Camping under the stars, sipping an ice cold drink next to the camp fire, eating juicy chops, boerewors and salad and listening to the gentle sounds of  birds and flowing water – what more could one ask for as a most relaxing holiday! We go camping in the Cederberg at the end of every year for 1 – 2 weeks. It is a chance for us to unwind and escape from the demands of everyday suburban life (and the telephone).Jamaka campsite This will be our 7th year in a row that our family and some friends camp at Jamaka Organic Farm about 5km down from the Algeria campsite. The Nieuwoudt-Farm produces citrus, mangoes and rooibos tea organically. There are 7 fully equipped self-catering cottages among the orchards and numerous campsites next to a gurgling brook. There are numerous hiking trails in the area, waterfalls and Bushman painting sites.Rooiberg - lovely hikes

This year we shall be 12 people on 2 campsites. The sites are large so there is plenty of space for tents, cars, recreational and ‘bush kitchen’ equipment. This is the list of our equipment:

  • Camping equipment: tents, tent poles, tent pegs, mallet, shade cloth groundsheet, awning, awning poles, awning pegs, camping chairs, tables, washing up table,  extension lead, electric multiplug, gas bottles, paraffin lamp, paraffin, gas plates, gas lamp, extra filaments, gas bottle key, washing line, axe, braai grid, braai spade, potjie pot, tripod stand, 5 litre water cooler, camping deep freeze, cooler box, ice bricks, charcoal, wood, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, mattresses, mattress pump, tabard, citronella candles, toolbox, spare car keys, compressor, tow rope, jumper cables, First Aid Kittent
  • Kitchen equipment: matches, wash up bowl, kettle, jug, pots, salad bowls, salad servers, cutlery,knives, cereal bowls, plates, paper plates, jaffle iron, glasses, cups, mugs, washing up brush, washing up cloths, washing up liquid, hand washing powder, drying up cloths, pegs, braai tongs, tin opener, scissors, chopping boards, colander, grater, bath plug, potato peeler, toilet paper, paper towel, wooden spoons, tin foil, cling wrap, small containers, black bags

Food is a major part of being on holiday, catering for everyone’s tastes and preferences.  When we go away with friends, we cater for our own breakfasts and lunches and only share the evening meal. A menu needs to be planned as the nearest shops are more than 25km away. Our supper menu this year is:

Cooking outdoors

Outdoor Kitchen

Day 1: chicken braai, baked potatoes in tinfoil, coleslaw and fresh rolls. Toasted marshmallows for pudding.

Day 2: spicy chicken potjie with potatoes, onions, carrots, peaches, peas, mushrooms and rice

Day 3: fish braai, couscous salad, garden salad, homemade braai bread and jam

Day 4: lamb knuckles potjie with bacon, potatoes, onions, carrots, beans, mushrooms, peaches and rice

Day 5: chicken pasta with red, green, yellow peppers, mushrooms, cream, parmesan and a garden salad. Peaches and custard for pudding

Day 6: ribs, chops and sausage braai, potato salad, garden salad, curried corn salad, braai bread and jam. Toasted marshmallows for pudding.making a fire

Day 7: chilli con carnie using mince, red kidney beans on baked potato, braaied butternut and gem squash in tinfoil. Fruit salad and custard for pudding.

Day 8: spaghetti bolognese with mince and topped with cheese. Garden salad using the last of the fresh produce.

What we all look forward to is:  catching some sun, swimming in clear mountain water, early morning walks, drawing and painting,  playing board games with friends and reading, reading, reading.

Click on the photographs below to enlarge.

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Tell us about your camping experiences – where do you go, what do you take with you, and what do you like to eat when camping outdoors.

Scott and Julie

Michael Sparkes from Simply Hike/Camp Equipment Company in the UK adds:

Why has family camping become so popular in the UK?

Since the recession hit, people haven’t been able to afford holidays abroad. It is because of this that many families are packing up their tents, collapsible chairs and gas cookers and venturing to different camping spots all over the UK to soak in some areas of natural beauty. Camping trips are cheap and cheerful and are a great chance to be “at one” with nature. Another plus for camping families is the bonding time you get to spend with your loved ones, there’s something more satisfying when you have to cook your own food, gather kindling and slave away trying to get a fire to start, yeah you’ll be huffing and puffing whilst dad gets on he’s old man knees and spends what seems like forever to get it started, but it’s totally worth the wait.

There are some amazing areas of natural beauty in the UK, and some of them are famous for their picturesque views and stunning landscapes. However, some come as a bit of a surprise and even the most hardened of campers will appreciate some of the spectacular parts of nature which aren’t too far from even the biggest of cities. If you’re unsure of where to go with your tent, why not try these places:

·       Cornwall – A beautiful area bordered with exquisite beaches and beautiful countryside, Cornwall is a great place to take the family for camping. From the buzz of Newquay in peak season to the tranquillity of St Ives on a summer’s evening, it is an ideal holiday destination.

·       Warwickshire – A county steeped in history and culture, it is not only a great place to sleep under the stars, it is also rich in activities for the daytime – visit the butterfly farm in Stratford Upon Avon, visit Warwick Castle to soak up some historic knowledge, or hire boats for a day on the water!

·       The New Forest – The New Forest itself is a huge area virtually untouched by humans apart from those that walk or cycle through it. A perfect place to ride horses or have picnics, this is Hampshire’s little gem.

·       The Lake District – Hire a boat and sail around one of the many lakes, go hiking, visit the many quaint towns and villages or even go canoeing, fishing or swimming. The west coast of Cumbria even offers beautiful beaches for those who want to relax on the sand.

Each camping location across the UK will be able to offer you and your family something different to do. Outdoor activities are an ideal way to spend some quality time with your loved ones and have lots of fun too. Of course, weather in the UK isn’t always pleasant so make sure that you plan plenty of indoor activities too – even if this means staying wrapped up in your tent and playing a card game! Here are a few suggestions which might whet your appetite for adventure:

1.     Light a Campfire

2.     Go Fishing

3.     Do Some Stargazing

4.     Go for Walks

5.     Visit Local Places of Interest (Museums, stately homes, castles, landmarks or maybe even forests!)

6.     Go Swimming (this will depend on weather, location, and whether there actually is somewhere to swim!)

7.     Go on a Bike Ride (you could hire or bring your own)

Camping is great because it is simple – so enjoy the simplicity and start exploring the great outdoors!

This post was written on behalf of Simply Hike the online camping equipment store.