“The internet used to be what we did to get away from real life; now real life is what we do to get away from the internet.”- Noah Smith

In Namibia, many people find joy in camping and dedicate weekends to adventures in nature on a regular basis. Sometimes even longer holiday outings of two or three weeks. Tourists and travelers from other countries also see Namibia as the perfect camping destination due to its amazing landscapes, beautiful wide spread locations and unique activities, anticipating the right moment to be ticked off a bucket-list. But why camping? Isn’t glamping and #vanlife the trend and lodging so much more relaxing? In a few paragraphs below I want to enlighten you to the many benefits of camping, which even I didn’t know before. And maybe I can inspire you to finally plan a trip to test that camping equipment you received last Christmas already but haven’t found the time to use, yet.

©Photo by Dominik Jirovský on Unsplash

According to an article in Eureka! Camping, camping is healthy. Being outside in nature, away from the city, pollutants and carbon monoxide emissions, allows you to breathe in more oxygen, which can improve your blood pressure, enhances digestion and boosts your immune system. It is scientifically proven that camping reduces stress, as the physical activities of collecting firewood, setting up the tents, and hiking the Fish River Canyon encourage an active lifestyle. The automatic reduction of environmental pollutants also reduces the development of free radicals in the body, which cause cell damage. Regular camping helps your body to recover from stress symptoms while also reducing the levels of inflammation throughout your system. If that isn’t a good reason to book a camping spot right now…

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Another benefit of camping is that absorbing a healthy amount of direct sunlight through your skin aids in the natural production of Vitamin D and supports the evening out of the melatonin levels in your brain. Melatonin is a chemical that makes you feel tired and in long term can induce feelings of depression. This means, that sunlight and fresh air can improve your mood and make you happy. Of course, one has to be cautious of the direct sunlight, especially in Namibia, and make use of sunscreen, ensure regular hydration and prioritize the protection of the skin. But being out in Namibia’s wild nature will always top sitting eight hours infront of a computer.

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Falling asleep faster is another great and important benefit of camping and sleeping outdoors. Many first-time campers experience difficulties falling asleep during their first night because of the thin mattress and the noises of crickets or wind in the tree branches during the night, but after spending a full day in nature with sunshine, movement and fresh air, the sleep cycle tends to improve drastically. Going to bed earlier and waking up with the rising sun affects the body in terms of a reduction in inflammation, improvements in the cardiovascular system and higher mental alertness. Sleeping outdoors improves the natural circadian rhythm, as the body adapts to the setting and rising sun and is not influenced by irregular sleeping patterns, which are caused by technology and heavy light pollution. A few nights, unbothered by blue light, will feel like someone pushed a reset button for your body and mind. A simple and inexpensive wellness experience that is just waiting to be explored.

©Sahin Yesilyaprak on Unsplash

Trying new activities that are both physically and intellectually stimulating, such as fishing, fat biking,  lighting a fire, or changing a car tire have the greatest effect on brain health, and camping fits both of these criteria, as explained by Kamp Grounds of America.

One of the most important benefits of camping, and a great motivation to start planning your camping trip, is that it assists friends, families, and colleagues in building and strengthening relationships. Spending a few consecutive days at the Chobe River Campsite or at Etosha Safari Campsite with great people laughing and talking leads to the chance to communicate and exchange experiences about various topics, memories and stories without any distractions and often these deep conversations around a camp fire continue until late into the night.

Chobe River Campsite ©Gondwana Collection Namibia

Etosha Safari Campsite ©Judy & Scott Hurd

Camping is the ideal opportunity and reason for every person joining the camping trip to unplug and to  get away from cellphones, computers, the internet, and television screens. Although most camping spots near lodges have charging points and electricity units nowadays, these few days should be taken to commit to a digital detox, and to switch off from the virtual world and rather engage with one another through hiking activities, cooking and braaing, playing card games, or simply reading a book under a tree. Disconnect the WiFi, connect to nature in its purest form.

©Richard Cordones on Unsplash

A very interesting and uprising trend, which acts as a benefit to be considered by all, is solo camping. Many men and women find adventure but also peace, fulfillment, and valuable reflection time in camping or traveling alone. This forms part of a self-care retreat, where individuals find the “me-time” to truly process and ponder life events and thoughts that have been weighing them down, allowing to make the most of solitude instead of seeing the downsides of having no one to travel with. Next time none of your friends want to join in on a camping trip, consider it as a sign and opportunity to find yourself and to use the adventure for some self-loving practice. It might be frightening but it might also be the greatest experience you never knew you needed.

©Steve Halama on Unsplash

Lastly, camping offers you the opportunity to stretch and step out of your comfort zone. Hiking up a mountain, cooking a meal on the open fire, or stargazing to the sound of howling jackals. According to Tyler Wildeck, author of GCI Outdoor, you might just find yourself invigorated by the challenges of nature, and hopefully be inspired to plan more camping adventures and activities in the future. If you find camping to be too much of a hassle and just want to enjoy an already set up camp, then maybe Camping2Go is exactly the right thing for you.

Camping2Go ©Gondwana Collection Namibia

Have these benefits lit a spark in your eyes and caused your heart to beat excitedly to the idea of finally having a reason to invest in some Cymot gear? I hope that I could motivate the adventurer in you, to take your partner or friends by the hands, and to set up a tent under a shady tree at the Kalahari Farm Campsite, to switch off your cell phone, to put up your feet, and to just listen to the sound of nature, inviting you to take deep breaths and to spoil your body, mind and soul to deeply relax. Because you deserve it.

Have you been inspired to go camping? Let us know which is your desired camping destination!

Author –  Hi! I am Elke, a born and raised German-Namibian. I love to travel around and explore different cultures and places, but my home country always magically draws me back home again. Oh, and if it involves food, count me in on the adventure.