“Tented safari chic at its most intimate and alluring, at the heart of the vast Onguma Reserve”
Onguma's 7 guest tents, reached by way of gravelled paths through the acacias, fan out in a broad arc giving each a direct line of vision down to the water hole. A broad sweep of wooden deck with twin Planters-style chairs feels right in sync with the Out Of Africa feel of the rest of the camp.
Sliding mozzie-netted doors lead into the tents where outer walls alternate adobe, stone and canvas. Ceilings are draped in white cotton (which imparts a rather marquee-like feel) whilst dun-coloured screed floors come cloaked in Nguni cattle hides. A low bed wall provides the demarcation between your sleeping space and the dressing room and the bathroom is to the rear, flanked by high, twin mirrors. In here, you're treated to a deliciously retro zinc tub (evocative of scenes from The Snows of Kilimanjaro), twin stone sinks set in a big run of leadwood surface, and indoor and outdoor rain showers.
No spoiling detail has been overlooked: expect a tea and coffee station, a chenille throw draped over your corner armchair, huge fluffy-white towels, kaftan-style cotton bathrobes, natural amarula shampoos, soaps and gels, a safety box for your valuables and extra long twin beds made up as kingsize doubles with goose feather duvets and fine linen sheets and pillow cases.
Given the choice we'd ask for tent 7 or 4, which are the furthest out into the bush. But any one is bound to tick all of your 'chic-safari-sleep' boxes.
Eating is a big part of the experience; each meal is a special event in its own right. The setting could hardly be more droolingly safari-romantic with 7 tables-for-two set around the edge of the polished deck, just yards from the palm-fringed water hole which is lit at night.
Your dining experience will probably begin with a cocktail: a Bloody Mary, piña colada, Brass Monkey or, to get your dinner off to real flyer, a TNT! If lunches tend to stay light, dinners are always 4 courses, and are, in the words of your ever-smiling camp manager Christian, "fresh-produce driven". Guests are asked about their culinary likes and dislikes on arrival at camp and always get to choose between white or game meat as main course. A soup and salad course, then homemade desserts frame things.
The choice of wines stored within the Tented Camp's central stone-and-pole wine cellar is staggering. It showcases the top wines of the Fair View Estate in South Africa: whether you fancy a shiraz, pinotage, mourvèdre or a blended wine, you'll find it on the wine list. The camp's staff have been trained in house at Fair View so they can offer expert guidance about what's what.
You can also expect a memorable breakfast; an immaculately presented cold buffet as well as any variant on the full works theme. At all meals the cheerful good nature of the camp's staff makes for a relaxed and truly enjoyable dining experience.