There’s something soothing about outdoor showers. The freshness of the open air. The simplicity. The connectedness to nature. I’m not talking about bucket showers on rustic camping trips, but conventional showers that are outdoors. But what makes it special? To start, it must have warm (I prefer hot!) water to last long enough to enjoy the view.
The best outdoor showers have beholding views. Perhaps of the bush (like at Honeyguide Ranger Camp in Entabeni), or with a chance to spot wildlife while you soap up (a bushbuck kept me company for a while at Rhino Post Lodge in Kruger). Some have the best of both. At the unfenced Mhlangeni Bush Camp at Ithala, which is positioned on a hillock, each of the three bathroom (and loos) have amazing views of the Ncence River valley. You may end up longer in the shower than you intended while looking for wildlife. Some showers can be large, like the showers in a garden like setting at Kosi Forest Lodge, beneath the shade of large trees, complete with stepping stones and an outdoor bath tub.
Showering outdoors need not be daunting. The best ones are enclosed at least up to shoulder height to ensure privacy without compromising on the views. There’s the shower at the Elandsberg cottages in Tankwa Karoo National Park – not quite outdoors, but the large glass windows ensure an unobstructed view of the plains and hills. The oddest outdoor shower I’ve come across was at Sunbird Cottages in the sleepy town of McGregor. You have to exit through the front door of the cottage to get to the shower in a corner of the garden. Passers-by on the street may look strangely at you seeing you wrapped in a towel, but at least you’ll be looking fresh.
The weather and time of day also determine how enjoyable an outdoor shower is. A shower under the moonlit sky and beneath a canopy of stars was great on a summer evening in the Waterberg, as it was en-suite. But when your shower is isolated from your room at an unfenced camp in a game reserve, you’d probably want to skip the evening shower. I also discovered at Taleni Village outside Etosha, Namibia, that you really have to brace yourself to be able to shower outdoors at the crack of dawn in winter.
For the most part, outdoor showers can add to the relaxation. Do you have any favourite spots to share?