Menu mobile

Bush Camping Checklist for a Well-Planned Adventure

Imagine this – waking up in the morning with the dawn chorus the alarm clock, hands tightly wrapped around a steaming hot beverage and then a whole day of watching the antics of all things wild and wonderful. Then ending off your eventful day having dinner while being serenaded by a wild beast of some sort, making his or her presence known not too far off.

This is what bush camping could be like, a thoroughly enjoyable experience. For the old hands, it should be a walk in the park (excuse the pun), but for the novice, it can be a daunting experience. Having a few tricks up your sleeve (this bush camping checklist) can be very helpful when it comes down to setting up camp and surviving in the bush; making it an experience to remember.

Bush Camping Checklist - Relaxing around the campfire

Above: A bush camping checklist can make planning your bush adventure a breeze

1. First aid kit

This is the most important part of your bush camping checklist to go through before you head to the bush. Make sure that the medication, ointment and anything else with an expiry date is still good to use. It's also vital to ensure that you are covered for all eventualities – from bandages for scrapes and burns, to spray, lotions and disinfectants for insect bites, to tablets for headaches and other pains.

2. Tent

For this section of your bush camping checklist, bigger is definitely better. If there are two of you, get at least a four person tent. Always pack at least two waterproof groundsheets, one for under and one for over; and don’t forget a reflecting ribbon or two for the guy ropes to avoid tripping unceremoniously on your bush camp safari.

3. Bush camping checklist for bedding

Instead of a thin yoga-type mattress, invest in a good blow-up mattress that will make for a much better night’s sleep while camping in the bush. Your sleeping bag should be as thick, or thin, as you like. The same applies to the pillow.

4. Lighting

“Look, no hands!” – A headlamp is invaluable as it is compact in size and can be operated whilst setting up your camp, cooking, cleaning and reading. Other portable lamps, like lanterns and flashlights, are also handy. Remember to add a pack of spare batteries to your checklist for bush camping, if the lamps can’t be charged in any other way.

5. Utensil checklist for camping in the bush

Instead of scurrying around at the last minute and inevitably forgetting something, get a storage box for when you go on your bush adventure and fill it up with all the essentials. This should be the usual suspects (knives, forks, spoons, plates, bowls, cups and glasses), pots and pans, bottle and can openers, braai tongs, containers for storaging leftovers, a small camp stove, cleaning aids and anything else you may need to add to your checklist for camping in the bush.

Checklist for camping in the bush -Chatting around the campfire

Above: Chatting around the the campfire and enjoying your bush camping adventure

6. Bush camping food checklist

Most importantly make sure you have enough water for your bush adventure. It can come in handy for everything from drinking to cleaning to cooking. There’s nothing as good as dining Al Fresco style, but without turning cooking outdoors into a challenge so keep it simple.

Get a container to store your dry food items in. Breakfast and brunch can consist of rusks, cereal and of course a good fry-up, consisting of eggs, bacon and toast. For dinner, the traditional braai with accompaniments like ‘pap’, corn on the cob and potatoes wrapped in foil. Also, don’t forget a couple of tinned vegetables (beans, sweet corn), chakalaka, tuna, cup-a-soup, instant mash and something sweet like marshmallows as an after dinner treat.

7. Checklist of miscellaneous bush camping items

There are always those items that you don’t necessarily think of, that should be a must on your bush camping checklist. Some things to remember:

  • Trash bags (to make sure that you only leave your footprints)
  • Toilet paper and tissues (it’s not called ‘white gold’ for nothing)
  • The right camping chairs (for those cosy nights around the fire staring into the ‘bush television’) 
  • Reading material, playing cards and board games (for those moments when you have some spare time)
  • A camera (to make sure you capture every moment)

After reading this bush camping checklist, we're sure that you'll be feeling much more prepared for your next bush camping adventure. If you're planning a self-drive journey into Africa, and are learning about important elements of enjoying a well-planned safari, then perhaps doing a Field Guide course is something you'd be interested in. 


EcoTraining Title: Blog Contributor
Affiliation: Drive South Africa Blog

EcoTraining is a passionate environmentally-conscious company specialising in the training of nature-guides and those with a deep appreciation of the natural world. Courses are run in simple unfenced bush camps in the middle of great wilderness areas where participants get to truly experience what it is like to live in wild places.

View all posts by

Related articles


Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 Pop Top Bush Camper [Video Review]


Etosha National Park camping sites: Stan shares their Namibian highlights


Namibian safari and Camping Tours self-drive routes

Share this article:

1 Response on this page.Add your own

  1. Gravatar Wesley Walford says:

    Thanks for the great post , a good list of everything needed on a bush camp. For me water is vital and rather take to much than to little. For the utensil check list I think this comes with experience and you should have a list that changes/improves each time you go on a bush camp.  One additional thing I would add, if you really are going into the bush and you are going to cook on an open fire is a grid of some sort. If you going to a caravan park not so much but a true bush camp it is easy enough to build a stand with rocks around the fire but you need the grid to cook on. Otherwise where are you going to put that nice juicy steak?

    Wesley Walford

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Comment

Search & Compare
  • Dropoff same as pickup?

Comodo LogoThis web site is secured using a Comodo Digital Certificate.

Drive South Africa accepts all major credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Diners

Rental ConsultantsWould you rather chat to a consultant? Send an email or phone us:+27 87 806 7330

satsa-logo.png The Discover Africa Group is a proud member of SATSA and therefore your rental deposits for future bookings are bonded.

Drive South Africa is a division of the Discover Africa Group.

About SATSA membership.