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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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Old 19 Jul 2008
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Wild Critters! Thanks Nat Geo!!!

The wife has been watching "Africa's 12 Most Deadly Animals" on the Nat Geo channel, and got herself all worked up about being bitten by snakes, scorpions or getting her face chewed off by hyena's while kipping in the tent/under the stars.
Anybody have any hints or tips on what precautions we would need to take while camping out in the bush?
RTW Jan 2009 - Aug 2012. Currently in Europe waiting for the next ride
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Old 19 Jul 2008
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You're not even safe inside the house. My mate AJ got stung 3 times by a scorpion sleeping at home in Phoenix 2 weeks ago! The doc said the pain may last for 2 months, ouch!

Generally if you make plenty of noise moving around the critters will give you a wide berth, unless they're really hungry. I had 9 days camping in Joshua tree, Yosemite and Sequoia National parks and apart from a bear sniffing about one night only saw a few lizards.

You'll be fine.
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Old 19 Jul 2008
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I trod on a bee in Tanzania.
Careful now!

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Old 21 Jul 2008
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My wife wasn't used to bush camping when we started our trans africa so for about the first 2 months, she was awake all night and then huddled up in the landrover trying to sleep during the day. After about 2 months, she got used to it, chilled out and became comfortable with it. The only advice I would follow is about not having food in a tent, right by you over night in areas where there are animals, they won't be in the slightest bit interested in you, they will be after the food but still may not be a nice experience. Other than that, I wouldn't worry. We used a swag for the whole 9 months trans africa, just sleeping out in the open. Woke a couple of times to find camels looking down on you but usually fall back asleep thinking I'm dreaming and only realise in the morning when I see the hoof marks. Had the same with horses and locals.

Have fun.

Last edited by Toby2; 22 Jul 2008 at 09:50.
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Old 21 Jul 2008
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A couple nights ago, I was on an overnight in the Okavango Delta. The island was full of Hippos - perhaps more deadly to man than any other animal - thrashing about in the water, crashing through the bush, bellowing and what not for hours, just a few dozen meters away.

I slept like a baby while my guide was getting up every few hours to keep the fire stoked. In the morning, we were both alive.
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Old 21 Jul 2008
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Not to sound insensitive, but you're travelling to these places partly because of the unknown, the danger and the excitement of not knowing what comes next. If you want "safe" holiday, go to your travel agents and book a holiday with insurance.

In terms of deadly wild savage animals that want to tear you to shreds in your sleep, use some common sense, you'll be surprised how good that tool can be.

Animals, much like us humans are motivated by 2 rudimentary things, sex and food.... and since you're not going to be raped by a horny hyena... assume whatever food/smell you're producing doesn't attract them, as Toby2 mentioned.

You'll be fine
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Old 22 Jul 2008
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Neil, having read your post, maybe you are on to something. You seem quite adament that the hyena won't be interested in Panhandle but may be hyenas will find panhandle attractive, maybe the hyenas just aren't that picky. Its a whole different angle on security in the wild.
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Old 29 Jul 2008
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A few suggestions based on my experience...

If camping in unfenced ares where there are game:

As Toby 2 says don't keep food in or near tent. I have seen photos of an elephant in Chobe, Botswana unitentionally wrecking a car to get to a bag of rubbish hung on the door handle.

Never give food to any animals in camp. Hyenas and jackals can be a real pest and hyenas in particular aren't nice to have up close.

Don't leave your tent at night. Either have a 'tent bottle' or if you can't face that go close by.


Roof tents are a distinct advantage re creepy crawlies - keep it zipped up at all times.

Don't leave boots/shoes out and get into the habit of knocking them out. A cheapo shower cap (free in hotels) is useful to put over the top.

Be careful collecting firewood - snakes/scorpions could be hiding there.

Don't worry unduly - just be aware of your surroundings and you'll be fine. Have a great time.
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Old 30 Jul 2008
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I'd like to stick with my previous approach that generally things are fine and you just need to take simple precautions such as re food. This is not to put you off because I thinks its a very rare exception but check out this link when it does happen. Roof tents might be great of crawling things but apparently not so good for Elephants.

Elephant vs. RTT - Expedition Portal Forums
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