Camping in Africa:
our accommodations and set-up

Please see the main page of my African camping/safari adventure for some background on this trip.

The four of us (David, me, my wife, and her dad, Pascal) traveled almost every day of the trip — we rarely camped in the same place twice. David drove us around in his SUV, which was towing the Cheetah camper. At night, my wife and I slept in the Cheetah (although it can hold up to four people), Pascal slept on a rooftop tent that opens up on top of the SUV, and David slept in a tent on the ground. My wife and I slept amazingly well in the Cheetah; the beds are very comfortable.

The Cheetah; our home for the duration of the trip

Food and drink

We had two small fridges, one in the SUV and one in the Cheetah. We stocked up on fresh food every couple days at big supermarkets along the highway. We grilled meat and/or fish almost every night on our campfire, and we boiled water every morning for coffee and tea. We kept the fridges stocked with lots of beer and wine, and we filled our water bottles every day from big 20-liter jugs we'd buy in town. The pantry in the Cheetah was stocked with tons of bread, fruit, cookies, rice, pasta, etc. So we were kind of roughing it but not like super roughing it, you know?

Electricity and running water

Our campsites had electrical sockets we could plug into at all but one campground (Khama Rhino Sanctuary), and David's set-up included tons of bright lights to light up our campsite at night.

There were restrooms and shower buildings at all but one of our campsites (Kubu Island). One of our campsites — Senyati — had a private bathroom in our campsite, and a private open-air kitchen and dining area. Most of the campsites had an open-air sink area for washing dishes. All of the campgrounds that had water had hot water; it might sound obvious but this is something you can't always be certain of.

Our lovely kitchen at Ngepi camp, Namibia.

Laundry and other conveniences

Several of the campgrounds we visited offered laundry services; you drop off your stuff in the evening and pick it up the next day. Some of the campground offices had wifi, but I tried not to use it if I could resist the temptation. A few of the campgrounds had a restaurant and bar, while others were very bare-bones, with just the campsites and nothing else. Most of the campgrounds had security people walking around at night with flashlights, and they usually came to greet us early in the evening so we wouldn't be alarmed when we saw them later. All of the people who greeted us at all of these places were wonderfully polite and friendly, sometimes very warm and sometimes a little bit shy.

Most of our campsites had water that was either pumped from a well or a nearby river, so you can't drink the water without boiling it. I was careful throughout the trip to not swallow any water when brushing my teeth, and I only drank bottled drinks. I'm happy to report I didn't get the least bit sick throughout the trip.

Wildlife everywhere

Many of the campground we visited are full of — and/or surrounded by — wild animals! This can be intimidating at first, but you quickly get used to it and it turns out to be a wonderful experience. Throughout the night and in the early mornings we could hear all kinds of animals, depending on where we were. At a campground called Senyati we heard elephants fighting and trumpeting at each other in the middle of the night, we heard hyenas howling, and we heard a lion doing a very intense repeated low-roar a few times as well! In a few other places we camped near rivers, where we heard hippos grunting and snorting throughout the night, which was very charming. And the sounds of hundreds of types of birds was a constant no matter where we were. The sounds of nature during our whole trip is something I hope I can hold onto forever.

Elephant in Chobe National Park.

Surprisingly, we didn't have many mosquitos at most of our campsites, and this is probably because we were visiting in Autumn. A few places had more mosquitos than others, and we used bug spray on ourselves and in the Cheetah as needed. A few of the camps had signs warning about scorpions, but they mentioned that the season for scorpions ends around the end of March, and we were traveling in April. Still, we carefully checked our bedding every night just in case!

Impala in Chobe National Park.

Next: A summary of our trip: week 1 — our day-by-day schedule, where we camped, where we went on safari, etc.

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