The corporate camp fire, fanning the flames of productivity.

Corporate Camp Fire, fanning the flames of productivity…

The Corporate Camp Fire, fanning the flames of productivity

The camp fire is as old as time, mother nature provided the ignition through a bolt of lightning, and those that weren’t destroyed in the scorched result, would seek warmth from it. Since those early times, fire was purely a producer of heat energy (joules) and its purposes were numerous. Camp fires drew people together, not because they necessarily felt like chatting, but because it offered protection. It did, however, avoid those awkward typo’s and innuendos, which lurk as we communicate on WhatsApp today.

Why do we find the camp fire so mesmerizing; a quick google search reveals everything from the bizarre to the ridiculous. Some explanations involved dispelling myths that staring into a fire slows the brain down, others venture quite practical reasons. These include; warmth, the ever-changing movement, and the quite brilliant colours which flash, alive just for a moment, only to disappear into thin air, pushed up and away by another flame.

It was the camp fire, which enabled much communication, both verbal and otherwise, provided the environment for; natural leaders to emerge, and early entrepreneurs to listen to the gripes of fellow clan members, and develop solutions for their frustrations. Nurtures would provide comfort to the distressed, whilst the brave would seek out fresh meat.

It all worked. And so a sense of tribal cohesion was fostered, something modern man has been trying to re-capture ever since. How we have complicated our lives, and now rely on clever corporate games (team building) to achieve what the camp fire did so long ago. Complicated personality profiling is used to identify a sales person from an admin person, a leader from a follower, the camp fire does all of that, and more.

One thing for sure however, is that fire draws us near, regardless of the ambient temperature. The camp fire calms the irritable, soothes the nervous, quietens the noisy, appeases the angry, and when we are all in that transient state, something quite magical seems to happen. We connect with our peers,  not always verbally, but there is a sharing which takes place, and one which we can all relate to, regardless of title. But perhaps it is not just the camp fire alone which achieves this, after all, one could mimic this effect in your backyard, but somehow it’s not the same. The camp fire ends a day which is completely different to most other company gatherings, when in a camp.

It is the real camp fire that can provide this unrivaled corporate result, one which can only really be created at a camp.

Consider the power of the camp fire when planning your next conference or meeting.

Baviaanskloof Accommodation

Baviaanskloof Accommodation

Baviaanskloof AccommodationBaviaanskloof accommodation is sparse and broad in its range of options, and is possibly sufficient to meet the demand for the most part. But, as this relatively unknown gem is gaining acclaim amongst adventure travellers from both within South Africa and abroad, new accommodation options are becoming available.

The Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve is the largest wilderness area in South Africa and spans an area of 500,000 hectares or 5000 km², and is part of World Heritage site known as the Cape Floral Kingdom. In fact, 7 of the 8 biomes which occur in South Africa, occur in the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve. Baviaanskloof accommodation is largely restricted along the main route which runs west to east through the kloof. The rugged mountainous terrain has spared this vast wilderness area from development, owing largely to the logistics required to establish and operate accommodation other than in the kloof valley.

Tourism in the region is also seasonal, and this would probably be another reason why formal Baviaanskloof accommodation does not occur on a wider scale than it does. This is phenomenon is not unique to this area, and the entire country experiences significant seasonal peaks and troughs.

For the most part the kloof is accessible by normal sedan, it will however not be possible to traverse the entire route from east to west, or vice versa without a high clearance vehicle at least. Baviaanskloof accommodation is largely concentrated in the east and west, with a very modest camping options available in within the ECPTA managed section of the kloof. WARNING: think very carefully before deciding to set up camp at either of the two sites within the ECPTA managed section, rogue baboons are out of control, and will cause significant damage to your car, kit and equipment in search of something to eat. And one need not have anything edible concealed to tempt them to rip into tents and bags the moment you turn your back. The park authority suggests leaving your tents open to allow them to rummage through without destroying your kit and equipment in the process. In fact, a recent visit to one of these sites cost us in excess of R45,000 in damage.

Pop-Up Camps SA is excited at the prospect of operating a luxury tented camp within the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve, adding some Baviaanskloof accommodation over the peak demand period from the 15th of December 2016 until the 15th of January 2017. The Baviaanskloof Tented Camp will accommodate a maximum of 20 guests in safari tents, each will accommodate two guests in ¾ beds between crisp linen. The tents include an attached chemical flush toilet and warm water shower. This unpretentious adventure camp will provide tasty home-styled fare, in a variety of locations as the weather permits. Rates are fully inclusive of dinner, bed, brunch, tea, and dinner, with the option of a picnic lunch for those wishing to spend the day exploring the kloof, either on foot or along one of the 4×4 trails.

The camp can be reached from either the west or the east and is;

  • 207km from Knysna, and
  • 184km from Port Elizabeth.

The recommended route is via Uniondale as this will save the lengthy journey through the most rugged parts of the kloof, and from Uniondale, the camp can be reached with a normal sedan.

The Greatest Shoal on Earth

pop-up camps

The Sardine Run

The onset of winter in South Africa causes the cold Atlantic water to push up along the coastline made possible by the southbound warm benguela current losing some of its thrust towards the cape. And it is this cool water channel that nudges the warmer water further offshore and beyond the continental shelf, which will ultimately entice the greatest shoal on earth to make its way toward, what for many will be, a dead end.

During the summer month’s sardines live in deeper cooler water off the coastline, and in smaller shoals, making life more difficult for gannets, dolphins, sharks, whales and number of other predatory fish, which must cover vast distances in search of one of their favourite staples. It is believed that sardines will not move into water above 21 degrees celcius, and not a great deal is understood as to why they gather in the cape in huge numbers, a single shoal can easily number between 500 million and 1 billion individuals, and move in pulses northward along the Eastern Cape coast line.

It is believed that just under half the sardines will return to the cape in spring, and will do so in the cooler water further offshore, as the warm current pushes the cold Atlantic water south again. And at depths which make it nearly impossible to witness.

As we know, nothing in nature happens just by chance and every event has a benefit for something at some time, even if it is at the cost of something else. It is nature’s ability to maintain the balance and ensure the continuance that leaves conservationists and admirers in awe. Some of the beneficiaries of the run are gannets and dolphins, both of which require this abundance of food for their young. In the case of the gannet, the largest population, which number in excess of 200,000 birds live on Bird Island along the Eastern Cape coastline, and 3 months after birth, with enough fat reserves to last 10 days, must learn to fly and fish for themselves. Dolphin calves having suckled for 6 months must also now learn how to hunt for themselves, and unlike the gannets, they will enjoy some coaching from the adults in their pod.

Whilst the reasons for the run may be poorly understood, the result is clearly evident and extremely impressive and causes the greatest concentration of predators on the planet. A shoal or pulse can measure 7km long 3km wide and 30m deep, and in pursuit, dolphins numbering in excess of 20,000 and many thousand sharks, amongst others, feed on the sardines. The aerial assault from the gannets is made possible by the dolphins who work together to isolate splinter shoals, called bait balls, which they heard to the surface before feeding.

Pop-Up Camps SA has secured a magnificent site along the wild coast during the sardine run to provide accommodation for visitors wishing to witness this natural miracle.

Feel free to head on to the Pop-Up Camps page.