Now that we have been bush camping in Australia it made me think back of other bush camping experience that I have gathered through the years in Europe, Africa and North America. There are still many places that I haven’t explored yet.
Did you know that it is not always necessary to travel far for these experiences, they can be right next to your doorstep, even if you live in the Netherlands.
Scandinavian bush camping
In most parts of Europe it is illegal to camp in the ‘wild’. Norway, Finland and Sweden are an exception, they have ‘allemansrätten‘, which translates to the freedom to roam, this basically means that land/nature is not private property and every one has the right to recreate, as long as they do not harm the environment with it.
I have gone ‘wild camping’ with my Swedish friend Kerstin. That was major fun, we arrived by canoe on a tiny island in the middle of a lake where we put up our tent. Only discovering then that we forgot our pins, but finding out that branches work just as well. As long as it is not too windy….
Dutch bush camping
Basically wild camping is forbidden by law in the Netherlands. There are a few designated area’s where it is allowed though, which is something only a very few people know. It is called ‘Paalkamperen‘. That has always been very high on my list, but I have never been able to get the other members of my family enthusiastic enough to join me, since these campsites are not accessible by car.
The campsites of the NTKC in the Netherlands are getting very close to bush camping as well, which we got to know thanks to our Amsterdam friends Dennis and Diana. We stayed at ‘Den Treek’ is Leusden. This is a club with many rules that you have to be a member of, but it is always possible to try it out once. Their slogan is basic camping in nature. Surprisingly ‘rough’ for Dutch standards. In a positive way.
African bush camping
Because of my previous job in the tourism sector I have been lucky enough to stay in several luxurious tented camps in Africa, yes even air conditioned tents with shower and toilet exist. But nothing can beat the feeling of the bush that you get in a basic tent. We went on an overland camping tour through Mozambique, beware of the landmines, and Zimbabwe, filled with wildlife. We have been woken up by lions and elephant calling out on the other side of the canvas. This is when you learn to get really good at not going to the toilet at night.
If you ever get the chance to go fly-camping, go for it! You can sleep right under the stars under a mosquito net in the middle of the bush for a night. This is something offered by more and more in Africa. It can not get any better than that. Do not expect it to be cheap though, this is something offered by the most exclusive safari lodges.
North American bush camping
I have been camping in Canada in Banff and Jasper in my late teens. Although you can definitely find more remote area’s within Canada the bush campsites in the National Park felt remote and huge. Hiding our food in a tree or communal kitchen was a necessity because of the presence of bears. That last hiding space did not turn out to be the best spot, since all our food was gone the next morning. That was NOT a bear.
Three missing continents
So now that I have gathered bush camping experience in Europe, Africa North-America and Australia, there are still three continents missing…. Asia, South America and even on Antarctica it is possible, although I do not think that you can find a bush there.