Bluerhino

Weather

Is it not going to be hot on the equator in December?

If you stay in Africa or travel to Africa you would have noticed the mention of it being hot. Generally that is true, but it is not hotter than other places in the world per say.

South Africans generally believe that it gets hotter the further north one goes. This of course is not true. Temperatures are determined by a few factors:

  • Proximity to an ocean or lake and the temperature of the water. If you camp next to the warm Indian Ocean it will be warm and next to the cold Atlantic it will be cold
  • Where is the sun at that point in time? in December the sun is tracking on Capricorn over South Africa, it is not on the equator or in the northern hemisphere. thus the hottest places in December is south.
  • What is the altitude? When camping on the rim of the Ngorogoro crater 3 deg south of the equator, you find yourself sleeping under a warm blanket. The Masai wears blankets for clothes, why? Because you are sleeping at 2300m altitude. The general rule is that you loose 1 deg C for every 100 metres in altitude. Thus the crater rim is 23 deg colder than the sea level in the same place.

So will it be hot in December on the equator? The answer is it depends. ~Where will you be? Are you close to a water body? where is the sun and how high will you be?

Heat

Summer will obviously be hotter than winter but again we live in the 21st century we have mechanisms that can cope with this.

During the day you will be in your vehicle and that means air conditioning, so the days are not really a concern. However good sunblock is essential. Also wear lightweight clothing that will dry easily. 

Sleeping is normally the bigger issue, at night it is easiest to use a fan in your tent. Try to avoid 12 volt fans as they are very noisy. I normally suggest 220Volt fans that you run off an inverter. A small 500W inverter would be good enough to run the fan.

When choosing your inverter make sure to try and buy a pure sine wave inverter. You have an option of pure sine and modified sine. Modified is cheaper but produces a synthetic sine wave with square corners and equipment does not like the wave form. Fans are noisy when running on a modified inverter.

If you have an inverter you can also charge cameras and electronic devices.

Cold

Cold is also not too difficult to deal with.

  • During the day it is normally fine to wear shorts  with or without a light scull.
  • During the evenings add a warm jacket
  • When you go to bed, and you have purchased an inverter, you could even take an electric blanket.
  • Hot water bottles and items of that nature will also work

Rain

Yes it does rain in Africa. But also easy to prepare for.

Generally rain in Africa would be in the form of thundershowers and hence last an hour or so and then be gone.

Make sure to have a proper rain parka. A strong plastic that you can pull over your head and that sits loosely over you clothes. A rain coat can also work. Keep it in you vehicle close by for when you arrive at camp and it is raining.

If you have an easy tent then you could wait for the rain to stop and even in the dark pop the tent up and you are good to go.

In the last 10 years I needed to pack up in the rain just a few times. So it does not happen often. We can normally wait for the rain to stop and adjust our departure, however if we need to get going we will have to break up camp in the rain. This is when packing your tent last is very helpful.

If you fold a tent wet, it is not an issue, the water generally stays on the outside of the tent and when you get to the next camp the inside of the tent will be dry. Again if you have a proper rain coat or parka it is not an issue.