Cor and Julie
Thomson Safaris is one of only a few outfits that are allowed to have facilities right in the middle of the action. They have a tented camp right in the Serengeti, no fences, no barriers, just you and the animals sharing the same space. During the day we would often see animals in the vicinity of the camp, from zebras to giraffes, from warthogs to gazelles. At night, it was not unheard of for these animals to actually venture into the camp. Right outside the tent you would hear warthogs dig around, and if you'd shine your light into the edges of the camp, shiny eyes greeted you. And while you're trying to sleep, zebras would call for alarm, while hyenas grew more and more excited. It is a feeling that's difficult to describe.
The tents are also quite luxurious as far as camping goes. They have large beds with mattresses, a vanity area with sinks and mirrors, a bathroom and a shower. Hot water is provided on request, usually right before taking a shower. It's not a fancy lodge, but it's very comfortable and the experience is worth it. Being right where the animals are beats anything else there is.
…everyone agreed the Thomson tent camps are actually nicer [than the permanent lodge]. Even the food was nicer at the tent camps. I don't know how the cooks in the tents do it, but it's amazing that they could out-cook the permanent accommodations of a lodge.
As one of our guides told us, you can not visit Africa only once, and truer words were never spoken. Africa is in our hearts now, and we'll certainly be back.