Posted in Travel

Bush camping on different continents

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.


Mother, wife, explorer and loving the outdoors. We recently moved to Australia, so lots to explore here. We are keeping a blog about our experiences of moving and living on a different continent as a family.

5 thoughts on “Bush camping on different continents

  1. Ich weiß nicht, wie Eisbären auf Zelte von Mitteleuropäern/Aussies reagieren. Ehrlich gesagt, ich würde es nicht ausprobieren wollen. Die sollen ja so neugierig sein. Sehen sie einen Mann im Schlafsack, dann ….. Bleibt besser in bekannteren Regionen zum Campen. Aus Erfahrung: 10 Tage auf Texxel bei Dauerregen im Zelt – das ist auch eine Herausforderung besonderer Art. LG H.-W. und M.-D.


  2. I remember our camping, but I had forgotten about the pins. It was lots of fun! I remember you being slightly shocked by all the mosquitos and I remember myself being terrified that the canoes would tip during the rather windy large crossing over a 11 degree Celsius lake (we wore T-shirt and shorts or something like that… falling into the lake half way could have been cold… very cold). Nostalgia! ☺ /Kerstin

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  3. In Australia you have not really been wild camping until you have been flown by light aeroplane to an abandoned space far from any city or town and with no road access of any kind. You can set up your tent and while eating and singing around a campfire you can hear the dingoes calling in the distance. Most of the time you can worry about whether your aeroplane will come back and if it will be able to find you again, at the appointed time! I take my own aeroplane with me, a 2 seat LSA with electric bicycle. Don’t wander away from your campsite because you may never find your way back! 🙂. Don’t worry about the snakes, they’ll respect you if you respect them. Australia was made for light aircraft.

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