However, this is not camping as most people know it! The walls may be canvas, but inside the rooms are super-luxurious, with chic décor, a comfortable bed, pure linen sheets and en-suite bathroom, complete with a fully flushing toilet and shower with hot water.
Meals on safari are always delicious – rivalling those served in the world’s top restaurants – and accompanied by the finest wines from a well-stocked bar. Drinks around the campfire, swapping stories about the day’s sightings, is a classic safari experience offered by all properties.
There are also luxury mobile tented camps, which move around to follow the best game viewing at different times of the year. These camps are truly temporary – to minimise environmental impact they are constructed on the same sites each season, and once they are packed up to move, literally nothing is left behind. Although slightly more rustic than the ‘permanent’ properties, these camps are remarkably luxurious, especially considering their remote locations and the fact they are regularly packed away, transported and erected again. They offer the very authentic experience of sleeping under canvas, surrounded by the endless plains and the smells and sounds of the African bush. Food, service and amenities are still at an extremely high standard, with comfortable rooms and en-suite bathrooms, usually with flushing toilet. There are often bucket showers, which for some travellers are the best part of the experience – these are filled with hot water (usually once a day, when you return from your morning game viewing, but additionally at your request) and hoisted up high, then you just open the attached shower head and enjoy the most amazing outdoor shower of your life!
Some lodges offer fly camping – an overnight stay out in the bush, away from the main camp. This is a truly magical and more conventional camping experience, where you sleep in the wilderness under nothing but a mosquito net and a blanket of star-studded African sky, surrounded by the night-time sounds of nature and with an armed ranger close by! Sundowners and an amazing evening meal are still provided, of course.
Some of the most sumptuous lodges offer sleep-out experiences for the less adventurous safari-goer, someone who wants to experience the African bush by night and sleep outside under its spectacular stars, without compromising on luxury and comfort. Again, this can’t really be classed as camping, but luxury tree houses, elevated outdoor decks or star beds attached to your lavish suite make a wonderful romantic addition to a honeymoon, or an unforgettable highlight of any safari. Many include a four-poster bed, full bathroom and light from twinkling hurricane lanterns.
For those wishing for a longer camping experience, there are plenty of options available, which we would be happy to recommend.