On either side of the spectrum there are two sorts of travellers: those who itch for a back-to-basics outdoor adventure and those who'd take marble over sand beneath their feet any day of the year. And then there's that grey space in between – a gap that's filled by holidaymakers who quite like the notion of living simply but also still appreciate a hot shower and a snug bed at the end of the day.
The new Western Cape-based AfriCamps boutique camping concept is made for these sorts. An embodiment of the 'glamping' (glamorous camping) model, these luxury tents blend the convenience and comfort of a guest house with the rustic, down-to-earth romance of a conventional camping trip. 'You don't have to rough it or set up your own tent, but you’re still amidst nature,' says Marketing and Reservations Manager Pravina Chetty.
The beautiful veranda of each AfriCamps' tent just begs guests to sit back and relax. To build and create much of what you see here, the founders hired locals from areas with high unemployment rates and trained them in everything from woodwork and sewing to electrical wiring and welding.
The business's very first camp opened at the start of November 2015 on a working ostrich farm in the rustic region of Oudtshoorn, so its location is ideal for families and friends looking to escape the manic pace of big cities. And in fact, a strong allure of a stay here is the fact that overnighters can really immerse themselves in the day-to-day activities of an authentic agricultural property.
As Pravina says, 'It's not just accommodation; it's a holiday option that introduces you to farm life.' The owners of the land are your hosts and will welcome you with a good dose of Klein Karoo hospitality and offer you a glimpse at what makes their lives tick. Of course, this involves plenty of outdoor activities and opportunities for family-friendly fun in the sun.
Part of the key appeal of the camps is that they immerse guests in nature. At the Oudtshoorn property, the tents are located on a part of the farm that's populated with free-roaming indigenous game, like this handsome waterbuck.
But when it's time to retire to your tent (or if relaxing downtime is all you're craving), you can rest assured your holiday home is as comfy and inviting as any country cottage. Though the outer structure of the tents is canvas, the interior is a stylish spread of timber furniture, sleek appliances and modern fittings with pastoral charm.
The self-catering unit features a fully equipped kitchen, two bedrooms with queen-size beds (the tents sleep up to five people), a cosy lounge and dining room with a fireplace and an industrial-chic bathroom with a hot shower cabin.
The difference is in the design details at AfriCamps. The founders have incorporated eye-catching points of interest throughout the tents: a wall of wooden pallets behind the stove, bold pops of sea green on the kitchen cabinets, patterned scatter cushions on the couch and corrugated iron in the bathroom for industrial flair.
Each is also decked with its own wooden veranda, which happens to be the perfect perch on which to take in the last strands of the day while appreciating the unspoilt rural view before you.
While AfriCamps currently only has a camp in Oudtshoorn, the plan is to open another on a wine farm in Paarl and yet another on a protea farm in Hermanus within the next year. Ultimately, the folk behind the concept would like to extend their unique offering all the way through South Africa. As Pravina says, 'it's definitely just the beginning.'
You are guaranteed a satisfying hot shower in this tent.
You can view accommodation rates and make bookings via africamps.com.
CAPTIONS FOR MAIN SLIDER IMAGES: 1) The canvas exterior of the tents lends the accommodation a campsite feel, whereas the inside is all comfort. 2) It doesn't get much better than being able to enjoy a morning cup of coffee on a deck with a view. 3) The comfortable, dressed bed you can climb into at the end of the day is a far cry from a soft blow-up camping mattress. 4) As lovely as the deck is in summer, the cosy interior of the tent and the fireplace and extra fleece blankets make AfriCamps a great winter option too. 5) The outdoor braai pit is ideal for alfresco cooking with the family. 6) Corrugated iron adds interest to the bathroom. 7) Guests can opt to have breakfast and dinner ingredients delivered to their tent to prepare themselves for an extra cost (lunch picnic baskets are also available).