Skip to main content


Bushtec Safari is Growing and Offering New Services

By Media

As the camping season continues to heat up, fueled in part by the rising popularity of glamping, B2B companies that support the outdoor hospitality sector are expanding their offerings. One such company is Bushtec Safari, a division of Canvas and Tent, and a well-known producer of canvas luxury tents, camping tents and accessories.

Gary Flaks, CEO of Bushtec Safari, is no stranger to glamping. In fact, it’s something he’s done all of his life.

“What I tell everyone is that when I was growing up as a young kid I was going to what we call game reserves, which is the equivalent of safaris, and I didn’t know it, but I was glamping,” he told “We’ve been glamping in South Africa for all of our lives; so it’s not a new phenomenon in those parts of the world, but it has become a new phenomenon here.”

Bushtec Safari offers a variety of tent structures including a model where park owners can share costs with the company.

And it’s a phenomenon that is fueling interest in the company’s luxury tents.

In 2015, Flaks was introduced to Canvas and Tents which was looking to enter the U.S. market.

“We were introduced, and it was just a great relationship and fit right at the get-go,” he noted. “Initially, we were aiming to do our overnight camping brand, which is called Bushtec Adventure. But Bushtec Safari, which is our luxury tent brand, had so much interest growing on that side of the business, so Bushtec Safari really took off pretty quickly and became our main focus, and that has continued to grow.”

When COVID hit, Flaks said it went from a slow upward directory to a more rapid one.

“Right now we are in 22 or so states in the U.S., where we either have tents already installed or they’re in production,” he mentioned. “We’re in Canada and Mexico and we have a lot in the Caribbean and in Costa Rica. We’re in Columbia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and about ten countries in South America, so the U.S. entity handles the whole Western world, from Canada to South America.”

Unlike its competitors, which rely on third parties for at least some of their materials, Bushtec has an advantage in the marketplace because it controls all costs by creating everything themselves at its South African factory.

“The secret of our product is in our canvas and the quality of our parts,” said Flaks. “Our canvas is a proprietary canvas that’s available in the region of South Africa where our factory is. We have our own steel plant and we customize most of our tents. We now have a bunch of standard designs that allow you to add hard doors, windows…etc. You can also custom-make the tents smaller or taller.

“All of our tents have four layers of roofing, so you have a shade and flysheet over the top which is your UV protection and takes the heat off the tent,” he added. “You have a PVC flysheet which is your waterproofing, a canvas fly sheet which is waterproof, fire retardant, military-grade — or what they call “ripstop canvas” — and then the fourth layer is largely aesthetic. It’s a ceiling liner that is more for aesthetics, but also gives you insulation and gives you a feel of luxury and comfort. What we like to say about our tents is that when you’re inside them, you kind of feel bulletproof. You feel the luxury and the comfort of being in a hotel room. However, you still get the whole feeling of the outdoors.”

Business owners interested in seeing Bushtec tents in person can visit Pine Mountain RV Resort, located in Pine Mountain, Ga. However, plans are in the works to build an entire showroom for its products.

“At the moment we’ve got a resort that doubles up as a showroom an hour outside of Atlanta, but we’re building a big showroom there as well, where we’re going to have our warehouse, stockroom, and so on,” Flaks said.

In a nod to the growing interest in glamping, Bushtec now offers businesses the option to buy tents “off the shelf.”

Traditionally, Bushtec tents have all been custom-made. However, over time, they discovered the most popular layouts that people enjoy and they’ve begun producing these layouts which are kept as stock models. This means that business owners can receive their luxury tents more quickly than if they were fully custom-made.

“They’re $25,000 to $30,000 tents,” noted Flaks. “Customers are going to be at around $700 a month for the payments, so with the rates that we’re seeing, park owners will need to rent them out for maybe three nights a month to be able to meet their payments. It’s not a huge stretch to get those types of occupancy rates to be able to meet your obligations.”

Bushtec Safari creates its own materials which helps it control costs.

If park owners want to expand their offerings, but want to test if it will work for their location, they can also try Bushtec’s newest offering, “Wyld.” They’re testing it right now, but early results are promising, according to Flaks. It’s a revenue share program for park owners and it’s tied to an app that Bushtec has created.

“We don’t charge the parks and all they’ve got to do is provide some sites for us to place the tents on,” he said. “They might give us six sites and then the campers basically go onto the app and book the sites from there. The park gets a report and gets paid its percentage of the sale.”

But what if you want to expand (or start) a glamping business and you don’t know where to start? Bushtec Creations could be the answer you’re looking for.

“Bushtec Creations is the turnkey side of the business,” said Flaks. “When we started out, we were kind of just selling our tents and saying, ‘Hey, we’ll offer you the support you need to install them,’ but more and more we had to get “hands-on” with the installation side, both in and out of South Africa, servicing mainly the whole African continent, the Middle East and in Europe. Bushtec Creations will even do land prep, from water articulation right through to taking a raw piece of land and then developing the resort. We don’t do as much of that in the U.S. though.”

Now the company can even supply decking and interior packages.

If raising capital is an issue, business owners will have one more choice to consider, as the company will soon be offering financing through a new division, Bushtec Finance.

“We are close to going live with our financing,” noted Flaks. “Everyone’s going to be able to finance their purchases through us which opens up more doors.”

Besides resources, park owners are keenly familiar with zoning, permit and land use issues that arise every time they want to expand (or build out) more sites. That’s why Bushtec is joining forces with industry leaders such as Ruben Martinez, executive director of the American Glamping Association, to effect change in regulations.

“We’re kind of at the forefront, together with some of our competitors, of trying to get a lobbying group together to essentially write the code, because permitting is becoming a huge hindrance for all of us,” Flaks explained.

HYBRID HOME The company also offers a hybrid solution which can include flatpacks, containerised solutions and prefab structures

PVC fabric structures beneficial for accommodation

By Media

The projects completed by specialists Canvas and Tent demonstrated the beneficial use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for mine-site accommodation, says Canvas and Tent group marketing manager Karen Coetzer.

The company manufactured 65 structures made out of PVC fabric for projects in Madagascar, Botswana and Angola in 2022.

It has been supplying turnkey camps made out of PVC fabric for remote mining operations, including workforce accommodation and on-site mining infrastructure, through its Bushtec Originals brand.

HYBRID HOME The company also offers a hybrid solution which can include flatpacks, containerised solutions and prefab structures

HYBRID HOME The company also offers a hybrid solution which can include flatpacks, containerised solutions and prefab structures

As the world’s “second-largest minerals industry”, the African continent is attractive to mining and exploration companies, which is evident in the increase in demand for mine-site accommodation, says Coetzer.

Increased demand has resulted in the construction period for accommodation having to be as short as possible to ensure that mineworkers are accommodated as soon as possible, while ensuring their safety and the hard-wearing of the accommodation.

The structures are proven, reliable building solutions that endure prolonged use in extreme climates, notes Coetzer, adding that the company also has an insulation system available for any fabric structure to increase interior comfort and energy efficiency in hot or cold climates.

FLYCAMP Flexibility is one of the advantages of Canvas and Tent’s PVC fabric structures, as it allows for the dis- and reassemble of accommodation camps

FLYCAMP Flexibility is one of the advantages of Canvas and Tent’s PVC fabric structures, as it allows for the dis- and reassemble of accommodation camps

Canvas and Tent offers a large selection of options for its PVC fabric structures, such as different models, sizes and configurations, to meet the on-site requirements of any mining operation.

Consequently, the company engages with mine managers, engineers and principal mine planning engineers to ensure that the modular structures and remote camp systems meet such requirements.


Flexibility is one of the advantages of Canvas and Tent’s PVC fabric structures, as it allows for the dis- and reassembly of accommodation camps, says Coetzer.

This is especially important for mining operations in Africa, as some projects and sociopolitical environments tend to be unpredictable; for example, the security concerns in some Central African countries, the Sahel in the vast semi-arid region of Africa; and the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique.

Therefore, the ability to establish temporary or semi-permanent accommodation that can be easily relocated if necessary, is ideal.

PVC fabric structures are also cost effective, she adds.

“Temporary or semi-permanent accommodation is often less expensive than permanent accommodation options. This is especially important for mining companies operating in remote locations in Africa where infrastructure is lacking, and the cost of building permanent accommodation can also be prohibitive.”

The PVC fabric structures are also timely, as it takes about four hours to build fully functional accommodation that can house up to eight people in a dormitory style.

Moreover, Canvas and Tent’s accommodation solutions can easily be adjusted, depending on requirements – if an operation requires more workers, more accommodation can rapidly be erected, but it can also be disassembled if required.

Accommodation can range from single rooms with en-suite bathrooms to single rooms in PVC fabric structures with shared ablutions.

Canvas and Tent’s PVC fabric range can also be used and configured for workforce housing; kitchens; dining, medical and maintenance facilities; offices; ablution units; and recreation areas.

The company also offers a hybrid solution which can include flatpacks, containerised solutions and prefab structures.

“Our turnkey solution can accommodate needs as complex as the establishment of a reverse osmosis water-treatment plant. Canvas and Tent also carries out all of the internal and external reticulation such as electricity, water and sewerage systems.”

Mine-site accommodation is crucial, as a large number of artisans and skilled labourers must be housed as close to the operation as possible to ensure that operations run smoothly at all hours of the day, and to safeguard employees, particularly in remote locations, she concludes.

Operating in the Bush – By Sam J Basch

By Media

Redeployable Camp Systems SA was tasked with rapidly supplying
the SANDF with tents for its border protection duties

As its name indicates, Redeployable Camp Systems SA (RCSSA) (Hangar 4 Outside Stand ON4) has built an enviable reputation for its turnkey camp solutions in many parts of the world. The company’s redeployable camps have been supplied into some of the most inhospitable regions, from deserts and jungles to the icy fields of Antarctica.

In recent times, RCSSA, part of the KwaZulu-Natal headquartered Canvas and Tent group, provided more than 270 tents to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for its border posts around the entire perimeter of the country. This forms part of Operation Corona that is focused on safeguarding the country’s borders. The project entrusted to RCSSA covered 19 military bases on the borders, including those with Lesotho and Eswatini.

According to RCSSA group sales manager Martin Bester, the company managed to execute the order in a matter of weeks, from early December 2021 to late February 2022, a period that included the Christmas holidays.

“We delivered just over 100 Warrior tents measuring about 10 x 5 m and a further 44 of the 5 m square Warrior tents,” he explained. “Besides these and other deliveries, RCSSA repaired existing tents at the bases as required in terms of the contract.” For this massive and urgent undertaking, the company utilised no less than 42 ten-ton trucks that drove a combined 33 000 kilometres throughout South Africa in the short space of time. “We executed this contract within the specified timeframe and to the satisfaction of the SANDF,” Bester said. “The Warrior tents, fondly referred to as ‘Weatherhaven tents’ by the SANDF, accommodate eight to ten soldiers, but some tents were destined for other purposes, such as offices.”

Originally published on on 23 September 2022

Home from Home

By Media

With South Africa’s military deployed into various African countries on peace support operations, a new-generation rapidly transportable camping solution was needed. Pretoria-based Redeployable Camp Systems (RCSSA) (Hangar 7, Stand N03) has lately been awarded several contracts to fulfil this requirement.

“The Canvas Products system that RCSSA is currently delivering consists of general and vehicle tents of varying sizes, furniture and packaging equipment,” said Karen Coetzer, group marketing manager. “We designed steel crates to ship the entire system, including the tents, solid doors, support structure, interlocking rubber floor tiles and a raised floor.

In addition, we provide a hand-operated hydraulic stacker – a smaller version of large warehouse stackers – able to lift 2 tonnes.” The consignment is delivered in a standard (6m) ISO low-cube shipping container, making it suitable for transport in a C-130 aircraft.

Two further contracts cover a mess facility and a container solution for a host of applications, including air-conditioning systems, a canteen and barbershop, paymaster’s office, stores, security lock-ups and even a bar and gym.

The 32m by 10m mess hall, with vestibules on the long sides, is constructed of a modular steel or aluminium frame, covered by durable, flame-retardant PVC fabric.

The mess contract includes delivery of a high-throughput dishwasher and an auto-start heavy-duty silent generator. “This is essentially five-star living for the military on operations,” Coetzer added.

The company is globally renowned for its innovative redeployable and air-transportable camp systems, having provided clients with turnkey soft-walled camps and HERCon hard-walled containers that can be expanded to offer triple the usual floorspace.

All in a box

By Media

Earlier this year Armscor awarded a R38 million contract valued to Pretoria-based Redeployable Camp Systems South Africa (RCSSA) for “simple and expandable” containers for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

The contract, part of the SANDF’s transportable camp systems requirement, runs over 33 months.

RCSSA group programme manager Richard Shaw explained the term “simple containers” is somewhat of a misnomer, as the containers are not that simple. They range from a bar, air-conditioning, canteen and a barbershop to a paymaster’s office, stores, security lockers and even a gym.

Sit down for a meal

By Media

Pretoria-based Redeployable Camp Systems South Africa (RCSSA) was awarded a R64-million contract for a turnkey redeployable mess facility for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). The contract runs over a 25-month period.

Deliverables includes a mess hall, 32m by 10m in size, with vestibules on the long sides. The mess is constructed of a modular steel or aluminium frame, covered by durable, flame-retardant PVC fabric, similar to the company’s other large modular systems. Innovative guttering and a raised floor allow for the structure to be erected in high rainfall areas with muddy or uneven ground.