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04 December, 2009

Tips for Camping in Africa - Why Campers Must Wear Shoes

Whether you camp in places with (Kruger National Park) or without fences (Mabuasehube and most of Africa), the animals always have right of way. And not just the Big Five, all animals. That is why you should always wear proper shoes.

Africa is no place for sissies. You probably heard this statement before, but didn't quite know what is meant by it. Let me illustrate by way of a few short tales.

As you know, I am an avid camper and the wilder it gets, the happier I am...well mostly. This means that although I enjoy the Kruger Park, Pilanesberg and other game reserves as much as the next person, the places I feel most relaxed are where nothing but canvas stands between me and the animals of the veld. If you have to traverse a few 4x4 obstacles along the way, I really enjoy myself as this means less human traffic.

Camping Tip 1 for Africa: Wear Shoes While Camping in the Wild
  • Prevent Insect Bites While Camping in Africa
We've been visiting Balule camp in the Kruger National Park for several years now. Our holidays in the Kruger were mostly during the summer months. So besides taking prophylactics against the dreaded malaria mosquito, we also had to deal with a myriad of other six and eight legged creatures. Balule and we found this also at Shingwedzi camp, is notorious for its huge spiders running around at night. (I still can't figure out if they chase the shadows or the light.)

Although this afforded us hours of entertainment when middle aged ladies and large muscled men jump onto camping tables barely equipped to handle the loads of food on them, it stops being funny when these spiders start to target you. I'm sure they are perfectly harmless,but I have never stood still long enough to have a proper look and try and identify one. Why take the chance of stepping onto one and finding out they are as menacing as they look? Solution? Wear proper shoes.

  • Wearing Shoes Helps Prevent Snake Bites While Camping
Snakes are also rife in the Kruger Park as well as the national parks and parts of Africa with a warmer climate. One afternoon while enjoying lunch under the tree you see on the photo, hubby and children suddenly jumped a mile high and broke several speed records trying to get away from the tree. A snake was busy making its way silently down the trunk of the tree, only a few feet from where we sat.

Imagine this at night: It is dark, with only the stars shining down on you. Somewhere in the distance a lion roars and the veld goes quiet. You absolutely have to go to the bathroom. No time to put on shoes. And then you meet one of those unfriendly creatures that zaps you on the ankle. Besides being painful and possibly lethal, your holiday will surely be ruined.
  • Shoes Protect Against Scorpion Stings While Camping
 Scorpions tend to hide in shady places during the day only to roam around at night, early morning and late afternoon. Although few scorpion bites are lethal, they pack a nasty punch and could cause a lot of discomfort if you are far from any medical facilities or medical help.
  • Shoes Protects Against Thorns While Camping in Africa

You may laugh at this, but have you seen the thorn of a Camel Thorn Tree? Imagine that long thorn sticking through the soft part of your foot. Besides delivering a painful sting, these thorns tend to break off inside your foot, causing infection and a slow healing process.

So don't be a baboon - wear shoes while camping and everyone will enjoy walking around in the bush so much more.


  1. I totally agree. Wearing shoes is a must. I can tell from experience that a scorpion sting is indeed very very painful...

  2. While I'm sorry to hear that you had to experience something so painful, I am grateful for your comment. If one person less is stung while camping, the post met its goal. Thank you for sharing.

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