My 5 Favourite Tented Camps in Southern Africa

tented camps

Not all of us are true campers at heart, which is probably why the “glamping” trend has made such a big impact on the travel industry over the past few years.  All over Africa, tented camps have popped up to satisfy this demand. Tented camps serve as the perfect solution for travelers who want to get close to nature but not give up the basic comforts.  You get a comfy bed and bedding without having to pitch the tent yourself.

The options range from basic to very luxurious, it’s up to you to decide how fancy you want to go and how much you are willing to spend.

Here are my favorite tented camps I have visited in Southern Africa:

Tamboti Tented Camp – Kruger National Park ( South Africa)

Situated on the banks of the Timbavati River, this small satellite camp in the Kruger National Park is a very popular choice for visitors. We stayed in one of the Basic Safari Tents which has a small deck overlooking the riverbed, a fridge, fan and braai area.  People who stay in the Basic Safari Tents can make use of the communal ablution and kitchen facilities available.  If this is still too basic for you and prefer your own private shower and cooking facility, then the Semi Luxury Tents offers that.

Tented Camp in Tamboti
One of the Basic Safari Tents in Tamboti.

I like Tamboti Tented Camp because it is a quiet camp nestled between a forest of trees.  Tents overlook the dry riverbed  and with the fence 3 meters from your deck it opens up the opportunity to see game from a close proximity.  Hyenas and Jackal patrol the fence at night and if you are lucky like us, you might just encounter an Elephant grazing in front of your tent.

Tamboti Braai Area
I admire a Kudu in the riverbed.

 

The view from our deck at Tamboti
The view from our deck at Tamboti
  • Book here:  SANParks website.
  • Best time to visit: April to October
  • Rate: *Basic (R610 per night), Semi Luxury ( R1390 per night)

Desert Camp – Sossusvlei (Namibia)

In the desolate landscape of Sossusvlei , you will find an oasis called Desert Camp.

Desert Camp was my oasis on an unbearably hot summers day back in February 2015.  It’s occasions like these where normal camping just wouldn’t have cut it for me. Who wants to pitch a tent in the middle of a desert on one of the hottest days ever? No thanks.

Desert Camp offers clean self catering units, each with a spacious room, en-suite bathroom, kitchenette and braai.

Desert Camp
Desert Camp in Sossusvlei. This unit sleeps 2 people.

An uninterrupted view of the desert landscape with the mountains in the background is what makes this place so special.  The free flowing layout of the unit allows you to feel part of the desert whilst comfortably sitting under a shaded canvas sipping a G&T.  If you still need to cool down, you can go take a dip in the swimming pool and order another drink at the bar where you can also mingle with like-minded travelers.

  • Book here: Desert Camp Website
  • Best time to visit: March to May, August to September
  • Rates: *N$ 958.80 per person sharing

Bitterpan – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park ( South Africa)

Bitterpan is probably the most remote tented camp I’ve ever stayed at because it sits in the middle of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with the nearest main camp a 60 kilometer 4×4 single track drive away.

Bitterpan
Approaching Bitterpan after driving the 60km single track from main camp Nossob.

Bitterpan is an intimate tented camp with 4 tents sleeping a maximum of 8 people with a well equipped kitchen and dining room available for all visitors to use. The star attraction of Bitterpan is the firepit overlooking the salt pan making it the perfect setting to view the pink Kalahari sunset.  At night guests come together at the firepit to socialize and share their sightings for the day.

Bitterpan Tented Camp
4 units which sleeps a maximum of 8 people. The unit in the middle is the kitchen and dining room.

Bitterpan is an unfenced camp allowing you to truly feel one with nature.  Hear the Jackals cry at night and see the Oryx graze on the red sand dunes , maybe you might just see a lion walk through the camp.

  • Book here: SANParks website.
  • Best time to visit: April – May, August – October
  • Rates: *R1745 per night

Kalahari Tented Camp – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park ( South Africa)

Kalahari Tented Camp is also situated in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and and offers a bit more luxury than Bitterpan. At Kalahari Tented Camp each unit has its own kitchen, bedroom with en-suite bathroom and braai.  All the tents are built to face the nearby waterhole and you will be amazed by the number of animals you can spot from the tent. We saw Jackals, Giraffe, Springbuck, Squirrels, Owls , Monitor Lizards, you name it.

Kalahari Tented Camp

Kalahari Tented Camp
All tents are built to face the waterhole

We’ve visited Kalahari Tented Camp four times now and will probably go back every chance we get.  Kalahari Tented Camp is also unfenced same as Bitterpan.  Despite the drastic temperatures in the area the tents are comfortable during winter and summer months.

  • Book here: SANParks website.
  • Best time to visit: April – May, August – October
  • Rates: *R1745 per night

Hamiltons Tented Camp – Kruger National Park (South Africa)

We stayed at Hamiltons Tented Camp during our honeymoon and hands down this was the best tented camp experience I had.  Hamiltons is far more luxurious than the other four camps on my list. Those four camps are self catering whereas at Hamiltons you get the 5 star treatment. They serve breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea , game drive snacks and dinner.. All tents are decorated in a colonial style with a double bed, en-suite bathroom with bath and outdoor shower and to top it off a deck overlooking the river.

Hamiltons Tented Camp
5 star accommodation

In addition to the amazing food and idylic setting, I recommend  Hamiltons because of the friendly staff, the extra services they offer such as candlelight dinners and massages on your private deck and finally the exciting game drives. The sightings we had during our stay at Hamiltons was by far the best I’ve ever seen, Leopards in trees, Lions mating and Wild dogs killing a Warthog.

Hamiltons Tented Camp
The lounge area overlooking the river.
Hamiltons Tented Camp
Breakfast Buffet at Hamiltons

I wrote a more in depth blog post of our experience at Hamiltons here.

  • Book here:  Hamiltons Tented Camp
  • Best time to visit: April – October
  • Rates: *R6410 per person sharing

Now that your accommodation for your next safari is sorted, check out my post to see what to pack.

*Rates correct at time of publishing.

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My 5 Favorite Tented Camps in Southern Africa

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