21 Aug Room with a View : Camping in South Africa
We backed our 4×4 truck as close to the chain-link fence as we could reasonably justify. We were in Kruger National park, setting up camp at a popular watering hole that sat just a few feet from us.
After two weeks on self-drive safari, we had mastered the art of setting up camp in dusty African parks. We immediately fell into routine: Aaron dropped the ladder leading to our pop-up tent. I unlocked and opened the storage areas in the bed of the truck, then climbed up the ladder and extended all four awnings, stuck thin metal bars in their slots to hold them up, then unfolded the thin mat that functioned as our bed.
As I zipped up the screen on the last window, Aaron was finishing lifting all of our storage boxes from the truck. Just as I popped my head out of the tent, he tossed up our pillows and blankets. I flattened the blankets and placed our pillows while Aaron set-up the folding table and chairs below me. Done.
At the beginning of our trip, this process took us 20 frustrated minutes. A couple weeks in, and 28 setups and breakdowns later, we could construct our entire campsite in just under four minutes. A small but oddly satisfying feat.
This night in particular was one of my favorites from the entire safari. The watering hole behind our truck attracted a constant stream of wild animals; herds of elephants and buffalo, common tsessebes, hyenas, and wildebeests. I laid in our tent with my head propped up on pillows, watching extended families of elephants fight over the muddy pit while other stray animals wandered in to for a reprieve from the heat. The fading sun set the perfect scene to capture some of my favorite photos. This was easily one of my favorite views from the entire trip.
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