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Africa'S Top Tented Safari Camps

There is something thrilling about staying in a tent on safari. Instead of being shut away behind brick and glass, enjoy the glow of lantern light on canvas walls and drift off to sleep to the sounds of the African night. And if your idea of staying in a tent means having to rough it; you're in for a wonderful surprise: Africa's top tented camps offer a softer kind of adventure with all the comfort and the trimmings you'd expect from a luxury safari lodge.

From Hemingway-style mobile safari camps set up in exclusive sites to massive tented suites with everything from private pools to polished wooden floors, we've combed the continent for our selection of Africa's best tented safari camps.

A TOUCH OF ROMANCE

At Baines' Camp, set on the edge of the Okavango Delta, you pretty much have the whole place to yourself. After peaceful days meandering along the languid waterways in a local canoe, return to one of only five romantic suites and have your luxurious four-poster bed rolled out onto your private deck to sleep under the African stars.

And if the only crowds you want to see during East Africa's wildebeest migration are massive herds of animals; we'd highly recommend Sayari Camp. This seasonal camp lies far off the tourist track in the beautiful northern Serengeti and its huge tents and serene ambience are just a couple of the many reasons why Sayari was chosen as one of the "Special Places" in Africa by Africa Geographic.

Under Canvas - Cottars 1920 Safari Camp in Kenya evokes a bygone era
True tented luxury: Cottar's 1920s Camp delivers a Hemingway-style safari

TRUE TENTED LUXURY

Singita Sabora Tented Camp is set in Tanzania's exclusive Grumeti Reserves. Expect opulent luxury from mahogany antiques and Persian rugs to dreamy spa treatments. What's more, staying in a privately owned reserve means you can experience a fantastic range of extra activities such as hot-air balloon safaris, night drives and horse-back adventures on the Serengeti Plains.

Overlooking the teeming plains of Kenya's Masai MaraBateleur Camp is a classic tented camp positioned just below the spot where "Out of Africa"s famous last scene was filmed. Bateleur is well known for its exceptional service and elegant tented suites, as well as the occasional safari surprise such as three-course dinners out in the African bush.

Just outside the Masai Mara, in its own game-rich conservancy, is Cottar’s 1920s Camp. Cottar’s captures the spirit of the early explorers with Hemingway-style tents lavishly furnished with authentic antiques: picture canopied beds and faded Louis Vuitton trunks, fine candlelit dinners followed by a glass of port as the gramophone crackles into life. Cottar’s also has a spa and is one of the only small luxury properties in the Mara with a swimming pool.

THE MOBILE EXPERIENCE

For an authentic camping experience, you can't really do better than a mobile tented camp. Moving about once a week to ensure you're always well positioned for great game viewing, you'll be camping in comfort in walk-in tents with crisp linen on comfortable double beds and en-suite bathrooms with hot bucket-showers.

We'd recommend Chobe Under Canvas in the Chobe National Park, an area world-renowned for its huge herds of elephant and buffalo, or Serengeti Under Canvas, a mobile camp which follows the wildebeest migration, ensuring your game viewing seats are always in the front row.

Under Canvas - Chobe Under Canvas in the Chobe National Park
The mobile experience: Chobe Under Canvas where it's all about the wildlife
Under Canvas - Kitchwa Tembo Bateleur Camp in the Masai Mara
Luxury: elegant tented suite at Bateleur
Under Canvas - the Wolwedans camps in the Namibrand Nature Reserve
Remote: Wolwedans in the Namibrand
Under Canvas - San Camp on the edge of the Makgadikadi Pans in Botswana
Off the beaten track: the romantic Meru-style tents at San Camp

WELL OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

Wolwedans Private Camp, set in the quiet seclusion of Namibia's NamibRand Nature Reserve, has been designed for guests who really want to get away from it all. Surrounded by mesmerising red Sossusvlei dunes and distant purple mountains, this villa-type suite has a wooden frame with canvas walls which can be opened up completely - perfect for stargazing from the warmth of your bed.

Romantics seeking adventure are sure to love Jongomero: a classic tented safari camp in Tanzania’s wild Ruaha National Park. Built on raised wooden decking, these spacious tents overlook a dry riverbed where elephant are often seen. But what really sets Jonogomero apart is the people who work there: the knowledgeable, entertaining guides and wonderful hosts who conjure up delicious treats and safari surprises. 

Set amongst clusters of desert palms, the white Meru-style tents of Botswana's San Camp look out over Makgadikgadi's gigantic salt pans, giving this camp a feeling of incredible space. If you're looking for something different from the norm, we'd recommend San Camp's unique activities which include nature walks guided by Kalahari Bushmen and fun interactions with wild meerkats.

TAKE THE WHOLE FAMILY

Khoka Moya is a wonderfully child-friendly tented camp near the Kruger National Park in the exclusive Manyeleti Private Reserve. Older children are welcome to join their parents on game drives in search of the Big 5 while the younger ones will be entertained on special 'junior ranger' activities and games. In the evening, children can look forward to their own special kiddies' meals followed by stories around the campfire. Your family is sure to be talking about this holiday for years to come!

Children of all ages are also welcome at the Mara Intrepids Club, a secluded safari camp in Kenya's Masai Mara Reserve. While you go on game drive or balloon safaris, your kids can join the Adventurer's Club where they'll learn about animals and practice survival skills before tumbling exhausted into bed.

Under Canvas - Kaya Mawa on Mumbo Island, Lake Malawi
Eco-friendly: Mumbo Island on Lake Malawi
Under Canvas - mobile camping with Serengeti Under Canvas
Mobile: Serengeti Under Canvas

ECO-FRIENDLY PEACE OF MIND

Stay in a tented suite looking down on the gin-clear waters of Lake Malawi and spend your days kayaking to hidden beaches or drifting off to sleep in your hammock to the haunting cries of fish eagles. Mumbo Island Camp was hand-built using strict principles of eco-architecture to ensure minimal impact on this peaceful private island.

Porini Lion Camp, a luxury tented camp bordering Kenya's Masai Mara, is another great example of low-impact eco-tourism: the camp uses solar power and the whole place could be dismantled within 24 hours, leaving hardly a trace. Stay in spacious safari tents and experience game drives and guided walks with Maasai warriors.

 

Written by Sandra Mallinson. Connect with her on Google+.

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