Guest Spotlight: Glamping in South Africa

By Jackie Dreyer

Editor's Note: We'd like to introduce you to one of our incredible, former Glamping Hub staff members and the experience of her first time glamping! Michaela stayed at these luxury safari tents in Thornhill on the Eastern Cape of South Africa, while on holiday with her significant other.

Less than an hour's drive from Port Elizabeth and a hop away from the world famous surfing destination of Jeffery’s Bay lies a truly unforgettable glamping experience on the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Our glamping accommodation was a thatched roof, luxury safari tent—exquisitely decorated in colonial style, while still maintaining a chic aire of modern Africa. The views were stunning, overseeing a valley of rolling hills leading to the Indian Ocean and surrounded by mountains. The experience felt as if we had stepped back in time, but the accommodation offered the perfect luxuries of a modern, five-star hotel.

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The story of owners Florbela and Didier is equally as idyllic as the setting. After vacationing in South Africa for more than 10 years, the couple bought a patch of land in the middle of the countryside and created an oasis of luxury accommodations. Every detail, decoration, and facility of this lodge was hand-selected and carefully chosen to ensure that they created something utterly unique to the area, offering guests a luxury experience completely immersed in the rugged beauty of the African bushlands.

Our Interview with Michaela

Choose three adjectives to describe the glamping site you stayed at before your trip and another three words to describe it post- stay. How did your expectations measure up to reality?

Before arriving at our glamping accommodation, I would have chosen luxury, unique, and adventure. The night in the safari tent proved all of those things to be as true and more. After the experience, I would have to add eco-friendly, remarkable hospitality, and relaxing.

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Who did you go glamping with, and what was your favorite memory that you made together during the stay?

I went glamping with my boyfriend, and I think we can both agree that picking a favorite part of our stay would be impossible. From the glasses of white wine in the hot tub overlooking the sunset to waking up with zebras outside our glamping tent, the experience couldn’t have been more fun or special. Our friends joked that it seemed like we were on our honeymoon, but the truth is this place is so unique and romantic that it would be the perfect place to celebrate a marriage, anniversary, or any special occasion!

What was the best part about the accommodation? How does it compare to past places you’ve stayed?

Two things make this accommodation spectacular. The first is the personal attention placed on the guests from owners. They are perfectly tuned in to what make guests feel comfortable and happy during their stay. Florbela was there greeting us at our arrival and devoted so much of her energy and care to creating a wonderful guest experience. You can truly see the love they have poured into this special place.

Secondly, this lodge is famous not only for its luxury suites and safari tents, but also for specific full-time inhabitants of the compound—zebras! There are nine zebras that roam freely on the land, and they come right up to the glamping tents. You can easily pass hours just sitting and watching these magnificent animals mingle around the gorgeous compound.

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Describe to us the area around the glamping site. What do you think the perfect time of year to stay here would be, and why?

The lodge is secluded and surrounded by mountains. The windows of the two glamping tents (as well as the three lodge suites) all face the rolling landscape that leads to the ocean, offering both privacy and epic views.

One of my favorite aspects of the glamping tent was the outdoor shower—so amazing! Taking a steamy shower surrounded by grazing zebras and overlooking the scenery was something I will never forget. I think the best time to visit would be during South Africa's summer months, from November to February. The weather is sunny, and it's a perfect time to enjoy the pool or go on a hike.

Tell us one thing about your first glamping experience that surprised you and why.

I would have to say the acute sense of detail that the owners added to the decorations and the facilities—they have thought of everything! There was a full bathtub, a king-size bed, a porch with comfy chairs, and even a coffee machine, all within this so called “tent." It truly was luxury! The decorations flawlessly instilled a sense of adventure while maintaining the comforts of home. Everything seemed to pull together perfectly.

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If you could have invited a famous celebrity (dead or alive) over to your glamping site, who would it be, and what would you have done together?

This is a hard one! I think I would choose Adele. She seems like a riot to hangout with: super funny, chill, always cracking a joke. It's certainly an added bonus that she could also serenade us with her amazing voice, and we could sing the night away.

What is your ideal food item and beverage for a glamping trip, and why? If you have a special secret or recipe, please share with us—if you’re willing, of course!

For this specific trip, a bottle of South African red wine was the ideal pairing for the picnic of cheese, olives and avocado sandwiches that we shared in our tent. I often find that when traveling simple is best, and South African wine is hard to beat.

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Do you prefer a more active or more relaxing getaway? Which did you opt for at the glamping site, and what was the best related activity in the area?

To be honest, I love to have a bit of both! Of course, relaxing is always a priority for me when I vacation, but without any activity, I would easily get bored. During our stay, we opted for relaxing, but if you’re looking for adventure, you can definitely find it here!

From the beginning of the lodge’s creation, it was a goal of Florbela and Didier to design a place not only with luxury accommodations, but that also offered outdoor activities. With a passion for cycling, Didier wanted to create a getaway for travelers with similar interests, and with over over 25 kilometers of mountain biking trails, he has done just that. This lodge is a haven for anyone who loves mountain biking or hiking.

Fill in the end of the sentence: “This glamping site would be the perfect place for ____________________,” and tell us why!

Relaxation and adventure. This lodge is a true haven for those looking for a luxury experience that offers activities closely connected to the rugged beauty of South Africa. There are trails for mountain biking, running or leisurely walks; wildlife watching galore; and an infinity pool and hot tub that would make anybody swoon. The entire compound is perfectly secluded in the mountains, but has plenty of activities to keep you entertained for days!

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Would you recommend glamping to family and friends? Do you see yourself going glamping again? Let us know why!

I would most definitely recommend glamping, and if I get the chance, I would do it again in a heartbeat! It's a unique alternative to normal travel accommodations, and I couldn't have been happier with my experience. I can say, without a doubt, that during my three week trip to South Africa, sleeping in this safari tent was my favorite part (and we did a lot of amazing things!).

I would recommend this accommodation to anybody and everybody! Your hosts will make sure every details is perfect and create an unforgettable experience. Zebras, wine, spectacular views, and the comforts of a five-star hotel...seriously, what more could you ask for?

To book these stunning safari tents, click here, and for more South African safari tent getaways, read on here!

All photos were taken by and are copyright of our featured guest, Michaela.