Camping conjures up many different images for different people – memories of scout and guide camps as a youth or perhaps family camping trips – but for the purposes of the safaris offered by TATO members, there
Budget camping involves travelling with all your camp equipment, your guide and possibly a cook in your vehicle with you. Once you get to camp everyone helps cook and set up. This is economical and fun, but does mean that you spend valuable time in the evening organising your camp and food when you could be out on game drives. These services typically use the less expensive shared or public campsites, but exclusive camps’, or campsites with shower and toilet facilities outside the parks, can also be booked and used. Beds are usually mattresses on the floor of a small tent.
Fly camping involves setting up small, temporary camps for a night under the stars, more often than not in a remote part of the bush. Fly camps are the ideal end to a day’s walking safari or game drive, with many unexpected comforts – a canvas washbasin with hot water, fresh towels, hurricane lamps and delicious food cooked on the fire. At night, the sensation of sleeping in a light or just under a mosquito net, as the moon shines down and the noises of the African night begin, is the highlight of any safari holiday.
Imagine feather pillows, soft towels, gin and tonic on the rocks and four course gourmet meals in a candlelit dining tent as far from civilisation as you can get. This is what luxury camping is all about. The tents are roomy and comfortable, with a veranda in front and a bathroom with hot-water shower, washbasin and toilet directly behind the tent. The luxury tents have a bedside table, gas or solar lamps, chairs and a wardrobe for your clothing. A deep freeze will supply your drinks with ice and keep specialty food items fresh. Laundry is done daily. A large staff will ensure that your meals are gourmet and all your needs in camp are met. Luxury camps are often situated so that you can enjoy the same area for several days.
Lightweight Luxury Camping
Like the luxury camps, tents will have metal or wood-frame beds, standing headroom, a veranda and small en-suite toilets and hot showers. However, the tents will be smaller and may be the traditional A’ shape with a central ridge pole. The camps are fully staffed and meals will be three course affairs served by a waiter in a lantern lit mess tent, or on a table under the stars. Pick-up trucks, rather than lorries often move these camps, so they don’t have luxuries such as a deep freeze. There will usually be wine, beer and soda on ice in camp. Lightweight camps like this can be moved overnight and offer an amazing degree of comfort while maintaining the flexibility of a lighter camp.