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Thread: Camp safety

  1. #1
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    Default Camp safety

    8 of us are travelling to Mabua, Moremi and CKGR in Sept/Oct. Have done Moremi before and know what to expect there but not the other two camps. A bit nervous about big cats in the camps and wondering if anyone has used any form of barrier successfully (shade net or electric fence) to keep them away from the tents. We will be in 1 RTT and 3 ground tents with four vehicles. Any suggestions for camp safety will be appreciated. We are fastidious about keeping food and smelly things in the vehicles and not leaving anything around the camp at night.
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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillied View Post
    8 of us are travelling to Mabua, Moremi and CKGR in Sept/Oct. Have done Moremi before and know what to expect there but not the other two camps. A bit nervous about big cats in the camps and wondering if anyone has used any form of barrier successfully (shade net or electric fence) to keep them away from the tents. We will be in 1 RTT and 3 ground tents with four vehicles. Any suggestions for camp safety will be appreciated. We are fastidious about keeping food and smelly things in the vehicles and not leaving anything around the camp at night.
    We tow an off road trailer, so always park at the above places in a U shape, i.e the cruiser a few meters away from the trailer with a green shade cloth between the two, making a U. We stay in the U with a large fire. When the fire goes down, everyone goes into their tents.

    With a number of vehicles, make a lager and stay in the centre with a nice fire.

  3. #3
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    Default Camp safety

    I do a similar setup. I made up two sets of shade cloth wind breakers of about 5 to 8 meters. With sharped broom sticks. This works as wind breaker and perfect for safety barrier. Works very well, very light and easy to roll up and pack. I used a goal net once as a barrier against money’s but took it down quickly as it would have caught an animal and caused big problems, not a good idea. Shade cloth wind barrier works the best. It also gives you more privacy and stops other campers walking through your camp site.
    Last edited by K-9; 2018/06/30 at 06:20 AM.
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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Shade cloth barrier
    Use vehicles as a barrier
    Maybe don't braai at night......

    “Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Dold View Post
    Shade cloth barrier
    Use vehicles as a barrier
    Maybe don't braai at night......
    You can use a long rope / strong string with bells attached every 300 - 500mm. Run this all round the camp site, about 500mm from ground level. If any wild animal hits this in the middle of the night, not only will the noise scare them off (hopefully), but it will also make you aware of "movement in the dark"

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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Showering can also be interesting

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    Default Re: Camp safety

    You are not helping Henk Now they have to build a barrier walkway all the way to the ablutions as well

    BTW, his front leg looks swollen and sore, did he limp?
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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Quote Originally Posted by lekhubu943 View Post
    You are not helping Henk Now they have to build a barrier walkway all the way to the ablutions as well

    BTW, his front leg looks swollen and sore, did he limp?
    He had a slight limp but didn't seem too bothered by it , we had to keep a close eye on the lions whilst we took a shower and they chilled out in the shade of the A-frame :-)

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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Henk - You are brave!
    No ways would I shower.
    Those big cats can move like lightning!

    I recommend a washcloth and basin right next to the 4x4 doors unlocked of course......

    “Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

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    Default Re: Camp safety

    The cat you see is not the cat you have to worry about.

    And the cat species that normally keep themselves hidden are the most dangerous species, not lions.

    But I am OT.

    @ the OP. Really, be vigilant, don't move around too much after dark or too far from the vehicles and relax. Zip tents up fully. Remember why we go to these unfenced sites.
    Last edited by lekhubu943; 2018/07/01 at 11:47 AM.
    Christa
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  14. #11
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    Default Re: Camp safety

    I don't think I want to put that theory to the test just yet....

    You are right of course.... recent attacks show the silent big cats - leopards - are the ones to try and keep a watch for
    and of course cunning hyenas ......

    That shower area looks reasonable surrounded by open space
    but some of them have trees and bush close by!

    I seem to have bad luck with showers - I was keeping watch for Swambo while she showered and a
    large snake - ice cold and velvet - sailed over my feet.
    She at least came to my rescue.
    Last edited by Paul Dold; 2018/07/01 at 12:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Paul do what the Lions do.
    When SWAMBO showers you stand guard

    Gillied, don't over do the campsite.
    Listen to the birds in the day. If something is wrong they could be an early warning for you.
    The Drongo normally goes mad if he sees a Lion nearby.
    The scrub robin go crazy if a snake is nearby.
    Getting to the showers can be a bit of an issue as the scrub/bush is causing issues with clear visibility to shower/toilet and back.
    Keep looking around every now and then.
    Use the shade/wind breakers as "walls" and for more protection use the vehicles.
    You have many eyes in your group we are normally only two people.
    Ground tent as a final safety measure we keep an airhorn, the one in a can (that is still in its wrapper )

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    Smile Re: Camp safety

    Quote Originally Posted by imgreg View Post
    Paul do what the Lions do.
    When SWAMBO showers you stand guard

    Gillied, don't over do the campsite.
    Listen to the birds in the day. If something is wrong they could be an early warning for you.
    The Drongo normally goes mad if he sees a Lion nearby.
    The scrub robin go crazy if a snake is nearby.
    Getting to the showers can be a bit of an issue as the scrub/bush is causing issues with clear visibility to shower/toilet and back.
    Keep looking around every now and then.
    Use the shade/wind breakers as "walls" and for more protection use the vehicles.
    You have many eyes in your group we are normally only two people.
    Ground tent as a final safety measure we keep an airhorn, the one in a can (that is still in its wrapper )

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    I have just returned from the Kgalagadi. 4 vehicles and 4 couples. At Rooiputs we made a laager of sorts with wind breaks as fences. Fully expecting to see lions close by, as per above photos, but saw nothing in 6 days! Not even spoor. Were hopeful on the 1st morning when we heard some lions. Only visitors were jackals who were quite brazen. However were compensated with 3 adult cheetah on the 1st days drive. We enjoyed the trip immensly, saw many birds. Up at Polentswa the same story.

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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillied View Post
    8 of us are travelling to Mabua, Moremi and CKGR in Sept/Oct. Have done Moremi before and know what to expect there but not the other two camps. A bit nervous about big cats in the camps and wondering if anyone has used any form of barrier successfully (shade net or electric fence) to keep them away from the tents. We will be in 1 RTT and 3 ground tents with four vehicles. Any suggestions for camp safety will be appreciated. We are fastidious about keeping food and smelly things in the vehicles and not leaving anything around the camp at night.
    Some years ago, in April, we were with a group of about ten cars at Mabua, at the site with the A-frames and ablution block (forgot name), near the Monamodi Pan. There was a mix of rooftop and ground tents, no precautions like standing in laager, all stood wide apart. We stayed two nights. Second morning we came out of our ground tent, there was a fresh double lion spoor that passed about three meter in front of our tent (which had been zipped closed all night), regular steps, they clearly had not stopped but had walked straight on, right past us. Very eery feeling ! Nothing had happened but we were relieved that the travel plan was to carry on that day and not stay another night. I guess drawing a laager is a good idea for ground tents.
    geertdev

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    Default Re: Camp safety

    I would never discourage any one from using a ground tent in an unfenced camp. What I would discourage are those tents that have a lot of mesh or that are transparent when lit from the inside.

    It has been said by many experts that animals will see tents as solid structures, I can only agree to this if the tents are a solid colour. Cats in particular have great night sight and a very keen sense of smell. As they are curious they will investigate movement and food smells. Hyena will sniff out anything and at Lesloago at our last visit we had four spotties that visited every night for 3 nights and stayed in camp one night from around 8pm until 7am the next morning.

    Our neighbors across the pan came that morning and in a very heavy French accent said

    "allo allo, are you guys OK up zere"

    Yes thank you

    Do you kneuw that you ave 4 yeuna in your cemp

    yes, we invited them to stay as all the other sites were occupied by bloody tourists

    They did not get it but Swambo rolled around the RTT laughing
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  21. #16
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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Do you also close a RTT entirely, or just close the mosquito net?

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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Use a 12 volt DC agricultural electric fence unit and a dozen stakes with insulators on top protruding 600mm above the ground. Knock in an earth spike and use flexible electric fencing braid to join up the insulators. Connect to a vehicle battery, have a Bells and sleep well.
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  24. #18
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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Exton View Post
    Use a 12 volt DC agricultural electric fence unit and a dozen stakes with insulators on top protruding 600mm above the ground. Knock in an earth spike and use flexible electric fencing braid to join up the insulators. Connect to a vehicle battery, have a Bells and sleep well.
    Alan, I think these systems draw a heap of power. Definitely dual battery system required I would think?

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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Quote Originally Posted by shfish View Post
    Alan, I think these systems draw a heap of power. Definitely dual battery system required I would think?
    Geez, I go to the bush with the hope of having animals in my campsite. With your fortifications, I may as well go camp in Gauteng.... sounds like a lot of work

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    Default Re: Camp safety

    Quote Originally Posted by vnielsen View Post
    Geez, I go to the bush with the hope of having animals in my campsite. With your fortifications, I may as well go camp in Gauteng.... sounds like a lot of work
    Do you think you are up to it, it is not Mabua or some tame place after all

    There is a lot of wisdom in some of the replies. It is 100% accepted that animals see the canvas as a solid barrier.........as long as the canvas does not hit back or become transparent with a light from behind.
    A decent ripstop canvas like the Tentco range is the minimum I would stake my life on.
    The making of a lager or U shaped camp is very wise ensure that your rear is covered by shade netting behind between the tents and that the vehicle doors facing the camp is open if possible.

    Camps like Mabua are tragedy waiting to happen in my book, you have too many people all wanting that special experience that feed the animals in an attempt to draw them closer. Cats like lion and leopard as well as hyena have completely lost their fear of humans and have come to associate them with food, it is not long before they make the discovery that we are slow and defenseless with a high fat content snacks.

    It is better to walk to showers and such in pairs and having one of those air horns is a great deterrent.... only if you have it on you though.
    Never take any wild animals behavior lightly, if they are too close for comfort get out of that situation.
    Try not to move around after dark, predators like lion and leopard can often be mistaken as lazy and relaxed in daylight but believe me after dark they become your worst fear. Nighttime is when they hunt and you are on the menu, I made that mistake and almost paid the price.
    Cook before dark and have the dishes and cleanup done by dark, put all foodstuff and waste away.

    That's the big stuff but don't forget, Southern Africa has 3 medically important scorpions all of the parabruthus family, they are GT scorpions that hunt actively and run around at a rate of knots, wear closed shoes at night even if it is hot or should I rather say especially if it is hot The thick tailed scorpions can put a serious damper on the whole group's holiday and believe me if one of the Parabruthus babies zap you you will never forget that holiday

    Enjoy your trip and stay safe
    Henk
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