Mundane Urban Tourism: The Historical Evolution of Caravan Parks in South Africa 1930–1994

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Caravanning and the development of caravan parks is one of the most under-researched themes in tourism studies in general and urban tourism scholarship in particular. Existing international literature is dominated by demand-side investigations with supply-side issues little examined. Using a chronological approach the objective is to analyse the historical evolution of caravan parks in South Africa from the 1930s to the period of democratic transition in 1994. The location of the majority of caravan parks is shown as in urban areas of South Africa with a notable share in the country’s small towns. Caravanning was a vital component in the historical growth of coastal tourism in South Africa. The analysis discloses across the sixty-year study period caravanning and caravan parks experienced several changes. In common with the experience of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom the role of municipal governments was significant in the early supply-side establishment of caravan parks in South Africa. Private sector entrepreneurship, however, grew and eventually surpassed the role of local governments in the development and operation of caravan parks. Arguably, the growing dominance of the private sector was taking place at a time when caravanning itself was in transition away from simply a low budget form of domestic travel. In comparative international perspective the shifts observed in South Africa exhibit certain parallels with those structural changes which occurred in the caravan sectors of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeoJournal Library
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameGeoJournal Library
ISSN (Print)0924-5499
ISSN (Electronic)2215-0072


  • Apartheid
  • Caravan parks
  • Caravanning
  • Historical urban tourism
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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