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Written by: AK on 20 December 2017

Where to stay when travelling to Tanzania: what is the difference between a lodge and a tented camp

What is a Lodge or Tented Camp

You very well know what Airbnb is and how it works, you have stayed at hotels before and also spent a weekend at a B&B. But now you travel to East Africa and face the question: do you want to stay in a lodge, in a tented camp or on a campsite? Speaking of it: public or private campsite? What exactly is the difference, you ask? We’ll tell you!

The Lodge

While a guesthouse or hotel consists of one large building and all guests sleep under one roof, a lodge is compiled of a number of buildings scattered across a plot of land. The main building will be centrally located. Here you will find a restaurant, a bar, sometimes even a small shop and a swimming pool. The guest rooms, including bathrooms, are situated in separate smaller buildings or cottages and sometimes a short walk from the main building. Lodges vary immensely in size and number of rooms; therefore, their atmosphere and ambience may remind you of either a hotel or guesthouse.

You will stay in lodges and tented camps on our Lodge Safaris.

The Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge at the Ngorongoro Crater

The Tented Camp

In set-up and location, a tented camp is similar to a lodge. It is made up of a main tent and guest tents. You will find tented camps in the national parks and game reserves, rather than in a city. The main difference between a tented camp and a lodge: while a lodge has concrete structures, walls made of stone or wood, a tented camp consists of large safari tents. Don’t think the small tents you pitch in your backyard or on a campsite. These safari tents are spacious sleeping-cum-living tents with ensuite bathrooms and sometimes even a small terrace or pool. This means you don’t have to worry: There is a proper bathroom with proper toilet and shower. Additionally to the guests’ tents, there is one main tent to enjoy your meals, read a book, play a game or have a drink. Tented camps range from basic to luxurious. Since many tented camps are not fenced off, a member of staff may accompany to your tent after dinner. In a tented camp you are close to nature, without having to miss any comforts.

You will stay in tented camps and lodges on our Lodge Safaris.

The Nasikia Tarangire Ndovu Tented Camp in Tarangire National Park

The Campsite

Campsites are the most basic of accommodations in terms of facilities and amenities. However, out here you will most likely have the most authentic experience and get as close to nature as nowhere else. There are public and private campsites. On public campsites, there may be other travellers camping on the same site as you. There is an ablution block with showers and toilets. While you share the ablution block with other campers, showers and toilets are arranged as single cabins. There will be a kitchen block where meals are prepared, and dishes washed by your camping crew.

You will stay on public campsites on our Adventure Camping Safaris.

A public campsite at the Ngorongoro Crater

A private campsite is in essence just a bare field, cleared of vegetation – that’s it. There are no permanent structures, no buildings and most importantly – no other people far and wide. All equipment, all food is brought by our team and nothing is left behind. The only thing that will separate you from nature and the wild, is the canvas of your tent. On a private campsite, you will have a front-row seat to the spectacular show, the bush puts on day in and day out.

You will stay on a private campsite on our Mobile Explorer Camping Safaris.

A private campsite in Tarangire National Park

If you’re not sure which type of accommodation is right for you, just get in touch – we’ve experienced them all and are happy to share our advice!

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