Tourism is thriving in Africa, so there is no shortage of accommodation options to cater to the ever-growing number of people who travel the continent every year. More so in countries with renowned tourist infrastructure like Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique, Egypt, and Botswana among others. Is Africa on your travel bucket list this year? Check out this guide to accommodation options in Africa to help you navigate the nuances of finding a suitable place to stay during your visit.
This is the closest definition to a “living in the wild” experience. It’s just you, your tent, a sleeping bag, and the starry African skies overhead. Some camps in the national parks offer camping equipment to make your stay more comfortable, but if you’re looking for a truly authentic experience in the African bush, this is it. This type of camping falls exclusively under the budget tier of accommodation. Keep in mind that not all national parks and game reserves allow for this type of camping since the average traveler wouldn’t exactly know what to do if they come across a wild animal sniffing around their tents. Even where allowed, you will only be able to set up camp in designated areas. Still, camping in the wild makes for a pretty good story to tell the grandkids down the line.
Tented lodging and luxury camps
If you’d like to take your accommodation experience up a notch but still retain that feeling of being in the wild, you can go for the tented lodging option, which is basically a tent but with more modern amenities like private bathrooms, king-sized beds, WiFi access, gourmet food, electricity, hot water, and even entertainment systems. Most luxury safari camps in Africa are designed to rival hotels and sometimes even up the ante by offering exclusive activities like mobile tented camps that allow you to be as close to the wildlife action as possible during your safari. This feature is especially useful during the Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania, an annual event that sees millions of lumbering wildebeests, gazelles and zebras traverse the endless plains in search of greener pastures.
These consist of either a permanent camp or an actual building made of natural materials, designed to blend with the environment. Lodges are generally luxurious and can cater to anything from a solo traveler to large travel groups. In some cases, tour operators may recommend a lodge if the weather is too cold during that time of the year since the rooms are typically warmer and may even have heating, hot tubs and other necessary facilities. Lodges exude a certain charm and more amenities that often make them more appealing to families since the safety of being behind actual walls while you sleep is ultimately more reassuring.
Private Game Reserve Accommodation
These can be in the form of luxury lodges, apartments or even luxury camps. The idea of a private game reserve safari is to enjoy the wild on your own terms. There are several private game reserves across Africa offering a unique safari experience and all the amenities needed to make your stay as comfy as possible. Plus they offer some activities that you would not normally get when doing your safari in a typical national park. For instance, you can go on night game drives to spot some of Africa’s nocturnal animals, as well as get access to equipment like ponchos for the rain, hot water bottles for the cold, or even a spare pair of binoculars so you need not bother with bringing yours.
Bed and Breakfasts, Guest Houses, and Hotels
While it is not likely that you’ll come across these inside the safari parks, many of them are strategically positioned just outside for easier access. Like in every other country, hotel accommodations in Africa range from 1-star establishments that offer little more than basic meals and a room with an en-suite bathroom to 5-star establishments that provide just about every convenience in a luxurious setting, including gourmet meals, room service, high-quality linens, expansive views of your surroundings, concierge service, recreation facilities and more. A good example of such is The Z Hotel which is said to be the best boutique hotel in Zanzibar thanks to its array of amenities, personalized services, and knowledgeable staff.
If you’re looking to own your African holiday and just let the accommodation experience be tailored to your preferences, then a private villa may be the best choice. It shares some similarities with a boutique hotel, but with a private villa, you get to enjoy all its amenities by yourself. Many families, especially those with young kids, actually prefer this option over hotels since it means they don’t have to worry about disturbing other guests if the children start to get rambunctious.
At the end of the day, your choice of accommodation in Africa will depend on your budget and travel preference. But one thing is certain – you’ll definitely find something that suits your taste.