safari tent *south africa*
Before leaving for South Africa I was a little nervous that our tents might be too close to nature. There are certain creatures I don’t want to have intimate encounters with… ahem, snakes. While I did rough camping as a child I have grown into a bit more of a softy you might say, and with my limited vision I would rather not stumble through the dark to relieve myself behind an unknown bush with unidentified creepy crawlies! Well… I am now a glamping convert. This suits me just right, thank you very much! A flushing toilet, warmth for my prone-to-get-cold-before-anyone-else body and electric lights for my eyes. We now travel with hiking head lamps too so I walked around at night and sometimes sat at the dinner table with it strapped on my head. Not my most fashionable moment for sure, but I try to embody cool nonchalance!
My favourite serenity moments were in this Hemingway-inspired tent. The first night we pulled across the bug nets, crawled into our plush bed and turned out the lights. Complete and utter darkness. I slept so soundly. My husband and others were not so lucky that first night, with a very noisy pride of lions in the vicinity making grunting noises for several hours! As the drums chirpily vibrated through the bush for our wake up call, my toes danced and as I stood up my hips were shimmying too. What a way to start the day! Yes, I’m a painfully cheerful morning person, my friends. Within minutes of the drums the vervet monkeys commenced their antics in the trees above us. They plonked onto the tent and scuttled along in such a speedy fashion that it was incredibly comedic to me. Did I mention I’m a morning person?! I got the giggles.
Each day the quiet staff brought us hot drinks to prepare us for the first game drive at sunrise. Thank you I would say imperfectly but earnestly in their language. Each time I was treated to a huge smile beaming back at me in the ray of my head lamp. As we poured our coffee and tea, we had to remain alert. Those cheeky monkeys were there for one thing – to rob us of our sugar, milk and anything else we might have left out of the wooden chest. They were so brazen and were within arm’s reach, waiting for the split second of opportunity. One lifted the corner of our tent and sat there looking at us expectantly, he was so cute! As the light of the day emerged, a mother and her baby sat there waiting too, watching us through the tent screen. Our friends R&E had their milk jug stolen from right under their noses on the first morning. The image in my mind was hilarious as they recounted the story of six monkeys gathered around the jug dipping their hands in to lick the liquid.
After the morning game drive and then a feast of breakfast, I was soothed by showers, gazing up into the trees above me. I hoped to spot a vervet monkey but at the same time felt it would be strange to have one watching me! I adored the open bathroom with polished concrete floors, two showers and a humungous square bath. Feeling all clean and refreshed, I would sink into the couch to gaze at the greenery, listen to animals moving around us, write in my journal and drift into semi-sleep with the breeze caressing my face.
Yep, back in the tent is where I take my heart and mind sometimes now.
To answer some of your questions…
We use a Canon 6D – I love it for the full-frame sensor in a smaller body for my little hands!
The Landrover can be seen in my previous safari post. It had a canvas shade and open sides that we climbed up into. These rugged vehicles are impressive when moving over the terrain. I loved feeling the air around us and seeing the animals so close with no barriers between us. But there are many styles of vehicles so check with your provider before booking if you have specific preferences.
The Honeyguide Camp is in a private game reserve where conservation is a motivation. The wild animals roam freely between the reserve and Kruger National Park. If the staff find an animal such as the leopard who had been caught in a snare the week before, they call in medical professionals. I like to hope they have a better chance of avoiding poachers because of the workers who care and are aware of their movements across the days and seasons.
This adorable rhinoceros Gertjie is being cared for near the area we visited. It is a tear-inducing but heart-warming story of conservation work in practice. I want him to put his head on my lap!