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African safari tented camp

Learn about types of safari accommodations in East Africa

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When you hear about safari accommodation, people often mention locations like “camps” and “lodges.” If you haven’t been on a safari in East Africa, you probably associate the word “camp” with a small tent, basic facilities, or perhaps even some kind of army setup with ration packs! The word “lodges” probably conjures images of dimly-lit old cabins. Both of these assumptions are very wrong when it comes to safari lingo! I will take you through the different types of accommodation on Safari and what to expect.

Classic Tented Camps

These tented camps are your classic African, “Hemmingway-style” accommodation. Expect big canvas tents furnished with beautiful fittings and ensuite bathrooms. These tents are the closest you can feel to the wild while still in luxurious comfort.

Your sleeping tents are spacious with tiled floors, a large comfortable bed, a sitting area, charging capabilities, running water, heated showers, and a full ensuite bathroom.

The lounge tent in these camps refers to the communal area where you’ll find stunning views, comfortable couches, delicious food, books, and games. In the lounge tent, you can chill out and enjoy evening drinks while watching the sunset. It’s also where we conduct our image reviews at the end of the day.

The dining areas are spacious, and the three-course meals are delicious and unexpectedly decadent.

Permanent Tented Camps

These camps will not move from season to season and are in great locations year-round. When staying at a permanent camp, you usually have larger rooms, indoor and outdoor bathroom options, heated showers, and some even have bidets. They will also have more space in the lounge area and may have amenities like a spa and a pool. The dining areas are spacious, and the three-course meals are fantastic.

Mobile Tented Camps

These small tented camps are semi-permanent or move season to season to stay close to events like the Great Migration. They might sound simple, but these more intimate camps are perfect for an exclusive safari feel and a proper safari bush experience. Your sleeping tents are very comfortable and have a sitting area, charging capabilities, and an en-suite bathroom.

The lounge area is comfortable and spacious, with charging capabilities and a dining area with fantastic meals.

Safari Lodges

Safari lodges are usually more permanent structures built into the surroundings and have a more homely feel. Think of Africa-themed resorts. They have more amenities like oversized bathrooms, larger dining areas, and indoor fireplaces. Lodges are a step up in comfort and luxury while keeping the feeling of being in the wild.

My Advice

After running workshops in East Africa since 2013, I have stayed at my share of camps and lodges, anywhere from bush tents to luxurious lodges, busy areas, and camps that offer a remote experience. Based on that experience, I identify the best places to stay during different times of the year.

Our focus here at Akari is to meet the needs of photographers in a small-group setting. When planning our trips, I always balance the need for proximity to wildlife with an element of luxury while ensuring our safety and remaining budget-conscious.

We have a long history of guiding photographers in Africa and are always willing to help you with advice on locations and accommodations, whether on one of our trips or a different trip. If you are looking for African safari accommodation advice or want to start planning your safari, please get in touch with me. You can also check out our current list of African safaris.

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