Sleeping under the Stars

In Articles, Gallery, Technical, Vehicles by Glyn Demmer4 Comments

I once did a training course and over lunch the topic of camping came up, of of the students was quick to comment that she liked 5 stars as in a luxury hotel and had absolutely no time for a 1000 plus starlit sky- she wanted the luxury and modern convenience!
It’s that simple, you either like camping and the outdoor life or you don’t. Most of us on All Terrain do, that’s why we revisit the site to share our experiences. Camping is simply about unrestricted freedom to be outdoors under an African sky and sharing in the glory our country offers. No rules, set times or hotel style regulations. Obviously there are rules to camping and camping etiquette but they are far less restrictive.
There is nothing to beat the smell of the bush, the sunrise and sunset and the smell of a wood fire. With a decent tent and the right equipment it will always bring unforgettable moments.
I have camped all over Africa, in Namibia we did not even bother to put tents up, we had a laager of vehicles and simply put our stretchers and sleeping bags out. It was a fantastic way to go to sleep and wake up. I have had a share of mishaps though, the best being a quickly purchased tent that I never even took out of the bag. Arriving at the campsite in the Richtersveld after dark produced a few surprises- the tent was indeed for three but was a hiking style tent made in Italy, lightweight and about 900 mm high, this made for some interesting contortions when going to bed and trying to get dressed, add to that the over inflated air mattresses and the first nigh in the new tent was hellish. It is important to know your equipment, test it and buy the best possible value for money. It makes it a lot easier.
As such I have slept in the open, in luxury tents and even in roof top tents- all offering various benefits and the experience of being outdoors.
My most memorable camping experience was perhaps the famous Lebombo Trail in the Kruger National Park, simply being able to sleep in the park is unforgettable, as is the way in which we travelled, stopping around 10h00 each day to prepare brunch with the endless vista and wild animals around. Showering is a problem on these type of trips but fortunately I travel with a portable shower unit that provides a quick hot shower. Always use biodegradable “Earth Friendly” soap and shampoo and avoid any run off into rivers and streams. Learn to pack light in a minimalistic fashion, assess exactly what you will need without sacrificing comfort and wherever possible look for equipment that has multiple uses, my favorite being a “Kershaw Blade Trader”- a single rubber handle with 6 different blades for use around the kitchen. Stainless steel cups are also great for juice, water and even a glass of wine in the evening as you take in the sunset. Then there is the coffee early in the morning as the bush comes to life-what more could one ask for?

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