What to Know Before You Go

Camping in Africa is an experience like no other. There’s something so exhilarating waking up to sounds of a hippo in a nearby river, or following in the steps of legendary explorers like David Livingstone.

While you can have a wonderful experience staying in luxury lodges, camping offers travelers an unparalleled to experience the true African bush.

Some parts of camping are the same wherever you go; however, African camping can feel like a totally different ballgame. Here are some things you need to know before you go:

You Won’t Need Your Hairdryer (Or Your Portable Washing Machine)

Trust me on this one. You will not be using your hair dryer. While some campsites do have electricity, some will ask that you not use anything that conducts heat, including your hairdryer. There are two reasons, they use a lot of their precious supply of electricity, and you are likely to blow a fuse.

This is also true for anything else that conducts heat or takes a lot of electricity, like your portable washing machine.

Also, types of plugs vary from country to country, so if you are visiting a view places, you could need up to three different adapters just to dry your hair.

Campsites Owned By Americans, or Brits, Feel Like It

They are quite a few popular campsites owned by Americans, Brits, and even Australians throughout Africa. If you are looking for a cultural experience, steer clear when you can. Your best bet is to look for locally owned campsites.

While the amenities may not be as nice as the campsites owned by Westerners, everything from the food, to the accommodations, to the service, will be more authentic.

Recently, while staying at a campsite in Tanzania started by a few locals, they generously offered to take us shopping in the market to buy food for dinner. They translated for us, and were able to let us know if were overpaying for the local produce. For breakfast the next morning, we were treated to traditional banana porridge.

Later, we stayed at a campsite started by a British couple in Kampala, Uganda. While it was great having wireless internet, hot showers, and wood fired pizza, it didn’t provide the cultural experience we were looking for.

You Will Fall in Love

It’s a rare person who can come to Africa and not leave feeling like they are leaving a part of themselves. Camping in Africa offers the unique opportunity to experience nature in a way most people can only dream about.

Whether it’s the Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti, camping next to the tip of Africa in Cape Town, or getting to experience the local culture, chances are you will want to come back for more!