Outdoor Camping

Article by Mike Garden
Zimbabwe is, in my opinion, very much about family with the happiest people being those that take holiday breaks and travel to a place to spend a few days with Mom, Dad and the kids. One of the best trips you can have is to go on a camping holiday where all of the participants have their own specific tasks to do. It all starts with Dad going off and buying a decent tent, a few chairs plus a few accessories like foam rubber mattresses and a Gas Braai. Mom and the little ones raid the kitchen and Bedroom closet of cooking utensils and blankets to place in a decent sized trunk. In recent years our own National Parks have started upgrading their campsites and lodges. These occur all over the country including remote destinations like Matopos, Nyanga, Mana Pools and Hwange. These are all very reasonably priced, clean and are mostly in very good locations. Once you arrive at your chosen place and rushed to the loo you take a few minutes to savour the view and dream up outrageous things to do. The tent(s) is the first thing to set up and, if you start doing it at an early age, the children have a lot of fun helping Dad put it all together.

Then there is the first cup of tea. So the team collects a whole lot of wood and together they are shown how to start a campfire to boil water in that battered, old aluminium kettle. Whenever you go away on a camping trip there is just about always something that someone has forgotten to buy or pack. You learn very quickly to do what all of us in Zimbabwe are so good at – Make a plan. Normally you arrive at your destination late in the afternoon so there is normally only time for a quick shower before the process of cooking the first meal is underway. There is nothing quite like sitting around the campfire chatting about the day’s trip or events – of that funny incident that only little Johnny saw – and makes sure he uses this time to relate all about his incident.

For two thirds of the year the night skies are bereft of cloud so the first thing you tend to notice is how one sees so many more stars than you have ever seen from your garden back in Harare. The Southern Cross is the most distinguishable as is the Scorpius Zodiac. Night beckons and the whole family tucks in for a very peaceful night. Early morning is another special time when Dad blows a few puffs and throws a few more logs on the fire to make ready for the first cup of tea for the day. A lovely time to just sit, quietly, outside the tent taking in the scenery whilst Mom takes a well-earned lie in. Why not pick up the phone now and contact your nearest National Parks office to book a camping holiday for the long weekend?

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