How to be a good camping neighbour

2018-10-23 10:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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December is finally here and you and your family have arrived at the book-a-year-in-advance summer campsite in a not-so-quiet seaside town, ready to begin your holidays.

You've set up camp, the beer's in the cooler box and you've just about sagged into your camping chair after a long drive. Relaxation is in your reach.

That is until your neighbours get back from their trip to the beach, and they've started playing Kaptein at full mast from their crackling Bluetooth speakers.

SEE: Bitou Valley Camping: Make Plett's ancient forests your backyard this summer

You may be able to choose who you travel with, but you have no choice when it comes to who your holiday neighbours are.

This might not be such a big issue when you're staying in a hotel or a chalet, but when you're camping - especially in December - you'll be getting to know complete strangers much more intimately than you might want to.

The best way to keep the peace is to be as cordial and considerate as possible, because if you've been friendly the whole time and ask them to turn down their fifth rendition of Wololo, you're less likely to be met with eye-rolls.

ALSO SEE: Road-tripping Mozambique: From camping with wild elephants to watching the sun set over dhows

Here are some extra tips to keep the peace and perhaps make new friends in the process.

A friendly hello won't kill you

The best way to start off on a good foot is just to say hello when you start setting up camp. A quick wave and smile will already cement you in the 'not a douche' category - but be careful not to overdo it. There's 'oh she seems nice' and then there's 'oh no she's coming, hide before she envelopes you in a bear hug'.

Know the difference. 

Respect the campsite boundaries - don't walk through them

Besides gambling with your shins when walking through other people's campsites, no one wants to see you waddle past the front of their tent in your speedo on the way to the pool. Tent ropes are not only to keep them from blowing away, but also to demarcate personal space - respect it.

SEE: 8 SA camping spots for a feral and free spring escape

It's the holidays - be reasonable with noise levels

Don't be that guy that starts twitching at the first note of a slightly louder than usual noise coming from your neighbours at like six in the evening - people want to enjoy themselves and you should too. Obviously there are certain common-sense boundaries, but if you let people have fun then you're more than likely to be invited to join in.

If, however, you're camping in a nature reserve or national park, just leave the loudspeakers behind, or end up being the most hated camper there.

Don't try to light up the whole camp with your floodlights

While you're not wrong for having a few homely luxuries while camping, most people are there to chill by the light of the campfire, and your beaming floodlights shining directly into your neighbour's tent is going to be met with some growing resentment.

SEE: Rooftop vs ground camping: Up in the air or planted on the ground?

Bring enough firewood for emergencies

If you really want to win the award for most popular, bring an extra bag or two of firewood just in case someone comes with hat in hand begging for a few stompies to get their meat braaied. Not only will you save someone from eating dry bread for dinner, you're also likely to get away with your own annoying habits much easier, as well as potential beer as thanks.

The same can be said for having a mattress pump and duct tape you're willing to lend out. It's like having the cure for cancer in a campsite. 

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