How to pick the right luxury African safari camp for you

There are so many luxury safari camps and lodges across Africa, and any good African operator worth their salt will know them all inside out, however we thought we’d give you some tips and questions to ask so you can be sure that you and your consultant have picked the right luxury safari camp or lodge for you.

1. Tented or a lodge?

Many clients shy away from a tented camp – this is wrong! Many of the tented camps are even more luxurious than the lodges and are not tents as we English know them, but huge walk in, en suite numbers with roll top baths, outdoor showers and a level of comfort one can’t even contemplate being associated with a tent. They aren’t called luxury tents for nothing.

Lemala

2. Are there any times of year when my camp or lodge has a special?

Even Africa’s top luxury safari camps and lodges will have an off season or quieter period, ask your consultant or Africa specialist what the difference is between high and low season – usually there’s very little and you might get a better deal on your luxury safari if you are able to book outside of peak season.

3. Is it located in the main game viewing area?

Now this is a tricky one – a luxury safari is defined by the privacy and exclusivity offered by many of Africa’s camps and lodges, sometimes this means the camps have to be outside the main game viewing areas in private concessions – this is not always a bad thing, your Africa specialist will be able to tell you which concessions have excellent game, and which do not.

Mara plains

4. How big is the camp?

This will be quite obvious, but a lot of the charm of a luxury safari is lost if the camp is too big. Anything over twelve tents can really feel big and sometimes impersonal.

Zarafa

5. What’s the food like?

Now this also depends on what you want, but I think you’ll agree that when on holiday good food is important. Most luxury safari camps offer exquisite food, but it’s worth checking so you know exactly what to expect.

Rose Hipwood is Managing Director of Africa Rose Travel Ltd.

Comments (2)

  1. Mzuri Temba says:

    Great piece! Thanks, Rose! Many of the most luxurious accommodations are indeed tented camps and not permanent lodges! Tented camping also offers an experience that you don’t get by staying inside brick and mortar lodges. How often would you get to listen to hyenas howl at night? How about a private outdoor shower in the bush? Many luxury camps are small in size, i.e. 6 tents in total, so you’d get an experience that is quite intimate and exclusive. For example, Selous in Tanzania is best experienced at a luxury camp – the (very limited) lodges do not quite compare! Another factor to consider is the low impact the tented camps have on the environment, compared with permanent lodges. For the best chance to see the migration in the Serengeti, tented camps are the best option! Because of their mobile nature, they can follow the animal movement throughout the year. Look out for discounts in April and May. Low season = low cost + less traffic + more intimate = you win!

  2. Manouk says:

    Wow, these tents look amazing! I’ve also been on safaris in Kenya, but we stayed in basic tents. These are tents I could probably live in ;)! Since there is not much to do in the safari camps in the evenings it’s quite important to have a comfortable room :)!

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