Polentswa Camp - ground tent or roofrack tent?





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  1. #1
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    Default Polentswa Camp - ground tent or roofrack tent?

    Hi there,

    its our first time going to Kgalagadi, and we are camping at Poletswa campsite for 1 night. Its the only place where we are camping in Kgalagadi.

    My question is: is it ok for us to camp in a tent on the ground? I have no idea how wild it really is there ? I only see pictures of people camping in tents mounted on their roof racks...

    Thanks
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    Hey Sanparks Follower

    I can't help with Polentswa specifically but in general I think ground tents are as safe as roof tents. We've camped in the Kruger Park and various areas with dangerous game in small (actually quite flimsy) ground tents and according to most rangers animals see the tent as an 'impenetrable' structure and won't bother to try harm you as long as you follow some basic rules like don't move around / make noises / put lights on while dangerous animals are in the direct vicinity. I've spoken to numerous rangers and all seem to feel the same way.

    I'm sure more knowledgable people will still add their opinions but I think you should be fine... except of course if for some reason animals in the region have adapted to attacking people in ground tents... then you might have a problem hehehe.....
    Last edited by Cel; 2010/11/19 at 10:22 AM.
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    Oh, and always keep food out of the tent - especially citrus... elephants will carry the tent with you in it away to get to them.
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    You will be better off with a roof top tent when the lions are visiting you.
    This is a fair chance in Polentswa (no fences around the camp)
    The ground tent and citrus rules are more for Krueger and you don't have to worry about Elephants in Polentswa - the nearest ones are maybe a tousend kilos away.
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    Sleep in whichever you feel more comfortable. It makes no difference to the lions. I only sleep in ground tents and have never had a problem at Polentswa (or anywhere else). I have never heard of anyone being killed by lions in a closed ground tent.

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    Once again don't take my opinion as fact but logic tells me that the only difference between a ground tent and a roof tent is about 1.9m. I don't think this will in any way stop an inquisitive lion, so I'm not sure how much 'better off' you'll actually be? All I'm saying is don't let a roof tent give you a false sense of security - these are wild animals and ALL tents being lower or higher are in reach and none of them thicker than a couple of millimeters more than the others.

    Oh, and of course roof tents are very expensive and thus a big price to pay for that false sense of security...

    Having said that I have a roof tent and prefer it, but only because I never really had a cool tree house
    Last edited by Cel; 2010/11/19 at 11:42 AM.
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    We go there on a regular basis and you will be 100% safe in a ground tent.

  8. #8
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    Default Go for it

    We did the Nossob eco trail during June this year. Only used ground tents (and the 3 overnight camps are unfenced). No problems. Leopard footprints next to tent on last morning. One morning our braai grid (left at fire) was found about 50m into the veld (jackals!!!).

    Polentwa setup is similar.

    Enjoy!!!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cel View Post
    Once again don't take my opinion as fact but logic tells me that the only difference between a ground tent and a roof tent is about 1.9m. I don't think this will in any way stop an inquisitive lion, so I'm not sure how much 'better off' you'll actually be? All I'm saying is don't let a roof tent give you a false sense of security - these are wild animals and ALL tents being lower or higher are in reach and none of them thicker than a couple of millimeters more than the others.
    I have seen lions resting around a ground tent whilst people were sleeping in there - unaware of their presence. Now imagine you are snoring or touching the canvas in your sleep, it will triger a reaction from the lions.
    Whereas we were visited by lions whilst up in the roof top tent, watching them playing with our shower towels and kitchen towels hanging from a washing line betweeen the cars.
    The did not even pay attnetion to our presence until we shined some spotlight on them, then the run away.
    I feel a tad more at ease "up there" as lins seldom climb ladders
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    Only ONE night in Polentswa

    We had the most awesome time in Polentswa and Rooiputs last December.....

    You can pitch your ground tent under the A-frame, depending on size, it's quite large to take a dome tent, that's if King of the Jungle hasn't beat you to it. We saw a few people at the other sites do the same. I have not seen so many lions in my life as we have in the 9 days in Kgalagadi....awesome! Some so close you can tickle his belly

    Long drops are quite a distance from the A-frame, remember these camps are NOT fenced, try not to wander too far after dark and oh...scorpions...by the hundreds....man where do they come from after dark?

    Why not search Polentswa or Kgalagadi on this forum and you will get all the info you need!

    Enjoy!

  11. #11
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    The story beneath "once a pone time" and apparently the tent wasn't closed ... but I would rather go for roof tent, did do both already with lions and elephants, had no problem - but feels some how better/safer in a roof tent !

    rgds rolf

    BBC News - Wednesday, 15 December, 1999, 14:25 GMT
    British tourist 'eaten by lions'

    A British teenager was mauled to death and partially eaten by a pride of lions while on an African holiday, an inquest has heard.

    David Pleydell-Bouverie, 19, from Peters Green, near Luton, Bedfordshire, died when lions attacked his tent on the shores of Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe, on 1 August.

    He was woken when a lion poked his head through his tent door. He screamed and ran out of his tent but was brought down by up to 12 lions and mauled to death.

    ...............

  12. #12
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    Whatever you decide, ENJOY, coz im sure you will be fine

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  13. #13
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    LOL, you all made me laugh! thx for the great feedback!

    I think if we can afford it, Im going to push for a rooftent... it must be the scorpions story has been to total reason for my decision though.

    I used to live on a farm outside Kruger, and I remember at night I knew I had to put closed shoes on, because I could not handle feeling the red romans and scorpions running over my toes while walking between bungalows and boma's. (as a child, living there, slops were the norm)


    ...other than the creepies, you are right, one would feel way more comfortable being up 'there', then down 'here'

    we cant wait. we are going on a road trip and part is 5 nights in Kgalagadi. I now also have a detailed book on animal tracks... (childhood memories coming back) and cant wait to see which new tracks would be around our spot every morning when we wake up! so excited gonna video and photograph everything... Looking like a Chinese tourist in Kgalagadi might be nothing unusual?
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    Been there. Realy nice place to stay. We survived by sleeping in dome tent next to trees. I believe you will too.
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    As stated by Namrolf, the poor guy attacked by lions in 1999 did 2 mistakes: sleeping with his door tent opened and running to try and escape the lions.
    We slept many nights in Botswana in a roof top tent and never dared to try a ground tent, though I find it very tempting. But now I think that what Kalahari Safari wrote really makes sense: " imagine you are snoring or touching the canvas in your sleep, it will trigger a reaction from the lions".

    I would like to add my little question to the specialists: is it unsafe to sleep in a roof top tent with only the mosquito net on? Sometimes it is so hot that you can't bare it and sleep with the doors completely closed. RTT being higher, I think the lions are not able to see us. What do you think? Or maybe should we also worry about the leopards?

    Sanparks Follower, Polentswa is fantastic, and it is true that we often heard the lions around at night there. Once in Mpayathutlwa we had a pride roaring at the bottom of our ladder. Maybe was it silly, but I was not scared, though I was listening carefully and was wondering if I should make myself known (like somebody suggested on another forum) or stay still and silent (which I chose...). It was fantastic to hear them so close. The next morning I went down the ladder after checking that there was nobody around and started to look at the footprints. I was maybe 10 meters away from the car when a lioness and 2 youngs came out from a bush not more than 20 meters from where I was standing and went away without even looking back at me. At this time again I was not scared at all, though, thinking back about it, it was clearly a warning that you must always be very careful. I never go too the long drop at night, it's too far away !

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    Default Beware of these....

    On one of our drives, mother nature was calling...desperately....squeezing and pinching for a while, a solo toilet appeared (not the ones at the picnic sites)...

    grabbed toilet paper, made a run......almost stood on this one.... "double back summersaulted" to the bakkie, grabbed camera and he moved into the loo area....YIKES!!!!
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    Last edited by TumTum; 2010/11/21 at 03:18 PM.

  17. #17
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    Default King of the Jungle.....

    Rewarded every day.....

    Just a few to tantalise you....
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  18. #18
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    If this is not Kij Kij, then I am blind ...

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    Thumbs up Bravo Pikasso!!

    It is indeed at Kij Kij......the pics of "Scarface" approaching and where he is drinking. The others elsewhere in the Park.

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    Merci TumTum !

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