Camping for beginners
Last year former TV personality Rita van den Heever went on her first camping trip, but it definitely won’t be her last.
Who said it? Noel Coward? Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. As we are not English, I can only surmise we fall in the mad dog category, because out in the midday sun we certainly did go. On a spur-of-the-moment decision to go camping for a week in December. Our destination? Tsendze in the northern Kruger National Park.
We did one sensible thing and asked friends who are ace campers for advice. They set aside a whole Saturday and took us to all the camping stores. They also provided a valuable list of what is needed.
First up was a tent. Never be fooled by tent sizing! I can state from first-hand experience that a four-man tent is about the right size for one person. We kept our heads and acquired two four-man tents, one for each of us. Perfect. Then it was on to sleeping matters, as I flatly refuse to sleep uncomfortably. The answer was a lovely air mattress for me and a roll-up foam number for hubby André.
At home we carefully worked through the list of necessities, packing small items into bins, ticking off as we went along. We did another clever thing and pitched a tent in a trial run at home, so as not look total idiots when we set up camp.
The evening before the big adventure, the Landy was packed to the roof and padkos made. At four the following morning we hit the road. By five that afternoon, we had set up camp in what has to be one of the most idyllic places in Kruger, and the fire was lit.
Call it beginner’s luck, but for all the things we didn’t do correctly the outcome was one huge ‘right’! Sure, it was incredibly hot during the days, but the nights were pure magic. The night sounds and sunrise chorus made up for any discomfort.
Tsendze spoilt us for life, as the huge trees and secluded camping spots offer perfect privacy. The very best was the tiny scops owls which Rodgers Mona, the friendly and knowledgeable camp manager, found and pointed out for us daily.
Tsendze means ‘just twisting in the bush, getting lost’. We lost our hearts there in two tents and can’t wait for the next trip.
Large trees offer shade and seclusion at Tsendze campsite in Kruger and a spot for Rita to chill out in her hammock
Must-haves for first-time camping
1) A big trestle table.
2) Decent head torch and citronella oil candles for light.
3) Hammock for lazing in during the heat of the day.
4) Comfortable chairs.
5) Real sheets.
This article was first published in the spring issue of Wild 2012.
Posted on: November 9, 2012, 10:47 AM
Posted on: November 15, 2012, 2:06 PM