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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Camping in Hondeklipbaai - Take Two

In a previous blog I had shared my impressions on the municipal caravan camp in Hondeklipbaai with you. Depending on your preferences, you may have found this favorable or not. If you missed the article, you can follow this link to it. Today I wish to tell you about an alternative way of camping in Hondeklipbaai. This time we visit Skulpieskraal (translated to Shell Corral). Skulpieskraal is a camp site of pre-pitched tents where everything is ready for you to move in. It has ablution facilities and self-catering kitchen facilities, or you can visit the on-site restaurant, the Rooi Spinnekop (Red Spider), for a special treat. If you like the idea of camping, but don't enjoy the schlep of setting up camp, this is the way to go! I took plenty of photos for you peruse from the comforts of home.

Both Skulpieskraal as well the Rooi Spinnekop has clear signs up throughout the town, making it very easy to find them. You can call ahead to book your accommodation, or your meals at (+27) 027 692 3966.

The tents in Skulpieskraal are well protected against both the wind, as well as the sun, with sturdy shade netting pitched over the tents.

The inside of the tents are neat with everything you might need for your stay and plenty of space to put your luggage, fishing gear, etc.

The single bed can be used to sleep a third person, or perhaps simply serve as a raised surface to put soft items on.

I was very impressed to find electricity in the rooms, as I am always looking for places to charge depleted batteries.

The outside areas were as neat and tidy as any of the inside areas. Everything smelled fresh, was clean and were well kept. I was impressed and spoke to a couple staying there. They were equally impressed by what they had found. It turns out they were traveling on a whim and booking into places without reservations. So far, Skulpieskraal had impressed them best for cleanliness and comfort!

The ablution area was in keeping with the shabby chic finishes of the rest of the camp, but again everything was spotlessly clean and well kept. The staff were friendly, polite and eager to assist, even though I pitched up unannounced. I could hardly have hoped for a better reception at a glitzy Johannesburg hotel.

It was obvious that the needs of guests were a priority and all efforts had been made to make their stay as comfortable as possible, without distracting from the camping experience.

Toilets were spotless.

Urinals were spotless and completely lacking in distasteful smells.

The outside braai area was immaculate.

The kitchen area was well equipped and very neat and clean.

Fridge/freezer, microwave and kettle were all provided. Tablecloths were clean and all work surfaces were free of dust or grime, despite it being windy outside.

I then turned my attention to the restaurant on the premises, called the Rooi Spinnekop. I had been here with friends the previous Friday and was pleasantly impressed with the quality (and quantity!) of the food. They were happy to accommodate our special requests and even had a selection of wines for us to choose from. This may seem obvious for a restaurant to have, but you have to consider the location of the restaurant here. There are very few feet passing through the remote restaurants of Namaqualand. This is why booking is essential, especially if you are going to arrive with a slightly larger group. The people will bend over backwards to make your stay a pleasant one, but you need to give them a heads-up. When you do, you will get to taste the best of what Namaqualand has to offer. They will prepare those meals that take hours to get to perfection, they will source those foods you so dearly wish to taste, and they will bake you that homemade bread with its sourdough starter that takes 3-4 hours to rise, before baking for another hour. But they aren't going to do any of this if they don't know that you are coming. Food only stay fresh for so long and no longer, especially sea food. Staff are only on hand when they are needed. Cooks and servers are not booked for the night if only a handful of locals can be expected to drop by. Give them a call and book your space. It is not like the big cities where they expect to be full - it is like the remote towns, where they expect nobody, but will do everything they can for anybody and everybody. You can book your place at the Rooi Spinnekop with Annemarie at (+27) 079 695 2120 or (+27) 027 692 3966.

The decor of the Rooi Spinnekop is reminiscent of days gone by.

I love the serving station for buffets in the shape of a sailboat.

The tables remind me the polished decks of yachts.

The decor is true to the area of Namaqualand.

On warmer days, you may prefer to sit outside.

It is obvious that the decor was inspired by someone who loved the fishing village of Hondeklip.

As is the case everywhere in Hondeklipbaai, dogs are always welcome.

Lilies from a local supplier - this surprised me in this arid setting.

More inventive and quirky decor inside the restaurant makes the visit an interesting one.

If you wish to find the Rooi Spinnekop or Skulpieskraal, turn left (or right depending on where you come from!) at the Meerkathuis and drive on for roughly 100 m. It will be on your right.

Speaking of the Meerkathuis, this is an important place to take note of as well. Here you will find Loftus, who does fishing charters for guests and tourists. He will also simply take you out on the boat if you'd like to experience deep sea boating, or he will take you whale and dolphin watching. Be sure to give him a call on (+27) 083 653 1653. You can also call ahead and oder a cake or other baked goods from his wife, Rina, for any special events you may plan on celebrating in Hondeklip. Rina can be contacted on (+27) 072 493 0757.

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
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