If you are a weekend camper who loves to pitch your poles in busy campsites a few centimetres from your noisy neighbour and usually likes to loudly share your campfire and sundowner with your mate three stands from you, then you probably will not appreciate this article. Less so if your expensive overland vehicle gives you a sense of entitlement. However, you should read on in the interest of those who marvel at serene camp experiences where they can enjoy nature, peace and quiet.
- Do not disturb fellow campers’ rest
Camp should be quiet by 22:00 and nobody should leave before 06:00. Some early starters simply do not care if they wake others up with their crack-of-dawn breakfast and pack up. If you have to leave early, be considerate to the other people who are still asleep.
- Carry your own firewood
Do not collect firewood from the veld as dead wood provides an eco system to a variety of organisms. Buy sufficient firewood before you enter sensitive nature areas.
- Do not feed wild animals
However much fun it seems to leave meat or bones out to attract wild animals for viewing around your camp, DON’T DO IT! They will learn to expect food from humans and so become a danger. You will not only put your own life, but also the lives of future campers at risk and cause parks authorities to deal with the habituated and now dangerous animals.
- Honour bookings
Do not take just any campsite, unless you are told at reception that you may. Even remote camps often allocate campsites to specific bookings. You won’t like it if somebody else is occupying your favourite campsite which you have booked well in advance and neither will you like it when the rightful occupier asks you to move from his camp shortly after you have settled in.
- Be silent
Respect the fact that people who prefer bush camping do so partly because they enjoy the solitude and sounds of the bush. They do not want to listen to your loud music, your kids’ yelling or your loud talking. Least of all they want to listen to your generator! People travelling in groups are especially prone to being noisy.
- Do your business where you should
Use the toilet facilities provided, even if it is a long drop (pit toilet) which you don’t like. If there are no facilities available, bury your business and don’t ever leave it or toilet paper uncovered! It seems that Europeans don’t necessarily know that a closed door in an ablution block means that the toilet is occupied. Only enter a toilet when the door is open; otherwise knock.
- Put out your campfire
Before you go to bed at night or leave your camp in the morning you must ensure that your fire is fully extinguished. Even a light breeze can cause smouldering coals to re-ignite, blow away and ignite the surrounding bush.
- Keep the donkey boiler going
In campsites where a donkey boiler is used to heat up water for the ablutions, it is courteous to keep the fire going. You will benefit from other people’s hot water as campers after you will benefit from yours.
- Leave only your footprints
If there aren’t proper waste disposal facilities, burn what rubbish you can in your campfire and take the remainder with you. Do not bury this type of waste, other than the ash from your fire.
- Be eco-friendly
Do not pollute open sources of water, fountains or rivers with soap and don’t cause track pollution by driving where there are no roads. Also, in dry areas, do not pitch your camp near water or in the path of animals that would want to come and drink.