A variety of types of accommodation is available on safari – each with its own benefits. Speak to us about the ins and outs of each to determine which will best suit your travel needs. We recommend planning your safari at least six to 12 months prior to your dates of travel (even further in advance for exclusive camps in destinations such as the Serengeti or Okavango Delta). If you are travelling as a group, plan well in advance. Note that due to the active nature of African safaris, most camps and lodges require that children need to be at least six years of age (some have a 12-year minimum) in order to participate in game activities. This will always be at the rangers’ discretion.
The overview below will give you an idea of what each type entails:
Options vary greatly in this category, from basic three-star accommodation to luxurious five-star. Safari lodges are permanent structures, and are often designed to blend into the African bush. This is the most typical type 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, high-quality cuisine and excellent service.
As the name suggests, these are non-movable permanent structures built on a concrete or wooden base with canvas tent sides. Permanent tented lodges merge the secluded, intimate atmosphere of tented lodging with the modern convenience of a safari lodge, and offer a deeper connection to nature. They generally feature private decks overlooking the bush, large sleeping areas, a separate bathroom, showers with hot and cold running water and electricity. Public areas typically include a bar, lounge, dining areas, viewing decks, a pool and a curio shop. Some will have Internet and air conditioning.
For those that are a little more adventurous, Tanzania and Botswana have a number of seasonal and mobile tented camps from which to choose. These non-permanent, luxury tents are reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway’s East Africa adventures and allow you to be fully immersed in your environment. Camps are set up in remote game viewing areas away from tourist circuits and 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 comfortable furnishings, complete with flushing toilets and hot and cold running water. A separate dining tent and often a lounge/library offer room to relax away from your tent.
For the very adventurous, there are well-organised but simple ‘fly-camping’ options, usually associated with walking safaris. This option is the most versatile, basic and rugged. If you are comfortable sleeping in the open with nothing but a thin-walled tent/mosquito net separating you from the soundtrack of nearby hippos and wildebeest, this option is for you! Immerse yourself fully in the wilderness in a location chosen by your accompanying guide.