A giant, brightly coloured centipede crawls along the N3 motorway from Johannesburg to Durban.
An orange army is on the move, hundreds of Dutch supporters in a procession led by a bright orange double-decker bus. Cars, minibuses, 4x4s, campervans, tour buses follow . . . almost every conceivable vehicle and all painted orange or decorated with orange flags, vuvuzelas, posters and stickers.
Why the near-fanatical dedication? “We’re a small country with a population of 16 million and there’s just one thing we’re good at and that’s soccer,” Basjan Remijn (30), a sales manager from Zeeland, jokes. “No, it’s actually because the Dutch know how to party,” motorbike mechanic Bartlomeus Hoogendijk adds with a laugh.
Oranjecamping, as the touring party supporting their national team is known, is a Dutch tradition, says Wieke de Vries, a Hollander who lives in South Africa.
It’s their fourth Oranjecamping and the best moment so far was when cheering people lined the road as the orange procession left Pretoria, Bartlomeus says.
And of course we had to ask: what do they think of South Africa? “I thought your roads and public transport would be 10 years behind but you’re only five years behind,” says Frans van Gorkum, a security guard in the public transport sector.
“South Africa is empty,” Jan van Oers declares.
Empty? Yes, Holland is small but full, he says, but here there’s plenty of space. Then he waxes lyrical about the Drakensberg.
As the Oranjecamping motto says, de mooiste voetbalreis van je leven (the most beautiful football journey of your life).
Read the full article in the YOU of 1 July 2010