Setting Up A Camp

It is understandably difficult to imagine the detailed planning and execution which precedes your arrival at a mobile tented camp, so we thought we would describe the process of setting up a camp. The process begins and ends with the client; begins with a brief, and ends with feedback. For us, feedback being the most important, and is the only measure of success and satisfaction.

Most of our client briefs come from organizers, who have pretty much done it all; every urban conference venue, hotel, lodge, resort, or even ship, and are looking for something DIFFERENT. It certainly takes a client who is willing to step off the event treadmill to consider engaging the services of a mobile tented camp operator. More often than not, the uniqueness of a mobile tented camp is the trigger, followed by the customizing options that a camp presents. Setting up a camp is not a cheap exercise, and we hope that what follows will provide some value substantiation.

Setting Up A Camp – The brief.

Whilst critical, the brief is never complete, or even clear first or even second time around, and it does take some revisiting as we get closer to joining the client on the same page, as it were. This is simply because it takes a little while for the client to understand just how many options and add-on’s are available when planning their very own camp. Typically briefs fall into one of two categories; clients who like the idea of a camp and have no particular location in mind, and clients who have a specific location mind.

Mobile tented camps can be established almost anywhere, having said this, proximity to a; drinkable water source, electricity point, sewerage and refuse waste disposal point, and access, all contribute to the costs to a greater of lesser degree.

Setting Up A Camp – Site Inspection.

By the time a site inspection is required, the brief is clear and complete, and the camp is going ahead. The inspection is intended for the mobile tented camps’ crew to familiarize themselves with the ‘lie of the land’ or in the case of a location that we have used before, an opportunity for the client to visit the proposed location. Either way, we will describe the anticipated layout of the accommodation tents, central area tents, back-of-house area, and crew camp.

Setting Up A Camp – Planning Stage.

Regardless of when the camp will be required, planning begins immediately, especially if authorization or permits are required. The sections covered are as follows;
1. Weight and volume of kit and equipment required for the camp is followed by transport confirmation.
2. Infrastructure plan – the layout of water and electricity distribution and service lines.
3. Identifying emergency assembly point, and nearest medical care facility.
4. Catering requirements.
5. Local procurement opportunities in respect of supplies and labour are defined.
6. Establishing a communication forum between Mobile Tented Camps and client, and third party service providers appointed by the client.

Setting Up A Camp – Activation Stage.

Typically activation begins 7 days prior to departure. Kit and equipment is drawn stacked for packing. Weight distribution is critical to avoid unwelcome fine en-route. Transport time varies from location to location.

Setting Up A Camp – Set Up Stage.

The first day on site is used to establish the crew camp and store tents, and when the site is in a dangerous game area, an electric fence would have been installed by an advance crew. A further 3 to 10 days is required to set up the guest camp.

Setting Up A Camp – Guest Stage.

The camp set-up is complete and signed off one day before guests arrive in camp. The program of activities commences according to the pre-agreed itinerary, During the guest stage all hands are allocated the servicing of tents, particularly providing warm water at shower times, and the cleaning of toilets. Guests are always surprised at the quality of meals that can be freshly produced from kitchen tent, and for the duration of the camp, the kitchen is busy 24 hours a day.

Setting Up A Camp – Break Down Stage.

A simple reversal of the set-up stage.

Setting Up A Camp – Clean, Repair and Store.

The process of unpacking, cleaning, repairing and storing kit and equipment commences the day after returning to the warehouse. This process typically takes between 3 and 7 days depending on the size of the activation.

Setting Up A Camp – Client Feedback.

A week after departure of the guests, we typically request a client assessment. This assessment forms the basis of our crew debrief, and given that each camp is unique, each on provides invaluable learning opportunities.

Setting up a camp is a detail intense process, there is nothing worse then arriving on site and finding out that something has been left behind! However there is nothing more satisfying than happy guests.