get your PT shorts and socks clean in a jiffy. Load your wash­ing, then go and light a fire, or chat to one of your neigh­bours. Check in again af­ter 45 min­utes. But if you’re para­noid that some­one’s go­ing to nick your favourite Meat­loaf T-shirt from the ma­chine, you’re more than wel­come to grab a chair and make your­self com­fort­able inside the laun­dry room. For­tu­nately there’s a shelf loaded with books to keep you en­ter­tained while you wait for your clothes to dry.

SAME DEEP WA­TER. The pool just be­yond the games room isn’t big, but it’s re­fresh­ing on hu­mid af­ter­noons.

Colleen Long lives in the park per­ma­nently, in her Jur­gens Fleet­line

BOOK LAUN­DER­ING. The li­brary in the laun­dry room near re­cep­tion is a nice touch.

PODIUM FIN­ISH. There are two long ter­races on which to pitch your tent. The ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties are at the far end of the lower ter­race.

Other than the small play­ground there is a games room, vol­ley­ball court and an out­door chess set for kids to en­joy. READY, PLAY.

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