Let’s talk about camping, shall we?

Wednesday February 12 2020

 

By ANDREW KAGGWA

If there is one thing all adventurous people love, it is definitely travelling.

Yet, it is also a fact that it is expensive to, imagine the costs involved, accommodation, food and then the trip itself, things are even more complicated if you’re flying to the destination.

I remember the time I left Uganda for Zanzibar, I had gone to attend the annual Sauti Za Busara, their biggest music festival and because I love experimenting, I carried a tent on me. Zanzibar is a beautiful place, and expensive as well.

When Sauti Za Busara is on, they tend to be over booked, the hotels, motels, lodges and in some cases, people’s homes. You will find yourself in a situation where you have the money but can’t find yourself a place to sleep.

It wasn’t the case for me though, I found myself in Zanzibar without enough money. I noticed I had used more money on day one than I had anticipated, I had to change the entire budget, either fore go meals, beer or accommodation.
You can imagine the choice I made, I had to fore go accommodation. I had a tent after all.

For the four days of the festival, I enjoyed Zanzibar’s free spirit in the most free way you can imagine, camping – I remember sleeping at the beach, someone’s compound, the hotel garden and the festival ground.

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I clearly did not regret the decision, it saved me a lot of money but above it all, there was freedom to sleep in all these different places Zanzibar can offer for free. The only time it was hard was when it was evening or early in the morning.

Zanzibar would heat up and their kind of heat is different from anything a Ugandan has experienced that most of the times, especially when I slept by the beach, I had to swim with those boys from the coast as many times as I could.

But the experience also taught me more than I needed about camping, I realised when handled well, it is one of those outings one can plan on a tight budget and still have a blast.

For instance, with this particular one, all I had one me was a camping gear and a few shirts I had moved with yet had such a great time, but what if I had prepared favourably.

Over the years, after camping became a thing, thanks to music festivals Milege, Bayimba and Nyege Nyege, it is no longer absurd asking a few friends to join resources and go camping.

I have learned that for an effective camping expedition, the camping gear is essential, well many people will want to have an affordable portable tent. They have their advantages, they are sleek, easy to install and above it all affordable, but if you can go a little bit bigger with the tent budget, it will make sense if you do.

But a bigger tent even when it could be harder to install has all its merits like a breathing space, leg room and if you’re out with friends, it is easier to bond in one big tent than if you’re all split in those small tents.

These days, it is not really advisable to carry a mattress to the camping site, they are bulky thus take up a lot of space, some people easily carry inflatable mattresses but those ones have their problems, the easy bet is usually a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag.
For organised festivals like Nyege Nyege, of course you will be limited when it comes to feeding but if the space is unregulated, many carry their own food, a gas cylinder and disposable cups and plates and turn the wild into a home.

But above it all, get the right crew, clothes, don’t care about the timing, whether it shines or rains, a well organised camping can never fail, even the mud will play in your advantage.

Basics
Camping is like staying in a primitive cabin, minus the cabin itself. So, in addition to your tent, pack as though you’re going to stay someplace where there’s little or no furniture, no electricity, no stove or refrigerator, and the cupboards are bare.
In a developed campground you will have running water and a community bathroom a few hundred yards away. A typical campsite has a table, a place to park a car and a place to pitch a tent.

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