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 Post subject: To drop or not to drop
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:57 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:57 am
Posts: 270
Location: Mpumalanga Escarpment
Hi all
We have been advised to drop the caravan's pop-top when we go out on a drive. We have'nt done this for some time (just zipped up the canvas under the top) and no problems so far. I'll be caravaning solo at Lower Sabie for 3 weeks and was wondering if I should drop the top when I go out. The top is heavy and on my own I might struggle to get it back up again. But I know LS has baboons in the camp and don't want any nasty surprises when I get back from a drive.

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 Post subject: Re: To drop or not to drop
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 11:54 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:13 am
Posts: 199
Location: Paradise....
It is always safer to drop the top espesially if you're planning to be out for the greater part of the day. The baboons gets smarter everyday! :P If you're going in season (or during the holidays) and short drives there should be many other people around and they will be chasing the baboons.

Remember if you look out for your 'neighbour' they will be looking out for you! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: caravans...
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:02 pm
Posts: 204
Location: Alberton
Hi all,

we have been camping for all our lives, but decided we want to upgrade from tents to a caravan..
With all you caravaners out there I hope you can help..

Should we buy a second hand caravan to see if we like it, or should we go ahead and buy a brand new one?
Which is beter, gypsey or jurgens, etc...

Please help :pray:

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Missing Kruger.......

18 April - Skukuza
19 April - Lower Sabie
20 April - Croc Bridge


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 Post subject: Re: caravans...
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:25 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:21 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Cape Town
I'd definitely get a second hand one. New caravans cost the price of a small house, and the resale value is rubbish. So if you go the new route, don't like it, you'll take a hammering.

Something important to look for is any sign of water damage. Any such signs, walk away. You can end up spending R20k on repairs to a van not worth much more. Also, once you've found a nice one, and bought it, it will pay you to take it to a specialist caravan service agents (not sure where you are, so can't recommend one) and have a full service done. This will cost you a bit over R1000, but rather that than get halfway somewhere and discover that your entire braking system doesn't work.

What kind of price range were you thinking of buying in (if I may ask)?

As for which make, there isn't a whole lot of difference. So whatever's available is good.


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 Post subject: Re: caravans...
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:40 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 7:05 am
Posts: 7394
Location: ..on the road again.....
I agree with Orange. I bought a second hand one (only cost me just over R20,000) and am very happy with it - in fact lived in almost 3 years now! I did take it for service after buying it, and had the wheel bearings replaced, but have not needed anything more done to it.

A good idea would be to go to caravan dealerships and look at the caravans they have - both new and old. That will help you to see what sort of layout you feel comfortable with eg side bed or island bed, inside or outside cooking facilities. Also check whether you get a rally tent (just an outside covering) or full tent (with sides and front to zip on if you want it) - the full tent is much more versatile as you can use it as rally or tent.

And of course check that your car is suitable to tow the caravan you want to buy!

Enjoy it!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: caravans...
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 259
Location: Germiston, Gauteng
Hi :hello: - we've been caravanning/camping since early 1970 and love it :D

Agree with the advice that you should go for previously used :thumbs_up: - if you buy from a reputable dealer you should get one that's in good condition. As to which is best - it depends on what layout you prefer - fixed double bed or dinette that can be made up into a bed - do you small kiddies that would need to sleep near or older ones that can sleep in seperate tents next to the van? :hmz: As you have been camping you would probably want to continue your "outside" cooking so it doesn't make sense to pay for a van that's got a stove and sink inside - there are models which cater for outside cooking. Do you want to just travel tar roads or the rougher roads? :?:

A very important thing to take into consideration when buying a 'van is what vehicle are you going to tow it with :?: :hmz: - that will determine what size van you should consider.


A reputable dealer should be able to help you and you should get one that's in good condition from them.
Also helps to read the Caravan and Outdoor life mag - the "Wegsleep" is great if you can read Afrikaans - these have websites wehre you can ask all kinds of questions about caravans


Hope you find what suits you and that you will have many happy caravanning trips :thumbs_up: :D :D

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 Post subject: Re: caravans...
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:37 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:21 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Cape Town
On the topic of tow vehicles, don't just look at the power output of the towcar. That's important, but weight is even more so. There's a bunch of legalities that you need to be aware of (Caravan and Outdoor life give them), but I've also found that although my rig is legal (wrt weights), and the car is powerful enough, it would be ideal if my car was 100kg heavier. Simply because the heavier the car in relation to the van the more stable the rig will be.

Also, get a stabiliser. I use a Tando, but the yellow-blades are also reputed to be pretty good. I've towed with and without using it (over short distances) and there is no comparison. Especially if the wind is blowing. Wind plus unstabilised van equals very slow progress and white knuckles (or smelly knickers...).

As others have said, there's no-one better able to comment on what you want to do than your local reputable caravan and camping shop (generally, if it's got a Campworld attached, it's pretty decent - but the best reputations in the Country belong to Kennis Caravans in Roodepoort/Krugersdorp, Loftus Caravans in Pretoria and Tygerberg Caravans in Cape Town).


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 Post subject: Re: caravans...
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:58 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 4:49 pm
Posts: 727
Location: Busy planning my next trip
Orange wrote:
On the topic of tow vehicles, don't just look at the power output of the towcar. That's important, but weight is even more so. There's a bunch of legalities that you need to be aware of (Caravan and Outdoor life give them), but I've also found that although my rig is legal (wrt weights), and the car is powerful enough, it would be ideal if my car was 100kg heavier. Simply because the heavier the car in relation to the van the more stable the rig will be.

Also, get a stabiliser. I use a Tando, but the yellow-blades are also reputed to be pretty good. I've towed with and without using it (over short distances) and there is no comparison. Especially if the wind is blowing. Wind plus unstabilised van equals very slow progress and white knuckles (or smelly knickers...).

As others have said, there's no-one better able to comment on what you want to do than your local reputable caravan and camping shop (generally, if it's got a Campworld attached, it's pretty decent - but the best reputations in the Country belong to Kennis Caravans in Roodepoort/Krugersdorp, Loftus Caravans in Pretoria and Tygerberg Caravans in Cape Town).


In terms of the law, the gross (fully laden) mass of the caravan (with its own braking system) may not exceed the net (unladen) weight of the tow car, (whether the van is loaded to the max or not). Aditionally, the gross mass of a trailer (up to 750kg and without its own braking system) may not be more than half of the unladen mass of the tow vehicle, even if the trailer is empty. The gross mass of the van or trailer will be that as stipulated on the chassis plate.

As Orange has said, it is better that the tow car's unladen mass is fairly heavier that the van's gross mass as this will benefit you in terms of towing stability especially in cross winds, over taking trucks etc.

As also said above the best bet is to buy from a reputable dealer. They will make sure that everything is in good working order, esp brakes/electrics/gas lines etc.
Good luck in your search.


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 Post subject: Re: caravans...
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:02 pm
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Location: Alberton
Thank you all for very interessting replies!!
To answer your question about how much we wanted to pay... well we dont know!
I really dont know what a good price is for a second hand caravan... i have been checking out a few websites of dealers but they still seem a bit expesive.. does any one of you know what a decent price will be for a second hand caravan?
We dont have any kiddies yet, but we are planning on having kiddies in the near future... so probably dont need a big van now...

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Missing Kruger.......

18 April - Skukuza
19 April - Lower Sabie
20 April - Croc Bridge


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 Post subject: Re: caravans...
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:33 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:21 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Cape Town
We have a Sprite Swift (1991 model), and if you can find one of those in good nick it'll be dead up your alley. You can generally pick up a later model van (of different makes) for around R35000, and it'll be dead right for what you need. We've got two small kids (18 months and 3 and a bit) and the Swift is dead right. The kids at that age can share the one "double" bed, and once they get much bigger (kind near to 10) they can sleep in a tent outside (the kids love this it seems).

So all round I'd say have a look for a good mid to late 90's model 4 berth van. You're likely to be looking in around the R50k mark, although you can find some for less. Again, Caravan and Outdoor life have a classifieds section, and that's not a bad place to start.

Just one piece of advice. Find yourself a nice foam mattress for the bed if you do get one that folds up into chairs (like in the Swift). Do NOT be tempted to go with a spring mattress. It makes accessing the cupboards underneath near impossible, and they don't come in the right sizes anyway. I traditionally sleep in a hole down the side of the mattress, and swear profusely at the thing when trying to get anything out of the cupboards (modification pending)!


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