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Finding the Right Safari Accommodation

Where you sleep undeniably plays a large part in planning a trip. For some, it’s first class all the way. For others, “clean, safe, and without frills” is the name of the game. Some love the idea of indoor/outdoor living while others don’t consider a lizard on the wall the idea of fun on vacation. Will you be unhappy without air-conditioning? What about WiFi? Finding the right safari accommodation is a complicated puzzle, and the amenities are just the tip of the iceberg.

Understanding who our clients are and what gets them excited is the most important part in making the right match. It helps to have a basic understanding of what is out there so you can gather questions to ask your Safari Specialist. You might find there are some must-haves you never dreamed you’d have to say aloud, but also hopefully some inspiration to stoke the fires of this big dream.

Deciphering Accommodation in Africa

Standard hotels need little explanation, but we sometimes note a hint of fear in client’s voices when talking about where they would actually be sleeping on safari. “Tent” does not mean the same as it did camping as a kid, but like everything in life, there’s a very wide range. Finding the right tented safari camp (if that’s your thing) is all about balancing your levels of comfort and adventure.

Mobile Tented Camps

As the name suggests, these camps relocate 2-3 times throughout the year to predetermined locations and are most commonly associated with 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.

Permanent Tented Camps

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 characteristic of more permanent structures like raised decking, a 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.

Safari Lodges

 Safari lodges are permanent structures with solid walls (rather than canvas), doors, and windows. We recommend safari lodges for a number of reasons. Safari lodges might be the right choice for you if:

  • you’d be uncomfortable with an insect making its way indoors,
  • you need climate control (think air-conditioning rather than a standing fan)
  • 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). Finding the right safari lodge still can be daunting because there are so many options to choose from. Just because a lodge (or tented camp) looks beautiful and gets top online reviews though, doesn’t mean it’s in a good area for wildlife. Your Extraordinary Journeys Safari Specialist will start by figuring out what is the most important to you – the wildlife, the accommodation, the natural wonders – and then create a custom itinerary that perfectly meets your needs.

Unique hotels around the world

If you think finding the right safari accommodation was a challenge, outside of Africa there are hundreds of thousands of properties to choose from. Although the accommodation options are much more self-explanatory – large resorts, private islands, and boutique hotels with advanced reservation systems, transport, amenities, and many concierge-scheduled activities – sometimes it’s hard to find and book a truly unique hotel or property.

Since we’re always on the look for unique hotels, lodges, camps, and properties, we wanted to make sure to highlight a couple of those, too. From overnight island-hopping on a dhow and self-catering glass cottages to bubble pods in the desert and private houseboats, memorable unique hotels and rare off-the-beaten-path accommodations come in all shapes and sizes.

Best picks for happy kids + parents

With child programs and child-minding nearly ubiquitous across safari camps and lodges, it’s no wonder Africa consistently ranks as a top destination for families. Finding the right safari in Africa is one of our specialties. But Africa isn’t the be-all-end-all for family safari vacations. With inclusive private guiding or lots of on-site activities, it’s possible to create life-changing family moments anywhere, if you know where to look.

Accommodation that’s truly something special

We hear often that trips like ours are once-in-a-lifetime. That doesn’t necessarily mean the biggest splurge and the highest price tag, but places that go above and beyond to create the most special moments and experiences. Places that create the feelings of wonder and excitement that you will remember the rest of your life, even if once-in-a-lifetime becomes every couple of years.

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