There’s a Dettol advertisement on TV in South Africa at the moment in which they are marketing a soap dispenser with a sensor that makes the soap squirt out without you having to touch it at all.  This is to prevent you from catching germs from the dispenser itself.  I ask you with tears in my eyes – just how many people have died from dangerous soap dispensers in their homes?  Aren’t we becoming a little too paranoid about germs these days?

Our travels through Southern Africa have taken us to many different places and we’ve come across ablution set ups that have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous, especially at campsites.  These are great fun though and we never fail to be amused at the creativity of the ablution designers, which tells you a lot about them and their sense of humour.  I don’t mind how whacky and adventurous a loo or shower is as long as it’s clean.  In all the years of camping, there haven’t been many places that weren’t acceptable, although I doubt whether the Dettol manufacturers would agree with me.

Bear with me as I take you on a little tour of some of the ablution facilities we’ve been privileged to use over the last few years…..

Let’s start with this elegant design that we found at the Omandumba campsite in Namibia. Definitely worth wiping with Dettol before sitting on that!  Not your average loo, but at least it has a good plastic seat and the toilet roll holder is conveniently close enough for you to unroll paper from the nail in the ground.

Talking of toilet roll holders, the owner of a campsite near Clarens, in the Free State, surpassed herself when she designed matching arum lily doorhandles and toilet roll holders in the ladies’ ablution block.  How classy is that!

For the adventurous camper there is always the open-air, out-door bathroom.  Sometimes it’s built into the rocks, like this one at Namibgrens.  This one doesn’t have a door, but that’s not the only part that makes you slightly uneasy – it’s the fact that there is a big hill overlooking the loo, so you have to be on the look-out for peeping mountaineers as well.

Or what about this lovely loo overlooking a dry river bed at the Tsauchab River Camp?  Admittedly it’s a private spot with no other campers within miles, but there’s always the chance of a stray hiker following the course of a long-gone river.

The shower cubicle is a bit drafty too, so it’s probably advisable to do your ablutions under cover of darkness.  I can see a Dettol sensor dispenser looking quite neat on this wash basin.

If you get tired of the outdoor stuff and want something a bit more upmarket, then look no further than the VIP suite at Namushasha.  The wash basin comes complete with animal horn to give it an authentic African bushveld look!

Fantastic.  Must tell them about the Dettol dispenser though – that’s if I live to tell the tale because I only use a disgustingly dangerous bar of soap when I wash my hands.



Jane is an avid birder and nature enthusiast, whose deep love for travel, camping and exploring the natural world knows no bounds. Assisted by her nature-loving husband, Rob, a skilled photographer, they form a dynamic duo dedicated to visiting remote and breathtaking landscapes. With their camera lenses as their creative instruments, they capture the beauty of birds and wildlife, all while advocating tirelessly for conservation.

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