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Accommodation styles in East Africa

Styles of Accommodation to Try in East Africa

There are a wide range of styles of accommodation to try on safari in East Africa. This is where you’ll find some of the best wildlife experiences on earth such as the Big Five safaris and wildebeest migration Kenya and Tanzania; gorilla and chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and Rwanda. Those intending to visit East Africa for wildlife and safaris, it’s a good idea to know the styles of accommodation that’s suitable for your taste and travel style. Each style comes with its unique activities that go beyond just game drives, gorilla treks and balloon safaris. There are more experiences to enjoy. Our expertise and tailor-made itineraries across East Africa can include off-the beaten activities such as horseback riding in northern Kenya, visiting fascinating tribes such as Masai, Batwa pygmies and Karimojong, white water rafting on the Nile River and much more. Let’s explore the different styles of accommodation to try on your East African adventure.


Camping as a traditional style of safari has evolved overtime. From pitching own tent to luxury camps that feature amenities such as en-suit bathrooms in the African bush. Now there are various types of camping experiences to try on safari in East Africa. Firstly, the Canvas safari tents mainly found in national parks of Kenya and Tanzania. They are further divided in two forms which are mobile camping and permanent tented camps.

Both provide shelter in the African bush with opportunity to experience sounds and sights of the wildlife during day and at night lions might be heard roaring nearby. This is the best part of staying in canvas tents on safari. There will be nearly all amenities a luxury camping safari experience would want such as flushing toilets, en-suit bathrooms with hot and cold running showers. Canvas safari tents are available for use and booking for sole travellers, couples or groups. You can choose canvas tents if you intend to experience the African bush at raw including chance to view the stars in the sky at night.

Mobile camping is a style of accommodation mainly used to follow and track the wildebeest migration in Masai Mara National Reserve and Serengeti National Park. They are setup at specific places along the migration routes and shifted according to movement of animals. In other words, its called bush or fly camping where visitors are fly from one place to another. Dining tables and chairs are erected outside and sometimes campfire for guests to share stories. This offers opportunity to spot lots of wildlife including Big Five and witness also the events of the wildebeest migration such as calving which takes place in the remote southern Serengeti plains in December to February.

The permanent canvas tents on the other hand are positioned in one location usually setup on raised wooden or concrete platforms – more or less similar to safari lodges.

Safari Lodges

The widest ranging of all safari styles of accommodation in East Africa are the safari lodges. These are categorised depending location and level of comfort provided: basic budget, medium range and luxury lodges. There’s also the deluxe model of rooms that’s spacious with amenities above the medium. Safari lodges are permanent structures in different styles such as the grass-thatch roofed and stone built cottages. Some are found within the parks while others sit at the edge of tropical forests, rift valley cliffs and mountains and in the local communities around the protected areas. Travellers have the right to book the lodge of their choice with the help of our East Africa safari experts at Mantis Africa Safaris.  Furthermore, safari lodges have also evolved to include ultra luxury and eco lodges that don’t use flushing water toilets. We know where to go for the best eco safaris that supports responsible travel.

Tree Houses

As the name suggests, Tree houses are built in canopy of tropical forests and have outdoor terrace and balcony to sit and enjoy sounds and sights of the African jungle. Tree house style of accommodation is best for nature lovers and ecotourism. The best tree houses in East Africa are available in Kenya and Rwanda and Uganda. These are One & Only Tree Lodge in Nyungwe Forest National Park provides opportunity for chimpanzee tracking, tea plantation experience and canopy walk. The 35-room Tree Top Hotel in Aberdare National Park with unobstructed views of Mount Kenya is one of the oldest properties first opened in 1932 by Eric Sherbrooke Walker. Though, the original lodge was destroyed during the Mau Mau rebellion, it was rebuilt to features 2-room treetops for couples and raised observation platforms.


In general, hotels and Guesthouses offer the public lodging, meals, entertainment, and numerous personal services. Most safaris in East Africa begin or end capital cities where hotels, apartments, rental houses and Guesthouses are mostly found. They are perfect places to stay as a base go to restaurants and bars for nightlife experience and have easy access for day trips. For instance, when on safari in Uganda, Entebbe city and the main airport is not well known for its nightlife. If you want to have a good time go to Kampala capital city, where you will find lots of restaurants, bars, casinos, theatres, food markets to take care of your needs.

Rwanda safaris begin in Kigali capital city one of the cleanest in Africa with international hotel brand chains like Marriot and Raddison Blu hotels along the Kigali Convention Center (KCC). There are boutique hotels and the historic Hotel Des Miles Collins where people stayed safe as the genocide against Tutsi in 1994.

Nairobi the capital of Kenya is an advanced city and Hub of East Africa therefore provides a wide range of hotels including the historic Karen Blexin Museum and the Giraffe Manor Center.

Arusha town is more of a place for travelers to outfit with supplies whilst going on Kilimanjaro treks and safari in northern Tanzania parks such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro crater, and Tarangire and Lake Manyara famous for its tree climbing lions.

Types of hotels

In particular, hotels vary with properties for business and events, casinos, resorts which are rated from 1 to five stars. Of course, the room service and amenities in a hotel room vary with that rating.

Resort hotels

These tend to be situated in islands and near a water bodies or along the shores of Lake Victoria and the coast of the Indian Ocean. Popular destinations to find resort hotels in East Africa include Sesse islands Lake Victoria, Uganda, Malindi, Mombasa city and Zanzibar islands. Guests expect exclusive services for luxury and midrange properties. The benefit of staying at resort hotels is having access to extra services such as boat cruise trips, swimming, snorkeling, sea food and special packages for honeymooning couples. Privacy also is a great characteristic of resort hotels. Marine wildlife experiences such as viewing sea turtles and coral reefs are part of the resort hotels found in Zanzibar islands Tanzania and Lamu islands in Kenya.

Boutique hotels

The trend of Boutique hotels is a new trend on the rise in East Africa. They prioritize personal service, customer privacy and wellness. Therefore such a good style of accommodation for solo travelers visiting Africa for safari. The Retreat Hotel situated in Kigali city, Rwanda is one of the best recommended boutique hotels in East Africa.

How to choose your accommodation by safari experience

Mantis Africa safaris experts will help you in selecting the type of accommodation from budget, mid-range and luxury properties. This depends on the budget and travel style as well as the destination you intend to visit. There are many things that determine the overall experience of safari besides accommodation.

Other posts to read

Reasons to visit Rwanda
Top 8 things to see & Do in Rwanda
When to Go To Tanzania on Safari

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