Family Camping Safaris- An Affordable Vacation
My first camping experience was as a girls scout (Girl Guide) in high school at the Rowallan camping site located opposite at The Jamhuri Park. That bug has been with me since. Camping can be quite affordable for that well-deserved family vacation. The memories will be you, your children and family for a long time to come.
Preparation is very important, poor planning can make the experience one that would ruin the entire vacation. There are hundreds of camping sites around Kenya. It’s possible to camp in most of our parks. All you need is a good tent, a few utensils, a sleeping bag, insect repellent to be used in the night, warm clothing and an adventurous spirit. Did I mention food? Well, your family has to eat hence you need the food. Ensure your foods are lightly packed. Dry foods are ideal. (We will discuss this on another post on ideal foods for a camping trip).
Here are a few tips to prepare you and your Family: -Pick an ideal campsite:
Kenya has several commercial camping grounds that are well serviced. Most of them have clean drinking water, clean bathrooms, and showers that have cold and hot water. There are lots of camps along Lake Naivasha perhaps due to her proximity to Nairobi; Kenya’s capital city. The rift valley is host to many places where one can camp with family they include along Lake Elementaita, in Gilgil, in Baringo as well across all our parks and reserve. Each campsite offers a different experience of Kenya. A few camps are within the hotels hence making life easy for campers. One can enjoy a meal at the hotel instead of making some. While others allow campers to enjoy the hotel facilities like swimming pools at an extra cost adding to more family adventures.
How about camping on the coast, The Tsavo? This is equally an ideal holiday idea for your family. Try it! At the Coast one can enjoy camping at The Shimba National reserve, the camp is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. Ensure you call well in advance and place booking with the warden. Once your family has experienced the various commercial camping sites one could then try camping at the Mount Kenya, Mount Longonot and at the Aberdares among others.
What to Carry
Wherever across Kenya that one plans to take their family, the following items are recommended for your camping family holiday:-
A Tent: Tents come in all shapes, colour and material. There are various shops that stock camping tents. Several supermarkets and stores within the city have quite some affordable tents that one can sample. It would be ideal to get your children their tent. They would be happy to enjoy their own space.
A Sleeping bag: You need to be comfortable as you camp. One may also acquire a light camping mattress if need be.
A torch: Most campsites have just enough lighting at necessary locations. A good torch / or flashlight comes in handy in the night.
Cooking Utensils: Your children may not have experience cooking in an open fire (three stones). Consider carrying suitable cooking utensils for this adventure. However, some campsites have restaurants within their facilities hence you may not need to cook. On the other hand, engaging children in preparation and cooking in the open is part of the adventure. Some campsites have utensils too for hire.
Firewood: Commercial campsites have firewood; however some campsite may not have firewood hence remember to carry your own. (I prefer campsites that provide firewood for a minimal cost).
Drinking-Water: Just in-case there is no clean drinking water.
A First Kit: Accidents may occur especially where children are involved hence a well-equipped kit is necessary.
Finally, a carefully planned family camping safari coupled with an adventure spirited family will grant you a lovely and memorable camping experience.