Follow this link to skip to the main content
Planning Your Safari
- Getting Started
- Custom vs Scheduled

- Accommodation on Safari
- Lodges
- Tented Camps
Permanent Semi-Permanent - Safari Villas
- City Accommodation
- Southern vs East

- Solo Travel
- Travel Health
- Luggage and Packing
Mobile Safaris
Specialist Private Guides
Photography on Safari
Giving More to Africa
Why Travel with Us?
Client Testimonials
The Timeless Africa Team
Contact Us

Safari Awards Judges Logo

FUNDI logo

ASTA logo

Safari Accommodation - Semi-Permanent Tented Camps

Constructed entirely of canvas, semi-permanent camps occupy a middle ground between permanent tented camps and the more luxurious mobile safari camps. They may be seasonal bush camps set up in the same place each year, or they may relocated every few weeks or months. The latter type is predominantly an East African phenomenon, with the camps following the movements of the Great Migration.

Due to the logistics involved in relocating the camp on a regular basis, these camps tend to be quite small and exclusive, and despite their relatively rustic accommodations may cost as much (or more!) than a small luxury lodge in the same area.

Unlike most mobile camps, semi-permanent camps have electricity, usually powered by the same means used in permanent tented camps. The amount of power generated tends to be a bit less, however, and you may find yourself using a torch to find your way around your room at night.

Living Unlike permanent tented camps, the tents of a semi-permanent camp are usually situated directly on ground sheets rather than wooden platforms, with dirt paths between the main lounge and the guest tents. Some camps that return to the same campsites annually may use low wooden decks to support their tents.

Most semi-permanent tented camps have designs based on traditional walk-in canvas safari tents, but recently a number of camps (notably the Nomad camps in Tanzania) have started experimenting with innovative designs that break away from this mould. The results have been striking - camps which blend classic African safari style with influences from Bedouin pavilions and Mongolian yurts.

A mess tent / lounge forms the centre of a semi-permanent camp. Smaller and less formal than that of a permanent tented camp, the lounge often has very cleverly constructed sofas and chairs that can be broken down for transport to the next campsite. There is usually a small library with field guides and some books on the local culture.

Dining Dining at semi-permanent tented camps is usually communal, but individual tables are used as some of the more luxurious camps. Food tends to be a bit simpler than that in permanent tented camps but uses fresh ingredients with plenty of variety. A good selection of drinks is usually on offer though the bar won't have the same variety offered at permanent tented camps or lodges.

Most semi-permanent tented camps are happy to cater for special dietary requests, but need to know about them well in advance.

Sleeping Guest tents are larger and more elaborate than those used in mobile safaris, with full en-suite facilities. Toilets may be flush or chemical, and bucket showers are used, with hot water provided on demand. Guests sleep in real beds (not cots) and the tents often have homely touches like throw rugs and writing tables.

Relaxing The temporary nature of these camps means that they won't have gyms, swimming pools, or spas. Most people spend the time between game drives relaxing in their tents or in the lounge, where the informal camaraderie typical of small camps makes for a warm and convivial atmosphere.

Shopping Curio shops are almost non-existent at semi-permanent tented camps, though there might be a section of the lounge featuring some crafts made by the staff or by local people.