Sometimes called a ‘safari shower’, a bucket shower is a traditional way of showering in the bush. Bucket showers are usually found in small tented low-impact camps or mobile camps and fly camps without access to permanent plumbing for running water. Camps with bucket showers are often in really fabulous wild and beautiful areas.
The small tented camp set-up
This varies from camp to camp but you usually have a lovely tented suite for living/sleeping, with an ensuite indoor/outdoor bathroom. Open air bathrooms/showers have canvas/reed sides up to shoulder height for your privacy and protection.
Tented camp bathrooms offer a flush loo, at least one sink and a shower. Filtered drinking water is provided in recycled bottles and is replenished by the camp team for you. Fly-camps are more basic – please see the fly-camping blog for details.
How does a bucket shower work?
Some of our favourite camps have bucket showers -it’s all part of the barefoot bush experience and for most of us, a lovely change to our usual showering routine!
Bucket showers are very easy to use.
Some camps employ an actual modified bucket with a shower head on a pulley system, although it is more common to have a large waterproof canvas bag fitted with a rainfall style shower head on a pulley. The bag or bucket is suspended over a wooden shower grate.
Water is heated by solar power (or charcoal) to a comfortable showering temperture. Water heated by charcoal has a distinct aroma! The team fill the bucket for you and let you know when it is ready. There is a simple tap/lever that you turn to make the water flow. Buckets vary in size – from 20-40 litres. The best tactic is to turn off the water while you soap up or wash your hair and then turn it on again to rinse. A 40 litre bucket provides plenty of water for two people showering in this way.
You can request a bucket shower as needed, although the team will normally discuss your requirements and suggest a time for the shower to be ready for you – often after the evening game drive, before dinner. It is always best to use the shower straight away while it is lovely and hot, and usually only once a day in the interest of the environment.
In very hot weather you might prefer a cold bucket shower!
Not all tented camps have bucket showers. Some have permanent plumbing and running hot/cold water so please do discuss your preferences with us. You will also need to consider your carry-on luggage and minimising your wardrobe to save washing and water.