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There is something inexplicably magical about staying in a tent when on safari. Instead of being shut away behind brick and glass, you can enjoy the glow of lantern light on canvas walls and drift off to sleep to the sounds of the surrounding untouched nature. And if your idea of staying in a tent means having to rough it in a brightly coloured, polyester 'dome', 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.

1. Angama Mara
Masai Mara, Kenya

Angama Mara, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya | Go2Africa

Angama Mara is touted as one of the most exclusive safari lodges in the Mara ecosystem and is located in a special part of the Greater Mara area. It’s near the Mara Triangle, a section of the national reserve that is managed by a non-profit conservancy company established by local Masai communities. The lodge is high up on a ledge that overlooks the Great Rift Valley and has a modern and elegant feel to it. This is just the place to experience an adventurous African safari wrapped in luxurious creature comforts.

Highlights:

  • Situated close to Great Migration river crossing hotspot
  • Prolific wildlife including plenty of predators and black rhino
  • Exclusive-use safari vehicles
  • Tented luxury suites with splendid interiors
  • Welcomes children 6 years and older
  • Gourmet dining

2. Singita Sabora Tented Camp
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

singita_sabora_tented_suite

Singita Sabora Tented Camp is set in Tanzania’s exclusive Grumet Game Reserve. This stylish, upscale tented camp offers the classic style of a bygone era, featuring 1920s safari décor and 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 horseback adventures on the Serengeti plains.

Highlights:

  • See the Wildebeest Migration in season (July to September)
  • Intimate & personalised stay in 40 000 acres of unrivalled wilderness
  • Mountain biking, badminton, lawn croquet & heated plunge pool
  • Night drives, guided walks, horse riding & hot-air balloon safaris
  • Delectable open-air bush banquets under the African sky

3. Namiri Plains
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Namiri Plains, Serengeti National Park | Go2Africa

Namiri Plains is about an hour and a half’s drive east from the game-rich core of the Serengeti. The camp first opened in 2014, in an area that for more than two decades had been closed to the public. This region had been used exclusively for cheetah conservation and the number of big cats found here is simply astonishing. The landscape that surrounds Namiri Plains is quintessentially Serengeti – grassy plains stretch as far as the eye can see, interspersed by the occasional fever or acacia tree and this luxury tented camp keeps you in the lap of luxury while you are out in this remote and wild part of Tanzania.

Highlights:

  • Fantastic predator sightings, especially cheetah & lion
  • Luxury safari camp that features a series of almost futuristic tented structures
  • In-tent relaxation massages
  • Specialist photographic vehicle based at the camp for photographic safaris
  • Remote & exclusive safari experience

4. Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

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Just outside the Masai Mara, in its own game-rich conservancy, is Cottar’s 1920s Camp. The Olderkesi Private Conservancy on which the camp is positioned forms a corridor between the Masai Mara and Serengeti. This area boasts the largest concentrations of terrestrial wildlife on Earth as well as some of the most dramatic vistas in Africa. Established in 1919, Cottar’s exudes the same grandeur of the era in which it was born and perfectly captures the spirit of the early explorers with its Hemingway-style tents. The suites are lavishly furnished with authentic antiques – picture canopied beds, faded Louis Vuitton trunks and fine candlelit dinners followed by a glass of port as the gramophone crackles into life.

Highlights:

  • Vintage-style luxury tented camp with butler service
  • Front-row seats to the Wildebeest Migration (August–November)
  • Unique Maasai cultural experiences
  • Hot-air ballooning & helicopter flights
  • Swim in the nearby waterfall
  • Wood-panelled 1920s safari vehicle

5. San Camp
Kalahari Desert, Botswana

san-camp

San Camp turns the middle of nowhere into a tranquil haven for those seeking a heavenly retreat closed off from the rest of the world. Set amongst clusters of desert palms, the billowing white Meru-style tents of Botswana’s San Camp overlook the Makgadikgadi’s gigantic salt pans, giving it an incredible sense of expansiveness. Besides this splendid seclusion, the rolling grasslands and game-rich savannah lend themselves to being explored in a variety of ways, including by quad bike (ATV), horseback or on nature walks guided by Kalahari Bushmen.

Highlights:

  • Explore the salt pans by quad bike or horseback
  • Fresh, innovative cuisine
  • Interact with meerkats
  • Walk with Bushmen
  • Tented yoga & meditation pavilion

6. Little Chem Chem
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Little Chem Chem has all the makings of a classic tented safari experience that would make any 1920s explorer go green with envy. The elegant and intimate lodge combines European style with African influences and modern elements, offering every creature comfort one could need while spending time in the African wilderness. And being so close to both Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks, guests are guaranteed a getaway filled with exciting wildlife encounters and breathtaking views.

Highlights:

  • Set in a private concession with large herds of buffalo & elephant
  • Close to Tarangire & Lake Manyara National Parks
  • A slow-paced, unhurried itinerary for ultimate relaxation in nature
  • Cultural village visits, night drives & guided safari walks
  • Private dinners in stunning bush locations
  • Hot-air balloon safaris over the Great Rift Valley

7. Singita Mara River Tented Camp
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

singita-mara-river-tented-camp

From July to September, Singita Mara River Camp offers front-row seats to the hottest ticket in town: the Great Wildebeest Migration. The intimate safari camp can be found on the banks of the Mara River in the northern Serengeti – an area that plays host to over a million wildebeest and zebra on the move to new pastures in the north. The majestic Mara River is one of the barriers the herds’ encounter, and despite the enormous crocodiles and big cats that lie in wait, they forge on. Make sure you’re there to witness the drama and action live. And after the show is over, you can return to the comfort of your luxurious bohemian-chic tent.

Highlights:

  • Witness the Mara River crossings in action (July to September)
  • Fantastic year-round game viewing
  • Night drives & guided walking safaris
  • Ultra-luxurious tented accommodation with great views of the surrounding plains

8. Sanctuary Baines’ Camp
Okavango Delta, Botswana

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At Baines’ Camp, you pretty much have the whole place to yourself. Set on the edge of the Okavango Delta, this elegant and stylish camp offers a classic African safari experience with a more romantic twist. Couples have the chance to enjoy each other’s company through a variety of intimate activities that include peaceful days meandering along the languid waterways in a traditional canoe and candle-lit dates under the Milky Way. After days out in the delta, guests return to one of only five romantic suites and have the luxurious 4-poster bed rolled out onto the private deck to sleep under a canopy of stars.

Highlights:

  • Seasonal mokoro (traditional canoe) & motorboat excursions
  • Eco-friendly camp built from recycled cans
  • Sky beds & star baths for experiences under the night sky
  • Scenic helicopter flights

9. Somalisa Acacia
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

somalisa-acacia

Be transported back in time to a bygone era of simplicity and romance at Somalisa Acacia. The sophisticated camp seamlessly blends an authentic African safari with a 5-star luxury getaway. Traditional canvas tents and game drives through the wildlife-rich Hwange National Park will delight your inner explorer, while modern luxuries and a stylish design ensure a comfortable stay in the untamed wilderness. Roughing it has never looked this good.

Highlights:

  • Elephants congregate at Somalisa Acacia’s drinking pool
  • Great game sightings from camp
  • Intimate & family-friendly
  • Ngwana Club keeps kids entertained
  • Walking safaris & night drives

10. Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp
Okavango Delta, Botswana

nxabega-okavango-tented-camp

Nxabega Camp’s wood-and-canvas suites seamlessly blend a simplistic rustic design with contemporary elements to create a style that can only be described as safari-chic. The camp’s luxury safari tents overlook the Okavango Delta’s verdant landscape of mopane woodlands and flooded grassland. Out in the wilderness, game drives through Moremi Game Reserve offer exciting glimpses into the rich wildlife that inhabits the region, including everybody’s favourites – lion, elephant and giraffe.

Highlights:

  • Seasonal mokoro & boating excursions
  • Scenic helicopter flights over the Delta
  • Reliable Big 5 & giraffe sightings
  • Catch-and-release fishing
  • WILDchild programme for kids

11. Mila Tented Camp
Serengeti, Tanzania

Mila Tented Camp, Tanzania | Go2Africa

Mila Tented Camp is set in the western corridor of the Serengeti National Park. The camp is on a hillside the overlooks the plains running down to the forested banks of the Grumeti River. Authentically style safari tents provide an oasis in this wild landscape and the camp is kitted with a central mess tent, dining and lounge areas as well as a bar. This is where you will have epic wildlife encounters including leopard, buffalo, elephant, lion, and in season the wildebeest migration travels through here.

Highlights:

  • Expertly guided game drives – access to a private vehicle & guide
  • Walking safaris
  • Luxurious safari tents
  • Game viewing rich area with plenty of wildlife action
  • The camp features a swimming pool, airstrip & Wi-Fi

12. Onguma Tented Camp
Etosha, Namibia

Onguma Tented Camp, Etosha, Namibia | Go2Africa

Intimate and luxurious, Onguma Tented Camp offers uninterrupted views of a natural waterhole (lit up at night), from anywhere in the camp. With a little luck, you will encounter giraffe, jackal, antelope, zebra, wildebeest and maybe even a rare black rhino. The main building houses a generously sized lounge, restaurant, wine cellar and swimming pool. There are only a select number of tents, each featuring indoor and outdoor showers as well as elegant bathtubs.

Highlights:

  • Set in a private reserve bordering Etosha National Park
  • A floodlit waterhole is right in front of the deck & dining area
  • Both day and night game drives
  • Perfect for romance seekers – couples & honeymooners
  • Intimate and luxurious safari accommodation

13. Time + Tide Chinzombo
South Luangwa, Zambia

Time + Tide Chinzombo is an exclusive safari experience, set alongside the Luangwa River. The nearby river means that plenty of wildlife comes to quench their thirst, and you will have exceptional armchair safari experiences. A range of exciting activities takes full advantage of this location including game drives in the South Luangwa National Park, guided walking safaris and cultural activities can be arranged. When you aren’t exploring this landscape, you can find peace and tranquillity in luxury surroundings at the lodge.

Highlights:

  • An exclusive luxury lodge in South Luangwa
  • Beautiful riverside setting
  • Exceptional game viewing
  • Ultra-chic and private villas
  • Under the stars dining, around the fire pit or in the dining room

14. Fothergill Island
Matusadona National Park, Zimbabwe

Matusadona National Park is the very definition of wild Africa. Here you will find Fothergill Island, the ultimate safari escape. Open-air tents invite nature to serenade you, and evenings and mornings are orchestrated by pods of hippo and lion. The central eco-pond attracts wildlife of all shapes and sizes. Explore this wild land on foot, by boat or in a classic game drive vehicle. You can also expect a fine-dining experience to round off a perfect safari adventure.

Highlights:

  • Bespoke, luxury tented camp in Zimbabwe’s Matusdona National Park
  • Eco-friendly safari camp that uses solar energy to power 95% of the camp’s needs
  • Private plunge pools
  • Great game viewing on drives, boats or on foot
  • Sunset cruises on Lake Kariba
  • Fishing, birdwatching, stargazing & archery

Ready to Plan Your Classic Tented Safari Holiday in Africa?

Don’t miss out on the chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy a classic safari experience in authentic tented accommodations that still manages to provide a luxury getaway in one of Africa’s premier safari destinations. Get in touch with one of our African Safari Experts to tailor-make your next holiday.

Sandra Mallinson
Written By

Sandra Mallinson

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