Choosing where to stay on safari can make or break your experience.
What might be perfect accommodation for a family on holiday, could be less than ideal for a couple on honeymoon. That is why it’s so important to consider your personal requirements, interests and tastes when deciding on where to stay on safari.
Fortunately, there are no shortage of choices when it comes to fabulous lodges and camps in Africa. Unfortunately, with so many options, this can make your decision a little trickier.
Tented Camp Vs Safari Lodge
When it comes to African safaris, there are two primary types of accommodation options – tents and lodges. The first step to narrowing down your list of choices, is to decide which of these better suits your needs.
What are Tented Camps?
Don’t be fooled by the word ‘tent’. Tented camps are far from your average camping experience. In fact, in some cases, they are far more indulgent than a lodge or hotel.
Tented safari camps usually comprise of large canvas structures, and walk-in tents with en-suite facilities. There are two types of tented camps: permanent, and mobile. The permanent camps usually offer all the creature comforts of a lodge, but mobile camps can be just as luxurious.
The idea behind tented safari camps is to bring the bygone safari era back to the modern-day travel, and therefore tented camps tend to offer focus on offering a highly bespoke, intimate and exclusive experience.
Rra Dinare, Botswana (Under One Botswana Sky)
Located in the Okavango Santawani area of the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana, Rra Dinare is an authentic camp comprising of only 8 tents. Set on stilts above the Gomoti River floodplains, in a private concession of 272 km2, Rra Dinare offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. The main area consists of a thatched boma area, with a lounge for relaxing, a swimming pool, and a bar for sundowners. Activities at the lodge include day and night game drives, walking safaris and seasonal water activities.
Rhino Sands Safari Camp, South Africa
Rhino Sands Safari Camp is a luxury tented lodge that recently opened in the Manyoni Private Game Reserve. The camp is built on raised wooden decks, within the riverine forest, and consists of 4 canvas tented suites (each sleeping two people), each with their own plunge pool, lounge area, viewing deck, en-suite bathrooms and private outdoor showers. In addition to the tented suites, there is also a main tent area with an open-plan lounge and dining area, as well as a bar and boma. The experience includes two daily game drives through the reserve, which is renowned for its spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities.
What are Safari Lodges?
Safari lodges are permanent structures, often with all the amenities of a hotel – such as a restaurant, swimming pool, gift shop, etc. The rooms are either individual chalets/cottages, spread out on the grounds, or rooms housed with one main building.
While the offerings vary from lodge to lodge, safari lodges are a good option for travelers who enjoy the comfort of having four walls around them, while still being surrounded by wilderness. Lodges are also often larger than tented camps, allowing them to accommodate more people. Families, or large groups of friends, can often enjoy staying in a ‘house’ all to themselves while staying at a lodge.
Where to Stay in a Safari Lodge?
Nkwali Camp, Zambia (Robin Pope Safaris)
Situated on the banks of the Luangwa River within the South Luangwa National Park, Robin Pope Safaris’ Nkwali Camp comprises six thatched en-suite chalets with magnificent views of the river. The bar area is also set on the river banks and is built around a giant ebony tree. Set back from the river, on a lagoon, are the dining room and swimming pool from which guests are often treated to wonderful wildlife sightings. Guests at Nkwali can look forward to two daily game drives and guided walking safaris.
Ant’s Hill Bush Home, South Africa
Nestled in the folds of the magnificent malaria free Waterberg region of the Limpopo Province, Ant’s Hill is a small, private bush home. Set on a hill, overlooking vast views of pristine bushveld, Ant’s Hill can cater for 16 guests, and can be booked exclusively for private parties or families or just as one room. Each of the accommodation options are uniquely designed and offer a very private safari experience. Ant’s Hill specializes in horseback riding safaris but also offers wider range of other activities such as game drives, bush walks, mountain biking, archery and more.