KwaZulu-Natal tented camps come in a variety of guises.
They’re not all tented camps the way one expects them to be – out in the bush accompanied by the Big 5 experience – except for one, in a private game reserve in the savanna region, just outside Ladysmith.
Instead many of them are set in amongst the subtropical and dune forested canopies so typical of KwaZulu-Natal, dripping in monkey ropes and vines synonymous with the province’s more humid weather conditions.
This selection of KwaZulu-Natal tented camps has a satisfying variety: there’s a teepee camp in the Drakensberg, and even a tented camp down the south coast near the beach.
But if you’re a lover of the outdoors and the natural world then each of these is worth a stay.
Here are Kwazulu-Natal tented camps perfect for a glamping weekend
This African style lodge offers privacy and luxury in two timber and canvas suites with mosquito gauze windows and roll-down blinds, as well as indoor/outdoor bathrooms.
Highlight: easy access to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
Luxury tented accommodation in amongst the trees at a privately owned lodge just 3 hours’ from the airport.
This KwaZulu-Natal tented camp in Hluhluwe includes 15 twin-bedded, en suite tents, some with an additional outdoor shower.
Highlight: walking and game safaris, bird spotting in the sand forest.
You’re going to love this classic Red Indian themed teepee camp in amongst the foothills of the Drakensberg – it’s our most unusual KwaZulu-Natal tented camp.
Perfect for families or large groups, each teepee (there are only 4 of them) is furnished with beds, blankets, table, lantern, gas heaters, nearby bathrooms and a communal kitchen.
Highlight: pony rides, access to Sani Pass and Cobham Nature Reserve.
A seriously cute backpackers on the main road of St Lucia. You can hire conventional rooms, but the main attraction is the shared, double or dorm dome tents in which there are real beds.
Highlight: easy access to neighbourhood restaurants and bar; and the communal kitchen is serviced until 9pm, so no washing up.
The same team behind Monzi Safaris Backpackers also have a tented lodge that visitors describe as in amongst a forest, despite being in the middle of a little town.
There are 13 en-suite KwaZulu-Natal tented tents, sleeping four people, each with its own patio, surrounding a large wooden deck and swimming pool.
Highlight: walking distance from the St Lucia estuary.
Thandulula is an unusual offering – safari tents on the south coast of KZN set in amongst a rich canopy of trees.
This owner-run establishment offers four really comfortable, fully furnished tents, each with its own quirky name, just north of Port Shepstone.
Highlight: access to Southport (the beach is only 1.5 km away), Port Shepstone and Margate.
It is exceptional to find access to the Big 5 in KwaZulu-Natal.
Usually one has to drive as far north as Mpumalanga, or Limpopo, before one can safely experience the bush and the wild game that comes with it.
But Springbok Lodge has 21 elevated luxury, en suite, air conditioned tents – each with its own viewing deck – in the heart of Big 5 country.
Highlight: 20 000 acres of malaria-free bushveld.
Choose from beautifully appointed luxury tents with bushveld views, each with an outdoor shower, or a luxury family tent with its own viewing deck.
Thula Thula (which means peace) lies on the bank of the Nseleni River, where Shaka and his father met for the first time to establish the Zulu nation.
Highlight: the 4500 private game reserve is just 2 hours’ from Durban and offers a sangoma encounter in a rural Zulu village.
Surrounded by bushveld in the heart of the uKuwela Wildlife Conservancy you’ll find a choice of 9 simply but uniquely decorated safari tents, each with its own en suite bathroom and private deck.
Highlight: the main lodge has a boma area and swimming pool.
Which KwaZulu-Natal tented camps have you been to? Please let us know what your experience was…