Your glamping safari, sorted
A tent is a marvellous thing: not just a safe, weatherproof cocoon but a symbol of freedom for avid explorers the world over. For the safari industry, tents have always played a pivotal role in countless journeys to Africa, sometimes evolving from simple canvas stretched over poles to opulent villas in remote destinations. Yet the one thing they all have in common is a sense of absolute immersion, with just a thin piece of material between their occupants and the wilderness (and creatures) on the other side… These are our some of our favourite tented camps from across Africa:
Everything but the Range Rover
Ultra-luxury in the middle of some of the remotest corners of Africa may sound like something of an oxymoron, but these tented camps prove that nothing is impossible.
Duba Plains Suite, Okavango Delta, Botswana
This exquisite private two-bedroom tented villa is tucked away in an exclusive section of the Okavango Delta, arguably the home of the luxury safari. The suite is raised on a wooden decking offering an unparalleled vantage point to observe the Delta’s famed wildlife viewing. Elegant features and attention to detail make this one of the most luxurious tented camp options.
Mara Plains Jahazi Suite, Olare Motorogi Conservancy
The intimate Mara Plains Jahazi Suite is so beautifully designed and appointed that were it not for the sweeping views and draped canvas overhead, it would be easy to forget that one was in a tent in Africa. Dine out to a lamplit dinner on the veranda before retreating to a night of sleep serenaded by Mara’s wild creatures.
Jack’s Camp, Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana
In the middle of a land of vast space and otherworldly vistas, Jack’s Camp is resplendent, swathed in muslin and canvas: an homage to a forgotten era of safaris. The rich colours and ornate décor make time spent in the camp almost as engaging as exploring the wilderness beyond.
Angama Mara, Mara Triangle, Kenya
There are few views as magnificent as the one from Angama Mara’s beautifully appointed tents, decorated in the dazzling colours of traditional Maa culture. The name “Angama Mara” was inspired by the Swahili word for “suspended in mid-air”, and each tent “floats” 300 metres above the plains of the Maasai Mara, with the dark green S-bends of the Mara River curving south as far as the eye can see.
The definition of glamping
With the rise of the luxury tented safari experience came the increasing popularity of the term “glamping” – a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping”. These destinations take glamping to a whole new level.
Lemala Nanyukie Lodge, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
“Nanyukie” translates as “endless plains” in Maa, the perfect description of the celebrated Serengeti surroundings. Lemala Nanyukie Lodge is based in a region of the Serengeti known for its exceptional concentration of cats, so anticipate falling asleep to the sound of a lion’s roar rumbling through the canvas walls, at one of Africa’s most comfortable tented camps.
Saseka Tented Camp, Thornybush Private Game Reserve, Greater Kruger, South Africa
Each of the luxury tents in Saseka comes with its own private deck, outdoor shower, and pool with views over the riverbed of one of the most wildlife-dense reserves in South Africa.
Mara Nyika Camp, Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya
Mara Nyika is an intimate tented camp set in a valley of one of the Maasai Mara’s largest private conservancies. Privacy and pampering are the fundamental pillars of the Mara Nyika Camp experience, set against one of the most spectacular backdrops in Africa.
Chisa Busanga Camp, Kafue National Park, Zambia
On a beautiful island in the heart of Busanga Plains you’ll find extraordinary Chisa Busanga Camp – characterised by human-sized bird’s nests inspired by the design of a weaver’s nest. Built from sticks and lined with canvas, this architectural marvel offers a unique way to experience the seasonal Kafue National Park.
The tent next door
Roughing it in the wild is all good and well, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting some creature comforts while doing so. Thankfully, you’ll find the perfect balance at these tented camps.
Ongava Tented Camp, bordering Etosha National Park, Namibia
A safari classic, the Meru-style tents of Ongava Tented Camp all have ensuite facilities, open-air showers and private verandas. Tucked in a hidden valley at the foot of a dolomite hill, the camp is a natural extension of the arid landscape surrounding it.
Explorer Camp, Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Explorer Camp is the ideal destination for those looking to explore Shamwari Private Game Reserve on foot. Here, visitors will discover the natural bounty of diverse flora, abundant insects, and the region’s many large and small mammals. Rustic and intimate, Explorer Camp offers the perfect combination of simple amenities and natural immersion.
Lemala Ngorongoro, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Hidden in an ancient acacia forest a short distance from the rim of the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater, the spacious tents of Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp are carefully positioned to provide privacy to their guests while keeping the impact on the pristine forest to a minimum. And it’s just a short drive to the magnificent wildlife viewing on the Crater’s floor!
Back to basics
Escaping to the wild doesn’t have to be about enjoying every convenience, and sometimes simpler really is better. There are plenty of ways to camp out in comfort without breaking the bank!
Flatdogs Camp, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
The safari tents at Flatdogs Camp encapsulate the essence of an authentic “Africa under canvas” experience, set in a prime position along a riverbank in the heart of the world-renowned South Luangwa National Park.
Ndutu Kati Kati Tented Camp, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Ndutu Kati Kati is a seasonal mobile camp, strategically situated in southern Serengeti from December to March, just in time to take advantage of the excitement of the arrival of the Great Migration. This camp is all about wildlife viewing, and the simple tents are the perfect base to rest between adventures.
Sango Safari Camp, Khwai Community Concession, Botswana
Nestled in the shade of the riverine trees overlooking the remarkable Khwai River, the ensuite Meru-style tents of Sango Safari Camp offer the perfect base from which to explore this magnificent part of the Okavango Delta. As one of the continent’s most exceptional little tented camps, Sango Safari Camp provides a neat compromise between affordability and subtle comfort.
Back of beyond
Get off the beaten track and explore, then curl up in bed and embrace the sounds of the African bushveld after dark.
Ivory Trail Adventure, Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe
This mobile camping experience allows exploration of the remotest corners of one of Zimbabwe’s greatest wilderness areas. The Ivory Trail Adventure is undeniably aptly named, with simple stretcher beds, bucket showers, and a long-drop toilet.
Ishasha Wilderness Camp, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
Escape to the banks of the Ntungwe River at the Ishasha Wilderness Camp in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you will share your space with resident troops of black-and-white colobus monkeys or a herd of passing elephants.
Mundulea Bush Camp and Walking Trails, Mundulea Nature Reserve, Namibia
The low-impact tents of Mundulea Bush Camp are hidden among woodland and dolomite outcrops in the unspoiled Karstveld. Each tent has its own private veranda area where guests can take a moment to soak in the absolute peace and quiet of this remote region of Namibia’s central highlands.
Mwaleshi Camp, North Luangwa National Park, Zambia
In the vast wilderness of Africa’s golden valley, North Luangwa National Park is often referred to as the home of the walking safari, and most of comfortable Mwaleshi Camp’s activities are conducted on foot. Here canvas has been replaced by thatching, but the effect is just as immersive. The simple camp perfectly matches the authentic, down-to-earth tone that epitomises the Zambian safari experience.
Book these tented camps at discounted prices on our app. See how to get the app below this story.
Check out these authentic glamping options in Greater Kruger.
For a different type of immersive experience, check out our favourite places to sleep out under the stars in Africa.
To comment on this story please DOWNLOAD OUR APP. See details below.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF AFRICA GEOGRAPHIC:
- Download our APP (mobile phone and desktop) to receive significant benefits including the best prices at Africa's top lodges, ready-made safari packages and networking with others like you. Find out more here.
- Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to enjoy more stories like this. Subscribe here.
- Travel with us. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late and a few kilometres off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity? Search for your ideal safari here, or contact an Africa Geographic safari consultant to plan your dream vacation.