How Africa steals your dignity

Whenever you think of Africa and going to the toilet, you probably think about awful long-drop toilets that stink with flies swarming around and you’d be right…some of the time. For the rest of the time, when overlanding, you’re going to be using a totally different kind of toilet that looks a lot like this:

Namibia landscape

My toilet in Africa

Imagine this. It’s your first day on the open road and you see a town on the left in the distance, when the truck pulls over. Your guide opens the door and shouts ‘toilet stop’, only for you to see nothing but the landscape and the cars driving passed. Talk about a wake up call.

Now, for the men, this is a no-brainer. You find a fence or tree, unzip your trousers and get going, all whilst checking out the landscape and having a bit of a chat with your ‘neighbour’. For us women, it’s a whole other ball game!

You have to find a bush big enough to hide behind, make sure you aren’t near or facing either the men or the road AND make sure the wind is in a good direction or you won’t be coming back on the truck with dry clothes! That’s A LOT to think about isn’t it?!

Now imagine the logistics of that when the truck is predominantly female…it was hilarious in a ‘we have just skipped the first date and gone to third base with the amount of skin I’m seeing’ kind of way! Women, all in a line with their butts facing the road, getting semi-naked on the first day and peeing next to each other; we went from strangers to friends in a single pee-stream 😀

Thankfully, on occasion when we stopped for lunch, our toilet was pretty nice:

Namibia landscape

My covered toilet

And I could hide from my groupies…

Namibia landscape

They can't see me pee =)

And before I knew it, we were so comfortable peeing outside that when the long-drop toilets looked just too wrong, we went outside the building instead. Yeah, we were classy ladies!

There were, however, some mishaps along the way made by myself and others so take note:

  • Before you start peeing; check the wind direction. If it’s against you, guess where the pee is going to be blowing into. Yep, you!
  • Likewise, spread your legs (I’m sure MANY men will say that to you over your lifetime…ignore them lol) because the last thing you want to do is start peeing only to get ‘splashback’. I can tell you now…it’s not a good look, feel or smell (have the wet wipes at the ready) haha
  • If you’re wearing shorts/trousers, don’t pull them down to your ankles because, well, where do you think you’ll be peeing?! Take them to your knees and stick your butt in the air.
  • Wear clothes that are easy to remove so shorts and skirts, yes, playsuits and maxi-dresses, no.
  • As long as the bush/grass is knee length (and you have good strength in your legs) you should be able to pee with good cover
And when all of the above fails remember this:
Everyone’s been through it, you’re in Africa (woohoo) and most things can be helped with a baby wipe 🙂

Leave a Reply

18 comments

  1. Jen

    LOVE THIS POST! Can you believe I’ve never squatted in my life purely because every time I try I get stage fright!! I’m sure if I was in Africa that would be knocked out of me immediately xxx

  2. Jen – 🙂 Trust me, even when I was ‘praticed’, it only took someone to walk around a bush and surprise me and I got stage fright 😀 haha You definitely stop caring about your dignity pretty quickly though…especially when you’re desperate 😀

  3. Deej – For the pure fact that you’re a man, I hate you 🙂 haha. I was so jealous of the guys!! Glad you enjoyed the post!

  4. MzansiGirl

    Love the freedom of a bush pee – the cool breeze on your tush, the slight hint of fear of not knowing if there’s a snake or animal in the bushes around you… I love Africa!

    I also find that wearing a kikoi / sarong helps, much easier than pants/ shorts – thats why so many African women wear them…

  5. It’s one thing to pee outside (had to do that on my roadtrip) — it’s another to pee RIGHT BESIDE SOMEONE 🙂 My friend Nicole had never had to go outdoors before and wanted me to show her the proper stance…we ended up peeing beside each other at night and that certainly takes your friendship to a new level! HA! Glad the ladies were able to bond on your trip from the start 😉

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  6. Merushka – haha we often what animals were around us at the time…we were ready to run 😀 Thank you for the tip about the sarong too – that’s very helpful!

  7. Heather – I know that men always joke that ‘women always go to the toilet together’ and we usually do but to actually have women weeing together? Well, that’s a whole other joke haha. I bet your friend Nicole got a bit og a wake up call 😀

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  8. oh yep! Remember those squatting stories. Have heaps of them. Love your instructions. Found myself nodding my head and giggling

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  9. Caz – I think EVERYONE has a squatting story haha. Glad you enjoyed the post Caz 🙂

  10. Toni, I am so glad I found your blog and I have been laughing constantly, especially at this post!!

  11. Dayna – Well it’s lovely that you found me =) And I’m glad that I’ve managed to make you chuckle 🙂

  12. I’ve been girding my loins for this experience – I leave for Tanzania in 3 weeks. Only had to deal with the group great-outdoors pee once before, in the Arabian desert. We had some wonderfully convenient rock formations to help and hide us though.

    Oh wait- then there was the Inca trail. Ever done that? No f’ing bushes on the trail for all of day 3, so I didn’t drink anything until 1 hour before the lunch and dinner stops so I wouldn’t have to go. Major altitude migraine to the point of memory loss from that stupidity. And I’m old enough to know better. Ugh.

  13. Kate – Oh I’m so jealous that you get to go to Tanzania – it was definitely my favourite country of the whole trip; how exciting for you! Oh dear – the Inca trail has a bad reputation for this it seems…I met a girl in Africa who had done the trail and she said that almost their entire group had diarrhoea for the whole trek…not nice at all and they definitely lost their dignity :s You didn’t sound like you had a much better time yourself – yikes!

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  14. I completely understand now. We got to the point where we blatantly would just line up at the back of the bus squatting down side by side (3 would fit nicely) and just pee beside each other. Lol.

    Or how bout the short drop in the Okavango? we had to go to the toilet WITH someone at night too! One of the girls who went with me “don’t worry, if you have to shit… no problem!” lol

    Dignity (what little i had left anyway) = Stolen. Thanks Africa.

    PS LOVING THE NEW LAYOUT! 🙂 GORGEOUS!

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  15. Mel – haha yes I knew you’d get it once you were out there. Peeing next to each other really is the best way to ‘get to know each other’ so quickly 🙂 Oh don’t get me going about the short drop in the Okavango haha. There is literally no hiding from each other! Thankfully I never had to poop in front of someone else; that was definitely a blessing! Africa’s worth it through isn’t it?! 😀 And glad you like the layout hun!!

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  16. LOVE IT!!! I’m a tour guide in Australia and give my passengers a similar talk…. wind direction isnt something i had though about but will use in the future… you may get a laugh from this… its me… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlEZyPwryQE

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  17. Simo – your video is hilarious!! Love the ‘worker’ position 🙂 Oh the memories haha