Exploring Southern Africa's Wilderness: Tips for Camping with Your Rental 4x4

Camping in the wild can be an exciting experience for those who love the great outdoors. Having the right gear and equipment can make all the difference when it comes to comfort and safety. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the essential aspects of camping with your rental 4×4 in Southern Africa.

Fully equipped or not?

Renting a fully equipped 4×4 is obviously much easier than camping without one, but if your budget is tight you might want to opt for an unequipped 4×4 and bring your own camping gear.

Nissan Double Cab 4x4 Equipped

Above: Nissan Double Cab 4×4 Equipped

For both options, consider Drive South Africa to rent a 4×4 in Southern Africa.

Camping Checklist

If you’re renting a fully equipped 4×4 some of these items might already be included. Speak to your rental agent about the gear that’s included with your vehicle. Here’s our go-to checklist for camping in the wild:

  • Tent
  • Groundsheet/Tarp
  • Tent poles
  • Tent pegs
  • Guy ropes
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Door mat
  • Dust pan and brush
  • Sleeping bag / blankets
  • Pillow
  • Air mattress / Stretcher
  • Large water container
  • Small water container
  • Cooler with ice / fridge
  • Flask
  • Cooker with fuel (LP Gas Bottle / Butane / Propane)
  • Matches / Lighter
  • Charcoal / Firewood
  • Braai / BBQ Grill
  • Fire lighters
  • Plates and bowls or paper plates and bowls
  • Cutlery
  • Aluminium Foil
  • Paper Towels
  • Garbage Bags
  • Dishwashing Soap
  • Cooking oil / butter
  • Food storage containers
  • Fire gloves
  • Optional pots and frying pans
  • Cooking utensils (spatula, knife, spoon)
  • Braai / BBQ tongs
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Folding table
  • Mugs
  • Mixing bowl
  • Cutting board
  • Zip lock bags
  • Serviettes
  • Dishcloths / sponge
  • Seasoning, sugar, and condiments

Here’s our list of suggested clothing:

  • Shoes / boots
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Socks / Extra socks
  • Hat
  • Sweater / Jacket
  • Underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Rain gear
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel

Personal items:

  • Shower flip flops
  • Towels
  • Soap in plastic case or liquid soap
  • Shampoo
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Comb / brush
  • Razor
  • Feminine care products
  • Toilet paper
  • Medication and prescription
  • Sunblock
  • Optional camping shower
  • Optional portable toilet and chemicals

Other:

  • Lantern
  • Flashlight and head torch
  • Spare batteries
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera gear
  • GPS, maps, and directions
  • Campsite reservations
  • Tools
  • Backpack
  • Chairs
  • Sunglasses
  • First Aid Kit
  • Tissues, baby wipes, and toilet paper
  • Optional ax
  • Leatherman or similar tool
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Binoculars
  • Water bottle
  • Duct tape
  • Notepad and pens
  • Mobile phone with charger and battery pack
  • Optional shovel
  • Money and credit cards
  • Driver’s license, passport, and ID document
  • Work gloves
  • Umbrella
  • Scissors
  • Fire extinguisher

The more you prepare, the better your camping will be. It won’t hurt to give your gear a dry-run in your backyard to familiarize yourself with the equipment and tasks. You’ll want to carefully consider which campsites you choose according to what you want to see and do. Is the campsite fenced? Does it have running water and camping facilities?

What’s the weather going to be doing on your trip? It’s always worth checking the venue’s website to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations. Does the campsite have electricity? Do the showers (if they have them!) have hot water or will you have to prepare this yourself?

Above: 4×4 Jimny Camping

Once you’ve arrived at the location (it’s best to get there early so you don’t have to set up in the dark) it’s important to find the ideal spot to pitch your tent and set up camp. It’s worth keeping the following in mind:

  • Set up camp upwind from neighboring campers so you avoid their campfire smoke. Likewise, pitch your tent upwind from your own fire.
  • Try to find a shady spot as being out in the sun all day can be uncomfortable.
  • Keep in mind that bushy or swampy areas can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes, spiders, and other creatures.
  • Practice good camping etiquette – be sure to leave enough space between campsites and turn off your phone so you can settle into the sounds of the bush with your fellow campers.
  • If you’ve left your shoes or sleeping bag unattended, give them both a good shake out before you use them again – they’re favorite hiding places for snakes and scorpions!

Read reviews on potential camping spots and check out 4×4 forums if you’ve got any questions. Always try to leave your campsite in a better condition than you found it. Now all that’s left is to gaze peacefully into the fire, soak up the starlight, and enjoy your time off-grid in your 4×4 hire.

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