Glamping, a new phenomenon or centuries old…
Glamping (or glamourous camping) describes a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping. Glamping has become particularly popular with 21st-century tourists seeking the luxuries of hotel accommodation alongside the escapism and adventure recreation of camping. Source Wikipedia.
And you would be forgiven for thinking that Glamping is new take on traditional camping, and perhaps reserved for the well-heeled adventure traveller. But it is interesting to note that the most glamourous of camps dates to 1520 – Field of the Cloth of Gold.
Glamping in South Africa is somewhat new, or is it? I guess the nomadic bushmen of the Kalahari could argue this point, since they have taken along their worldly comforts on rather long expeditions for the longest time. Hunters, love them or loath them, were amongst the very first ‘glampers’ to wander across the plains of Africa, porters in tow. And this dates back a couple of centuries, although not much by way of photographic evidence exists to support this, for obvious reasons.
We have noticed a significant increase in interest in glamping and nature based experiences over the past 3 years, and exactly why this is, we can only speculate. The benefit of quizzing guests does help us understand, at least some of the reasons, why folk in South Africa are turning to this form of holiday experience.
We have looked at these interest groups and can loosely group them as follows;
- The Seasoned Glamper – these are folk who have camped for many years, and over the years amassed a large amount of kit and equipment, and after each camping trip found themselves adding more luxuries to their collection. The moment came when the time, energy, effort and money required to mobilise themselves no longer outweighed the available time spent under canvas, so to speak.
- The Tentative Glamper (pun intended) – folk who are thinking of glamping or even camping, and who would like to test it out before investing and kit and equipment.
- The Family Glamper – Often the closest the family will get mom camping, and it’s by convincing her that she will not have to wash dishes or sacrifice too many home comforts.
- The Digital Detox Glamper – Either as couples or families, and these are folk that are looking for break from devices of one sort or another – a Wi-Fi free zone, a chance to ‘connect’ with each other.
- The Curious Glamper – These are guests who stumble across this rather novel concept and decide to try it out. Perhaps these are also folk who have tried most other forms of accommodation.
- The Business Glamper – these are folk who have exchanged their formal business attire and conference room for a tent, the outdoors, and a flipchart. Alternatively, a rather different company incentive.
One thread connects most if not all glampers, and that is their desire to get out of the city and into the wilderness, for whatever reason.
We have also observed that the term glamping is increasingly being associated with permanent establishments, all be they made of canvas or wood for example. And for a moment, we’ll talk to our own book, when we say that you are glamping when the tent or structure in which you are staying is going to be removed before long.
Whatever motivates you to consider glamping is not important, what is, is that you act upon it, and head out into the wilderness, and enjoy some time away with family, friends, or just a little solitude.