Where will I stay on safari?

You won't find yourself wedged into a tiny tent and sleeping bag, cooking your breakfast over a gas stove. In fact, your safari might be one of the most luxurious lodging experiences you'll ever have!

“Wow! Our trip was more than I ever could have dreamed it would be. Mike and I fell in love with Africa. Our lodges were fabulous, the food was delicious, the animals were breathtaking, the service was impeccable, the friendliest people, the planned trip was flawless. I could go on and on! Mike and I are eager to go back... Thanks for planning the trip of a lifetime for us!”

— Tricia Young

We realize everyone has a different definition of “luxury,” so I’ll walk you through the most common types of accommodation you’ll find across Africa—and what you can expect with each experience.

Mobile Tented Camps

As the name suggests, these camps relocate 2-3 times throughout the year to predetermined locations around Tanzania’s Serengeti. The locations of these camps align with the traditional movements of the Great Wildebeest Migration.

Though outfitted with comfortable beds and linens, outstanding food, and a lantern-lit ambience, these camps do not have running water. Instead, you’ll find a pitcher of filtered water beside your sink and on-demand bucket showers.

But don’t let the absence of running water deter you! The wildlife-viewing more than makes up for it. Thanks to your camp’s ideally-timed placement (often in wonderfully remote areas), you’ll find yourself perfectly situated to catch a glimpse at the thundering herds.

Camp 1: Robin Pope Mobile Camp in Zambia

night falls on a private luxury tented camp siteCamp 2: Legendary Mobile Tented Camp in the Serengeti in Tanzania

lanterns around a tented camp site in the grassy plains of Africa

Here are some additional profiles of a few of our favorite mobile tented camps.

Permanent Tented Camp

In contrast to the mobile camps, these tents enjoy a fixed position throughout the year. As such, you’ll find more creature comforts like plumbed water (though not always) and certain features unique to a more permanent structure like raised decking, boma (outdoor dining area), bathtubs, fireplaces, and even the occasional swimming pool.

After an evening beside the crackling campfire, you’ll still enjoy falling asleep to the sounds of wildlife in the bush. You’ll just have a few more amenities to soften your stay as you call it a night.

Permanent tented camps can run the gamut from rustic to ultra-luxury, and we’ll match you with the perfect one according to your preferences.

“It’s like you all really knew Tish and I because the lodges and experiences were perfect for us. Keyunda, Chendini and Amanzi are special places with phenomenal staff. And the untouched beauty of Luangwa and Lower Zambezi were exactly what I wanted to experience....amazing trip. So amazing that on the flight home we were already thinking about coming back and checking out Kenya. Can’t thank you enough.”

— Jim & Tish Sisamis

Camp 1: Richard Camp in the Masai Mara in Kenya. The little touches make this a special place.

Camp 2: Somalisa in Hwange Zimbabwe (Can you believe this is a tented camp?)

luxurious white plush bed in a spacious tented room

Safari Lodge

 Safari lodges are permanent structures with solid walls (rather than canvas), doors, and windows.

We recommend safari lodges for a number of reasons. This might be the right choice for you if

  • you’d be uncomfortable with an insect making its way indoors,
  • you’re traveling with kids and need the reliability of a good swimming pool in the afternoon, or
  • you’re looking for more polish and fine dining (though some tented camps have very fine dining, too!).

Safari lodges range as much in size (anywhere from 4 luxury suites to 50+ rooms) and price points, as they do styles (rustic to ultra-glam).

Camp 1: View from Ol Malo Lodge in the Laikipia region in Kenya.

This is a small lodge with only four rooms. The lodge is homey rather than fancy, but the reason for staying here is the warmth of the Francombe family who welcome you into their home.

David, Elizabeth’s husband, looking off into the distance at Ol Malo Lodge

Camp 2: Ivory Lodge in Kruger is one of the most luxurious options in South Africa.

This is a fantastic option for honeymooners or anyone looking for polished luxury.

the sun sets on a polished luxurious camp in AfricaIf you’re interested in additional photos and the subtler differences between camps and lodges, our Safari Camps vs. Safari Lodges blog dives even deeper. Don’t worry, it’s okay to love them all!

And if you are really adventurous, we highly recommend a fly camping experience. Here’s what a couple of our clients had to say about their experience:

“The fly camping aspect of it was such a highlight. It felt very Out of Africa. On the higher end of the spectrum of safari camps, we've stayed in relatively rustic mobile tents. And we've also stayed in more fixed, semi-permanent tent set-ups—but never anything as simple (yet luxurious) as fly camping…That may have been why I liked it so much—because I really had no preconceived ideas about it. I had no idea that it would be this whole romantic, awesome thing.”

— Dave and Ruth Cohen

General Considerations for Your Safari

No matter where you stay, your safari is the perfect opportunity for a digital detox—and a break from most things high-tech and fast-paced. Regardless of the price of your accommodation, it’s safe to assume that Wi-Fi, heating, and air conditioning may not be available in every room at a safari camp.

Camps that don't have a heating unit (most tented camps) tuck a hot water bottle in bed during turn-down at night which is unbelievably cozy. They also provide extra-plush duvets. The camps are positioned to take advantage of natural breezes, and even in the hottest months in the hottest places, it's almost always a comfortable temperature at night for sleeping.

Some camps are so remote that cell service and internet connection aren’t possible. And out of concern for the environment, even some of the most high-end safari camps opt for fans or “cooling breeze” units over the bed (instead of air conditioning to cool the entire tent).

A number of camps also run on solar power or generators. As such, if you need 24-hour electricity (for a CPAP machine, for instance), it’s important to mention that up-front during the planning process so we can match you with a property that meets your needs.

Accommodation doesn’t only relate to the roof over your head, however. On safari, where you stay determines

  • whether you can drive off-road,
  • whether you can go on night game drives,
  • the quality of guiding,
  • how much land you have access to on game drives,
  • how many people you share the land (and game viewing) with,
  • how many people you share your vehicle with (sometimes four, though six is typical, and the cheaper camps often opt for eight or nine), and
  • the quality and abundance of wildlife.

You’re probably beginning to understand that it’s nearly impossible to know everything from glossy photos or a website.

That’s where we come in.

Plan Your Safari Today!

Ready to start planning your own incredible African adventure? We make the process stress-free and enjoyable. Call or email us today to explore your best options for a safari holiday you’ll never forget!

Then, start packing that suitcase because we’ve got all the details covered.

CONNECT with your personal travel expert.

Have you started planning your safari on your own? Are you totally overwhelmed with all the information out there? Let us help you cut through all the conflicting information online and start planning a safari that is completely tailored to you. Get in touch with us and we can discuss your travel passions and help you begin the planning process for your dream safari.

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Kim Green