The best African safari lodge is something very personal. What makes you feel comfortable? Do you need a real room or do you like staying in a tent? Would you prefer a hotel like feeling or rather a small intimate safari camp/lodge? It is not easy to answer these questions when you have never been to the African bush, but trust your feeling about accommodation in general and what makes you feel good at your own home.
The safari budget is another parameter when choosing your lodge or camp. The smaller and intimate the safari camp the higher the rate, mostly, unless it is very basic and rather camping than a proper permanent or semi-permanent camp or lodge. In general a small camp provides the better safari experience and any kind of tent is very close to the ultimate bush experience when you can hear the hippo grazing at night or maybe even a leopard calling next to your tent. Tents are safe, yet allow to be as close as possible to nature.
The location of the camp/lodge is one of the most important criteria when choosing your safari accommodation. Staying inside or outside the park or game reserve makes a big difference in the costs, but you should not be too far away to avoid long drives to get into the park. Choose your African safari destination carefully. There are big differences in the quality of wildlife sightings and you want to see the Big Five when you go on safari, unless you have seen them already very often.
And last but mot least the quality of the beds, bathrooms, decoration, food and service will influence your decision. Look at the images of the lodge or camp and trust your feeling about it. Your intuition is usually always right.