Warmer weather is upon us and that means people are preparing their 4x4s and caravans, and packing their trailers for their December camping trips. Camping enthusiasts love to take to the road less travelled, pack up their tents and sleeping bags, and traverse off-road trails with their 4x4s in search of a spot to sleep under the stars. While becoming one with nature is a major draw card for campers, camping is accompanied by a few hazards that do not always cross the minds of city dwellers. Sudden thunderstorms, wild animals, and health hazards like motion sickness and dehydration can all work together to put a damper on your outdoor experience. Luckily, you can minimise these dangers. Let us take a look at some safety tips for your next camping holiday.
Staying Safe During a Thunderstorm
South Africa is prone to some of the most exciting – and intimidating – late-afternoon thunderstorms in the world. However, it could be dangerous when you are out in the open, exposed and unprotected against the potential danger. It is always best to be prepared for any eventuality when camping, and that also includes a lightning storm, especially when camping in lightning hotspots like Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and northern KwaZulu-Natal.
If you hear the sound of thunder, you are within 20 km of a storm, and you should seek shelter. A large building is a great option for staying safe but that is, of course, not an option in South Africa’s wilderness. While your tent may seem like a sound option, you should avoid it at all costs, as its aluminium poles make it a hazard in a lightning storm. Seek shelter, but stay away from tall trees that could also attract lightning.
Remember, You Are Not Alone
When camping on the off-road trail, snakes, spiders, bees, mosquitoes, and other insects can be a problem, depending on where in Southern Africa you are. Thankfully, there are some easy ways you can avoid or repel them. Follow these safety tips for your camping holiday, and steer clear of these pests while camping out in their backyard.
Keep your eyes peeled for bee colonies. Bees’ nests may be on the ground or in trees. While a bee sting can be annoying and uncomfortable, it can be potentially fatal if someone in your camp is allergic, so carry anti-histamine tablets and epinephrine injections. Snakes avoid us for the most part, but, to be safe, use a branch or hiking stick to poke ahead of you as you hike through brush, so you will at least be aware of any snake that is directly in your path, to scare it away.
Bring enough safe and healthy food and fluids with you on your camping trip, so that, if something unforeseen happens, you will be able to survive for a while. Pack foods in tight and waterproof containers, and separate raw from cooked foods. Cook foods at the proper temperatures, and wash hands and surfaces as often as possible. By following these safety tips for your next camping holiday, you are well on your way to enjoying a comfortable, relaxing, and memorable trip that will keep you until the next one.