TENTED SAFARI CAMPS
Tented safari camps are located in some of Africa's most remote and pristine wilderness areas, and focus on the region's abundant wildlife. They typically offer a wide range ofsafari activities by which to experience the magic of the African bush, with an emphasis on observing wildlife in its natural habitat.
Staying at a tented safari camp is not, in any way, to be confused with "camping". The majority of tented safari camps we recommend include large canvas rooms with real beds and private, en-suite bathroom facilities (including full plumbing). Tented safari camps range from very comfortable to exceptionally elegant and stylish; by virtue of their remote locations, most tented safari camps do not feature telephone or internet connection, air conditioning, or other "distractions" of civilization.
The defining feature of a tented safari camp (versus a safari lodge) is that tented safari camps feature rooms with canvas walls (as opposed to bricks and mortar). They are generally located deeper into the wilderness and, because there is less physical separation between you and African bush, they facilitate a closer sense of connection to the wilderness - at night you hear the animal sounds and smell the fresh, sweet African air.
Safari lodges represent the more luxurious form of safari accommodation. Activities at safari lodges center around safari game drives and night drives, with most lodges also offering the opportunity for safari walks.
Safari lodges tend to be a little closer to civilization than tented safari camps and can be very luxurious, featuringmodern conveniences such as telephone and internet connection, air conditioning, and relatively easy access. Some of South Africa's top safari lodges are among the most luxurious and pampering properties anywhere in the world, with exquisite accommodation, gourmet cuisine, and world class spa facilities.
The defining characteristic of a safari lodge (as opposed to a tented safari camp) is that safari lodges have solid walls and glass windows, creating more of a separation between internal and external environments.
Eco lodges are located in and around some of Africa's most beautiful and important natural habitats, where the focus is on the area's exceptional landscapes and/or cultural heritage. Inevitably, these areas are also home to a diverse array of wildlife species, but the main highlight is the spectacular natural beauty and/or cultural opportunities, wildlife is a considered a bonus.
Physically, an eco lodge may take the form of a lodge (with solid walls) or a tented camp (with canvas walls), with the same levels of comfort that charaterise both camps and lodges. Activities are plentiful and varied, ranging from quad biking to hot air ballooning, whale watching to mountain biking, and many other options in between.
Hotels in Africa share many of the characteristics of hotels in North America and Europe, with two notable distinctions - most of the best hotels we recommend in Africa are small, with fewer than 100 rooms, and they are independently owned as opposed to being chain hotels. In this respect they take their cue from the very private and exclusive nature of southern Africa's safari camps and lodges, and are (in most cases), best classified as "boutique" hotels.
MOBILE TENTED SAFARIS
With professional guides, luxury mobile tented camp safaris can be organized for small exclusive groups of families and friends (usually 8-20 max.) for the ultimate bush experience. These safaris typically consist of 7-14 days of visiting three or more locations.
Each private tented camp, complete with en-suite bathrooms and separate dining tents, is erected in secluded sites chosen for their views, privacy and proximity to wildlife. Your exclusive tented camp, staffed by a highly efficient, dedicated professional crew, is moved from one location to the next without you even noticing.
Sometimes guests stay at smaller luxury lodges for a day or two while the camp is relocated. Comfort, safety and exclusivity are the key ingredients.
Beach lodges resemble safari camps and lodges in that they are small (20 rooms or less), exclusive, and have minimal impact on the delicate ecosystems in which they operate. They are NOT large, commercial beach resorts.
Beach lodges enjoy remote locations on pristine stretches of coastline around Africa. The focus is on the Indian Ocean and the accompanying beach experience, with a combination of relaxation, pampering, and beach/ocean activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling, sea kayaking, fishing, dinghy sailing etc.