Origins of the Mobile Tented Safari

A safari experience is unique to Africa but what does it take to put together a truly memorable safari reminiscent of bygone colonial times? Tourism Tattler’s Bev Langkilde spoke to award winning entrepreneur, Peter Hayward who is acknowledged as being a specialist in this field.

Peter J. W. Hayward founded Hayward’s Grand Safari Event & Expeditions in 1993 – a ‘world-first’ 5-Star mobile-tented safari hotel. The past 20 years has been a journey of dedication, tenacity and enthused passion for the African continent and its people.


“When we started out the rule was that camps should not exceed 16 beds. We went on to do the very first large safari camps (for 80 -120 beds + 40 crew) in deserts and big 5 game reserves for film crews and incentive groups in collaboration with National Parks Boards and their ecologists. It was pioneering work all the way. Since then my teams and I have provided VIP Grand Safari Camp services for private events, hosting many international celebrities, numerous leading business tycoons for their illustrious dining banquets and industry farewells, and been of award winning service to multinational companies with incredible alternatives to launch their products in inhospitable ‘never been done before’ regions” says Peter.

These upmarket, top drawer safari expeditions and events for larger VIP groups (40 – 200) have resulted in a string of award recognitions for Hayward’s such as the Award Winning (EIBTM – Best Event; Best Product Launch; The Meetings Africa / Best Event) product launches and awards for various ECO Friendly campaigns).

“It has been an exciting 20 years for me personally, developing Hayward’s for VIP Groups and introducing them to rare and privileged wildlife and rural regions. Working in collaboration with some of the world’s most outstanding agents, DMC’s and event organisers to ensure brilliant delivery all round is what has made us a bespoke service in every way” says Peter.


Peter’s typical Aries flair for boldness and creativity is evident in his artistic interpretation by creating African safari camp settings in the most aesthetic way. Every conceivable detail is placed in situ to orchestrate a once-in-a-life-time African safari experience – a claim that is testified to by both Hayward’s clients and by the travel trade, having won Best Event in the World at EIBTM as well as many eco- friendly and sustainability awards. Client Feedback questionnaires (thousands upon thousands) rate Hayward’s service at over 9.5/10 over 22 points of service performance, quite a feat when one considers that most guests have never experienced a Grand Safari tented camp in Big 5 territory before.

It was in the early 70’s that he got his first taste of a real expedition when as a scholar at Potchefstroom Boys High he headed off with a motley bunch of students into Botswana’s Moremi on a two week “exploration” of the Okavango Swamps. This trip and all its life threatening travails planted a passion of Africa for Peter.

Peter’s working career started out with Anglo American as a Learner Official / Deep Level Gold Miner. Adventure was always in his blood and he soon joined the underground fire fighting teams known as Protos, earning good dollops of extra danger pay. The insight gained at such an early age into the mechanics and capabilities of the engineering world he humbly ascribes as having been the major contributor to his understanding of project management and entrepreneurial risk taking. This has resulted in the establishment of numerous companies including; Secluded Country Lodges (Pty) Ltd, Secluded Africa Meetings & Event Planners, Explorers Travel Club, Power of One Team Diagnostics, Executive Management Solutions (Pty) Ltd; and CIGAFRIQUE, The Great African Big Smoke Cigar Club.

His path led him through a series of career changes, even becoming a Financial Advisor for Prudential for six years, attaining top ten status. Peter has been involved in causes such as Saving the Rhino as far back as 1987/9 when he set up the Breeding Endangered Species Trust raising funds for rhino breeding research. His SPCA Jock of the Bushveld Foundation “Find the Kruger Millions” campaign ran for weeks in the Sunday Times. In the early 90’s he spent a year filming as main protagonist in a documentary series called Treasure Hunters for Discovery Channel and German ZDF Television. As Line Producer and Researcher for Tandem Films, Germany, he took this film crew on expeditions into the Lowveld to find Kruger’s Lost Millions and into areas such as the Wild Coast to hunt for the wreck of the treasure ship Grosvenor.


Today with the renewed slaughter of Africa’s rhino’s (668 in 2012 alone) rhino preservation forms an integral part of his safari programmes with illustrious groups of opinion leaders and decision makers being taken to rhino preservation projects around southern Africa to experience rhino in their natural habitat, and what it takes to protect this beast from extinction. Whilst on such expeditions to secret locations, guests are also invited to work hand in hand with officially appointed veterinary surgeons to assist in procedures such as applying tracking devices or obtaining blood for DNA testing. Peter believes that educating business leaders on the plight of rhino is key to ensuring its survival, as commerce and trade are the root cause of its dwindling numbers.


Sharing a deep love for the African continent and its people, Peter believes Africa has a vital role to play in humanity’s future. Despite being plagued by greed, warmongering and ethnic tensions (not unique to Africa), Africans show a resilience and versatility to even the most abject conditions and all the while remain positive throughout.

Peter enjoys introducing leaders to the other story of Africa, an unexplored Africa that has the capability to sustain itself, and provide alternative thinking to a sometimes uninformed or often mis- informed western viewpoint. Hayward’s offer Grand Safari Camps throughout the southern African continent with the intention of not only producing an exemplary safari event, but also exposing global business leaders, celebrities and politicians to the sustainable lifestyles of the African people in order to inspire a positive change of thinking towards sustainability. Many communities in rural Africa live completely “off the grid” and are wholly sustainable in contrast to the overcrowded and unsustainable urban communities of the west. Given the respect and recognition they deserve, Peter is of the opinion that these rural communities could provide valuable insight into sustainable living and long term survival. Hayward’s safaris invite their VIP groups to experience firsthand the compassion and tolerance that the people living in these communities possess in order to learn from them. By bringing urban opinion leaders into contact with rural communities, Hayward provides a bridge to lessen the gap and foster understanding.


Built in 1999, Hayward’s was created in recognition of the last 100 years of safaris and expeditions in Africa. Complete with the original Hayward’s Gin Tent, Indaba Conference Tents, Safari Salons, Revitalisation Spa Services, a Safari Club and 100 en suite bedroom tents, Hayward’s is undoubtedly an unsurpassed authentic safari experience and a feather in South Africa’s tourism cap.


When mobilised with over 20 trucks, Hayward’s consists of over 400 tons of equipment and constitutes more than 38,000 items needed to ensure guests are truly comfortable, well fed and safe.

Food itself in the middle of the wilderness takes huge imagination. A typical Hayward’s Grand Safari would cater for as many as 2800 meals over a 12 – 15 day product launch / event run by a 12-person Chef team. Imagine the logistics of serving 1728 fresh bread rolls, 216 assorted loaves of bread, 1000 croissants and Danish pastries, three tons of fresh fruit and Veg, 174 kg chicken fillet, 80 kg oryx, 200 kg beef fillet, 100 kg lamb chops, 108 racks of lamb, 1500 fresh oysters, 110 kg tiger prawns, 70 kgs mussels, 40 kgs crayfish, 120 kg calamari well over 2000 eggs! Over 30,000 litres of water daily is needed for ablutions alone.

A Hayward’s Grand Safari runs with a crew of 40 to 90 dedicated individuals, dependant on the client’s needs and size of group. Hayward’s has achieved a unique 5-star status with the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa for the past five years for their mobile safari camp concept.


HSS, The Hayward’s Safari Sanctuary headquarters and safari academy for the group. It is situated just 75km from the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and just 23km north east of Pretoria in the Bobbejaansberg Private Nature Reserve and adjoining the Dinokeng Big-5 Reserve.

This exclusive-use private reserve is set in the Boekenhoutskloof Range near the historic diamond mine of Cullinan (home of the famed Cullinan Diamond) and is home to a large variety of African animal species. No hunting of animals is permitted at this 2 500 acre sanctuary.

To reduce costs of the unique ‘Mobile Expedition Hotel’ concept, prospective clients have the option of hosting their illustrious event at this beautiful 5 Star semi permanent event venue.

Ms Celia du Preez, a veteran safari campaigner for Hayward’s and in her seventh year at the organisation, is Peter Hayward’s Deputy Camp Manager and also the Executive Production Officer of the company, ensuring quotations and safari productions are simultaneously handled to perfection. Her team of administrators and production staff are dedicated to keeping the Hayward’s flag flying for outstanding safari service.

GLAMPING SAFARI WITH HAYWARD’s“Glamping” has been a part of the Hayward’s Luxury Safari concept since their very beginning, 20 years ago, starting in 1993 when they set out to do the very first BIG GROUP safari in the deserts of Namibia.An international film crew headed by none other than Madonna’s
film director arrived in Sossuvlei to shoot the all new LEXUS, speeding
up and down various Namibian dust roads.  It was glamorous – Like
you cannot believe.

An Italian princess set the elegant pace for the entire crew of 120, arriving each evening in magnificent Versace outfits and draped in jewellery and desert scarves. Crew were arriving showered, perfumed and shaven – unheard of for the film industry. Her tent was set up no less than a bedouin palace. Lawrence of Arabia would have cried!

Today the grand safari camp is far more sophisticated and even more glamorous.  If it’s undiscovered you are looking for, Hayward’s mobile safari services incorporate camps  anywhere in southern Africa, from the banks of the Zambezi to the wonders of the grand Kruger.

Hayward’s is an authentic 5 STAR rated venue by the Tourism Grading Council South Africa (TBCSA).

For more information call: +27 (0) 86 173 2583

[email protected] /

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