Africa Geographic Logo

safari experts, since 1991

Safari accommodation types & comfort levels

Free safari planning

Our safari consultants speak English, Spanish, Catalan and Afrikaans
Hi, hoi, hola, hallo

Safari experiences that you will not find with any other travel company. We know Africa best and will get you to the right place & time to enjoy the greatest shows on Earth!

What types of safari accommodation are there?

There are various types of accommodation available on safari. Safari accommodation types & comfort levels range from reed huts and tented camps to ultra-luxury lodges and large resorts. Some are permanent, others seasonal and some are even erected purely for your use and then dismantled again. Your wishes and budget will influence your choice of African safari accommodation. The descriptions below will give you a good idea of the types and luxury levels of African safari accommodation.

Safari lodge / camp

Situated in or near national parks, private and public game reserves and remote wild areas. Lodges and camps are usually made of a combination of stone, wood, canvas and thatch, and the structures are permanent.

The terms 'lodge' and 'camp' are often used interchangeably. However, camps are usually smaller and more intimate and offer either chalets or canvas tented suites (often referred to as 'tented camps'), whereas lodges are larger and made of a combination of materials. Lodges and camps are often off-the-grid, and internet access can be slow and unpredictable. Some lodges and camps feature swimming pools, and some even have private pools at each guest unit. Lodges and camps offer an all-inclusive experience - with all of your safari activities, meals and other services covered. We will notify you if any of these items incur an extra cost.

Seasonal safari camp

Some safari camps are only operational for a portion of the year. This could be because they are inaccessible during the rainy season, resulting in the camp being closed for part of the year or even broken down and rebuilt annually. Others are erected for specific wildlife encounters, such as the seasonal wildebeest migrations in the Maasai Mara and Serengeti (sometimes called 'migration camps') - and dismantled after the relevant season and erected again when required.

Safari villa

A safari villa is the best way to enjoy a completely personalised, private safari. Villas are designed to provide luxury safari accommodation to a group of people - ideal for multi-generational families and groups of friends - usually six to eight people.

Safari villas offer homes-from-home living - with all of the conveniences and services you would expect. Luxury levels vary; some villas include an exclusive game drive vehicle, private pools and interactive kitchens. You will usually have a dedicated team looking after your every need - including guides, personal chefs and butlers, babysitters and housekeepers.

Country and coastal hotel / guesthouse

Located in rural areas, small towns, farming areas or at the coast. These hotels and guesthouses are usually made of bricks and mortar and have a traditional or historic design. However, coastal properties often incorporate local materials such as wood and palm fronds and have a more relaxed or 'boutique resort' feel.

Country properties are often favoured by travellers overnighting during a long road trip or those enjoying a safari experience in that area - including birdwatching, cultural experiences and wine tasting. Coastal properties attract travellers spending their days relaxing and enjoying water-based activities. These establishments offer most of the services and facilities you would expect, but internet access can be slow for remote properties. These properties are usually available on a bed-and-breakfast basis.

Mobile tented camp

These camps accompany mobile safaris and are erected for a few days, after which they are broken down and moved elsewhere. Mobile tented camps are usually canvas tented camps that are off-the-grid, and lack facilities such as swimming pools, fans, aircon and internet connectivity. All of your needs relating to delicious meals cooked over open fires, private loo and hot shower and device charging are catered for - which is why mobile tented camps are often referred to as 'glamping' (glamorous camping). Our mobile safaris are fully-serviced (non-participation) safaris - camp moving and cleaning are dealt with while you enjoy the game drives and bush walks.

Walking / fly camp

These intimate, temporary camps are used for a specific purpose and leave little or no permanent footprint. Some are built specifically for you and are sometimes available on request only. Others accompany walking safari groups and are erected and taken down every day of the walking safari. Building materials used range from canvas tents to simple mosquito netting held up by rope for the more adventurous.

Fly camps offer an off-the-grid and deeply immersive experience. Expect a bucket/safari shower with water heated over coals, long drop/pit toilets (or a spade and loo roll), no fan or aircon and no internet access. Delicious meals are cooked over open fires, but expect less variety and finesse than you will get in permanent camps and lodges. As is always the case in safaris offered by us, you will be guided and looked after well, and do not expect to have to lift a finger to move the camp.

City resort / hotel / guesthouse

These properties are situated in or near main cities or airports and are often used for overnight stays on either side of your safari. These can vary from large resorts (favoured by large groups and families) to boutique city hotels (favoured by small groups) and intimate guesthouses (favoured by couples and solo travellers). They are always made of bricks and mortar; design can vary from modern to historic. These establishments offer all of the usual services and facilities you would expect in any city. These properties are usually available on a bed-and-breakfast basis.

Check out our list of favoured hotels, lodges and camps and ask us to include them in your safari

Need more guidance?

Our safari experts will answer your questions and help you make the best safari choice. That's a promise and something we have been doing since 1991

Start the discussion

African safari

Why us

We live here, in Africa, and have been doing this since 1991. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late or a few kilometers off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity?

African travel

Trust & Safety

We are members of:
African Travel & Tourism Association (ATTA)
Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA)
✔️ Have Integrity ✔️ Are Legitimate
✔️ Are Audited ✔️ Are Insured

We are insured by Sutcliffe & Co (UK)

See what travellers say about us

Responsible safari

Make a difference

Africa Geographic is about TRAVEL and CONSERVATION – for those who want their safaris and donations to make a real difference – in Africa.

Our MANIFESTO explains how you can help us do good.