PARADISE CARAVAN PARK
The promised land
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.