Accommodation in Africa
There are some very unique and inspiring accommodations in Africa, from very basic camping in the wilderness to some of the most indulgent luxury available anywhere in the world. What accommodation is suitable to you (and within your trip budget) is a major consideration in choosing the right safari for you. Most accommodations can be broken down into basic categories which is some cases may offer moderate options right up to luxurious ones. Below is a list of these accommodation options.
For those looking to immerse themselves in nature, a camping safari might be the ideal choice. Often featuring traditional dome-style tents furnished with comfortable foam mattresses, this style of travel tends to be more participatory. Guests may be asked to erect and dismantle their own tents, assist with general camp tasks, or even take turns cooking for the group.
However, some camping experiences provide options for limited or no participation, if that better suits your preferences.
Camping locations might vary, with some offering a wilder experience where facilities are limited. Yet, the vast majority of African campsites are well-equipped with excellent amenities such as ablution blocks, and occasionally, a camp bar for an evening drink. This blend of nature and convenience ensures an authentic yet comfortable journey, providing a unique perspective of the wilderness.
Camping holidays offer a chance to experience the African wilderness in its most authentic form, and typically, they are not restricted by age. However, it’s essential to recognize the fundamental nature of this type of travel. It may not suit every traveler’s preferences or comfort levels. For those eager to embrace the raw beauty of the landscape and who are comfortable with more basic accommodations, a camping holiday in Africa could indeed be the most enriching and suitable option.
For those enticed by the closeness to nature but hesitant about the potential lack of comfort, comfort camping provides an excellent solution. Utilizing spacious dome tents, often as large as 3m x 3m, this option furnishes you with cozy camp beds, duvets, and other amenities for a more pleasurable camping experience. Some setups even include en suite facilities, attached to the tents.
Comfort camping stands out for its intimate and remote experience, offering a unique blend of wilderness immersion without sacrificing comfort. With average group sizes of around six and rarely exceeding ten, the experience is far from crowded. Your dedicated camp staff handle all duties, allowing you to fully engage with the surroundings.
This option has received high praise from our safari travelers, who appreciate the unique combination of service and authenticity. It’s an ideal choice for those seeking a true African bush experience without forgoing the comfort and luxury they desire.
Most travellers embarking on a safari will find themselves accommodated in what’s best described as the quintessential African safari lodge. These lodges vary remarkably in size, ranging from intimate havens catering to a mere ten to twelve guests, up to those that can house over a hundred. The quality, too, is broad in scope, extending from more modest 3-star lodgings to opulent establishments that would command a 6-star rating if such a classification existed. Therefore, selecting a lodge that matches your preferences is a matter of careful consideration.
However, a commonality among African lodges is their architecture, which is designed to resonate with the African bush. Seamlessly integrated into the environment, these lodges aim to augment rather than detract from the natural beauty of the surroundings. Often, you will discover a watering hole in close proximity to the lodge, presenting splendid opportunities to observe wildlife without leaving the comfort of your accommodation. Enjoying this spectacle over an evening drink on the terrace is a highly recommended experience.
Another unifying aspect of African lodges is the wide array of amenities often provided, from pools for leisurely relaxation during the hot midday to lounges and libraries. If such conveniences are essential to your enjoyment, an African safari lodge might be the optimal selection for your journey, marrying the thrill of the wild with the luxuries of home.
Luxury Tented Camps
Tented safari accommodations, made famous by the legendary Ernest Hemingway, stand as one of the most unforgettable lodging experiences one can have on an African adventure. These accommodations can be categorized into two distinctive types: Permanent Tented Camps and Mobile Tented Camps. Both these variations share certain similarities, offering canvas roofing and walls that don’t compromise on comfort. Guests can expect full-size, cozy beds, well-appointed amenities within the room, and en suite facilities. The elegance and simplicity of this style of lodging enable a truly immersive experience in the wild, blending tradition with the comforts of modern living. Whether mobile or permanent, the tented camps provide an unparalleled connection with the African landscape, resonating with adventurers and nature lovers alike.
Permanent Tented Camps
Permanent tented camps, firmly established in a set location, provide a unique blend of rustic charm and modern comfort. Unlike mobile camps, these permanent fixtures often boast raised platforms, complete with plush furnishings and deck chairs for leisurely relaxation following your safari adventures.
These accommodations range in luxury, from a more basic 3-star experience to an opulent 5-star retreat, making it essential to choose the one that aligns with both your desires and budget.
Typically smaller in scale than lodge-based environments, permanent tented camps can host anywhere from a quaint five or six tents up to 32, allowing you to select the camp size that matches your desired experience. Some larger camps mirror lodges in their amenities, even including a pool for relaxation.
In a recent trend, designers are creatively fusing the best features of a canvas tent with the permanence and luxury of a lodge. This innovation has given rise to some award-winning architectural masterpieces, resulting in accommodations that are both unique and lavish. Staying in such a camp offers an unparalleled experience, combining the wilderness’s authenticity with unmatched luxury and style.
Mobile Tented Camps
Mobile tented camps, akin to the comfort camping experience, provide a dynamic and exciting way to immerse yourself in the African wilderness. These camps travel with you on your safari, with a dedicated crew responsible for setting up and dismantling the camp as you move through different locations. While the furnishings are comfortable, they might not match the lavish standards of permanent tented camps. However, they are generally more spacious and accommodating than typical comfort camping options.
A significant advantage of mobile tented safaris is the ability to set up camp in more secluded and remote areas, closer to the wildlife. This proximity minimizes the need for extended drives to observe the animals, offering a more immediate and intimate experience.
These mobile tented camps are particularly prevalent in regions like Tanzania’s Serengeti, where they relocate every season or two to follow the pattern of the Great Migration. This unique approach provides a remarkable opportunity to have a front-row seat to one of nature’s most extraordinary spectacles, witnessing the rhythm and movement of this world-renowned phenomenon.
Chalets, Guesthouses and B&Bs
In Africa, the array of classic accommodation options caters to a diverse range of preferences and budgets, spanning from the most basic to luxurious offerings. What often unifies these accommodations is our pursuit of places that exude character and charm, albeit in a smaller and more intimate setting.
Predominantly found in Southern Africa, particularly in countries like South Africa or Namibia, guesthouses serve as comfortable resting spots during our journeys or as scenic retreats in breathtaking locations. Along South Africa’s renowned ‘Garden Route,’ exquisite B&Bs abound, providing a cozier, personalized experience.
Chalets, offering a simple and rustic ambiance, can be discovered within some of the National Parks as an alternative to camping. These accommodations, although basic, represent an upgrade from traditional camping experiences. In the vast and unspoiled wilderness of Namibia, chalets can also be found in some classic scenic locations, acting as serene bases from which to explore the wild beauty of the landscape.