Every muscle is aching and my joints crack, when I get out of our tiny tent. We’ve got self-inflatable mattresses, which provide minimal comfort. It seems to me after one night of struggling to sleep on the hard ground an undoubtedly huge bravery on our part to book four weeks in the Kruger Park at several campsites from Pretorius Kop in the South up to Punda Maria, the northernmost camp.
Strange enough, the body adapts already after one night. The sound of the zip, which opens the narrow entrance flap of only 80 cm high, goes over into your blood as well as the pitching loud wake up call of the franklins at dawn. The Whoooooohups of the hyenas and roars of the lions in the night, which gave you the chills down your spine first, only fulfil you with entire happiness in the following nights.
When we were initially traveling with a caravan in South Africa two years ago, we laughed about campers, who seemed always to be looking for missed or forgotten items. It is indeed a rather large issue to get organized well with such limited space, so that everything is available without having to search or dig between boxes and bags in the car. We are also not quite there, to be called well-organized. We always forget most essential things (like the tent or a mattress, don’t tell anyone!), but there is always a plan (n’ boer maak n’ plan). Undoubtedly with practise we’ll get better!
Despite all the odds – nothing beats camping giving you the entire pleasure of being as close to nature as can be. The beat of the bush gets to you through the thin ground sheet of the tent. Animal sounds and smells surround you, while you count the limitless stars in the pitch black, unpolluted sky. And, by camping in a tent, which height is only half the size of your body, you make sure to stay agile, as you have to bend and kneel constantly. Good exercise for your body! So, after initial doubts, we start to be real campers. Go for it, too. You won’t regret!