One really amazing thing about travelling in Africa is getting to experience true wilderness – vast areas of forests, savanna, mountains, gorges and deserts inhabited only by animals. Camping is the best way of connecting with all the amazing natural places that you visit, as you sleep completely surrounded by wilderness. Chances are, if you’re on a budget African safari, you’re going to be spending at least a few nights in a tent. These will most likely turn out to be your best nights of your trip!
Here are five reasons to love camping in Africa:
1. Sleeping in incredible locations
While you could spend thousands of dollars a night on a fancy African lodge in a great spot inside a park with amazing views, it’s actually Africa’s budget-friendly campsites (which cost only a few dollars a night) that often occupy the best locations, whether it’s on the banks of a river, with hippos grunting in the water a few metres away, or on an island of baobabs surrounded by a giant cracked salt pan, or on top of a dune in the Namib Desert. When you wake up in the morning and open your tent flap, you’re going to get the kind of view that other people pay those thousands for.
2. Sleeping next to wildlife
There are lots of places in Africa where you can do wild camping, where you pitch your tent in an unfenced wilderness area. Wild camping means that sometimes animals come into your camp at night while you’re all in your tents. Don’t worry – you’re safe behind those canvas walls! You may wake up to hyenas scavenging around your camp, or elephants passing through or lions sniffing around. It goes without saying that it’s a truly thrilling experience!
If you live in a city and are used to only seeing a few stars in the sky, prepare to have your mind blown when you go camping in Africa. Some of the night skies in Africa are among the clearest and darkest in the world, and they’re awash with stars. Looking up at night is like being in a planetarium! Just be sure to download the Star Walk app before you go camping, so you can identify constellations.
4. Listening to an African soundtrack
Sleeping surrounded by the sounds of the African bush is an unforgettable experience. When you’re in a hotel or a lodge, with the TV on and the air conditioning running, you hear less of the nighttime soundtrack than you do in a tent. When you’re in a tent, the sound of chirruping of crickets is ever-present, and you’ll also likely hear the laugh of hyenas, the pig-like grunts of hippos, the distant roar of lions and dozens more animals. Sometimes it’s hard to sleep with all the sounds, but then again you don’t get this kind of natural soundtrack anywhere else in the world!
5. Drinking Amarula around the campfire
The best place to sample South Africa’s famous liqueur, Amarula (a creamy drink made with fruit from the marula tree), is undoubtedly next to the campfire on a camping trip. There’s nothing like sipping the sweet, warming drink out of a tin mug around the flames under a huge African sky.
Now that you’re inspired to go camping in Africa, have a look at our budget camping tours, which take in the best of what the continent has to offer in terms of wildlife, beaches, landscapes and culture. Our budget camping tours in Africa range from a six-day trip to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda to our epic 58-day Nairobi to Cape Town overlanding tour (read more about the highlights from this trip here)
On our camping tours you stay in large two-man dome canvas tents which are spacious enough for two adults and your bags. The tents are super easy to put up and take down – you can erect and dismantle them in minutes! They have fly sheets for rain and a window covered in a mosquito net. You also get a mat to sleep on – all you need to bring is a pillow, sleeping bag, towel and sense of adventure!