What better way to spend the last weekend of the holidays than with three little boys in a tent just half an hour from home? In theory. The fact that we needed a weekend to recover from the weekend aside, camping, whilst remaining at home, has a lot to recommend it.
Yes, we could have packed the car to the gills, squeezed inside and then driven for three hours to somewhere like Beaverlac (a very agreeable campsite indeed, and no slight intended by our not having ventured there, this time). But how much easier simply to drive over Ou Kaapse Weg, around the bend and then some, to Kommetjie?
Kommetjie is on the far south of Cape Town. What was once a rustic neighbourhood with the odd shack-by-the-sea is today premier property that goes for anything between R5 and R13 million.
It remains a seaside village, despite the pads, retaining much of its former rural feel due in no small part to the over 5km worth of white sandy beach onto which the village looks, or at least some of it.
The rest of the village have only a momentary stroll, which they do with relish – walking dogs and children either to the bay where Slangkoppunt Lighthouse stands overlooking the sea, or round the bend to Long Beach. Around a further headland is Noordhoek beach that also stretches for miles. There’s a lot of beach here.
The great part about camping at Imhoff Campsite in Kommetjie is that it has its own local shop perfect for stocking up on groceries, a post office (I threatened to post at least one child home), its own pharmacy and even a library – great if you intend joining the few who actually live at Imhoff campsite permanently (there are some pretty impressive individually decorated bungalows).
Whilst the campsite sadly does not overlook the beach, it is but a hop, skip and jump to reach (two minutes, actually), and the sound of waves at night means that you sleep with the comforting noise of the sea reverberating through the tent – ah, beach holidays.
The upside of having no view, is that there is little wind at the campsite yet the beach remains ‘just there’. The downside of this campsite (and totally unrelated to the subject of the sea, it’s true) is that every second site has a trailblazing street light that can keep light sleepers, like me, awake at night.
Of course the major bonus of waiting to camp until the very last minute of the holiday is that everyone has gone home! What indulgence. For though the facilities are really good (if you like grass green floors and walls in your bathroom) and clean, the campsites a generous size, many of them well shaded with established trees, and all with electrical points and braais, any resort becomes trying when there are too many people in them.
We not only virtually had the place to ourselves, but there was nobody on either side of us so that when friends joined us in the evening, we could spread out a bit without any fear of offending anyone – this was absolutely necessary as we had forgotten to bring along our camping table and made use of the neighbouring braai area instead.
If you haven’t been on Long Beach before, it has one of the most beautiful views out over Karbonkelberg, Little Lions Head, Hout Bay and Chapmans Peak. The beach is not a great swimming beach, and the water is icy, but the boys loved being in the waves and building sand castles and we got to watch crayfish divers as they brought in their haul (not that you could describe two or three crayfish as a haul).
Next time you’re dying for a weekend away but just couldn’t be bothered with the complexity of travelling miles, head to Imhoff Park. You’ll return restored despite having remained at home.
- Ride camels at Imhoff Farmstall
- visit Higgeldy Piggeldy farmyard
- Drive Chapmans Peak Drive
- Drive the Cape Point Wine Route