Tag Archives: camping

Camping holidays – good or bad?

It seems like in post-Covid times we might be doing our holidays a little bit differently – so they say. Maybe closer to home and in a tent. Now my thought on that is that everyone (well almost everyone) has a camping period in their lives. This usually happens when the kids are small and heading off in a tent somewhere seems to be the easiest option. Mmm not sure whose idea that was. Camping with small kids can be difficult. Add into the mix a good dose of Africa to liven things up and hey – we’ve got a party.

Yes camping in Africa has a whole new element to it to take into account. If you go somewhere remote enough you have to take all your food with you – unless you happen to be on the coast and then you can fish or catch crayfish. You have to remember to take precautions of course – remember to secure your campsite before you leave for the beach. Not because of human intruders but those pesky monkeys. They are so smart they get into anything and can easily rip the lid of any old tupperware. Be warned!

If you happen to be camping in the game reserve then a whole lot more precautions come to mind. Number one for me – go for a pee right before you go to sleep because the simple camping we did was in a two man tent and the toilet was a good walk away. You don’t want to be doing that on your own in the middle of the night. You never know what you will come across or who you might bump into. Oh hello Mr Lion. Actually we should be more afraid of bumping into Mrs Lion as she does all the hunting. And really it would be more dangerous probably to run into a hippo in the night. They are incredibly fast you know. They don’t look it. BBC – Ungainly as it is, the hippopotamus is the world’s deadliest large land mammal, killing an estimated 500 people per year in Africa. Hippos are aggressive creatures, and they have very sharp teeth. And you would not want to get stuck under one; at up to 2,750kg they can crush a human to death.

It also seems that tents are curious things to many animals. We experienced this too. The odd jackal pulling at the guy ropes while his cousins (?) the hyenas have a huge fight next to the camp fire over the left over bones from our dinner. I wonder what the jackal was looking for – or maybe he was just curious. Maybe the hyenas wouldn’t let him join in the fun so he decided to see if the humans would come out to play.

But there are maybe types of tents and many variations of camping – hence the new buzz word – glamping. Now I can definitely handle this without a problem.

Getting away from it all in the middle of the Grumeti Game Reserve Tanzania
OK – I am fine with this type of camping

So I think I can say with some certainty that I have graduated from the 2 man tent to something a little grander. Mind you – at the moment with the amount of cabin fever going on I might just settle for a small tent with basic facilities in the middle of nowhere … well … maybe not!

This is a biting question!

Mosquitoes are strange creatures. It seems that there are different varieties all over the world with very different patterns of behaviour.

Now you would think that they would be worse in hot tropical locations – but that is not my experience.  I grew up in South Africa and of course mosquitoes are very common there.  But .. we were only bothered by them at night.  So all the houses in South Africa had mosquito netting on the windows and every night as the sun starting going down you prepared yourself for the evening.

My Dad used to call it Mozzy Time!  He would go around the house closing windows and making sure those pests couldn’t get inside.  Thing is he was just neurotic about anything that flew or crawled.  The mosquitoes were not a problem at all.  The drill was if you are sitting outside just spray some Peaceful Sleep Peaceful Sleepon your exposed arms and legs and you are done!  We entertained outside on the verandah with no problem at all.

We also did a lot of camping and again the same precautions would come into play.  Even the little ones would play outside well into the night with minimal problems.  Of course there were the odd mozzy bites which were a nuisance but for the most part it was no big deal.  

One camping weekend trip I realized that I had left the tent at home.  No problem – we used the jib from our sailing dinghy and erected a temporary shelter – slept on the grass under the stars.  With the help of the ever handy Peaceful Sleep we had an undisturbed night (except for when a huge monitor lizard scrabbled through the grass next to us on his nocturnal jaunt).

So when we decided to emigrate to Canada I thought well, I can deal with the snow and the cold and at least there won’t be any mosquitoes.

WHAT?  Was I ever wrong.

My goodness me.  Where do these creatures come from?  First of all they are massive compared to our little African fellows.  They are also slow.  Our African chaps zip around so quickly it would be hard to swat one and they are difficult to see in any event.  These Canadian mozzies seem to be in slow motion in comparison. They also have no decent sense of time.  Any self-respecting mosquito would realise that you don’t hang out during the day looking for a blood snack.  Rest up during the day and then come out when the sun goes down.  That’s the procedure.  Didn’t they read the manual?

It makes me chuckle when people talk to me about travelling to exotic locations and very often the first question is “What about bugs”.  Seriously?  Have you ever been out in the Canadian wilderness?  Just google Canadian bugs and you might not go out again.  Along with mosquitoes we have stink bugs, black flies and spiders galore.  I found this interesting article …

Even the web site of the Salisbury Morse Place School states:  “Winnipeg is [incorrectly] known the “Mosquito” capital of Canada.  The mosquito is jokingly considered Manitoba’s provincial bird!!!” In reality the capital designation rightly belong to Komarno, Manitoba, about 70 km north of Winnipeg.  In fact the name Komarno is Ukrainian for mosquito.  There is a 4.6 meter statue of a mosquito, built in 1984 in Komarno.  Apparently the town is now saving up for a big bug zapper.

Statue of Giant Mosquito in Komarno Canada

And how about Deer Flies – heard of them?  “Deer are nice and flies aren’t so bad, but deer flies are nasty — something you already know if you’ve ever been camping in Canada. These knife-jawed bloodsuckers will saw through your skin, drink your blood and leave you nothing but pain and a potential allergic reaction for your trouble. Nice.”

Mmm – let’s put the sleeping bags on Kijiji and sell them.  As a friend of mine once said “The closest I get to camping Darling, is staying at the Holiday Inn”