Stranded at the drive in, branded such a fool….

…what will they say, Monday at school?!  Saaandy, baaaby, I’m i….right, must stop that, but I absolutely cannot think of a drive in without thinking of Grease!

I don’t usually blog about something that another Jozi blogger has recently published.  The thing is, the Velskoen Drive In Cinema needs to be written about as it is closing down shortly, and I urge you guys to try it out before it does! Finding Jozi recently wrote an excellent post with a great history and detail about the place, so I won’t repeat all the details that I would have been stealing from him anyway

My first trip to the drive in was on Saturday last week, and less than a week later I was back again!  I just loved the experience – I do love a gimmick you see.  You drive into this huge car lot, park up in front of the screen, visit the snacks and drinks cafeteria and miss the start of the film as you count out your 2 Rand parking change as the card machine is down.  What’s not to love about that?  Anywhere that sells cherry Slush Puppies has my vote

before the food rush in the cafeteria

You tune into the sound via your car stereo.  On our first visit I felt really bad for the car next to us as this guy had his kids with him and couldn’t receive the channel on his stereo.  Ingeniously, his son tuned into the radio station using his cell phone and they listened to it that way sitting outside of the car whilst another little boy slept in the back seat

Everyone around us seemed to have their own style – some sat in their front seats and just watched through the windscreen, some sat in camping chairs with their boot open and watched from there, and some of us put the back seat down and sat in the trunk of our car with duvets and pillows! Some were even braaing on little portable bbq’s!

I was a bit disappointed that there was no one serving me my drinks and hot dog on roller boots.  If there is one thing that I love more than a gimmick, it’s a cliche

the big screen

On the plus side, it costs R75 (£6.35) for the whole car to stay for 2 films!  Bargain!

The first night we watched the very-easy-on-the-eye Ryan Reynolds in Safe House.  It was a good film, and it was filmed in SA!  We didn’t stay for the second film that night as we were not very comfortable – we lent our camping chairs to the guys with no sound as they were sitting on the grass, so we were in the boot and Rob’s a bit tall for that!  Last night we watched Chronicle and we were disappointed – firstly because the film is utter crap, but mostly because there was a huge storm and because of the rain we had to turn the car around and watch the film through our front windscreen.  Not easy when there are 4 of you trying to get an uninterrupted view, but also because we have smash and grab film on our windows so they are tinted.  The screen of the film is dark enough without the added tint from our windows – at some points we couldn’t make out what was happening in the film at all!  The coolest thing about this situation though was that we got to witness a wild electrical storm right next to the screen as we watched the film

That said, I think that everyone should go to the drive in at least once.  It is a fun experience.  I just urge you to check the weather report first, as it is not as fun to sit in the front seat and watch, windscreen wipers going 10 to the dozen.  The whole atmosphere of sitting in the trunk, or on chairs outside is what makes the drive in such a cool experience.  The weather ruined the experience so much that we didn’t actually stay to see the second film, which is the one that we wanted to see!

The drive in closes in June, so get yourself there soon!  The films are on usually at 20.00 and 22.00 every night – check the Ster Kinekor website to see what is showing.  The drive in is just off Malibongwe Drive, where it meets the N1

2Summers and me in the back of the car. Rob's mum at the side


9 thoughts on “Stranded at the drive in, branded such a fool….

  1. Just discovered your blog. London based homesick Joburger here.

    I loved the Velskoen drive in when I was growing up. I am so sad to hear that it is closing! When we were kids you had to clip the crackly radios that were positioned on poles at all the parking spots onto the windows. It was a revelation when you could finally get good reception through your car stereo. I went there a lot when I was a student, pushing the front seats down and sitting in the back with a duvet or with a group of friends in a bakkie parked sideways with a mattress in the back, all of us lined up side by side. Aahh, the memories. Thanks!

    PS. So nice to hear that you are enjoying Joburg. I get so tired of defending my hometown here in London. People honestly thinks it’s a war zone over there!

    • Hi, thanks for visiting! Your student days at the drive in sounds like so much fun! Yes, I’m loving Jozi, and know exactly what you mean about defending the place. It’s nice to know that there are Joburger’s that have left but still love the place – most in London seem to hate it and constantly bad mouth it. Hopefully you will be able to come back soon for a visit!

    • Thanks for coming over and having a read! Yes, it’s very sad that this place is closing down. Hopefully in the not too distant future, one of the cinema providers will realise that there is a huge gap in the market and open a brand new, super duper drive in!

  2. Re: still loving Jozi. My entire family still lives there so I go there relatively often. My husband is English so I tend to go out of my way to find out what’s hip and happening in Joburg to keep him entertained. I think the problem with Joburg is that some SA expats here in Britain haven’t gone back and seen for themselves how much things have improved since the 90’s when things got scary. I also think their Joburg based friends and families haven’t bothered to visit places like the CBD since the 90’s either because they assume it’s still out of bounds. They’re in a rut in the suburbs. Thank goodness for expats like you who are often more adventurous than the locals.

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