This elegant little stay requires little other than perhaps a pair of white pajamas to complement the serene bed. The unique feature of the Ngama Tents is that one whole side of the tent lifts up completely to open bushveld. This gives a wonderful outdoor feeling, enhanced by the stylish interior.
When a clean minimalism is done well, it is both calming and inspiring. All white furniture and fittings, a wide mosquito net, silky white linen and sage green cushions contrast and connect with the outdoors. Natural, light lampstands bring a warm glow to every corner of the tent.
Character stays should remove us from our everyday life, and I love a freestanding bath in the main suite – it is an unlikely romantic decandence compared to our usual functional lives. A Victorian-style slipper bath overlooks a window onto the bush with organic home-made Marula bath products filling the tent with this local fragrance. There is a basin and white towel ladder in the room, with a separately brick-enclosed toilet at the back of the tent. An outdoor shower opens onto bushveld trees and blue African skies.
At night is it hard to leave this peaceful haven for dinner, but I am excited to discover that we will have an African dinner outside in the boma. The glowing pathway to the boma is lit with oil lamps and the reed circle enclosed boma is surrounded by more hung lanterns giving a warm orange light to match the large open fire in the centre. We are instantly transported into a surreal happy place, and the excitement is tangible. Individual lamp-lit tables have been prepared for each couple around the central cooking fire. No effort has been spared and I am touched by the attention to detail and invisible hard work that has gone into laying out this unique experience for us. Our hosts work seamlessly together and are generous in plying us with drinks and food. The meal is excellent – one of the best outdoor meals I have ever had – tender lamb stew and potjie slow-cooked vegetables, stuffed chicken, braaied bread, stuffed butternut, mielies and salads. A malva pudding with home-made custard completes the evening under starry skies.
As soon as I wake I lift the sides of my tent completely up, even though it is a cool morning. I drink my coffee and munch the biscuits from my suite. The light moves slowly down the surrounding high trees, over the grass, onto my deck and into my tent. I have come here seeking solitude, silence and simplicity, but I find myself surrounded by many enthusiastic friends. Zebra bark, a Nyala antelope munches her breakfast loudly, an African Wood Hoophoe chortles and bush warblers chat. The textured sounds and layers of bush are the perfect backdrop to the tent’s soft interior, and there is nothing left to do other than sit in mindful appreciation of the complex simplicity of it all.