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Old 16 May 2006
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Tent, need/should we bring one?

We planned to bring a tent pluss camping equipment on our Africa trip this summer, but it takes up a lot of space and weight. We are wondering if we should leave the tent and possibly the rest of the camping gear at home.

We will be sticking to main roads, traveling the following route: South-Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenia (Cape Town to Nairobi).

Camping, even in places where it is strictly not necessary, can still be a nice experience... sometimes.

Any opinions on this? What do we strictly need, and what should we bring? Why?
  • Tent?
  • Sleeping bag?
  • Sleeping mat?
  • Cooker?
  • Cooking utensils?
Thanks a buch, all comments appreciated.
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Old 16 May 2006
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Hi Wheelie,

I think a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat, is very important down here. At first you are indepent if there is no accomodation or if you have a breakdown somewhere in the middle of nowhere. And Africa can be really cold. And in summer there can be lots of rain, like the last one had.

Also some places are not so clean if you sleep there in a dorm or double. In your own tent and sleeping bag are no bed bugs. In some places there are. Also the mosquitos are less a problem in a tent.

I would leave the cooking stuff at home, there is nearly everywhere a selfcatering kitchen, and if not, if you carry some bread with you and one or two tins for emergencys should be fine.

If you come past Port Shepstone on the Kwa Zulu Natal South Coast lets meet for a or two.


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Old 16 May 2006
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to camp or not to camp

Whilst Thomas is right in general about mozzies and bedbugs some more thoughts:
I would say: Leave your expensive camping gear (probably suited for scandinavian conditions) at home and get some cheap shit at home or down here. Buy a lightweight tent in Cape Town together with camping matresses (bring your thermarest if you have back problems) and cheap sleeping bags. By the time you arrive in Nairobi your tent will have reached its expiry date - dump it, sell it second hand together with the sleeping bags and mattresses.
"Sharing" goods off the top of your boxes (where tent, sleeping bag etc. usually travel) is a common phenomenon in Africa as well as misunderstandings of the kind that someone takes your airing sleeping bag as a gift offer. Would be a pity if this happens to your valued NorthFace tent or Jack Wolfskin sleeping bag.
If you stick to main roads you will find next to no places where you have to camp due to the lack of roofed accommodation. If you have money to afford basic B&B you don't have to worry about bugs and mozzies. If you go for budget accom. rather camp. Whilst some backpackers hostels are nice and well kept others are a dump.
Eating out is way to cheap to make camping stoves an option. If you want your own hot food have a braai. A cheap grid is available from every Pick'n'Pay supermarket and everything else you need can be obtained at every campsite.
If you are a coffee / tea freak get a small Cadac stove down here (ca 15 Euro with 1 cartridge). Keep flight luggage safety regulations about camping stoves in mind!!! No fuel stoves! No gas cartridges!
To get all together: You don't need any of your camping stuff if you can afford to stay in B&B / Guest Farms etc. I know of a few places in South Africa and Namibia that require camping if you want to stay there / visit but they are a bit off the beaten track and Nam. is not even on your list? Decide for yourself.
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Old 16 May 2006
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Lecap, thanks, just what I needed!

If anybody have different opinions, or would like to give support to Lecap, please do so. If only just one night have to be spendt in the great outdoors, then a tent will be needed for the entire route... just one.

And you are right, all my tents are made for camping in sub zero snow storms on top of some barren mountain. They got more tie downs than a 18 century war ship, in snow they will stand up to any condition, but will still not stay up in sand in even a light breeze.
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Old 16 May 2006
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get a'cheap' tent

I spent less than 15 euros on a back packers tent for two persons, (weighs 2.2 kilos) is aluminiumised polyester. keeps out heavy rain and insects, just stick the two bendy poles in it and it stands up by itself ( dome shape) there are pegs, but it wont blow away with me in it. and i usually tie one end to the bike has paid for itself first time i used it. also take small back pakers gaz stove. all bought in local supermarket. It is nice to have some where sealed but ventilated to sleep in. no bugs, or reptiles. zips shut. + press studs
is chinese in origin
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Old 1 Jun 2006
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I took camping gear with me from India to UK (via Central Asia). I only used it a few times and lost it in Uzbekistan (left in a taxi by a drunk Uzbek Geologist).
If i did that trip again i would leave it behind. Once you decide to camp, you need tent, sleeping bag, matress, gas stove, utensils, and you will also have to cart around food. This adds weight but also a lot of volume and made up a third of my gear.
This is more of an issue for you i guess travelling by scooter. I reckon leave the camping gear behind.
For my next trip i was toying with the idea of a bivvy bag, just to get me out of trouble if i was stuck for a night in the middle of nowhere.
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