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Types of Safari Accommodations

Embarking on a safari adventure is a dream come true for many, and selecting the right accommodation is a crucial aspect of ensuring an unforgettable experience. At ZAFS Tours, we understand the significance of your safari base, and in this guide, we’ll unravel the diverse world of safari accommodations. From the luxurious lodges to the immersive tented camps, we’ll help you make an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and needs.

What to Consider When Choosing Safari Accommodation:

Before delving into the specific types of safari accommodations, let’s consider some crucial factors when making your decision. 

  • Location: In our opinion this would be more of a determining factor when choosing your accommodation over the type, as staying in a camp/lodge that has a prime location will enhance your wildlife viewing experience. For example, camps/lodges located by water holes or on the Ngorongoro crater rim will mean you can wake up to panoramic views of wildlife action. 
  • Budget: At ZAFS, we like to categorise our accommodations based on classic/adventure, luxury and premium, and so when curating your itinerary we’ll often ask your accommodation comfort level to determine your budget and provide you options that are more fitting. 
  • Amenities: If there’s something specific you’re looking for such as private pools, lounge area or air-conditioning in rooms then do keep that in mind as not all properties will provide every amenity. 
  • Experience: Do think about the type of experience you desire – whether you prefer a more rustic adventure or a touch of luxury in the heart of the wilderness.

Types of Safari Accommodation:

1. Lodges

Lodges are often the epitome of comfort in the wild. These are permanent structures usually made of concrete that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings using materials such as stone, thatch or wood, providing a cosy retreat after a day of safari adventures.

The usual layout for safari lodges is that they’ll have a main building that encloses the reception, dining area and lounge area etc for the guests. The rooms will then be in the nearby surrounding areas. 

Most of these lodges will provide electricity and hot water throughout the night and can also have other facilities such as laundry, WiFi etc. 

Safari lodges will normally be in the mid-range to luxury options. 

Recommended For: Travellers seeking a balance between comfort and a close-to-nature experience. Lodges are ideal for families, honeymooners, and those who appreciate modern amenities while surrounded by the beauty of the wilderness.

Not Recommended For: Budget-conscious travellers or those desiring a more immersive, back-to-basics experience.

2. Tented Lodges

Tented lodges offer a unique combination of luxury and adventure. These accommodations provide a touch of romance and a connection with nature, with canvas walls allowing the sounds of the wild to permeate. These tented lodges have wooden (or sometimes concrete) floors that are raised on stilts with thatched roofs whilst the walls are made of canvas with huge netted windows. 

Similar to lodges, these tented lodges also have the main/common area in the middle and will then have around 15 to 25 rooms (tents) in the nearby surrounding area, scattered throughout so they are some distance from one another. 

Safari tented lodges will also normally be in the mid-range to luxury options. 

Recommended For: Couples and nature enthusiasts looking for a harmonious blend of comfort and the authentic safari experience. Tented lodges are perfect for those who want a bit of luxury while still feeling close to the natural environment. It offers a unique stay, different to the typical lodge/hotel stay that they may get in other countries or types of holidays. 

Not Recommended For: Travellers who prefer solid walls and a more traditional hotel setting. If you’re worried about hearing the sounds of nature or animals throughout the night then it is better to consider staying at lodges. This option may also not be feasible with clients who have limited mobility as the raised structures will mean guests are required to walk or climb stairs to get to their accommodation/dining areas. 

3. Tented Camps

Tented camps are definitely the most popular kind of accommodation available inside the national park, designed for the adventurous souls seeking a true bush experience. These temporary structures immerse guests in the heart of the wilderness, allowing for a more intimate and immersive encounter with nature. They will offer walk-in tents, made completely of canvas but big enough to encompass solid beds, ensuite bathrooms, toilets and dressing area. 

Some tented camps – those located in Central Serengeti, Tarangire usually are permanent and remain at the same location throughout the year. However, some tented camps are mobile and change their location based on expected migration location from the southern Serengeti/Ndutu from December to March to the northern Serengeti from June to October.

Tented camps typically rely on solar power, with a diesel generator as a backup or supplementary power source. Consequently, electricity in these camps is often switched off during the night, typically from 10:00 PM to around 5:00 AM. Charging devices in your tent may not be feasible, requiring the use of charging ports in the camp’s communal areas. While Wi-Fi access is generally unavailable in these camps, some may provide Wi-Fi in designated common areas. However, charging devices is usually possible in the safari vehicle itself.

For safety precautions, guests will be escorted at night safely back to their rooms from the dining areas by Maasai warriors as the tented camps are unfenced and in the middle of the wild. If clients wish to leave the tent again between sunset and sunrise i.e. for their hot air balloon ride at 4am the next morning they can communicate with the Maasai via walkie talkies in their room and they’ll be then escorted to where needed. 

Some other advantages of tented camps are that you’ll fall asleep to the sounds of wildlife and wake up to the sights of animals grazing or drinking nearby. If you’re lucky there’s even hunts that take place near some camps. Since these types of properties have the capacity for around 10 to 12 tents you won’t face too much crowd and can continue to enjoy the serenity of our national parks. 

Recommended For: Honestly, for anyone! But this is ideal for backpackers, wildlife enthusiasts, and those who cherish a rustic, close-to-nature adventure whilst getting a true, authentic taste of Tanzania’s safaris. Tented camps provide a thrilling safari experience for those willing to forgo some modern conveniences.

Not Recommended For: Travellers who prioritise luxury and are not comfortable with a more basic camping-style accommodation. (With that said, there are a variety of levels of comfort even amongst the tented camps and they can range from fairly basic to more upscale camps that can sometimes cost as high as the luxury lodges). 

Selecting the right safari accommodation is a pivotal step in ensuring an enriching and memorable journey. At ZAFS Tours, we cater to a variety of preferences, offering lodges, tented lodges, and tented camps to suit every adventurer. Consider your personal preferences, budget, and the level of immersion you desire when making your choice. Your perfect safari haven awaits!

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