In 2022 the Caravan Club of Southern Africa Celebrated it’s 75th year of existence since the beginning of social caravanning in Southern Africa. Considering that, apart from the club’s Secretariate, every member offers his services voluntarily; it is incredible what this vibrant club has achieved in caravanning in 75 years.
When this club was born there were no caravan manufacturers in this country, nor were there any caravan parks as such, merely a handful of derelict camping sites. Caravans were either home built, imported or acquired from the few pre-war South African Eccles models built by a factory in Standerton in which Eddie Andries, the grandfather and father of caravanning in this country, was involved.
The first committee meeting of the CCSA was held in Johannesburg in 1948. At the meeting were Hector Anderson, Syd Lipshitz, Eddie Andries, Mrs Lloyd, Mrs Drury, Eric & Ivy Hoffman and Theo & Joan Day.
For the first rally the club persuaded the owners of Gillooly’s Farm, just outside Johannesburg, to allow this historical event to be held there. It was this happy get together that kindled the flame of the campfire which has burned for the past 75 years and around which everlasting friendships have started, and an exciting new outdoor lifestyle introduced to our country.
Among those nine caravaners who formed the first committee were two people who possessed exceptional leadership qualities. Backed by the remaining seven dedicated caravaners they were responsible for fashioning and developing caravanning in all its facets along sound lines. We pay tribute to the late Eric Hoffmann, who became the club’s first president, and Eddie Andries who pioneered South Africa’s caravan industry. Eddie at the age of 90 was still a Caravaner.
It was Eric Hoffmann who from the start set a high standard of membership for the club. His distinguished personality and complete knowledge of the caravan movement and its potential in tourism development, gained for him considerable respect in official quarters and international caravanning circles. He contributed more than anyone else to the CCSA’s success and two important awards are named after him, the Eric Hoffmann award and the Eric Hoffmann Caravaner of the Year trophy.
Eddie Andries concentrated his efforts on building a solid foundation on which the manufacture of caravans in South Africa could build a future. Having been involved in the manufacture of caravans before WWII he started to design and build his own make of caravan and the sturdy Andre caravan was introduced. These were largely supplied to the Department of Post & Telegraphs for erection crews out in the fields. When Africaravans was formed and started to manufacture the famous Gypsey caravan series Eddie threw his lot in with the new company. He pioneered Viking Tours which gave caravaners the opportunity to enjoy packaged tours of Europe. He also started and edited the first caravan magazine in South Africa, the Caravanews, and took a keen interest in caravan park development.
In the takeover of Africaravans with the formation of CI Caravans Eddie became a Gypsey caravan dealer. Later, when the South African Caravan & Camping Council was formed, there was no better person than Eddie to become its secretary under its president Colin Corbett, another prominent pioneer in the caravan industry. When Eddie retired from this position, he had built the Council up to be highly respected both in Government and international circles and in a very sound financial state.
The most coveted award in the caravan movement in the RSA is the Eddie Andries Trophy, originally presented to Eddie for his tremendous contribution to Camperism. Eddie converted it to a floating trophy to inspire others in this field.
Fortunately, Eric Hoffmann & Eddie Andries both respected the part being played by caravan park operators in building up an important section of Southern Africa’s valuable tourist industry. The CCSA, from its early days, fostered liaison with international clubs and encouraged caravan tours of Southern Africa. These have become most entertaining thanks to the co-operation of the club’s 32 Regions. It is because of these tours that our caravan parks have a reputation of being above average by world class. Also, that South Africa is rated as a caravaners paradise due to its many scenic spots best viewed by caravanning its road network, our well-furnished caravan parks, and the co-operation of the Caravan Club and the friendliness of the people in general. Because of the growth of the CCSA and the dedication to caravanning of its members the caravan parks and resorts enjoy good support. Its 32 Regions hold regular monthly national and regional rallies which mean that some 550 weekends a year are spent by the club at caravan parks. To this number must be added the school holiday periods and the caravan tours organised by the Regions through the Club’s Touring Committee.
What of the Club’s future? The courage, the determination to succeed and the integrity are all evident in the members who make up the National Council under the leadership of its president, Anton Pretorius its Vice president Machiel Myburgh. These members are voted into their offices at a National Convention which is held annually, and are chosen for their ability, dedication and for their love of the game.
Over the years National Council was downsized from 14 National Councillors to an Executive Committee of 3 National Councillors a President and Vice-President. Provincial Councils were established to run the affairs of the 7 Provinces (or Areas) as defined by the National Convention and they were mandated to carry out the tasks as decided by Convention. These Provincial Councils then manages those Regions in their areas on a much smaller and easier scale.