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Camping and caravanning are activities that provide opportunities to relax, enjoy nature and spend time with family and friends in the great outdoors. Unfortunately, as in so many other aspects of our lives, security at caravan parks and campsites has become an important consideration when deciding on a destination.
To a large degree, caravanners and campers are exposed in an unfamiliar environment, trusting that they and their belongings will be safe.
For us, there are mainly two types of security to keep in mind:
The first is the security of belongings when you are absent from your campsite; for example, on a game drive or relaxing next to a resort pool. On numerous occasions, we have spoken to fellow campers, for example in the Kruger Park, who have lost camp chairs or other camping equipment through theft. I do not believe fellow campers are the main culprits, but rather those day visitors or people using other accommodation at the resort that have easy and uncontrolled access to camp areas. How many times have we seen non-campers on a “game drive” through the camping area? At Punda Maria, we once noticed a guy (who was probably crossing the park to or from Mozambique) taking a shower in the camp ablutions, washing his clothes and then having a picnic on a vacant campsite while waiting for his clothes to dry! Access to camping areas must be controlled.
A second security concern is personal safety while camping. Security at campsites is the responsibility of the resort owner or management. They are responsible for campers being safe in their resort – day and night. We have heard horror stories about campers being attacked at their campsite. Out-of-season and midweek campers are especially vulnerable, when there are fewer people on the premises. I cannot see that this problem will disappear, and the only solution is to have proper security measures for the specific resort and situation. Enjoying a good night’s sleep while camping is an important part of the experience.
We have camped at many resorts with good security measures in place, but I suggest that every resort review and every ad placed for a resort contains references to, and an evaluation of, the security measures in place there. I am well aware that it may be difficult for travel writers to do an in-depth study of the security measures in place, but the same attention can be given to it as is given to the condition of the ablutions, resort facilities, etc. With all that having been said, of course campers must also take responsibility for their belongings and own safety as far as possible. Campers are unfortunately not always aware of the area surrounding a resort or the potential dangers they face when exposed in a camping area.