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  • Writer's pictureWarrick Davey

A Luxury Tented Safari: why we love them and our Top 5 Tented Camps

&Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas

Provoking thoughts of early explorers, tented safari camps offer the opportunity to be transported to a bygone era, immersed in nature and classic charm, with just a thin piece of canvas seperating you and all that is wild around you. Tented camps certainly can illicit feelings of a raw and profound wilderness, which may seem terrifying to some, but we believe to be one of the most authentic and impactful experiences one can have, and that is why we love them!

The best tented camps often are set in the most beautiful areas of a reserve or conservancy, sometimes tucked away, removed from the hustle and bustle of high-traffic safari areas, giving them the ideal location to be able to explore landscapes on vehicle or foot, soak up the sights and sounds of nature, as well as finding space for rest and rejuvenation. There is little better than being able to curl up with a book and binoculars on the deck of your tent after an exhilarating morning on safari, taking in the sounds of the bush as you allow yourself to be lulled into a deep midday relaxation. Intimate and tranquil are the name of the game and we are all for it.

If you are one for classic charm, then tented camps should suit your eye beautifully. The flowing walls, effortlessly playing host to the gentle glow of lantern light, forming a soft, comforting and luxurious sanctuary. Yes, tented can be luxury. It doesn't always mean rugged and it doesn't always mean the bare necessities (although we truly believe there is room for this in an itinerary too!). Tented can be chic and stylish interiors that offer all the creature comforts one could need, together with the best in food, wine and service, all wrapped up in canvas cladding.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

One of our most favourite reasons for choosing a tented camp is the feeling that you are one with nature. It is truly an immersive experience, with little sitting between you and the wilderness beyond. The sounds of the animals, birds and insects pierce the canvas and bring nature right into your tented suite. Imagine falling asleep in your dreamy king size bed, warmly wrapped up in your linen bedding, listening to the sounds of the bush as if you were a part of everything happening around you. Fully immersed, this is what we love and live for.

So, you're convinced? All ready to pack your khaki's in a duffel and head off to Africa's most luxuriously wild? Great! Or maybe you're not. We have promised to share our Top 5 Luxury Tented Camps, and although it is really difficult to just choose 5, these are some of our favourite in Africa's most beautiful locations, and hopefully these will be enough to get you there.

1 - Singita Sabora Tented

Singita Sabora Tented Camp charts a visionary new course for luxury adventures under canvas.

A destination perfect for travellers yearning for an African safari infused with the continent’s contemporary energy and enveloped in unrivalled levels of comfort. Located in the Grumeti Reserve, in the Serengeti's western corridor, Sabora features mindfully created interiors with a rich combination of textures, forward-thinking and functional aesthetics, and a modern interpretation of the quintessential elements of a romantic tented safari. Each suite includes a private meditation deck, an outdoor sala with daybeds, a private fitness area, and a lifestyle unit with a perfectly curated in-room pantry and dining space. Romantic has never looked so good, and paired with outstanding game viewing, fantastic food and wine and exciting adventures such as hot air ballooning, Singita Sabora is our ultimate tented safari destination.

2 - Great Plains Conservation Duba Plains

Duba Plains Camp, nestled in the heart of Botswana’s northern Okavango Delta, is the quintessential Botswana safari experience. This private 33,000-hectare reserve, an intricate tapestry of palm-studded islands, floodplains, and woodlands, was chosen as the home base for National Geographic filmmakers, conservationists, and explorers Dereck and Beverly Joubert.

The camp at Duba Plains offers five bespoke suites and the camp design ensures it blends into the landscape whilst evoking the classic African safari style of the 1920s. With all the rooms on raised recycled railway sleeper decking, each suite affords guests stunning views of the surrounding floodplain and the steady stream of wildlife parading past. Duba Plains Camp boasts exceptional wildlife viewing, as well as an array of activities to experience the beauty of nature from, including game drives, nature walks and water based activities such as boat cruises and makoros. A cherry on the top? Include another Great Plains Reserve Camp in your Botswana itinerary for a 6 night stay and get to experience free helicopter transfers between camps - the Delta is exceptional by land, but absolutely breathtaking by air!

3 - Time + Tide King Lewanika

Time + Tide King Lewanika is the only permanent camp in Liuwa Plain National Park, its six open-front luxury safari tents (including a two-bedroom, two-bathroom luxury family tent) are the essence of pure and simple luxury. Built using local techniques and sustainable materials, they run on solar power and are furnished using vintage leather, cotton and canvas—a nod to old-world safari days. Designed to completely immerse you in the vast landscape, each has an indoor and outdoor shower, a comfortable lounge and a verandah, all with stunning views over the plains.

Gather around the evening campfire, swapping tales under the stars. Hear the calls of whooping hyenas as you drift off to sleep. Stop, slow down and fully immerse yourself into this wild land. Staying in this breathtaking camp and enjoying amazing wildlife viewing not enough? No problem - pack an overnight bag and head out to experience a sleep out under the stars; a truly authentic and immersive bush experience and the best way to reconnect with nature and yourselves.

4 - Natural Selection San Camp

Imagine a smattering of billowing white tents, shaded by desert palms and surrounded by a thousand acres of shimmering, sparkling nothingness. You’ve just dreamt up San Camp, the impossibly romantic, seven-bedroom camp on the edge of the Nwetwe Pan in Botswana’s Makgadikgadi. San isn’t a place for frills and fluffiness. The magic is in the minimalism, both at the camp and in the mysterious desert landscape. You can forget the tourist crowds and over-stuffed 4x4s too; it’s just you, the wildlife, and a handful of local San Bushmen, waiting to share their secrets with you. Of all the Makgadikgadi pans, we think Nwetwe is the most iconic. Meerkats pop up from the desert dust, brown hyaena hide in the grass, and you’ll see red hartebeest, springbok and gemsbok scurrying between them. But San Camp isn’t just about wildlife-watching – it’s about the atmosphere and the ethereal surroundings. Enjoy game drives, guided walks with the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen, quad bike adventures or even safari by horseback. An oasis in the Makgadigadi, the San Camp experience is as unique as they come and is one not to be missed.

5 - Singita Mara River Tented

Overlooking a spectacular riverbend in the northernmost corner of the Serengeti, in the Lamai Triangle, Singita Mara River Camp is ideally located for awe-inspiring wildebeest crossings during the Great Migration. Fitting seamlessly into its magnificent natural surrounds, Mara’s six suites cater for every modern need and whim – featuring utilitarian, lightweight and modular elements as well as clean, curved lines in spacious tented sanctuaries; and exude contemporary luxury while being light-filled, functional, and fresh. We cannot think of a better place to be able to experience the Great Migration from and the opportunity to enjoy the tranquillity of long and leisurely soaks in a private bathtub overlooking the breathtaking Mara River below sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us!

Tented safari camps certainly offer a unique and very authentic experience, swathed in chic canvas finishes, along with boasting some of best scenery and wildlife viewing around. Are you up for a tented safari expereince? We certainly hope so, and hope this has given you an insight to what experiences lay in wait. If you would like to find out more, or are ready to begin your safari planning, reach out to us over email, phone call or social media. We look forward to hearing fom you!


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