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Luxury Tented Camps

Africa is a continent that evokes the senses, the “feel” of the bush challenges one’s sight, hearing and smell especially. Being in a lodge removes to a great extent one essential part of this trio: the sound of the bush, especially at night. Canvas walls allow the sounds of the bush to permeate one’s room, without losing any iota of luxury; the best of all worlds and a huge layer of extra value.

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But there’s camping and there’s camping! In Africa the most basic form of camping is usually a flycamp (but still a lovely experience, with no loss of essential comfort of course) whilst, at the other end of the camping spectrum, are luxury tented camps.

Luxury camps operating at the upper end of the spectrum really ought to be categorised as boutique small hotels with canvas walled rooms. At the top of the range is what must be the ultimate five star safari style: “camps” that are permanently sited and which have all the hallmarks of a boutique experience: designer-inspired rooms that are fully ensuite and which are, of course, mosquito-proofed and furnished to a very high, yet appropriate, standard.

These will have the best in beds, accoutrements and furniture such as writing desks. A verandah is de rigeur for relaxing on during the day, often with a hammock or daybed. This is real comfort in the bush, but at the same time keeping that essential, authentic, “essence-of-safari” that is so crucial to maximising client’s enjoyment – as such the only “lack” in the rooms may be high-amperage electricity for, e.g., hairdryers as lighting and so on is usually these days solar-generated.  

This sort of camp usually has no more then 6 or 8 tented rooms, of which two or more may be sited to allow maximum potential for family flexibility. There will be a central “mess” area which often includes a bar, a dining area and a campfire which will be lit and around which sundowners, post-dinner drinks and good conversation will flow. The food will be excellent, either based on locally-inspired or international fare. One may dine together with fellow guests or privately, either in the mess or, often, in one’s tent or on one’s tent verandah.

The size of a luxury tented camp lends the experience to many permutations. For a honeymoon they are ideal, for a couple travelling to perhaps celebrate a “big occasion” the flexibility, privacy and intimacy are all perfect when paired with the opportunities to meet interesting, similarly-inspired, fellow-guests. For a small group of friends or a family they offer opportunities to be gregarious with others or to be more private as one wishes. For an extended family travelling together the camp can be taken privately – a wonderful way to celebrate both family ties and the wonder that is the African bush.

Where? All over Africa


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