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Some camping do's and don’ts

Camping in South Africa is a great way to relax and get back in touch with nature, but if you aren’t ready and something goes wrong, it can be dangerous. A trip will go well if you know what to expect and plan ahead.

Camping is a safe thing to do that millions of people do every year to get away from the city and enjoy nature. But life in the bush can be dangerous, and if you want your camping trip to go well, you need to know a few things about the bush and camping.

South Africa is a great place to go camping because there are so many different places to stay. There are many places to camp, from the mountains in Eastern Cape or the Free State, to the sand-covered landscape in Northern Cape. From the beaches along the coastline of Kwazulu Natal to the grasslands and valleys around Kruger National Park.

There’s something for everyone out there, whether you want to go on a journey or just find a quiet place to relax and enjoy nature. Nature areas and national parks in South Africa are great places to start exploring and offer a lot of chances to see wildlife.

Safety for camping begins long before you leave. You’ll need to bring a lot of things with you to make the trip pleasant. One of the most important things is to know what kinds of dangers might be in the area where you will be camping. This means you need to know what dangerous animals, snakes, and spiders you might run into and how to avoid them.

Remember that most animals are more afraid of you than you are of them, and they will only fight if they feel threatened or trapped. Do not get too close to wild animals or try to feed them, because this is how most accidents happen.

Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you plan your next camping trip:


  1. Make a booking before your go. Check the website of the place you go to before you book or leave on your trip and familiarize yourself with what is available and where the camp site is situated. Many websites have brochures that you can print out with all the information that you need.

  2. Make a checklist of everything you need to pack for your trip. Tick it off as you pack. There is nothing worse than forgetting some essential item at home, like a torch or even a tin or bottle opener.

  3. Plan your trip carefully so that you arrive with enough time to choose your camping site and set up camp before it is dark.

  4. Camping cannot take place without having a fire. Whether it is used for cooking or simply enjoyment. Check if you are allowed to make a fire and if you need to bring your own firewood.

  5. Rubbish is always a problem and should not be left behind. Make sure you pack enough black bags and if you can’t leave it behind take it with you when you leave.

  6. Make sure your food is packed in airtight containers and that no wild animal can get into your cooler boxes or camp fridge.

  7. Do comply with all the safety precautions. Many campsites have arrangements for visitors to partake in various recreational activities. If a particular signage instructs you to stay away from a restricted area or forbids you to swim or dive in specific spots, adhere to the rules.

  8. Take lots of memorable photographs, but always be considerate towards nature as well as the people that is going to camp after you have left.


  1. Don’t arrive at a campsite without a booking especially during the high season. There is nothing worse than looking forward to a few days camping only to find out there is no campsites available.

  2. Don’t take unnecessary items with you. Although camping does not have to be rough, you can go without every day luxuries for a few days.

  3. Don’t arrive at your camping site after dark or in the heat of the day. There is nothing worse that pitching a tent in the dark or at the hottest time of the day.

  4. Don’t cut down wood in the surrounding areas of your camp. Even dead and fallen wood is important habitat for animal, insects or birds. Remember to ensure that fire is not still smouldering when you retire for bed. If the wind starts blowing a small ember can have dire consequences.

  5. Don’t dump your rubbish everywhere. Even if you have your rubbish in a black bag be sure to dump it where animals cannot get to it.

  6. Don’t leave food or scraps out for the night animals. They might just go ahead and look for more.

  7. Don’t go and swim in the dam or river if there is boards up warning you against predators or bilharzia.

  8. Don’t compromise nature just to get that memorable photograph. Trampling sensitive plants, breaking rocks or trees, setting up camp in sensitive areas, or camping where it’s not allowed spoils it for others.

The few points above are only a few of the main dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind when going camping.

Be sure to try out the camping sites at OppiDam Resort, situated at the Vygeboom Dam in Mpumalanga. For more information, visit their website at www.oppidam.co.za  or link onto their Facebook page www.facebook.com/OppidamHouseboats   

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