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Are safari camps right for us - sleeping in the cold.

Are safari camps right for us - sleeping in the cold.

Jan 3rd, 2011, 06:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 14
Are safari camps right for us - sleeping in the cold.

Quick question please for you experienced safari goers. I am planning a trip, likely May 2012, to Botswana (or perhaps SA b c that may be a better fit for us...read on). Have been voraciously reading trip reports to help with planning. I have seen people complaining in their trip reports about how cold they are in the morning on the game drives, but have rarely seen people discuss how cold they were overnight when they were sleeping (or trying to sleep?) If someone could comment on how comfortable it is (or isn't) to sleep in a classic safari camp, when it is 40-45 degrees F in the night, it would help me decide if those sorts of camps would be right for us. In my younger days I camped, but only in the summer weather, never through nights that were that cold.
Thanks so much!
lsinden is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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It's great sleeping weather - especially with a companion, hot water bottle and heavy blankets. The problem is getting out of the nice warm bed. I sleep with the robe under the covers with me so it's warm when I need it.
christabir is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 09:33 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Ok, in South Africa, the six safari camps (you say "classic"?) I've been to, all individual huts/bungalows. Every one had a wall mounted A/C-heating unit. And I believe this includes the bungalows at Kruger National Park. So sleeping room temperature is what ever you wish. The hard part is getting up in the morning at 5:30 or 6:00!! And game drive mornings in the winter months, May-August, can be chilly. Dress for it and the vehicles have blankets. After the sun is up an hour it is fine.

Here's link to Kings Camp bungalow, one of my favs, near Kruger in the private Timbavati reserve.
The room decor is British Colonial, is this your idea of a "classic safari camp"? Or is it a tent and bucket shower?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 10:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Most camps provide extra blankets for cold nights together with hot water bottles.

When you have chosen your camps, why not ask if the tents/rooms are air-conditioned in which case you can set your own overnight temperature. Alternatively, ask about the availability of extra blankets and hot water bottles. I remember that Mashatu provided hot water bottles as did at least 2 mobile operators I have travelled with.

As Tom and Christabir say, the hard part is getting up at 5.30, even though blankets and hot water bottles are usually provided in vehicles.

Happy travels,

Treepol is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 02:22 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
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One of the big attractions of Botswana is that much of ot is WILDERNESS.

The more people demand central heating and aircon and flat screen TVs and gyms in the camps, they less point there will be in going there.

It may seem cold at night, but that is often because it can be very hot during the day, and people do not dress for cool weather.

By and large, Botswana's camps cater for wealthy American and European visitors. They are molly-coddled. They are not roughing it. They are wrapped in cotton-wool, and looked after tremendously well, as Botswana wants to keep people coming back and paying the highest prices in Africa for game viewing.

Hope this puts your mind at rest, but I would put a light-weight set of thermal underwear in your bag if you still have concerns.
mcwomble is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 02:38 AM
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and others like this are very comfortable.

If you choose wisely you will be fine...

Happy Journey,
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 03:00 AM
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We did a camping trip with Masson. Areas in Botswana we passed; Okavango (Moremi), Khwai, Savuti and Chobe.

We HAVE had it cold during game drives in the morning, but that is because you are MOVING. Ic; the wind in your face when you are driving around in the bush. But it's nothing that a good cap and blanket can't fix. Besides, it only lasts the first hour of the morning gamedrive.

In camp, at night, the "cold" isn't a problem at all, not even in simple canvas tents. The provided blankets were enough. We did not need hot water bottles, let alone A/C units, lol.

Please, for the sake of the African wildlife, stay away from places that offer A/C, central heating, etc. It's also better to choose a camp without permanent structures (ic brick walls).


pixelpower is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 09:35 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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pixelpower and mcwomble hit the nail on the head; its all about sitting still while moving with the car and not dressing for the 'cold'.
Sleeping under the covers should be no problem at all.
(when I was hiking in Nepal it was freezing in the rooms i slept, really freezing as in water turning to ice, and still no problem with sleeping. Going to the toilet at night was a bit challenging though and unfortunately you need to go plenty of times at that altitude )

Just pack something to wear in the car before the sun is up and you'll be just fine..
Nikao is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 12:53 PM
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We visited in December which is going into "summer" in Southern Africa and while the daytime temps (both Botswana and Kruger) were hot and humid where we did turn on the a/c, we were fine without a/c for sleeping under down comforters; though a bit nippy when rising at 6am for morning game drives.

The morning game drives and some of those in the evening were downright freezing, whether driving with the wind blowing smack in your face or sitting still watching game. Even though blankets were provided in the vehicles and where we (as well as others) wore thermals, socks, knit caps and even gloves... it's as the boy scouts say "be prepared" especially when visting during the "winter" months down south.
sandi is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 02:30 PM
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Thanks all, for your responses they were reassuring...on with our planning. Just want to know we were making appropriate choices for what we want our trip to be like, for me, and even more so, for my husband, who I affectionately call my delicate flower.
Clearly, we will pack appropriately for the drives and the nights (as well as the days).
lsinden is offline  
Jan 5th, 2011, 06:10 AM
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We self-drove and camped our way through SA, Namibia and Botswana in August (winter!) of 2008. While we endured some cold nights in SA (Kalahari) in particular, Botswana (Moremi and Chobe) was much warmer. When we rose in the morning (~5am), it was lovely and warm. We would put on shorts and T-shirts. As I recall, on one or two mornings I wore a light fleece vest for the first hour. When we retired for the night (~9:30pm), we would still be in our shorts and T-shirts. During the night, we slept (in a roof-top tent) in light PJs under a duvet - no extra blankets and no long underwear. On some nights, we began on top of the duvet because it was so warm. We were surprised by how warm Botswana was in August - we found the nights warm and the days quite hot.

Whatever weather you encounter, the camps will ensure that you are comfortable at night. You will likely find a hot water bottle tucked into your bed when you return from dinner, and there will be plenty of warm duvets and blankets to keep you warm - although I will be surprised if you need either. Take long underwear just to be safe. Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Jan 5th, 2011, 06:46 AM
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As everyone else has said - sleeping shouldn't be problem - game drives is where any chill factor could come into play. I suggest packing a scarf or bandana for each of you to tie around your face during the colder part of the drives. Not only keeps wind chaff at bay, but any little bugs out of your face and mouth.
VeeR is offline  
Jan 5th, 2011, 06:34 PM
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Thanks again! We are certainly reassured by all your comments.
lsinden is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 03:41 AM
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I'm in agreement with the others.

Firstly, overnight, in bed, you'll be fine. Hot water bottles and good quality quilts and blankets mean we have always been toasty warm inside the beds.

Getting out of bed in the early morning is shivery, for sure (we've never stayed in a canvas tent with A/C or heating, nor would we want to) but it doesn't last long and you'll quickly be dressed and warm up.

We always take showers in the midday break, when the sun is warming and dries our hair quickly.

In the cars, people are cold because when one's moving, the cold wind bites. You really need to layer up properly, take proper winter clothing. At that time of year in Namibia/ Botswana/ South Africa I'm packing thick fleeces, windbreaker coat and my gloves, scarf and winter hat. They come off soon enough, within an hour or two of sunrise, but I do need them beforehand. And again towards end of day.
Kavey is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 11:57 AM
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Some (most?) of the camps in Botswana that I've stayed at had heavy wool blankets onboard the game drive vehicle that you could use. They really helped to cut the cold wind.
ShayTay is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 01:10 PM
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ShayTay, I loved the poncho-blankets we were given at many of the Wilderness Safari camps we visited in 2001 - really thick warm blankets with an outside coating of tarpaulin (which was rain and thorn resistant), with hoods made of same.

On our trip in 2004 these seemed to have disappeared...
Kavey is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 02:17 AM
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>> for my husband, who I affectionately call my delicate flower.

Hmmm... Might want to set him up for some foot safaris. So he'll at least come back from holiday as a not-so-delicate flower.

pixelpower is offline  

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