I spent some time browsing through all the images I managed to capture over many years trying to find a few that I can use in this thread. Taking pictures of the campsite that shows our means of accommodation at the time are few and far between. I could only find two - the first being one of our early trips camping at Balule. Those were the days with the bare minimum to pack and making good use of the table and chairs provided by Sanparks.
Up to our latest addition to our camping equipment arsenal - Roof Top Tent at Pretoriuskop recently.
No photo evidence of the years in between so you will have to take my word for the rest.
Time to confess
Like many campers (I suppose) we started out quite modestly. Younger then and still full of energy we slowly but surely accumulated more and more "essential" equipment. You know, the things you buy at Expo's and visits to shops sporting the latest and greatest in camping conveniences. You seem to spot things that you never dreamed existed and it would make life so much easier when camping. Fold up tables, chairs, cooler boxes and fridges, washing basin stand, porta-potti, clothes hanger for drying towels, stretchers with inflatable mattresses, all the gas-fired gimmicks you can think of (and only use once at home anyway), etc. etc. before you start running out of packing space in the Venter trailer. Don't let me get started on all the 12 volt lighting equipment.
In the mean time the tent pictured above was passed on to the kids and replaced with a canvass version, meaning even more space required. What to do? I bought a large caravan thinking that because of all the built in comfort camping was going to be much easier in the years to come. Pity you cannot see what happened during the very first trip with the Magnificent. What to do with all the accumulated camping gear? Well, we took it along of course. Packed to the rafters you can just imagine the fuel consumption.
At the time we were already quite accustomed to the tent camping idea. We knew that you do not need any gas-fired lights, stoves, etc. etc. because Sanparks provide those at all campsites should you decide not to braai. So we stored the Magnificent for two years and went back to doing the tent camping thing. (we did use the Magnificent three times in total if I remember correctly).
The years seemed to pass rather rapidly. After being retrenched a few years ago we sold the Magnificent and bought a brand new smaller Sprint. Knowing we never again want a shower and/or kitchen as part of the parcel (the smell in confined spaces, hehehehehe) because we are comfortable using the ablution and kitchen facility's so kindly provided by Sanparks. Why oh why did I even bother to purchase the complete tent as well? By now even the porta-potti has found it's way to the kids. Sprint and rally tent it is - two chairs and two small fold up tables are doing just fine thank you.
Now where on earth did that Roof Top Tent come from? Well, you must visit the Kgalagadi at least once in your lifetime and you do need the complete tent extension for the tent because you will be camping at Rooiputs for two nights (we borrowed the porta-potti for this round). We enjoyed tent-camping the Kgalagadi so much we even visited Augrabies on our way back and we recently returned from a two-week trip to Kruger - camp-hopping because of continuous availability. For now it's not a schlep to pack up when wanting to go for a drive. Packing up in the cold wet mornings take some guts, but I grin and bear it.
So, what have I learned? We have tried the bungalows, huts and tented accommodation on a number of occasions, but we just cannot find the attraction after being able to listen to the nightlife whilst lying awake inside our tent. I do not need a 4x4 off-road trailer villa, neither do I need all the luxury that money can buy. Have a look at the various campers and what they think to be the basic cannot do without equipment (just don't try and tell them that they bought junk, hehehehe) and then tell me that I am wrong in saying:-
"I do not want to spent three precious hours when visiting Kruger for a week to set-up all the essential stuff, nor do I want to spent three hours every day preparing every meal"
It took a while to openly admit that I bought lots of junk over the years, but phew! camping is nowadays so much easier than before. Unfortunately I will always have to return to the normal boring "luxury" lifestyle that we are trying to get away from once or twice each year.