There are many options to consider when it comes to where to stay on safari and the four reasons to stay at a game lodge include the luxury and comforts expected on this type of journey.
Most game parks and reserves will offer lodge-style accommodations only, splendid hotel-style establishments that blend in with their surroundings and offer service and facilities you would expect to find at any high-end hotel.
Ranging from small and intimate to large and expansive, lodge options vary in size and facilities to offer guests the perfect blend of style and safari in Africa. Our four reasons for staying at a safari game lodge can help you decide the type of experience you want and expect to have during your trip.
While there is a telltale look across the continent – a wooden-framed restaurant, private terraces, a central fireplace – each lodge excels in individuality. Some are separated from wildlife by discreet fences, usually thin electrified wires switched on after dark, especially in areas known for hosting the Big Five and Little Five.
This is especially the case for larger lodges with more guests and lodges on private concessions within a national park. Where a lodge is unfenced, staff accompany guests to their rooms. You could find an infinity pool overlooking the savanna, occasionally visited by an elephant or two. Bar and restaurant areas are usually large and spacious, ideal places to savor the view and get to know your fellow safari-goers.
The number of rooms ranges anywhere from eight to 80, all offering a fair-sized bedroom and the standard amenities you would expect at any luxury hotel. The difference with a safari lodge is that your room is primarily stand-alone, boasting bathrooms you could only dream of replicating at home.
Location is key and often game lodges are positioned in areas rich with wildlife moving through or around them. Game lodges can be found within national parks and private game reserves, often just outside a national park’s boundaries.
Distance to the park’s gate is important to note when staying outside a national park as staying more than 30 minutes away increases driving time and reduces localized natural encounters. To protect the wildlife, landscapes, and habitats that create unique ecosystems, gaining permission to build a permanent structure or anything else in a national park or reserve isn’t easy.
No corners are cut in creating idyllic hideaways of any lodge size in the African bush. Some lodges are converted colonial homesteads or historic farmhouses that have offered luxury in the bush for centuries. Some have created artificial waterholes or provide evening floodlighting to elevate game viewing.
Wildlife is always on show and the team at your lodge will fill you in on some of their favorites. Perhaps a particular elephant herd comes to drink from the nearby waterhole just after dusk each day, a troop of monkeys might prowl in the dawn hours, or a herd of waterbuck is known to favor the profuse grass beside a wing of rooms.
Many erroneously think that a large lodge will scare away wildlife. However, over time the lodge becomes just another part of the landscape, encouraging animals to live alongside it. No matter the setting, every option is a treat. Open the curtains and a giraffe wanders in the distance. Silhouettes become full color as you watch the sunrise from an elevated terrace.
Relax after a game drive and you’ll find animals appearing then disappearing as you glance up from your book or drink. Safari and game lodges are typically positioned in prime locations, for example, above a picturesque landscape or perched on a crater rim, gazing down on a river or waterhole, or nestled deep in the African bush, only accentuating the unique ways to experience a safari.
For something completely unique, step away from your lodge for a night and experience a true treehouse escape, safari-style. Set high in the branches, wooden decks and ladders create an exclusive, sleeping-under-the-stars experience, complete with luxury finishes, necessary amenities, and personal touches.
Gaze down onto waterholes, rivers, or rocky outcrops, and drift off to sleep lulled by the night sounds of the bush. Your guide is a call away and in the morning you will be whisked back to your lodge for yet another day in paradise.
Your adventurous side can be discovered in the comfort of your suite or tent, with a star bed located right on your deck. Covered with netting and layered with warmth, spend a night under the African sky as the sounds of the bush lull you to sleep. A safe and exciting way to spend a night on safari, with the comfort of your indoor bed and bathroom a zip or sliding door away.
Game and safari lodges are found across Africa and are the standard accommodation types in private game reserves and national parks. South Africa has the most of all African countries, explained by its plethora of private reserves and larger luxury safari industry.
Well-located and with a variety of styles for everyone, the safari circuit is rich with game lodge options. Lodge-style accommodation is also readily found outside of wildlife-rich areas, where tranquility and remoteness are the featured draws.
Perhaps seen as off the beaten track, they can be booked exclusively and present the ultimate in a private safari experience. Understanding your choices in accommodations could affect how you choose your safari destination and offers possible opportunities to mix and match safari experiences.
Whichever park or reserve you choose to safari in, you will have an array of lodge sizes and locations to choose from. Your Zicasso safari specialist will help you design your perfect stay in the bush, discussing options across the board so you can select your desired lodge with peace of mind.
Learn more with our Africa safari guide and explore our safari tours for more inspiration. Your Zicasso safari travel specialist is a destination expert and ready to answer your questions to help you find the right safari for you.