If you follow this blog, you’ll know we’ve gone camping twice in Nigeria. Our first camping experience was at Omo Forest Grove and we documented our experience here and here. The second was more of a glamping trip (ie glamourous camping). It was not as crazy as the first as we stayed by the beach in actual cabins. We also brushed our teeths in actual bathrooms and took showers, lol. You can read all about that here. These seven lessons are from the camping trip at Omo Forest Grove, Ogun State, Nigeria.
The one time people thought we were sincerely crazy. How do you go camping IN NIGERIA? Is it even safe to begin with? Well I guess we preferred adventure over safe; and we definitely have zero regrets!
Our camp location,The Omo Forest Reserve, is part of a large 3-in-one work of nature called the Omo-Shasha-Oluwa Forest and cuts across three states- Ogun, Osun and Ondo states respectively. It’s such a huge forest and home to lots and lots of animals- elephants, buffalos, chimpanzees, dukar, several species of birds and more but unfortunately, these animals have been hunted down by locals for many years which has driven them to near extinction/migration. Hidden cameras in the Forest captured several elephants and we missed seeing one by just few hours! Seven Things I took away from camping at Omo Reserve?
LESSON 1: YOU CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT DATA/COMMUNICATION: Every time I’m asked my travel must have, I always say my phone for communication. I thought I wouldn’t survive 24 hours without it. Well, I had my phone during this trip but no communication and I SURVIVED! If you’re ever going to go camping in Nigeria, make sure to find out if you’re going to be able to access the internet or make phone calls. All of my family were dead-worried sick for 24-hours because they couldn’t reach me. If it’s a network dead zone, be sure to say goodbye before you leave home.
LESSON 2: IF YOU’RE EVER GOING TO SLEEP WELL, STOP THINKING LIONS ARE COMING FOR YOU: Well, I didn’t think lions, but I thought snakes!! And they are my most dreaded animals on the planet. I couldn’t sleep all night in my tent. I lay still as a rock, really uncomfortable but couldn’t move because I thought the snakes would sense my movement and come for me. The 30 minutes I got carried away was full of horror; I had the most horrible nightmare. Whew! Too much mind trouble that really wasn’t necessary.
LESSON 3 TORCH LIGHTS, POWER BANKS, WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED?: There was NO electricity at all in that Forest. I doubt if there’s ever electricity in any forest. Well, NEVER go camping without your fully charged torch-light and extra batteries (If it’s a battery-run torch). You may not really need power banks because your phone would hardly be of use anyway but if your phone doubles as your torch, camera and game box, don’t leave this behind.
What else do you need? Pepper Spray, Guns, well I think that depends on where you’re headed for camping and its rules. Pepper Spray is always a good idea though.
LESSON 4 TAKE THE AID, FIRST: I actually meant take the First Aid box. NEVER go camping without an adequately equipped first aid box. There’s always someone who needs paracetamol. Take some bandage, antiseptic wipes, disinfectant, take a full box! Maybe this isn’t part, but make sure you go with your hand sanitizer as well.
LESSON 5 YOUR SKIN ISN’T IMMUNE: This is one lesson I learnt. I’ve always thought my skin was immune to bites and such (and it has actually always proved so) regardless of environment but I was wrong this once. Returned home from camping with lots of bites-turned spots around my ankles. Maybe I should have paid more attention to applying Odomos. When you go camping, be sure to take some repellent with you and some insecticide maybe; and apply them thoroughly on your skin.
LESSON 6 A BONFIRE CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE: Not literally but never underestimate the power of a bonfire. It brings so much life, laughter and fun in the darkness. Plan to sit in a circle round the bonfire; play some music and roast marshmallows. It does feel so good (and scares animals away too :D)
LESSON 7 TAKE ON YOUR THUG LIFE: Reserved the best for the last! When you go camping take off that luxurious mind-set of yours. Don’t expect a proper bath in the morning or a “sweet dreams beautiful nightmare” kind of life. Engage your inner A-R-E-A *in Warri accent*
Are you a fan of the great outdoors? Ever gone camping or glamping? The nomad community would love to read your experience and tips for first time campers! Please leave a comment.
♣”Theraphy helps but so does sitting around a bonfire with a beer and with the people you love and care about” – Country Thang Quotes