5 Types of Tanzania Safari Accommodations: Where to Stay?

While the focus of a safari is on the wildlife, choosing the right accommodation is also an essential part of creating an unforgettable experience.

We recommend you to consider following parameters while selecting accommodations for each night during your safari

(A) Budget: Accommodations on safari can cost as little as USD 80 per person per night to well over USD 1500 per person per night (not counting vehicle fees/park fees etc). While planning your Tanzania safari, we recommend you to have a rough budget (a wide range is totally fine) in mind for the overall safari tour and then select safari itinerary based on your interests/duration of tour/travel period and then come to the stage of selection of accommodations. This way, you can adjust your safari accommodations to fit the tour within your budget and preferred comfort level.

(B) Location: Our suggestion for most travelers would be, if you have a choice in accommodation selection, prioritise the location of accommodation, over the type of accommodation. By staying at camps/lodges in good location, you can maximise your time in the parks for wildlife viewing.

(C) Type of accommodation: There are several types of accommodations available on a Tanzania safari tour, ranging from budget-friendly basic camping to mid tier and luxury lodges, tented camps, tented lodges. Each type of accommodation offers a unique experience, and choosing the right one depends on your budget, interests, itinerary, and preferred level of comfort.

In this article, we will explore the different types of safari accommodations available in Tanzania, their advantages, and what to expect from each option to help you make an informed decision when planning your Tanzania safari.

1. Lodges

Safari Lodges are large, solid structures usually made of concrete, that are located inside or outside the national parks. They can contain elements like stone, thatch, wood, etc. that really mingle with the natural surroundings. image Safari Lodges usually have multiple quarters spread out across a huge area with a main common building somewhere in between. This common area will have a reception, lounge, restaurant, bar, and sometimes gym, spa services and shops. Many of these lodges also have a swimming pool in the main block where you can relax after a game drive.

Majority of the lodges are able to provide electricity throughout the night, and generally have other facilities like running water, laundry service, Wi-Fi(sometimes restricted to reception), hair dryers (upon request), locker facility etc.

Among safari lodges, you will find mid tier to luxury lodges.

While the luxury ones have four poster beds, wraparound balconies with stunning views, pretty bathrooms, spacious rooms, and in some cases private plunge pools, Air conditioning and much more, mid range lodges have smaller rooms, smaller balconies with other basic facilities. Serena Lodge Ngorongoro Whom do we recommend lodges for: We believe Lodges, with all their amenities are ideal for clients who want a comfortable experience while on safari. If the amenities they offer - like full-service restaurants, swimming pools, and spa services appeal to you then lodges might be a good option for you. They are also great for families with kids and groups who want to stay together in a larger accommodation with plenty of space and with good number of activities for kids to engage.

Whom do we not recommend lodges for: Lodges may not be the best option for clients who are looking for a more rustic experience while on safari. While they offer a high level of comfort and luxury, they may not provide the same level of connection with the natural surroundings as other types of accommodations, such as camping or tented camps. Clients who prefer a more adventurous and authentic safari experience may find lodges to be too formal or disconnected from the wilderness environment. Lodges are often larger and more crowded than other types of accommodations, so clients who prefer a more secluded and intimate experience may not enjoy the bustling atmosphere of a lodge. Finally, lodges tend to be more expensive than other types of accommodations, so clients on a tight budget may find them to be too costly.

2. Tented Lodges

Tented lodges attempt to combine the best of both worlds, by providing you with most of the comforts of lodges while still bringing you closer to nature with their canvas walls. These lodges have wooden (or sometimes concrete) floors that are raised on stilts with thatched roof while the walls are made of canvas with huge net windows in them. These are permanent structures and most tented lodges have swimming pools. lahia-tented-lodge-accomodation-01 Tented Lodges usually have between 15 to 25 rooms(tents) that are situated at some distance from one another, with the main/common area located in the middle. The common area is equipped with a dining room, lounge, and often has a small terrace and a swimming pool. Most tented lodges offer stunning views of the savannah.

Similar to lodges, tented lodges also cater from mid tier to luxury clients.

Luxury tented lodges can offer amenities like bathtubs (inside or outside room), plunge pools, air conditioning, large viewing decks, spa services, large glass panels for one the walls and more.

Many tented lodges also have different sizes of space to accommodate different sizes of groups or families. The menu is extensive enough to appeal to tourists from different regions. Kubukubu tented lodge Whom do we recommend tented lodges for: We recommend tented lodges for clients who want a more authentic and immersive safari experience while still enjoying a high level of comfort and luxury. They are ideal for clients who want to enjoy the views of vast savannah and experience the sounds and the sights of wildlife right outside their tent. Also for clients who want to experience a really unique type of accommodation from what they find at home, a tented lodge is a good option compared to a lodge.

Whom do we not recommend tented lodges for: Tented lodge may require guests to walk or climb stairs to get to their accommodation or the dining area so they may not be ideal for clients who have limited mobility. While tents are typically well-appointed and comfortable, they are not soundproof, and guests may hear the sounds of nature or their neighbors' activities. So if the thought of hearing the sounds of lions/hyenas throughout the night with only a canvas wall to separate you from the wilderness sounds unsettling, you should consider staying at lodges. Tented lodges may not be the best options for clients who are traveling with young children as children have to be under careful supervision to stay safe from wild.

3. Tented Camps

Tented camps (- Not to be confused with basic camps -) are by far the most popular kind of accommodation available inside national parks. These are very comfortable walk-in tents, that are made fully out of canvas and are of the size of an average hotel room (or sometimes even larger) with private ensuite bathrooms using bucket or running showers, long-drop or even flush toilets, solid beds with thick mattresses. You will also have chairs and a table so that you can sit outside your tent if you wish to. tented camp 3

Some tented camps - those located in Central Serengeti, Tarangire usually are permanent and remain at same location throughout the year. Some tented camps are mobile and change 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 are usually solar powered with diesel generator for backup or to supply additional power. So most tented camps switch off electricity in the night between 10:00 PM to morning 5:00 AM or so. Also you might not be able to charge your devices in your tent and will have to use charging ports in the common area of camp. In general, you can just charge your devices in the safari vehicle itself though. You will not have access to Wi-Fi in these camps mostly but some might have wi-fi in the common area.

All the meals will be provided in the restaurant tent that will be cooked by properly trained chefs. There will be a variety of drinks you can buy, and a bonfire outside for you. Tented camp Since tented camps are unfenced and in the middle of the wild, after dark, clients are adviced not to step out of their tents and a guard will escort clients from common area to their tent after sunset and before sunrise.

There are a variety of levels of comfort even among the tented camps - from fairly basic to more decorated" and upscale tented camps that can cost as high as luxury lodges!

One of the key advantages of staying in a tented camp is the close proximity to nature. Guests can fall asleep to the sounds of wildlife, and wake up to the sight of animals grazing nearby. Tented camps often have communal areas where guests can relax, socialize, and enjoy meals prepared by skilled chefs. Also tented camps usually have only about 8-12 tents so they are least crowded among all accommodation types available on safari. IMG 20200914 174642 Whom do we recommend tented camps for: We would recommend tented camps for anyone who wants to have an immersive and authentic safari experience while in Tanzania. Tented camps are ideal for those who enjoy being close to nature and want to experience the sights and sounds of wildlife from up close. Tented camps are also a great option for travelers who wish to stay at smaller accommodations and appreciate a more rustic and adventurous atmosphere, as the camps are often located in remote areas and offer a unique sense of seclusion and tranquility

Whom do we not recommend tented camps for: Tented camps are typically more basic than traditional lodges or even tented lodges, so guests should be prepared for the rustic setting and limited access to electricity and no internet connectivity. Some tented camps may not be suitable for families with young children or those with mobility issues, as they may require walking over uneven terrain. And if the thought of hearing the sounds of lions/hyenas throughout the night with only a canvas wall to separate you from the wilderness sounds unsettling, you should consider staying at lodges. Tented camps may not be the best options for clients who are traveling with young children as children have to be under careful supervision to stay safe from wild.

4. Budget or Basic Camping

Basic Camping is mostly for tourists who wish to have an adventurous safari and are on a budget. It typically involves setting up a tent in the campsite and sleeping in a sleeping bag on a foam mattress laid on ground. Toilet/shower facilities are shared. You will be assigned camping gear, cook in addition to the usual vehicle and guide you get on all safaris. Your camping gear includes tent, sleeping bag, foam mattress, pillow, foldable chairs and a table. As the amenities are limited, guests should be prepared to rough it a bit.

Camp sites are usually located inside the park but at some locations (at Manyara for example) campsites outside the park are more commonly used.

Budget camp tent While you are out on a game drive, your cook will stay back at the campsite and prepare meals for you. You will be provided with three meals a day. Compared to other types of accommodation, your food will not have that much variety as the cook will have to make do with the supplies they get from Arusha in the beginning. Most campsites have a common kitchen that is used by all the cooks assigned to the tourists. If you wish to have snacks or alcohol on the other hand, you will have to buy them from the stores in town while you are on your way to the campsite.

At the campsite there will be a common washroom for all the tourists. Since it will be shared it will not be as clean as the private washrooms you would get in other accommodations. They might also lack hot water. For charging your devices you will have to use the ports in your safari vehicle itself while on game drives.

To get more idea about what budget camping is like, click here.

Whom do we recommend basic camps for: Basic camping could be an ideal option for those who are comfortable with basic amenities, and are willing to trade some comforts for the opportunity to experience Tanzania's natural beauty on a budget. Basic camping is suitable for travelers who are physically fit and have some experience in camping outdoors.

Whom do we not recommend basic camps for: Travelers who prioritize comfort and have limited mobility or medical conditions, or are traveling with very young children are not advised to stay at basic camps. Also during the dry season from June to October, campsites can get crowded and a bit noisy.

5. City Hotels/Lodges

Omega View Along with the four types of accommodations mentioned above that can be found in and around national parks in Tanzania, you can also opt to stay at city-based hotels/lodges for some nights depending on your safari itinerary. You will find several hotels/lodges in towns and cities close to the parks such as Arusha City and Karatu Town.

Budget city hotels are often the cheapest among all the types of accommodations listed here, even cheaper than basic camping. Depending on your itinerary, they might be located in a convenient location to save transfer times. For example, Karatu hotels are conveniently located along the way for the night between Tarangire and Ngorongoro/Serengeti or for the night between Manyara and Ngorongoro/Serengeti.

However, a major disadvantage of city hotels/lodges is that they are not located in the wilderness and do not give you the feeling of being in the middle of nature.

To reduce costs, Karatu based hotels are often used for the night between Serengeti and Ngorongoro, which adds about 1 to 1.5 hours to your overall transfer time. If your budget allows it, we recommend you to stay inside Ngorongoro itself for this night to save travel time and experience the unique accommodation options available inside the national parks of Tanzania that you cannot find outside Africa. However, you can find some high end lodges in towns like Karatu/Arusha that are located in the middle of plantations and offer scenic views of farmlands/plantations or forests nearby. Marera Mountain view lodge

Whom do we recommend city hotels/lodges for: For clients traveling on budget or in itineraries where Karatu accommodations can be used for 2 consecutive nights (like 3 days Manyara, Ngorongoro, Tarangire) or for clients visiting Arusha national park (where Arusha hotels become the most convinient option) or for clients who need Arusha hotels before/after safari based on their flight timings. They are also good for families with kids and groups who want to stay together in a larger accommodation

Whom do we not recommend city hotels/lodges for: For clients who want to stay in the middle of nature. Clients who prefer a more adventurous and authentic safari experience may find Karatu hotels to be too formal or disconnected from the wilderness environment.

We hope you have a better understanding about various accommodation options you can choose from while on a safari in Tanzania. And as we said at the beginning, for most clients we recommend selecting an itinerary first before looking into accommodations and we believe the location of accommodation (even among those inside/bordering national parks) is more important than the type of accommodation. Let us know which camp or lodge you would like to stay at during your next safari or ask you travel consultant for advice. Hope to catch you in Tanzania soon!


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