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In this section we discuss caravan and camping resort destinations sorted by province.
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Camping Security & Safety Tips & Ideas

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03 Nov, 2010 @ 16:09:55 pm
Mark
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During the past year I wrote an article for caravan & Outdoor Magazine regarding the touchy subject of safety and security while camping. For those of you who have nott seen it and also for those of us going away in a few weeks time for the Christmas break I include this HOW TO CAMP SAFELY article for your perusal!!! People should not get paranoid about this topic, but should accept crime has become part of the fabric of society. On a recent caravanning holiday to Kruger I was discussing issues of safety with a few neighbouring campers at Lower Sabie and reflected on a recent discussion I had with a friend who owns a home in Marloth Park that adjoins the Kruger Park. I was shocked at the tales of horror about armed house robberies, fatal shootings and other violent acts of crime that had been perpetrated there over the past eighteen months which has left homeowners and visitors virtual prisoners and housebound after dark. Yes this happens on Krugerís doorstep and is an issue that has entered our daily lives and is part of the challenge of living anywhere in South Africa. It is only the stupid and naive who thought that this reality would not creep into the caravanning and camping sites around our beautiful country. This topic is a big taboo amongst the camping community as campers refuse to reflect on the reality of crime that can turn a camping holiday into a nightmare. But during the past four to five years of camping, our family has been witness to numerous incidences where crime has effected and in some cases destroyed the family holiday. It would be unfair to identify the parks concerned as most of them have rigid security protocols, but I can say that I have witnessed camping crime from as near as Hermanus to Knysna and at various other places from here to Kruger Park including an upmarket park in the Lowveld where a group of German Overland Safari tourists were robbed at gun point in the confines of a well known ďsafeĒ park. The mere fact that we are on holiday and ďletting our hair downĒ must not be reason for us to drop out guard and forget about the basics of camping safety and security. What do we do now? Do we now all sell up our camping gear and stay barricaded and locked up at home on our holidays? Hell No ...Definitely not! What we do need to do is become street wise and more responsible when venturing out into the great outdoors. Having been involved in retail and commercial security for a major part of my career I think I am qualified to share numerous tips, hints and ideas that we can implement to make our next camping trip a safe affair. Before you leave home Before you even leave the comfort of your armchair when planning your next trip make sure you enquire if the resort or camp you are visiting has any form of onsite security. You have every right to ask the management about their security arrangements in respect of as guards, controlled access, visitor policy, day campers, fencing , and even ask for a few referrals of past happy clients. The stricter the controls the safer you are. I am not intimating that all day campers are unruly or misbehaved but I have been witness to numerous incidence of drunken and disorderly behaviour that has stemmed from uncontrolled large groups of day campers. Parks that have onsite pubs that allow access to the public are a big No .. No !!! These pubs that draw on the support of outside clientele attract all kinds and sorts like flyís to sticky fly paper. Caravan Security Tips Make sure that all your locks and latches are in good working order and cut a spare set of keys to take along with you on holiday that you can keep in a safe place or in the main offices safe. Donít place this spare set in your cubby hole, pole box or front stowage as that is merely asking for trouble. Many of the locks on the inside of the caravanís are a flimsy affair and donít lock properly or open with a mere bump. I strongly suggest that you look at installing a small slide bolt for extra security especially when camping in the off season when there are not many people around. Try not to take to many valuables with you on holiday however if you really feel the need to take the family jewels and heirlooms along, I suggest that you purchase a small safe from a Makro , Game or Hardware and bolt it through the floor and fasten it to inside of one of your storage lockers. (Use a piece of marine ply on the underside of you caravan body which you bolt the safe through and secure). Another tip is to make a false / fake bottom inside one of your cupboards with a piece of veneered chip board similar in colour to the interior of your caravan that you can remove and place some of your valuables in. As a firearm owner I strongly urge you to Never Ever take a firearm with you unless you are going on a hunting trip in which case you need to ensure that there are safe keeping facilities to lock away your firearms on arrival. Can you imagine the chaos in a camp site if someone startís brandishing a fire arm and discharging? Do you want to be held responsible for the death of other innocent campers, camping around you? I donít think so. A good friend of mine took along a firearm while tent camping at Lamberts bay on the West Coast. He placed the revolver under his pillow inside the tent when he went to bed and upon waking up the next morning the firearm was missing. He reported it to the local police and the firearm was found some six months later in a roadblock on the Cape Flats 300 kmís away. So leave the firearms at home in your safe. Securing Your Campsite The golden rule is to make sure that you camp at a site where there are other campers around you. This is especially important when camping in ďoff the beaten track locationsĒ and places where you have never ventured before or in the off season. Never forget the old saying, that there is strength in numbers. Camping is a communal affair as you share facilities and space, so get to introduce yourself to your adjoining neighbours at your earliest convenience and agree to look out for one another property when the other party is not around. You donít need to live on each otherís doorstep but a gesture of friendliness goes a long way in a moment of need. Also make sure that there is adequate lighting around your campsite. I always leave my outdoor spike light and the communal lights on, as darkness is a criminalís best friend. Should there be any disturbance outside your tent or caravan you will be able to see what is going on, even if it is just the friendly park Tabby Cat stealing your braaivleis left overís intended for breakfast out of the roasting pan. Always make sure that your Flashlight or torch is fully charged and in working order in case you need it. In the off season my wife and I even use the same ablution block just for safety sake. In the event of an emergency or if you or your possessions are threatened the best form of protection or defence is to make as much noise as you possibly can to attract attention of surrounding campers and most importantly camp security. This can be done in numerous ways ie: shouting being the most basic, but I suggest that you purchase a whistle from a local sports shop which you can keep handy in your cutlery draw. Another means of raising the alarm is to keep a hand held Air Horn Canister that can be purchased from any reputable security shop, or a shop that sell safety and marine equipment. This instrument will even wake up the ďDorpísĒ Mayor staying 10 kmís away, when activated. It can also be used in the event of distress when you need help in the event of a medical or other emergency. Keep the car remote close at hand as many vehicles have an alarm mode on the main key, and this to can be activated to raise the alarm and chase off a potential threat. I suggest you enquire at your local dealer or read the vehicles manual for these features. Before turning in for the night it is wise to go through the following routine: Make sure that your vehicle is locked and all valuables are removed from inside the vehicle including the glove compartment also check that the outside stowageís of your caravan are locked. Next you need to do a quick walk about the campsite to make sure that you donít leave any valuables outside and donít forget the wash-line as well. Most importantly donít leave any potentially dangerous items such as an Axe, spade and other instruments lying around as this could be used to harm you in a burglary situation. Remember that the table inside the tent which is notoriously used to dump everything on when returning from a day at the beach or an outing is also not safe. Make sure you secure these inside your caravan or in a stowage box if using a tent. Last year when camping in Knysna over the festive period our neighbours from Pretoria left two cell phones a laptop and their Pajeroís keys on the table inside the caravan tent. Unbeknown to them while sitting around the camp fire with some friends, young thugs from the nearby informal settlement had tunnelled into the camp under the fence. They cut a slit through the side of tent and cleared out the contents of the table including the car keys. This cost my neighbour to have to fly back home to Pretoria in order to obtain a spare set of keys needless to say the cost of his other valuables lost in this ďburglaryĒ. When camping in a tent use a small padlock to lock your tent on the zippers when you go out during the day or even at night when you sleep. I am sure if you reflect on the tips and employ the disciplines above you will greatly reduce your risk to potential criminal activity. There is only one issue I have not addressed and have left that as a closing thought, and that is what you need to do in event of being in the middle of criminal confrontation: Donít resist or attempt to employ Super Hero anticís itís not worth it and the goods these cowards want to steal from you can be replaced over time your life cannot. Happy Hollidays & Safe Camping for you perusal and benefit
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04 Nov, 2010 @ 11:47:20 am
Roy
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Hi Mark, Indeed well-said and about high time these issues are addressed by all involved!Only last week a camping family was attacked near Brits by four men injuring one woman seriously. There is now also opportunity to deliver inputs under category 9 of the forum dealing with resort grading criteria issues of which safety and security is one. Thanks again for your article. Regards Roy
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04 Nov, 2010 @ 15:47:50 pm
W J
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Very true
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05 Nov, 2010 @ 11:20:49 am
Mark
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Thanks Gents I appreciate the feedback. Unfortunately we cannot sit back and think it wont happen to me !!! Apathy and Complacency is not the solution, it is being involved and concerned and taking a stand for what is right and in our own best intrest. Kind regards Mark
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08 Nov, 2010 @ 07:18:43 am
Dick
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About three years ago we also had bad weekend in the Brits area, reporting the case at the police station was even worse that the robbery, they where totally incompetent. Two days after the robbery they called me and wanted to know why I left the seen of crime. I really think this needs attention. Dick Strachan
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15 Jul, 2022 @ 16:36:56 pm
BrianB
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I have a portable alarm which I can attach to one of the tent poles with a clip on and arm remotely. The alarm (PIR) as well as the pole attachment can be removed and placed on any of the poles where I deem to be convenient at each camp site depending on which wall I erect.

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15 Jul, 2022 @ 17:16:03 pm
Butts
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I have a portable alarm which I can attach to one of the tent poles with a clip on and arm remotely. The alarm (PIR) as well as the pole attachment can be removed and placed on any of the poles where I deem to be convenient at each camp site depending on which wall I erect.

Ellies had such a battery operated portable product with a remote to activate/deactivate but it seems they have stopped manufacturing it.   I have been looking for something similar but it appears to be a needle in a haystack.

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15 Jul, 2022 @ 17:35:08 pm
HM
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There are some nice systems available at Takealot depending on how much you are prepared to spend. 

I bought one that had 3 PIR's 3 magnet sensors for door and windows, a loud horn, a keypad to program it and two remotes with panic buttons. All for R1000. Most probably a bit more expensive by now. Cannot remember the make as I sold it with the van. Never gave false alarms.

The Happy Campers.
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15 Jul, 2022 @ 19:40:45 pm
BrianB
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Ellies had such a battery operated portable product with a remote to activate/deactivate but it seems they have stopped manufacturing it.   I have been looking for something similar but it appears to be a needle in a haystack.

 

I also had the Ellies one previously but eventually it gave up the ghost.

Digitech Wireless alarm got it from Game also has two magnet switches which can be used either as an alarm of a door chime. R599.00 https://www.game.co.za/DIY/Home-Security/Intercoms-%2526-Alarms/p/000000000000681182

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18 Jul, 2022 @ 05:07:36 am
Relaxed Camper
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Ek het so een gekoop by Menlyn vir R99.....werk heel okay, geen vals alarms ervaar nie

WAARSKUWING:

Kampeer is aansteeklik en verslawend ūüėĀ
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