If you’re visiting East Africa, you will generally have two options for where you stay. Lodges, with rooms or pods that have more of a traditional hotel experience; complete with buffet dining, a bar and sometimes a swimming pool set in a beautiful manicured garden with a fence around it. There are also unfenced camps, which have large luxury tents available and more of a wild feel – you will see and hear animals in and around the camp’s natural landscape and perhaps be more aware that you’re ‘on an African safari’ throughout your stay. I said generally at the start as there is also a third but less common option, accommodation that isn’t tented but still has much of the intimate feel of a tented camp, such as bush homes and cottage-like affairs that use a lot of light canvas in the construction.

Families with younger children may tend to gravitate towards lodges as there is generally more on offer throughout the day (when not out on a game drive). There’s also a wider range of food choices available, to suit more fussy eaters. Comparatively at a low-density tented camp, you’re expected to be out watching wildlife for most of the day and when you’re back at the camp for a few hours each day, you’re left largely to your own devices. It’s generally a more intimate atmosphere and the delicious meals will usually be served plated, with limited choices (except to suit dietary requirements explained in advance) and enjoyed whilst chatting to your fellow guests.

Personally, I prefer camps but I understand that many enjoy the bustle, buffets and entertainment of a busy lodge. It’s more akin to a traditional resort of hotel and that is a comfort for those who are taking their first baby steps into the wild. I’ve visited many lodges and had some great times and I suppose you could sum it up with this rather sweeping generalisation: If you’re the type of person who wants to sip a gin and tonic by a beautiful and fully fledged bar, go for a lodge. On the other hand, if you’ll accept a G & T prepared on the bonnet of a land rover and served to you out on the plains while watching the sun set, you will probably find this at a tented camp!