In 2013 we did our first trip with Jesse (5) and Olivia (3) taking them up to the Kgalagadi. Our campsite on the Khiding pan was beautiful with not another person in sight. We had put very strict rules in place for how far they could move from camp drawing a line in the sand as their boundary. They also had to be in view of an adult at all times, so no going behind cars. So Jess gets his spade and starts digging around a tree right next to the braai area. He played for hours there with Livi and our friends son Sven, with their dinky cars and dinosaurs. We thought it was great, being under a tree and in the shade but little did we know.
Later that night my husband took a pee against said tree and not five minutes later THE biggest, laziest and fattest puffadder you could imagine came out of the hole where the kids had being playing!!!!! I still shiver at the thought. Now the rules include no holes at the base of anything!
So here are a few things we now do with the kids camping in the bush:
- Take tape or rope to cordon off the boundary area for them. This is not to keep animals out but to give the kids an end point to the camp area. We just took that plastic traffic tape and would tie it from the car to a tree and back to the car. If no tree we stuck a stick in the ground. When their heads are down and they are involved in play it is amazing how quickly with distraction they can move and unintentionally too. If you don’t have rope or tape then draw a line where they can’t go beyond.
- Check where the kids are playing and digging. In the story above we didn’t realize Jesse had started digging where there was already a hole.
- If you are bush camping with high grass, put all the vehicles in as much of a half circle and then the chairs on the other half of the circle and then the kids to play inside of this space.