CARAVANNING’S BEST: Willows - a camper’s paradise
A few years ago, I wrote an article, in Home, Food & Travel - about how my family had decided to join a caravan club. With a little experience under the belt, I can still recommend this as a great option for families who enjoy spending some outdoors time together, making new friends and becoming part of a bigger family!
We joined Trekkers Laager 9, part of the national Trekkers Outdoor and Recreation Club, in 2008 and have only missed a handful of the monthly weekend outings since then. Being part of a club has ensured that we camp out at least once a month.
In my opinion, one of the best sites we have visited over the years is The Willows Resort Caravan Park, just 15 km from the Port Elizabeth beachfront and in the beautiful environment of the Driftsands Nature Reserve.
From the moment you arrive at the resort, you feel as if you are on holiday with the Indian Ocean sprawling out in front of you as you make your way to your camping site.
Depending on availability, you can choose from either a secluded site (with tall hedges on 3 sides) or open areas (ideal for bigger groups or clubs). All camping sites have access to an electricity point, communal cold water points as well as bins and portable braai’s. There are also paved 12 private sites – each with a lockable ablution and scullery facility.
There are also two ablution blocks (which are regularly serviced by cleaning staff), both catering for men and women, each with toilets, basins, a bath and showers. For the kids and teens, there is a popular super tube, giant sandpit, putt-putt course, games room and go-cart track. Willows also has a large tidal pool and, of course, an abundance of rock pools and rocky areas ideal for fishing and exploring.
The Willows Resort Caravan Park is generally neat and tidy thanks to its attentive grounds staff. I have always found the lawns well-maintained and thorn-free.
Without detracting from the natural surroundings, the Caravan Park is fully secured with electric fencing, night patrols and access control, meaning that you always feel safe and this adds to the resorts relaxing effect. Campers can even, within reason, leave their site unattended and without having to pack all their possessions away.
Older children can also be safely left to their own devices. Most often spend their time playing ball games, riding bikes, riding the super tube and exploring the area, amongst other exciting activities - only to be seen when hungry or needing cash for a visit to the tuck shop!
Generally, I have found the camping community at Willows pretty friendly and a considerate bunch - so you will be in good company, whether camping as a family, group of friends or part of a club.
When compared to the cost of staying in a hotel or B&B, caravanning is extremely affordable and makes long term resort stays attainable for most people! I must say that Herman Nell and his team have done a fantastic job of transforming Willows into the fun and friendly environment it is, with more to offer than most!