One of my most important tasks in camp is to always be on top of maintenance. One in particular is the maintenance and cleaning of the thatching on the rooves of the Luxury Safari Tents 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11.During November 2016 when the camp was expecting low occupancy Jess in reservations blocked out selling the tents that needed work. The job was booked to start November 26 and expected to take 2 weeks.

The teams were organised to replace the thatching on tents 7 and 8 which had deteriorated due to being located under huge trees and tend not to dry out as well as the others and the neighbourhood of monkeys and baboons using it as there playground. The last time these tents were re-thatched was approximately 4 years prior.

Ade had ordered in the thatching materials and the best thatching team in the valley had been booked.

The job started with taking out everything in the tents, turning off the power and removing all extrical lights etc. Next a team of strong workers dropped the tent and carefully packed it away so it can be raised at completion of the thatching.

Next we need to take off the top layers of the existing thatching on the roof and this is a very labour intensive process. Then you need to assess if the existing structure which the thatching is attached to is solid, in the case of tent 7 there are 30 poles of which we had to replace 8 in total.

You need to then resecure any internal thatching that had not been replaced as it is well protected from water. Finally the best thatchers in the valley start the process of laying the tied bundles of thatching grass in layers and securing them down with a huge timber needle threaded with sizel which is like a thick string.

This section is completed in levels across the roof and each bundle of grass is pushed down using a timber troul with groves cut into it to step the levels and give it the final finish that you see in the photo.

The 5 thatching guys took 5 days to do each tent during temperatures of up to 41c.

Total cost per tent US$350.00 including labour and material.