Jambo: From African dream to the best campsite in Denmark
In 1964, the first sod was cut on a deserted piece of land in the middle of the woods, close to the North Sea. It was to be the beginning of a camping adventure that still flourishes today. But the dream and the plans began somewhere else entirely; on a farm in Tanzania.
The Matzen family had returned home after many years in Tanzania, where Bitter and Anders Matzen ran a farm. They grew Pyretium plants that, after processing, were turned into oil used for insect poisons.
During the stay, the Matzen family was increased by three children and when it was time for them to start school, the family decided to return home to Denmark. In Denmark. Camping was becoming a popular way for city families to spend their vacation, and Anders Matzen decided to find the perfect place to establish his own campsite. He scoured the country and finally chose 23 acres of land by Saltum Strand. Until then, the land had been inhabited by three sheep and an ill-tempered ram that terrorized everything and everyone in the area.
The campsite had to have a name – and it had to be original. The natural choice was “Jambo” – the word that the family had greeted people with for years. You see, Jambo is Swahili and means “Hello – welcome”. From the very beginning, the underlying value of Jambo was that it should be a place that stood out and where everyone should feel welcome and at home. It ran smoothly for the Matzen family and Jambo Vesterhav Camping. The campsite fast became one of the most popular in Denmark, and families from Scandinavia and Germany frequently visited Jambo. Even then, activities for children were emphasized, and, among other things, the innovative Anders Matzen was the first in Denmark to build a swimming pool on a campsite.
In 1989, Jambo, along with other forward-looking campsites, founded the TopCamp chain with the purpose of improving the standards of Danish camping. In 1990, Jambo Vesterhav Camping attracted attention once again by erecting the world’s largest tent peg – setting a Guinness World Record. The tent peg can still be seen on the campsite. High quality was also an important focus at Jambo.
In 1996, the Matzen family sold Jambo to a new, enthusiastic family; the Egelund family. Karsten Egelund had camping in his blood, as he was raised on his parents’ campsite, Egelunds Camping, in Lønstrup. Karsten and his wife, Else, dreamt of having a campsite of their own and after a long search for just the right place chose Jambo. With Else and Karsten Egelund at the helm, a strategy was laid down – they wanted to take Jambo to the top of Danish campsites. The Egelund family started a thorough renovation of the campsite and, with the modern service buildings, set new standards for luxury camping. In 1999, Jambo was upgraded from 3 to 4 stars.
In 2004, Jambo received international acclaim as belonging among the very best when it was appointed as Super Platz by the German ADAC. Since then, the title has been regained every year. The Danish Camping Board upgraded Jambo to a five star campsite in 2007, and the same year the name “Jambo Vesterhav Camping” was changed to “Jambo Feriepark”. Today, all buildings have been replaced by new luxurious facilities – still the spirit from the very beginning has remained: to have a place that stands out and where people feel welcome. In 2008, Europe’s largest miniature golf course was opened with an African savannah theme. All street names at Jambo are named after African animals, and the characteristic street signs shaped as African animals have been maintained. Jambo was appointed Denmark’s best campsite in 2009 by the Danish Camping Board. In fact, the evaluation of the campsite’s quality was so great that it was off the charts. Since then, Jambo has been named Denmark’s best campsite every year. Today, the campsite is run by Else and Karsten Egelund and their daughter, Christina.
In 2011, Jambo became part of the European chain of luxury camp sites, Leading Campings of Europe, and at the same time has chosen to leave the Danish TopCamp chain. The wish to stand out and the African inspiration still characterise Jambo as they surely will in the future.