Food can be of a concern for safari travellers as it could cause a health problem. But in general the food at safari lodges and camps is very good and of international standard, sometimes with an African theme. Many lodges offer buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner with a great variety of choices. Often per day changing specialties like pancake for dessert or a dinner with on demand-grilled meat, fish and vegetables are offered. Efforts are done to provide balanced meals and a variety of food. Most camps and lodges also accommodate pretty much all dietary requirements, except kosher meals. They can only be provided when the camp or lodge is not too far away from a city with the necessary facilities.
Many guests don’t dare to eat raw salad to avoid stomach problems or others take a zip of whisky in the morning to avoid the same problem. Eating raw food can be anywhere a risk, but on African safaris the water can be the cause of the problem. Do not drink tap water unless otherwise advised, also don’t use it to brush your teeth.
In general be prepared that the food is great and that you are in real danger of gaining weight, because of sitting on the game vehicle all the time, getting appetite by being outdoors and therefore eating a lot.
African safari accommodations in general have electricity, but not necessarily in the tent. Usually the rooms in lodges have power sockets in the rooms, but not all tents in tented camps have. Some tented camps, even luxury-tented camps, have power sockets in the lounge area where the guests can recharge their electrical devices. Mostly there are enough sockets to have always access to electricity, but it demands a bit of planning. When you for example want to charge the battery of your camera for the next morning game drive, bring the charger with you for dinner and let it there for the night. It is very interesting how used we are to the power coming out of the wall, everywhere and any time, but when you are in the bush, you realize power needs to be generated and in many camps this still happens with their own generator or solar power.
Check also before you go what adapters you need to recharge your devices. Some lodges and camps provide adapters, but not all.
When you go on African photographic safaris you should be prepared for all this. When you go on mobile safaris it is even useful to have an inverter to recharge while driving.
“I am pretty confused, there are tours coming out of my ears and I do not know where to start. I do not know why 1 tour is 3000 and another is 10000, when on paper they look similar.” (quote from an African safari inquiry)
Does that feel familiar? It can be indeed confusing and besides choosing the right African safari destination for what you would like to experience, the accommodation question can be really tough. Fortunately there is the Internet with photo galleries of all camps nowadays, which is a great help.
First of all create some kind of funnel to come to a decision for your African safari accommodation. Determine the safari country first. If the country offers more than one top-rated safari area get information on each area to know what you can expect to see there and if that is what you have in mind. Once the country and wildlife area is determined, look at the different kinds of accommodation available. They usually range from camping to five star camps and lodges. The five star lodges and camps have mostly the best spots with their private concessions. And interesting enough the public campsites are often also very good positioned. Their facilities differ in quality and it is good to get information on that beforehand. It is recommended to do camping, if you have already experience with that. Doing camping in the African bush adds to the normal camping that there are no fences and the campsites are in Big Five areas.
If you decide to stay at a lodge or camp, the search continues. What category should you choose? This is a very personal question. Some guests feel safer in a cottage and do not choose a tented camp. Others love to stay in a luxury-tented camp and prefer them rather than a lodge. However there are the different categories and the choice is not easy. The price can be a good criteria, yet there are still a lot of options. Now the photos come in very helpful.
Go to the websites of the lodges and camps and get a feeling for what you can expect there. Also the quality of the images gives already an idea of the spirit of the accommodation. Do they care for detail and quality or are they more casual with that. From now on only your gut feeling will be able to guide you to your final decision. Trust it. A photo says more than a thousand words and all statistics and rates sheets. Go for the accommodation you fall in love with.