Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

The cream of the bow tent crop

Your tent is an essential piece of equipment when camping. It’s your home away from home. Your sanctuary and your shelter from the elements. Choosing the correct one is then really important. We here at Adventure Afrika have sampled all of the dome tents in the Tentco line-up, and Anton Willemse Jnr has finally arrived at the pinnacle of the Tentco dome tent line-up: the Junior Safari Deluxe Bow and the Senior Safari Deluxe Bow.

During the past few months, we’ve discussed all there is to know about Tentco’s dome tent line-up. Starting with their entry-level option, the Savannah series. The Savannah series has a starting price of only R3 110, making it a very affordable option – perfect for those families with a tight budget who still require a quality product. It lacks some of the luxuries available on the more expensive options, though. Then we looked at the Junior and Senior Wanderer. With a price of R4 320 for the Junior and R5 120 for the Senior, they offer a great blend of affordability and comfort and are the most popular dome tents from Tentco. However, Tentco does have a third option for the customer looking for something a bit more: the cream of the crop, the Safari Deluxe range.

When I turned 14 years old, I got a bit of an unconventional birthday present. While most kids my age got new rugby boots or PlayStations, I got something much, much better. I got my first dome tent, a Junior Safari Bow. This gift meant that I had shelter when venturing out with my family into the likes of the Moremi and the Makgadikgadi pans. However, the Junior Safari Bow (now called the Junior Safari Bow Deluxe) isn’t the only tent available in the Safari range. It also has a bigger brother, the Senior Safari Deluxe Bow.

So, what are the key differences between the Safari range and the rest of the Tentco line-up? Well, the first obvious difference is the massive veranda. The Junior Safari Deluxe Bow and the Senior Safari Deluxe Bow tent have a skullcap with flysheet and a veranda, which provides shade in the blazing heat or some shelter from the rain. It works wonders in keeping the tent cool on those hot days while retaining some heat on colder nights.

Another prominent difference between the Safari Deluxe range and the rest of the Tentco bow tent line-up is the quality of materials used. The Safari Deluxe range has the thickest material of all the bow tents on offer, with 320gsm ripstop canvas used on both the Senior and Junior options. These tents also have thicker groundsheets – 540gsm heavy duty PVC to be specific. The use of these superior, high-quality materials means your bow tent will probably outlast you! My Junior Safari Bow, for example, has been used on countless trips for close to seven years now and is still basically brand new.

The Junior Safari Deluxe Bow is the smaller option in the Safari range, with a base size of 2.5m x 2.5m which makes it a great choice for two siblings camping together while leaving plenty of storage or luggage space. The height of 1.9m also allows ample room for two stretchers without anything protruding from the sides. The Junior Safari Deluxe Bow has a total weight of 25kg, and the tent and frame pack into separate bags. The tent has a pack size of 72cm x 28cm x 35cm, with a weight of 17kg. The frame packs down to 112cm x 16cm x 8cm with a weight of 8kg. In addition, there are some great extra goodies to enhance your camping experience. The Junior Baobab extension adds 2.1m length to the front of your tent, which can act as either living quarters, an extra room, a kitchen or just as something to shelter you from the elements should you have bad luck with the weather.

The Senior Safari Deluxe Bow is the same size as the Senior Wanderer Bow. It’s an excellent option for a family, thanks to a base of 3m x 3m and a height of 2.2m. The overall size and height allow ample space for up to four stretchers and some room to spare for luggage. In addition to the ample space inside the tent, the overall larger stature of the Senior Safari Deluxe bow means that the veranda protruding out of the front has a shade coverage of 1.8m x 3m. The Senior Safari Deluxe Bow has a total weight of 33kg. The tent itself has a packed-down size of 72cm x 37cm x 40xm, with a weight of 24kg, while the frame weighs 9kg and packs down to a size of 124cm x 16cm x 10cm. The Senior Safari Deluxe, like the Savannah 5 and the Senior Wanderer, is a big boy. As a result, it has a good number of extras available, such as the Senior Deluxe and Senior Baobab extensions.

The Senior Baobab extension adds a room and a veranda to provide extra protection from the elements. The additional room has a size of 2.1m x 3m, and the veranda has a size of 1.6m x 3m. The Senior Deluxe is a two-piece extended veranda with optional side and front walls. You can modify the Senior Deluxe extension to your heart’s content – it splits into two sections, one measuring 2.8m x 3m and the other 1.8m x 3m section. You can opt to have them open or closed or a bit of both, making it feel more like a home away from home.

The Junior and Senior Safari Deluxe Bow tents are great products, with a massive advantage being three windows with outside flaps and inside closures to regulate airflow and keep your tent cool or warm, depending on the weather. Additionally, you can close the windows from the inside – a great advantage when the clouds open in the middle of the night since you no longer have to run outside to close your windows! This feature also allows people to close the tent windows when getting dressed. From a pricing perspective, the Junior Safari Deluxe Bow (R5 910) and the Senior Safari Deluxe Bow (R6 720) won’t break the bank either! Speaking from personal experience – if you care for it properly, your Tentco tent will last you a lifetime. And this isn’t only true for the premium Safari Deluxe range but any bow tent on offer from Tentco. All their tents carry our stamp of approval!

*Photographs taken at Jabula Bush Camp, Dinokeng: www.jabulabushcamp.co.za

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