Let’s go camping they said, it will be fun they said…..by Kay
Camping is as camping goes. Our family are keen campers and love to go camping although we don’t often get the chance. Yesterday we were in our element, arriving at the campsite, pitching our tents, on a high because we could finally relax. That was until the clouds started rolling in and we could see that there was more than a spit of rain on its way. We watched in anticipation as it grew more and more ominous.
I am not a newbie camper and I am quite a capable woman with a rather capable family but the rain last night had us stumped. We couldn’t sit outside as at one point, it was raining so hard the water was streaming down the sides of the gazebo. Any thoughts of being happy campers went out the window.
Wet and bedraggled we retired to the tents quite early after hubby still had to finish off the braai in the rain. Food was passed through slits in the tent as each one tried to keep as dry as possible with orders of ‘don’t open the tent too wide’ and ‘don’t touch the insides as it will start a proper leak’ was flying to and fro.
After lying awake last night however listening to the rain pounding on the tent still damp after dashing outside to the loo,I was wondering how our forefathers, the Voortrekkers, coped with camping.
Not that this is our first experience of getting a tad wet whilst camping as camping in the Drakensberg in 2010 saw us spending every night in the tents playing games and reading as after 5 in the afternoons the clouds started building up, and around 7 at night it was guaranteed to bucket down together with stunning thunderstorms. Not much fun, especially as each morning was spent having to get everything dry from scratch before doing anything else.
So, what did the Voortrekkers do? We camp in the lap of luxury, we’ve got electricity, gazebo’s, gas hobs for cooking if you don’t want to braai. We’ve got tents with stretchers, blow up mattresses, duvets and even the hairdryer packed. We have people packing tv’s, microwaves and even air conditioners in luxury caravans not to mention camping trailers rigged with every conceivable luxury.
Are we spoilt? Or just so evolved that we cannot ‘rough it’ anymore? Living off the land, just you and your tent, no electricity, no gas, no hot showers and no conveniences? Would we survive it? I might not, I am way too spoilt with my home comforts, I like camping with electricity and knowing I can have a hot shower. Gas is good for cooking or boiling the kettle for coffee but hairdryers don’t run on gas and I don’t camp if I can’t pack mine. A light for reading at night is also pretty compulsory in my book, the torch just wouldn’t do. Packing a tv and microwave is taking it a bit too far in my opinion but I do like some creature comforts.
Funny thing is, we camp to relax, but to reach that goal we need to pack half our house and the kitchen sink and unpack everything on the other end. Just to have to repeat that when it’s time to go home. Crazy way of holidaying? Maybe just a bit. Not that that will deter us from planning the next camp during which it hopefully won’t rain again.