Free camping sites can provide a cheap and relaxing way to get back in touch with nature. This is the “cheap travel” idea which saves us thousands of shilling if you are from Kenya (like me) or dollars for the global traveler. Accommodation costs can really add up over the course of a ones holiday, so camping for free as often as possible really helps the budget.
How to find Free Camping Sites
Many campsites, particularly those around towns and cities, often charge for camping in the vicinity. For bargain hunters, there are still a number of free camping spots spread throughout the country – you just need to know where to look for them.
Camp sites can be a good way to avoid busy crowds and packed sites, as well as assist budgets. As sites are typically found in more remote and untouched areas, you can select a spot as far away from others as you like. The remote locations of the free camping sites also mean that you should try to be as self-sufficient as possible. This is in regards to providing your own food, water and power where needed.
When looking for free spots, it always helps to do your research. In general, the more remote the area the more likely it is that it’s free, but you can research this online. It can also be helpful to be aware of any pet and fire restrictions maintained by the campsite before you arrive.
There are websites that list free camping sites on a local, national and even global scale. Searches will help to determine campsites that are suited to you in terms of what landscape you are after or region you are interested in visiting. If you have already spotted a secluded area where you are keen to pitch a tent, be sure to check first whether online or with the local national park that it is legal for you to camp there.
Free Camping Sites – Kenya’s camping experience
Although free camping sites in Kenya are not so much but you can’t completely miss out. A camping safari in Kenya is one of the world’s great travel adventures. Pitching your tent in the bush gives you the feeling of really living in the wild. The romance of an open campfire under a magnificent sky full of stars is undeniable, and night in the wild is a magical time, when the air rings with the whooping calls of hyenas and the dawn is heralded by the unforgettable sound of a lions roar.
If you are travelling independently with your own vehicle and camping equipment, then you should carry adequate supplies of fresh water, food, fuel and emergency supplies. Do not rely on local water supplies or rivers and streams for potable water. Any water taken from a stream should be filtered or boiled for several minutes before drinking.
If you are trekking and planning to wild camp outside of official or designated campsites, seek local advice in advance. The land on which you are planning to camp may be privately owned or be traditional lands under the control of a nearby village or tribe. In some instances, advance permission and is required. If camping in the vicinity of a village, as you may be asked to do, remember to practice culturally sensitive behavior.
Camping should always have minimal impact on the environment. All rubbish and waste matter should be buried, burnt, or take away with you. Do not leave food scraps or containers where they may attract and harm animals. Campers should also take care of wildlife. Do not leave fruit or other food inside tents, it can attract monkeys, baboons, and even in some areas elephants, resulting in destruction of tents and equipment.
Home stays: This is also an ideal way to experience Kenyan life. In some areas, home stays with Kenyan families can be arranged that allow visitors to spend time in a local home and to discover the way of life in a typical household. This kind of ‘cultural exchange’ tourism is popular with visiting student groups, and those with an interest in Kenyan culture.
At the other end of the spectrum, Luxury home stays on Private Game Ranches, Sanctuaries and Farms are also possible. These beautiful homes let the visitor enjoy Kenya in total luxury and privacy, with their own timetables and interests catered for by skilled and knowledgeable local guides.
The real advantage of a Kenyan home stay is the opportunity to spend time with Kenyans and their families, and to share the benefit of their many years of local experience and intimate knowledge of the country, its people and wildlife.
Guidelines for Choosing Free Camping Sites
In your search for the free camping sites, also consider the weather forecast for the campground you will stay. If rain is a possibility during your trip, select a campsite in a wooded area and set up your tent underneath a dense canopy of trees. While the trees won’t completely keep you and your gear dry, they will help cut down on the water that gets to your tent.
Check with an on-site camp host to find out if certain areas of the campground are better than others. The host can provide insider information, such as whether certain campsites have higher concentrations of bugs. Can also let you know which sites offer the best views and the closest proximity to campground facilities and surrounding trails.
When looking for the free camping sites, decide how close you want to be to campground facilities and choose your campsite accordingly. You’ll have easy access to restrooms and water faucets if your campsite is close to them. You’ll also have to sacrifice seclusion because other campers will be coming and going to use these facilities, as well.
Select a site close to water to give yourself access to a handful of activities, such as fishing, swimming and boating. Be aware, however, that, depending on the time of year and your location, bugs, and mosquitoes in particular, might be in higher concentration the closer you get to water. If that’s the case, you might want to put some distance between yourself and the water.
Choose a campsite that has a large, flat area for your tent that’s free of large rocks, tree roots and shrubs. Pitching your tent on a graded surface can make for restless and uncomfortable nights, and spots that are littered with rocks and brush can be difficult to clear. Free camping sites are synonymous to enjoying nature; but if we want to keep enjoying it, nature should also be protected from the human activities, which, unfortunately, is not always the case.