Overland camping safety

Immerse yourself in the rich, cultural tapestry that makes this continent so vibrant and colourful. Experience the natural highlights and get face to face with the real Africa.

Moderators: sinecure, TravelFun, ballu, jimshu, JaliscoJudy

Overland camping safety

Postby em_g008 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:26 pm

I'm sure this question has probably been asked before, and I did do a quick search through old posts but I need to ask it anyway.

How safe is camping in Africa? We're planning on doing the Cape Town to Zanzibar route in May and I'm super excited to go but terrified at the thought of a hungry lion (or an entire pride :shock: ) outside my tent at night. Or a hyena or hippo, etc. I know they supposedly see the tents as blobs or rocks, but I still feel really nervous. Do any of the campsites have armed rangers or fences for safety? Also, what about bandits- is there any concern for that?

I'm worried I'm going to lie awake in fear all night or be the crazy person begging to sleep in the truck.

Can anyone put my mind at rest so I can finally book my trip? :)
Image
em_g008
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:32 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:38 pm

The campsites are largely well enough away from dangerous wildlife that you don't have to worry about it. You're ending your trip at Zanzibar so will miss Serengeti where we heard lions mating at night (so cool!) but were told to be careful to check all around if using the restroom at night and Ngorongoro where we had an armed ranger near the campsite.

The animals by and large don't want to deal with anything as noisy or smelly as humans although South Luangwa NP in Zambia was AMAZING because we had hippos and elephants come through the campsite at both day and night (and yes, there were rangers flanking them and making sure campers stayed in their tents or went up to the treehouse). We were also told to stay clear of the river as there were crocs.

Honestly, you're in more danger from your fellow humans than the animals -- and that's true around the world.
Not all those who wander are lost. -- J.R.R. Tolkien
Image
User avatar
ExplorerWannaBe
User Rank: Road Warrior
User Rank: Road Warrior
 
Posts: 1128
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 4:13 pm
Location: Colorado, USA

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby jessiainscough » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:37 pm

I did the Cape Town to Livingstone portion of your trip, and we had no problems. There might be the odd jackal/monkey, but with those you just have to make sure you have no food in your tents etc. In the Okavango Delta we had a hippo wander through our campsite one night (I didn't wake up, but apparently it brushed against someone's tent!), but I think the general rule is that animals won't bother you, so long as you don't bother them!
jessiainscough
User Rank: Traveller
User Rank: Traveller
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:18 pm

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby sarahm8 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:42 pm

Hi em,
How safe is camping anywhere? I have camped once for 2 nights only in the UK where I live, and our tents got burgled both nights! So there are bandits everywhere..
I am gonna be camping in Africa in July - and have decided (with thanks to markmol's feedback) that I am also going to budget for upgrading my accom to a cabin for the trip, so that if i just like you have described also lie awake in fear all night - then I am going to upgrade. However I think we have to give it a go. If it was in anyway unsafe they wouldnt let us do it - if tourists kept getting eaten then tourism tends to go pete tong and im pretty sure tourism is pretty important in Africa and they will do everything they can to keep in growing...plus im sure after the long days travelling and the early starts it will take a full on migration through the camp to stop me from sleeping once i get to lay my head down haha and camping in Africa - I think its something that just has to be done - that's why it's an adventure....book it haha im sure you wont regret it :D
Happy travels....
Image
sarahm8
User Rank: Weekender
User Rank: Weekender
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby lesliew » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:43 pm

I did the camping safari in Tanzania and felt completely safe the entire time. I would hear hyenas and warthogs in the camp at night, but I still felt safe in my tent. We also had zebras walk through the camp at Ngorongoro Crater, and in the Serengeti we woke up one morning to find a herd of buffalo surrounding the camp. Despite all of these things, I still felt totally safe and actually slept like a baby in my tent. There were lots of other campers (not just our group), and our tents were close enough together that I knew if I screamed, someone would hear me. ;) But seriously, when you are actually there you realize it's not as scary as it sounds.
Image

Image
lesliew
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:02 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby kateyb » Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:37 pm

I did the Cape Town to Livingstone section and I felt perfectly safe. You can hear the animals outside your tent, but that makes the whole experience that much more special. I never worried about other humans. They wouldn't be running these tours if they were dangerous.
kateyb
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:09 am

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby em_g008 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:21 pm

sarahm8 wrote:I am gonna be camping in Africa in July - and have decided (with thanks to markmol's feedback) that I am also going to budget for upgrading my accom to a cabin for the trip, so that if i just like you have described also lie awake in fear all night - then I am going to upgrade.


I didn't know it was possible to upgrade to a cabin...is this a possibility at most campgrounds (obviously not in the bush)? Does anyone know how much it costs? It would definitely be nice to have this option as a backup.

I think we are definitely going to book the trip and plan to camp...I'm sure I will get over my fear after a few nights. The experience really sounds amazing.
Image
em_g008
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:32 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby markmol » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:54 am

hi
I did the east africa overland trip [duea] not all camps have upgrades, 2 in Uganda, Lake Bunyonyi & Jinja & at Eldoret in Kenya did.it might be best to find out which camps you go to & see if they a website.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
User avatar
markmol
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:43 am

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby AdamfromCanada » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:25 pm

em_g008 wrote:I'm sure this question has probably been asked before, and I did do a quick search through old posts but I need to ask it anyway.

How safe is camping in Africa? We're planning on doing the Cape Town to Zanzibar route in May and I'm super excited to go but terrified at the thought of a hungry lion (or an entire pride :shock: ) outside my tent at night. Or a hyena or hippo, etc. I know they supposedly see the tents as blobs or rocks, but I still feel really nervous. Do any of the campsites have armed rangers or fences for safety? Also, what about bandits- is there any concern for that?

I'm worried I'm going to lie awake in fear all night or be the crazy person begging to sleep in the truck.

Can anyone put my mind at rest so I can finally book my trip? :)


When camping in National Parks in Africa, you are in the wild and so have to act accordingly, just as you would if hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Don't take food in your tent and there's unlikely to be any issues (and honestly, your biggest issues if you take food in your tent are likely to be things like ants, but those can be worse than some of the larger animals.

Sleeping under canvas in Africa is a pretty awesome experience, because you can hear the wilderness around you. My first time in Africa, sleeping in tents in the Serengeti, we could hear lions roaring at night. In Ngorongoro, we had a bull buffalo, a bull elephant, zebras and a hyena all go through the campsite...before we went to bed!

You do have to be careful, remember always that even the animals peacefully grazing in the campsite are wild and could be very dangerous (amazing how many people had to be told that about the old bull buffalo in Ngorongoro), and you'll be fine.
Feel free to check out my travels on http://www.adammallonphotography.com
AdamfromCanada
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 271
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:05 pm
Location: Edmonton, Canada

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby kateyb » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:31 pm

There were a few cabin upgrades on the Cape Town to Victoria Falls section. We upgraded at Victoria Falls, Maun and at a camp ground I believe was called Planet Baobab. None of the place cost more than 20 dollars/night for my share. The Planet Baobab cabin was really nice. At the Victoria Falls campground you could upgrade to a cabin or a tent that had electricity, cot and was on a cement pad. I would have been happy with the upgraded tent, but my friend was pretty persistent on getting the cabin. The cabin was really nice and was right on the riverfront though, and was reasonably priced. Again, I can't remember the price, but it wasn't that much. There were a couple of people who got together and shared a place to save some money. Most people upgraded here as the camping area was infested with ants.
kateyb
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:09 am

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:04 pm

The upgrades aren't always available -- it depends on the campsite's occupancy at the time. Our time through Vic Falls, we were able to upgrade to the preset tents for one night then had to move back to the G Adventures tents. Moving constantly is a bit of a pain.

We were also able to get upgrades at Lake Malawi, Dar es Salaam and Iringa. The cabins in Iringa were fabulous -- incredibly comfortable mattresses and fine sheets, probably the most comfortable sleep I had all trip (and best for everyone else since the walls of the cabin muffled my snoring).

Bottom line: don't worry about it. The CEOs (at least for the Africa overlands) are very knowledgeable about their environs and very vigilant. Customers that get hurt or killed are bad for business. ;)
Not all those who wander are lost. -- J.R.R. Tolkien
Image
User avatar
ExplorerWannaBe
User Rank: Road Warrior
User Rank: Road Warrior
 
Posts: 1128
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 4:13 pm
Location: Colorado, USA

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby schafer10 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:23 pm

Just did the Ultimate Africa- had a blast.

100% safe. The camps are all secure. Some nights you may hear quite a few animals, but that experience is once in a lifetime.

I barely upgraded and never really felt the need too. The tents were waterproof and the mattresses were fantastic.

Book the trip and enjoy.
schafer10
User Rank: Traveller
User Rank: Traveller
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:38 am

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby AdamfromCanada » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:17 pm

schafer10 wrote:Just did the Ultimate Africa- had a blast.

100% safe. The camps are all secure. Some nights you may hear quite a few animals, but that experience is once in a lifetime.

I barely upgraded and never really felt the need too. The tents were waterproof and the mattresses were fantastic.

Book the trip and enjoy.


Well, I don't know about 100% safe...when you have elephants, buffalo, hyenas, lions, etc. that wander in to campsites (and in some, such as in Serengeti, there's no guards or guns or anything), there's always an element of danger. In one campsite I stayed at in Etosha NP in Namibia, our guide warned us that there were honey badgers that were common nighttime visitors to the camp. He told us that even if they were stealing things (we'd had jackals the night before who'd set on some neglected dishes until chased off by one of my tour mates) we should avoid approaching them at all.

You are in the wild, and there are plenty of dangerous animals around. That's not to say you should be afraid, because the chance of an incident is very low, but you have to be cautious all the same and cognizant to the fact that the dangers do exist.

Do that, and you'll be fine. Most likely, anyhow.
Feel free to check out my travels on http://www.adammallonphotography.com
AdamfromCanada
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 271
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:05 pm
Location: Edmonton, Canada

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby georginal » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:36 pm

Had a hippo in the campground on our Okavango Delta site and also elephants in the campground on the site in the Serengeti - don't let it scare you. Remember there will be about 20 of you (thats just your group) there and you'll be twinned up with someone as well. DON'T WORRY! Its all part of the experience AND the adventure - thats why we go, isn't it!!!

and if it happens you'll have a story to tell the folks at home to!
georginal
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 259
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:26 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Overland camping safety

Postby collywobbles » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:05 pm

we had a heard of elephants tramp near our camp site in the delta dont think they were to happy to see us on their patch . other than that some monkeys raiding tents only beacuse the tents were open and robbed biscuits in livingstone all in all pretty safe all round i would do it again

:)
collywobbles
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 300
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:04 pm
Location: ireland


Return to Africa and Middle East

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ExplorerWannaBe and 1 guest