What Types of Accommodation is there in Africa?
As the safari industry has developed, so have the number of options relating to accommodation types available to you on safari. Below is an overview of the general accommodation options available.
Options vary greatly in this category, from basic three star accommodations to the most luxurious five star structures. Safari lodges are fully permanent accommodation built out of stone, wood, thatch, bricks, mortar or a combination of all. Designs generally blend well into the African bush and contour the natural landscape, offering great views and similar amenities found in any hotel in the world. These are the most typical types of safari accommodation in South Africa, Kenya, Namibia and Botswana.
You will most likely find air conditioning, a small library, a pool, a spa, laundry service, exquisite cuisine and excellent service. Safari lodges vary dramatically in size and style but are generally bigger than the mobile camps and permanent tented lodges. As these structures are permanent in location, be sure to ensure that your choice has good year-round game viewing.
Permanent Tented Lodges
As the name suggests, these are non-movable permanent structures built on a concrete or wooden bases with canvas tent sides. Permanent tented lodges combine the secluded, intimate atmosphere of tented lodging with the modern convenience of a safari lodge.
Permanent tented lodges offer breathtaking vistas of the surroundings in a tranquil and serene environment – this is sensory overload! They generally offer private decks overlooking the bush, large sleeping areas, separate bathroom and showers with hot and cold running water and electricity. Public areas typically include a bar, lounge, dining areas, viewing decks, usually a pool, and a curio shop. Some will have Internet, a/c, and a private plunge pool. This luxurious and comfortable option is not roughing it in any way, and camps are generally more expensive than lodges.
Mobile Tented and Seasonal Camps
For those that are a little more adventurous, Tanzania and Botswana has a number of fantastic seasonal and mobile tented camps from which to choose. The non-permanent, luxury tents are reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway’s East Africa adventures and allow you to be fully immersed in nature. Mobile tented camps are often erected for three to six month periods following the great migration and other wildlife movements, putting you in the best locations for game viewing.
Generally campsites are small and sleeping tents are large, with very comfortable finishing, complete with flushing toilets and hot and cold running water. A separate dining tent and often a lounge/library will allow you to relax away from your tent, while camps are setup in remote game viewing areas away from tourist circuits.
Fly Camping, Light Mobile Camping and Sleep Outs
For the very adventurous, there are well-organised but simple ‘fly-camping’ options, usually associated with walking safaris. This option is the most versatile and most rugged option. If you are comfortable sleeping with out in the open wilderness with nothing but a thin walled tent/mosquito net with the sound of the nearby hippos and wildebeest, this option is for you! Immerse yourself fully in the wilderness in a location chosen by your accompanying guide. This option is basic, but is completely private with only yourself and your companion in the camp, unwinding around a campfire looking up at the stars. As tents are located near wildlife, the nights can be noisy, particularly when wildebeest and hippos are about You’ll want to consider this factor as well when deciding on which lodging options are best for you.
Besides for the tented ‘fly camping’ option, certain luxury lodges have build ‘sleep out’ hides into trees and other landscapes (totally private and very romantic for the adventuring couple).