Camping is not for everyone; mattresses lose a bit of air during the night, you wake up cocooned in a sleeping bag with a backache, share a tent with creepy crawlies, suffer through your neighbours’ loud snores that make the tent flaps vibrate, share a bathroom and walk with your dishes – complete with you bottle of Sunlight and Goldilocks under the arm - to scrub the egg off the breakfast pan.
READ: Are you a camp or glamp?
Then of course, there is the possibility – or certainty – that you might trip over a tent peg. Thanks to Murphy it will probably not even be your own tent’s peg, but it will be the tent peg of another camper. And if Murphy really wants to get you, then you’ll trip on your way to the bathroom, with your loo roll decorating the scenario mid-trip with white paper as you catapult through the air.
Camping is not for everyone.
But just because the sleeping arrangements, the ick-factor and the possibility of tripping make you uneasy does that mean that you are excluded from the opportunity to be close to nature, sit around a camp fire, go off the grid, say goodbye to a few modern amenities and camp out?
Enter glamping; glamorous camping.
While glamping is ever-present in the 21st century as an ideal choice for a getaway, the idea behind it can be tracked back to almost a thousand years ago when the Mongolian tribes put up their yurts (or gurs) as semi-permanent homes. And then later luxury tents started featuring, complete with fancy rugs and a chef to prepare meals, when wealthy visitors came to Africa for a safari experience.
In 2007 the search for “glamping” took the internet by storm, especially in Great Britain, and if you turn the clock forward to today it is quite evident that is has taken the world by storm.
But what is glamping besides the best of camping without the worst of camping?
A glamping tent is usually anything from a teepee to a tree house to a camper to a good ol’ canvas tent on a platform. Each tent will differ in size and shape but the basic amenities usually include beds, linen, kitchenware, electricity, lights and power plugs while other glamping tents even feature its own kitchen, a living room space and bathroom inside the tent. Tents are often placed somewhere secluded in nature – possibly with a good view - to turn up the atmosphere a notch.
South Africa is no stranger to glamping; tents with just the basic to luxurious spaces that will put your house to shame are scattered all over our nine provinces.
Have a look at this video of a camping experience in the Western Cape with Africamps:
8 Glamping experiences in South Africa if camping is not for you
A cultural experience: !Khwa ttu
Where? Western Cape, close to Yzerfontein and Darling. 85 km from Cape Town.
What to look forward to? Guests can venture off and explore the West Coast and go on a San guided tour for an insight into the culture, heritage, knowledge, skills and contemporary life of the San.
Price? R 325 per person, including breakfast.
Glamping gone wild: Bontle Tented Camp Marakele National Park
Where: Limpopo, close to Thabazimbi and Vaalwater. 248 km from Johannesburg.
What to look forward to: Besides birdwatching and going on self-guided game drives through Marakele National park, there are also morning and sunset guided bush walks available for those who want to get up, close and personal with nature.
Price: Starting from R 1315 for 1-2 people.
Close to the Maluti magic: The Prynnsberg Estate
Where: Free State, close to Clocolan. 172 km from Bloemfontein.
What to look forward to: The Prynnsberg Estate has been described as the architectural jewel in the Eastern Free State, but it is also a working cattle farm and guests can lend a hand, or go hiking, biking and 4x4ing on the estate’s 1200 hectares.
Price: From R 1050 per night.
In the mountains: Africamps at Pat Busch Nature Reserve
Where: Western Cape, close to Robertson. 170 km from Cape Town.
What to look forward to: Besides glorious mountain views, hiking opprtunities and the close proximity to numerous wineries, Africamps prepare very unique breakfast baskets for their guests upon request.
Price: Starting from R 495 per person.
A Forest Hideaway: Honey Bee Suite
Where: Western Cape, close to Gansbaai. 178 km from Cape Town.
What to look forward to: Visitors can enjoy having the forest to themselves, go on mountain biking and hiking trails and, soak in a wood-fired hot tub under the stars.
Price: R 950 for 2 people.
An eco-experience: Mountain Splendour
Where: Kwazulu Natal, close to Winterton and Ladysmith. 220 km from Durban.
What to look forward to: You’ll be in the Drakensberg and your options are endless, from doing adventure sports, to fishing for trout, horse riding, enjoying a pampering session, witnessing the Drakensberg Boys’ School Choir live and exploring the Champagne Valley.
Price: Starting from R 410 per person.
High in a tree: Teniqua Treetops
Where: Western Cape, close to Knysna. 57 km from George.
What to look forward to? If you need a bigger highlight than staying in a tented tree house resort in the Outeniqua Mountains and being close the legends of the Knysna forest, then you can always visit a Garden Route market or explore and choose an adventure or leisure activity in the nearby towns of Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Sedgefield and Wilderness.
Price: Starting from R 1200 for two people.
On a lake: Lakeview Tented Camp, Camdeboo National Park
Where: Eastern Cape, close to Graaff-Reinet and Nieu Bethesda. 228 km from Port Elizabeth.
What to look forward to: Enjoy the variety of bird life on the lake, go the Kwelimanzi bird hide and drive up to the Valley of Desolation to witness one of the South Africa’s most incredible natural wonders.
Price: Starting from R 650 for two people
READ: More of a glamper? Check these 10 glamping spots that make camping look oh so fabulous
Anje Rautenbsch is the writer behind the blog Going Somewhere Slowly, find her Facebook, Twitter or on Instagram!
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