Are you camp or glamp?

2014-08-06 12:49 - Karin Schimke
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By now we know that these binary classifications are silly. Yet, when it comes to camping, you can't help feeling that the entire population of the world might fall into one of two, erm, camps: those who will and those who won't.

That is, until "glamping" came along.

"Glamping" is a composite word made up from "glamorous" and "camping", and promises all the excitement and adventure of just plain camping, without the inconvenience and schlepp.

What camping and glamping share

Whether you're camping or glamping, you're going to be sleeping closer to nature than when you are in a brick and mortar building. You're also, most likely, going to be further off the beaten track than if you were lodging at a B & B, or in a hotel.

Since our wide-open spaces continue to be threatened, last chances to live as alongside nature as we can bear without threat to our comfort and safety, must be grasped.

Whether you're camping or glamping, you'll be woken by the birds before dawn, and will be able to enjoy your first cuppa outside in nature's noisy, textured silence.

You'll be able to savour some of the always unexpected delights of being out of the 'burbs: the sense of how small your life really is, delight at realising how big and beautiful outside really is, and - possibly - one or two of those rare authentic moments when you feel connected to everything, including yourself.

But that is pretty much where the overlaps between camping and glamping end.

So, which option should you choose?

You'll like camping if you...

•    really need a break but are cash-strapped - camping provides by far the cheapest way to hop out of your life for a while
•    think that memories are made not just from the place where you holiday, but from the whole shebang of a communal endeavour to scratch out a temporarily habitable spot in the wilderness yourself
•    don't mind shared ablution and kitchen facilities
•    can live with dust and grit
•    think that building things together - campfires, tents - bring people closer to one another
•    want to touch the earth as lightly as possible
•    are a closet anti-capitalist, anti-materialist with an enormous desire to savour life out of reaching point of electrical plugs for gadgets and screens
•    are not averse to trying traditional ways of socialising after evening meals: telling stories and singing songs
•    are undaunted by the myriad bits of work that must be undertaken daily on your camping holiday to keep things organised and clean

You won't like camping if you...

•    would rather chew light bulbs than brush your teeth next to a stranger
•    have never washed the dishes by hand and see no reason to start doing so when you're supposed to be relaxing
•    refuse to sleep on the ground, no matter what paraphernalia has been invented to make it more comfortable
•    have no idea how to make breakfast using gas or how to brew coffee on an open fire - and are unwilling to learn now
•    like to outsource all planning and thinking to people who get paid to make your holiday comfortable and easy
•    have only a short time to go away and can't afford to spend a day's worth of setting up and breaking down camp

You will love glamping if you...

•    love nature, but not so much that you want to sleep with your cheek up against her skin
•    like the idea of cleanliness, a spot of stylish decorating and no obvious departures from normal comfort right in the middle of nature
•    prefer food that arrives fully prepared and plates that get whisked away when you're done
•    detest detailed planning
•    are averse to hours of preparation and packing before departure
•    don't mind sharing small-talk with other tourists over lunches or on game drives
•    have lots of spare moolah

You will hate glamping if...

•    being served hand and foot - and other overt references to the colonial past - make you a bit queasy
•    you would rather buy a return ticket to an overseas destination than pay for three nights in a luxury tent you didn't have to erect yourself

Here are a few camping and glamping sites in SA:

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