Over dinner on the third night of our trip, we spent some time trying to conjure up the right words to aptly describe our accommodations while on safari. Glamorous camping i.e. “Glamping”, currently all the rage in the US, was tossed out as an early contender. Glamorous is a loaded word that does not really capture our experience. To me the word connotes glitz and opulence, our rooms were not that. They were more quietly elegant. Other terms bandied about were “stylish tents”, “chic sleep chambers”, and “elegant outposts”.
Mid conversation my daughter offered “mama, staying here is like staying at home, just a home with soft walls.” She nailed it. My daughter is a homebody, so to offer this as her description is a compliment in it’s highest form. To her, the tent offered everything she needed to be comfortable (comfy beds, inviting chairs, a writing desk, and en suite deluxe bathrooms) in the middle of Africa. The only difference she saw was that the walls, unlike home, were soft. A home sweet home that was super duper far from home.
Our first house with soft walls in Tarangire National Park offered an indoor shower and an outdoor shower. It’s not every day one gets to shower while watching elephants meander past on their large, but surprisingly quiet, padded feet. To wash the safari dust off we had to let the hosts know when we were showering so they could fill up our bucket showers with warm water. Like requesting one or two lumps of sugar for tea, we could ask for a one bucket or two bucket shower depending on who had shower on their agenda that day.
Also missing from our free standing home with soft walls was a living and dining room. These soft walled, perfectly appointed communal spaces were housed in their very own structure in the center of camp. They were the ideal gathering place for cocktails and an exchange of safari stories as one gazed off into the distance. Both camps that we visited were in remote and “wild” locations. As such, it was forbidden to walk alone after dark. To go back to your room at night or to simply use the bathroom during dinner required an escort. This rule definitely made our far flung location hit home; the kids eyes got wide as they received this instruction.
We were sad when we left both camps wishing we had more time to spend in each location just to sit and take it all in, but as it goes with travel we continued on our way. After an airplane ride over the Serengeti and a 40 minute drive we arrived at our last safari lodging. We marveled at the walls, windows, pools, and it’s remarkable view over the northern Serengeti. It is called Mkombe’s House, and it and it’s solid and sturdy walls are worthy of it’s very own post. Check back tomorrow for the details!