When people ask why we like to camp so much, I am sometimes stumped for an answer! The biggest objection to camping usually is that one has to share a communal bathroom, and ablution blocks can be grim. But think how little time is actually spent in the bathroom, compared to time spent at your campsite, or doing adventurous things in the outdoors, and it’s worth the sacrifice!
Of course, the main advantage of camping is the cost – it is way cheaper than accommodation, even self-catering, and there’s just no comparison when one thinks of the cost of hotels. For me though, there are other advantages to camping. We have a small easy-to-tow caravan, which serves as bedroom, packing space and a sitting/dining area. It has a large tent, which is easy to set up, and this doubles our living space and gives us a dry sheltered area.
This is our holiday home, and we get to park it in a different place each time we go camping! It’s always equipped with our own bed, and linen, and kitchen equipment, but the location changes all the time – sometimes it’s a camp (or two) in the Kruger Park, where hyenas patrol the camp fence, eyeing out your dinner through the mesh. Then it may be a few days at Mahai, in the crisp mountain air of the Drakensberg, or perched on a dune overlooking the Indian Ocean, watching thunderstorms out at sea, or dolphins vaulting out of the waves. Next it may be on the banks of the Umkomaas River, under a fig tree large enough to park four caravans, with room to spare, or in the dune forests of Northern Kwazulunatal, with a bushbaby climbing down the tent poles to fetch some grapes you have dropped! The options are endless…….South Africa is perfect for camping.
I find when we do stay in accommodation, that I spend longer packing everything into bags and boxes, than I spend packing into my caravan’s cupboards. Then when we arrive at the accommodation, one has to unpack, and then pack up again to go home, and unpack at home! With the caravan, I pack in before we leave, and unpack when I get home. Much easier, I think. I also avoid the cleaning that one sometimes has to do when staying in accommodation that is less than well cared for……
With a caravan, I also get to sleep in my own bed….without thinking about how many people have slept on the pillow and under the duvet I will be using that night…fussy, I know, but that’s me. I also never have to deal with a lingering cigarette smell – an anathema to any non-smoker!
So that’s some of my reasons for loving camping. But there’s more to it than that – there’s the pleasure of being able to be comfortable in remote areas, the satisfaction of living well without any modern appliances, or even electricity. The pleasure of sitting quietly outside your caravan as buck or birds or other creatures wander nearby, gives a quiet kind of joy. What do you think?
For a good camping guide and list of camp-sites, please check out this web-site: Caravan and Outdoor Life Magazine