When it comes to what accommodation to choose when planning an African safari, the choices are endless. You can choose between any number of hotels, lodges or safari camps not mention the guest houses and B&Bs, the options are plentiful ... In this section we break up accommodation options in countries first, and then regions within the country you have selected.
It’s good to have some sort of idea of the type and standard of accommodation you prefer. Before you start looking, take two minutes and familiarize yourself with the countries listed below, as well as the basic definitions, or if you want, the interpretations of different accommodation options in Southern and East Africa:
Hotels - Hotels in Southern and East Africa are basically what you’d expect in any other part of the world. Typically they are star rated, but the criteria upon which the star rating is based does vary from country to country within Africa. So a 5 star hotel in say Kenya will not be the same as a 5 star hotel in South Africa.
Lodges - The word lodge is very loosely used in the industry, for example: ‘Game Lodge’ or ‘Safari Lodge’ or simply ‘Lodge’. In general it refers to a meaning a medium to large sized hotel located in a game reserve where you’d base your self and take guided safaris from. The word is however sometimes applied to hotels located in an urban enviroment, that in terms of style and decor emulates that of a game lodge, but in fact offers no safari experience whatsoever.
Safari Camps - This almost always refers to a camp (typically tented) in a game reserve or safari area. These camps nearly all of the time include two guided game drives daily, as well as all meals.
Tented Safari Camps - These are are loosely referred to safari camps, but in Southern and East Africa, they are almost always made up of a large walk in style Meru tents, with space enough for two beds, a cupboard and sometimes a couch of sorts. Invariably they are adjoined on one end my an en-suite bathroom complete with hot & cold running water, flush toilets and a shower and/or bath, and many have a private wooden deck for a verandah overlooking either the bush or a waterhole. They are completely waterproof, very comfortable, many in fact have some form of electricity laid on, and they are 100 % safe to be in. In fact they enhance a safari experience significantly since the canvas walls allow in many more night sounds, as would a conventional brick building.
Guest Houses - Guest Houses are located in the towns and cities and very often in the country side as well. Guest Houses are very often large houses, mansions sometimes, that at sometime in the past was someones home, but has now been converted in a guest house. All the rooms will be en-suite and quite often individually decorated. Guest House are smaller and more intimate than your average hotel, and guests staying at a guest house will find themselves coming into contact with other travelers as well as the management which is quite often the owners themselves. In contrast to hotels, guest houses are the more affordable option for accommodations, certainly in the cities and towns.