What is a safari tent?

What's it like to stay in a permanent safari tent?

Young family camping at it's best!

What on earth is a safari tent? Well, having stayed in one myself I can tell you it’s a comfortable, camping experience. All the conveniences of self-contained cabins but with the feeling of sleeping under the stars. Apparently glamorous camping or “glamping” is taking the world by storm and now I know why. I stayed at Scamander Sanctuary Holiday Park in one of their permanent safari tents with my husband and two very young daughters who were just 1 and 2 and a half at the time over the New Year period. We had had a huge Christmas, a nasty gastro bug and my daughters first birthday to get through so I was desperate to get to the park and settle in. Only it never goes smoothly with young children, does it? We arrived, worn out by cranky cries and grizzles from the back seat from our youngest who likes her cot at night and our overtired toddler. Because my husband had been knocked over by the bug I had to pack up all of us in the space of one morning and as usual the car had taken longer than expected to pack. The park Managers Graham and Sandy were extremely understanding and welcoming even though I’m pretty sure we looked like we’d all been dragged from a creek somewhere by the time we arrived. And it was raining.

As soon as we walked in our eldest daughters eyes lit up. We’d been telling her about our impending camping trip for weeks and she was finally in our “tent/castle” and she promptly got to climbing onto the top bunk. We inspected the tent and were amazed at how comfortable and clean everything was. The decking out the front looked out towards bushland and there was plenty of room. The kitchen contained. There was even a big tub we could put in the shower bay to bath the baby in the bathroom. We hadn’t even unpacked and I never wanted to leave. We unpacked the car and settled in, finding at every turn that everything we needed was there; portable stove top, towels, washing up liquid, kettle, toaster, fridge, comfortable beds. We even found out that we could have rented a portacot and left ours at home. Next time.

Some things that stood out for me about the safari tent were that it was easy to clean over and over (food, children, yada), it was warm when raining and cool when sunny and hot (we got to experience both luckily). Actually it was surprisingly cosy and romantic in the rain and we didn’t have to cancel the trip due to inclement weather at the front half of the planned stay. And with cranky kids and arriving later in the day we didn’t even have to put up a tent (or take one down when we wanted to get on our way fast). But it was hearing the sound of the waves and feeling like you were outdoors only separated from the outdoors by canvas rather than walls that will always stay with me.

We did a range of things with our girls in the days we stayed. Swam in the river mouth at Binalong Bay, visited a beautiful little cove in Bay of Fires, had fish and chips on a fish punt in St Helens, enjoyed a messy ice-cream session with the girls, went for long walks on the wild and beautiful beach we had private access to (I think it’s Steele’s Beach) and even managed a beer and some oysters overlooking Binalong Bay (with some chips of course). On the way home we took the girls to the wildlife park in Bicheno and they loved it, even feeding a kangaroo with a joey in its pouch. And the car ride back to Hobart was peaceful because they were tuckered out after all the excitement.

The safari tent experience is a unique one and one I highly recommend (especially to those with small children)! You can be in touch with nature and the surroundings but still enjoy the comforts and conveniences of home.

This article is on Scamander Sanctuary Holiday Park’s blog. The Park offers two different styles of accommodation; Permanent, self-contained cabin style safari tents for those after a comfortable outdoor camping experience and traditional powered and unpowered camp sites and caravan sites. The Park has private access to the beach and is at the gateway to Bay of Fires, St. Helens and Binalong Bay, making it the best accommodation base to explore the East Coast of Tasmania.