Guide To Our Safari Accommodation Classification System


When it comes to planning an unforgettable Tanzania safari experience, one crucial aspect that often takes center stage is selecting the right accommodations. For most of the vacations around the world, you might be selecting your lodgings based on the stars conferred to them. However, when it comes to safari accommodations, things work a little differently.

Safari hotels in Tanzania and Kenya do not conform to the traditional star rating system that we are used to. Many of the high-end accommodations may not even offer some of the basic facilities commonly found in 3-star city hotels, such as hair dryers, televisions, air conditioning, or a swimming pool. In fact, it may come as a surprise that several of these establishments, with rates well over $400 per person per night, may not even provide electricity throughout the night.


This aspect of safari accommodations in Tanzania makes it challenging to apply the conventional rating system to these lodges. That does not mean, there is no classification among safari accommodations. There is a wide variation in service standards and other attributes of safari hotels. Tour operators like us, use their internal system to classify accommodations into different levels.

In this article, we aim to highlight the factors that we consider to classify the accommodations.

Important Factors for Classification

Our classification is based on a comprehensive evaluation of the following factors:

  • Location
  • Food and beverage service standards
  • Size of room or tent
  • Amenities
  • View from the room or tent
  • Common areas & facilities
  • Staff Count & Professionalism
  • Linen quality, bedding & mattresses
  • Room furnishings

The location of a hotel plays a significant role in its rating. Camps and lodges located in the center of national parks or close to wildlife-rich areas are rated higher, as they offer unparalleled access to wildlife experiences. Accommodations that are closer to the border of the parks but still in the wilderness receive comparatively lower ratings. During safari, we might also be using hotels located in towns that are close to national parks on the way between 2 parks, for some of the nights. These town or city hotels receive the lowest ratings in terms of their location.

Lemala Ngoro 8 The location of the lodge plays such an important role in your safari that a lodge amid the wilderness, despite having slightly lower service standards compared to the one in the city, would still rate higher and cost higher. Where budget allows, we recommend clients to stay inside parks for most nights while on safari.

We also consider the food and beverage service standards provided by the accommodations. The quality, variety, presentation, incorporation of special dietary requirements, and overall dining experience are important factors in our classification process.


The size of the room or tent is another criterion that is taken into consideration. Spaciousness and comfort are two important elements that ensure that guests have a relaxing and enjoyable stay.

High-end safari accommodations use better quality bedding, mattresses, and linen that might include high thread count cotton sheets, luxurious duvets, plush towels, luxurious bedding, and pillows that prioritize guests' comfort and result in better quality sleep. Low-end accommodations may not offer the same level of comfort.


High-end safari accommodations focus on creating an elegant and refined ambiance. To accomplish that many camps and lodges use high-quality designer furniture, attractive lighting fixtures and well-curated decor to create an ambiance that is in sync with the wild surroundings or reflects the local culture. Low-end accommodations typically have more basic and utilitarian furnishings, with a focus on functionality rather than aesthetics.

High-end accommodations often provide additional amenities and extras to enhance the guest experience. This may include features like private balconies or terraces, private pools or hot tubs, baths, or showers with beautiful views, coffee or tea stations, and high-end toiletries. Low-end accommodations generally offer fewer amenities and may have more limited or basic toiletries.


Views from both the rooms and common areas are of high importance as well. Having breathtaking views and being able to enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings enhances the overall experience for guests. At accommodations inside the park (also at some that border parks), clients can often see and hear a wide range of wildlife that passes through the accommodation.

High-end safari accommodations typically have well-appointed common areas, including spacious lounges, elegant dining areas and outdoor seating areas with scenic views. They may also offer additional facilities like swimming pools, spas, kids club etc. Low-end accommodations usually have more modest and functional common areas, with limited additional facilities.


The staff-to-guest ratio is another important factor. The level of personalized service provided by the hotel staff, their attentiveness, friendliness, and efficiency in catering to guests' needs are considered and help us categorise them. This, together with the professionalism and courteousness of the staff plays an important role in shaping the clients' overall experience at the property

Each of the above parameters has a certain weight and we collect information about these points through our inspection trips and through clients feedback which helps us rate hotels on each of the parameters. We then assign an overall rating to each accommodation, which serves as the basis for our internal classification. Based on this, we classify all ensuite safari accommodations.

How Does This Classification Help

On the basis of our internal classification system of accommodations, you will find each of the Tanzania safari tours on our website categorized into different packages from E1 to E6 (in some cases, it might end at E5 or extend to E7). As you move from E1 to E6, you can expect an increase in the quality of your stay. Consequently, prices also increase in the same order.


For budget-conscious travellers seeking affordable accommodations without compromising on decent service, we recommend exploring accommodations in the category of E1. You might be compromising on the location of your stay for some nights in this package, especially at Ngorongoro. Nevertheless, rest assured that we only work with accommodations that provide satisfactory service. In fact, in over 95% of cases, clients give these E1 hotels full 5/5 ratings for their overall experience.

If you are looking for slightly higher-tier hotels in better locations, offering mid-tier or 3-star level comfort, we suggest checking out accommodations classified as E2 or E3. These options provide a balance between affordability and convenient proximity to key attractions. We usually suggest clients who ask for 3-star accommodations consider these packages.


For those desiring an elevated level of comfort and amenities, you may explore accommodations classed as E3 and E4. These hotels ensure a heightened level of luxury and sophistication during your safari experience. We suggest clients that who expect 4-star accommodations consider these options.

For travellers seeking luxury, accommodation in the category of E4 and E5 offer some top-tier experiences. This category features equivalent to 5-star level accommodations that are tailored to provide an unforgettable experience, with the finest amenities and personalized service.

The Highlands - double room with beautiful views

If your ultimate goal is to indulge in opulence and top-tier luxury, then we recommend exploring accommodations in the class of E6. These offerings feature accommodations that exude elegance and provide exceptional service, elevating your safari experience to new heights.


While there is no standard system to rate safari accommodations, we follow our in-house grading process to classify safari accommodations into different tiers.

manyara view-278

At every tier, we only work with accommodations that offer the best services for that tier and pricing. So even within our budget-friendly E1 group, you may rest assured that you will receive good services.

For any queries, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We will see you in Tanzania!


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