Camping can be a fantastic way to introduce your children to the splendour of South Africa’s natural environment. With endless parks, nature reserves, mountains and valleys to explore, this is a lush land full of stunning plant and animal life. The key to a good camping holiday lies in planning for every situation. Here are a few tips on camping with your kids and ways you can make it more fun for them.
Teach your kids about nature
Many parents of today worry their children are so connected with their technology that when they get out into nature they become overwhelmed. Introduce your child to the wonders of nature from an early age, developing good habits and a healthy lifestyle. Pitching the tent in the backyard may be fun and is fantastic for developing imagination, but nothing beats getting out there and introducing them to the wonders of nature. Take your children on fun holidays in nature which are bound to create lasting memories and a love for the outdoors. Encourage them to throw their shoes off, climb on their bike and go exploring.
What is the right age to take them camping?
One of the biggest factors to take into account when taking children camping is their age. If they are young it is probably better to stay in a place where all needed facilities are available, rather than a very remote area. That way if there is an emergency you can get help quickly. Keep in mind your child’s attention span and capabilities as well – you cannot expect a toddler to make it through gruelling hikes. If you have small children, it’s probably not a good idea to go camping for more than a few days at a time to allow all of you to have a fun, memorable holiday.
Know your destination
Decide where to go and consider factors such as wild animals and potential health threats like Malaria. There are endless national parks and nature reserves to discover in and around South Africa, many of which are malaria-free zones. Kruger also has many fenced campsites that are ideal for family camping holidays. If you have an only child, consider inviting one of their friends along as two children are better at keeping themselves entertained than a child that is on their own. Bear in mind that it will also take time to set up camp, so you need to arrive in time to pitch the tent in daylight. Trying to pitch a tent in the dark with complaining kids is not an experience you want to have at the start of a family holiday.
Let the energy out
If you do have to travel a long way, take frequent breaks where the children can get out and run around to let off some energy. When you’re at your destination, let them explore and get some dirt on them, whether climbing, exploring or playing ball, this will keep them happy and ensure peaceful sleep at night. You can pack the dirty clothing into a separate plastic bag to keep it separate from the clean clothing.
Pack for fun
Pack lots of snacks and energy food. All the running around in the open air is likely to give your children a good appetite. Our Addis 4 Side locked food storage containers are great for taking camping as they are 100% airtight and liquid tight, keeping your food fresher for longer. Pack your cool food in a Cool Cat cooler box, sealing in the freshness and keeping the heat at bay. Remember to pack hats, sunscreen, insect repellent and don’t forget the water bottles and most importantly – the toilet paper! Pack a basic first aid kit and check that none of the medicines inside it have expired. It is also a good idea for someone in the group to have knowledge of first aid as medical help is often a long way off.
When you have everything you need, packed and ready to go, it’s time to head out on a fantastic camping trip with your kids. Whether exploring your region or the whole of South Africa, we hope you have a fun and memorable holiday!