Are you looking for some inventive ways to keep adventurous during the COVID-19 lockdowns?
Here are 16 ideas to help you make the most of this difficult time and keep up your outdoor connection while you're stuck at home.
1. Set up a tent and camp in your garden tonight.
It might not be the Great Outdoors, but it's still the outdoors and during a lockdown, this might be the best way to feel like you've had some time out the house. All you need is a tent and a sleeping bag and you're good to go.
2. Create an open-air cinema.
Going to the movie theatres might be out for the next few weeks, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a big screen experience at home. Find a wall or hang a sheet and voila - movies outside.
3. Go birding in your garden.
Now is a great time to get to know the birds that visit your garden. Buy a bird guide (Roberts is a great book option, or download an app like Sasol eBirds) and see how many birds you can identify in your backyard. Take it one step further and see if you can learn to identify them by call too. Maybe you could even try to call a Narina Trogon?
4. Make a meal on a fire.
Cooking in the kitchen getting a bit much? Now might be a great time start cooking and eating your meals outside. Here are a few easy and delicious campfire cooking recipes you can try.
5. Download a star app and go star gazing.
When last did you sit outside and look up at the stars? Download a star app (This is one we use all the time), choose a cloudless night (moonless would be even better) and start exploring...
6. Make a nesting box for birds in your area.
For the practically inclined outdoorsmen and women, this might be a great time to get to some outdoor projects. One great project is building a nesting box for endemic birds in your area. They're pretty simple to make and can be very rewarding if a feathered friend decides to set up home in your creation. Here's some instructions on how to build a nesting box for a Barn Owl.
7. Learn how to start a fire without matches.
Knowing how to start a fire is a great outdoors skill to learn. Now might be a good time to get some practice in. Check out this video for some tips on how it's done.
8. Make a piece of art using only things found in your garden.
Either use a natural subject as your inspiration, or even as your medium for creating something that will connect you to the natural world. Check out artist Chris Kenny's work with twigs for some inspiration.
9. Listen to soundtracks of natural settings while you work or when you relax.
Gentle river streams, the wind through the trees, waves lapping up on the shore… Listening to the sounds of the outdoors as a backing track is a great way to keep up a connection with nature while you're cooped up in your home.
10. Make a bird feeder for your garden to attract local birds.
Attracting birds to your garden and listening to them call throughout the day is an awesome way to bring a bit of the outdoors in. Plus, it's better than watching TV. It can be as simple as seed scattered in a nice spot, pieces of fruit laid out on a table or you could try your hand at making this feeder for nectar-eaters.
11. Read an adventure biography or listen to adventure podcasts.
If you can't get out physically, then at least take your mind on a wander outdoors through the stories of adventurers that inspire you. Here are some adventurers who inspires us: Alistair Humphreys, Kingsley Holgate, Grant Christie.
12. Climb a tree.
One of the purest and simplest forms of contact with nature one can do – and who doesn’t like to climb a tree?
13. Learn to identify the trees in your garden and label them.
This is a great way to feel more connected to the other living organisms that share your living space. Use a tree guide to learn how to identify trees and then label them once you know.
14. Plant some seeds.
Possibly one of the simplest and most exciting things to do is wait for seeds to sprout and grow. You can try your hand at anything - growing seeds from seed packets or even from fruit and vegetable waste. You might be surprised at just how well some of these plants do!
15. Make a solar still to collect water naturally.
Water can be collected and distilled in several ways, from solar stills that remove the salt from seawater to condensation bags that draw water from plants. Knowing how to get drinking water is a great survival skill and one that gives you a real appreciation for our reliance on this basic element of life.
Here are some in istructions on how to build a basic one at home:
You could also try building a water filter from natural materials:
16. Use the down-time to plan your next big adventure.
The lockdown isn't going to last forever, and we're guessing that once it's done you'll have an even greater appreciation for the freedom of the outdoors, after being cooped up inside for so long. Why not use this time to plan your next road tripor outdoors adventure? South Africa has some incredible national parks in every province, or you could tackle a self-drive route through the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal.