We've always had Hemingway-on-safari dreams, ever since reading his posthumously published memoir 'True at First Light,' in which deputized game warden Papa helps his fourth wife stalk a black-maned lion against the backdrop of the Mau Mau Uprising in the Kenyan highlands. So we were glad to find our own safari hideaway at Sinya on Lone Man Creek in the lush Texas Hill Country, minus the colonialism and the shooting of exotic game. After traveling in Africa, proprietor Lynn Gallimore spent years plotting Sinya, which opened in 2009. She imported a canvas safari tent direct from Kenya and modified it for the variability and violence of Texas weather, putting in ceiling fans and energy-efficient air conditioning and heating, as well as pine flooring to provide cool airiness in the summer and warmth in the winter.
True to its African source material, Sinya has gorgeous open views; it's situated high on a leafy ridge overlooking 300 feet of Lone Man Creek, with swimming holes and hiking trails over five acres of land. Gallimore did well to balance modern luxury and comfort with authentic detail (e.g., both an outdoor hot/cold shower and a century-old clawfoot tub, a king-size platform bed and a hammock on the veranda, a well-appointed kitchen and a fire pit). Guests can seek out small-town activity in nearby Wimberley, Texas, and the Austin lights are only 40 miles away, but we think Sinya nights are nicest under the canvas, with a book or two (Hemingway had a duffel bag of Simenon novels in his tent) and some pale golden Tusker. [from $245, hillcountrysinya.com]