Why camp in an unfenced African bush camp?

As a kid, I remember camping out in the garden with my brother, no parents allowed, and I have happy memories of a father, daughter camping trip, and ever since, I’ve loved camping. I have been lucky to go camping in many pristine natural places, from the remote Alaskan wilderness to the African bush.

Leaving creature comforts can be scary for some, but it can also make for the experience of a lifetime. 

Below are some reasons I think everyone should throw caution to the wind and come camping in the African bush at least once in their lives. 

Have you ever experienced a night’s pitch blackness? Millions of stars? The monochrome silhouettes created by the full moon? The night sky comes alive without the constant glow of modern city lights. Admire the Stars, the Planets and the Milky Way. Learn the stories of the constellations, stories as old as time, and maybe realize just how small you are for the first time.

The night sky at Selati Camp © Emma Summers

Fever Distractions

When was the last time you stopped to admire a butterfly or watch some ants crossing your path? Get away from your screens and other forms of modern technology. Camping offers you the chance to reconnect with yourself, others, and Mother Earth. Without all the distractions of contemporary life, you will start to notice the little things and your environment—all kinds of questions that will enter your mind. Can’t quite go for a complete digital detox? Have no fear! There is some electricity at the camps so you can charge batteries and your phone. We are enabling you to keep in contact with your family back home. 

Bush TV

Have you ever heard of bush TV? Please pull up a chair and join us around the fire. Stare deeply at it and be mesmerized by the orange flames. Enjoy the warmth on a cold winter’s day. Sitting in front of the fire, share stories with fellow students and make new friends.  

Our cooks love Braai, so we cook your evening meal over hot coals at least twice a week. Yum! As you return from your game drive or walk, the most amazing tantalizing aromas fill the air that will make your mouth water. 

In good company around the campfire © Emma Summers

Breath In

Enjoy the fresh air without the constant smell of fumes from cars and factories. 

Thanks to our ancestors, we are hardwired to be able to smell the incoming rain. In the Summer months, you can smell the rain coming. This pleasant, earthy, fresh smell is called petrichor and usually is more substantial right at the start of our rainy season. 

Smell something dead in the bush? There may be Lions, Vultures or Spotted hyenas nearby. Some animals have their unique smell. When you are at an animal sighting, don’t forget to use all your senses, breathe in, and see if you can come up with what that animal smells like to you. That way, you will be able to recognize that smell next time. You can also use your sense of smell to detect animals like Waterbuck, Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Elephants and Rhino. 

Simplify and enjoy the experiences

In our modern world of disposable fashion, where technology advances every few months, providing us with the latest must-have device when was the last time you stopped to ask yourself how much is enough? Food, water, shelter, and a couple of clothing changes are all we need to survive; the rest is just a bonus. Spending time in a tent means learning to simplify and appreciate the basics.

True happiness comes from experiences. An experience can generate positive memories, whereas the allure of a new thing only lasts a short while before it starts to fade, and you then have to go and get another new thing.

Want to know what to pack? Check out these Winter and Summer camping tips. 

Selati Camp © Emma Summers

Immerse yourself in Nature 

As our modern cities have grown, we have lost touch with Nature. Reduced exposure to the natural world is impacting our health. People spending just two hours a week in a green space reported better health and physiological well-being than those that didn’t. Don’t forget to find yourself a sit spot and visit that spot every day. You will start to notice tracks, observe the seasonal changes, and even the most minor things that share your space with you. Feel the Earth beneath your feet. Don’t forget to talk off your shoes and walk around barefoot. Walking barefoot for 15 minutes daily has been shown to positively affect your health, including better quality sleep and improved posture. 

Makuleke after 160mm rain storm © Emma Summers
Lion © Emma Summers

The ultimate reason why you should camp in the African bush. 

As I sit snuggled up in my sleeping bag, reading a book before I go to sleep, I am listening to the sounds of Dela, the dominant, handsome male Lion who calls Selati his home. He’s on patrol in this area tonight, telling everyone who will listen that the land belongs to him. Faintly, I can hear the rest of the pride calling back in the distance. He’s on the other side of the river bank, his call getting louder and louder until he is directly opposite us. You can understand the power in his voice. Did you know a Lions call can reach 114 decibels and hear for 5 miles? You can track him in your mind as he moves away to one of the Koppies. You can imagine the route he is taking as you have walked this route before, and you smile, knowing that you have walked in the steps of giants. 

Elephants © Emma Summers

The purpose of life is to live it, taste experience to the utmost, and reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Selati Camp l What you can expect

Are you thinking about doing an EcoTraining course, and want to know what to expect from the camps and reserves?

Take a virtual walk through the EcoTraining Selati camp and the majestic vistas that encompass this incredible game reserve. Selati Game Reserve is situated between the towns of Gravelotte and Mica, west of Phalaborwa, in the Limpopo province of South Africa, the reserve has an area of about 30,000 Ha.

About the Author:
Emma Summers

Emma Summers

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