Our Top 3 Mobile Safari Camps in Africa
August 28, 2017
A mobile safari is a semi- or non-permanent tented camp in the wilds of Africa, designed to offer visitors a diverse and raw experience in some of the most exclusive safari regions of world famous national parks and reserves. Some mobile safaris are so dynamic that they move destinations every 1-2 nights, taking guests to a variety of campsites and offering an all-encompassing safari experience. Other mobile camps move with the seasons: low impact, non-permanent safari camps are set up for 4-6 months of the year in one place, and for the other half of the year they pack up entirely and move to another prime location. Often, these safaris follow the migration of animals, such as the Annual Wildebeest Migration in East Africa, or they move due to water levels in places like the Okavango Delta.
We love this sort of safari because of its adventurous nature, and its remote beauty. These are some of the most unique experiences, taking guests right into wild territories, often where permanent lodges can not be built. There is an element of romance in the untamed surroundings for couples looking for an adventurous honeymoon, while families will enjoy an exciting trip filled with discovery and unforgettable moments for parents and children to experience together. We’ve got a handful of recommended mobile safari camps we’d like to share with you – in some of our favourite locations, offering a variety of experiences, from land to sea, and from luxury to rustic. Take a look at our 3 best mobile safari camps in Africa…
Serian Serengeti Mobile (Lamai)
Starting with the faultless reputation of Alex Walker’s Serian collection, we introduce this simplistically elegant 6-tented camp in northern Serengeti – Lamai Wedge. This location is world-class: right in the midst of the exciting Mara River crossings during the migration of over a million wildebeest, zebra, and topi. This mobile camp is operational from mid-June to mid-November, during the time this part of the Serengeti is inundated with spectacular wildlife activity. With the thunderous crashing of the river crossing comes the exciting predator activity – a safari experience famously documented for years.
Serian Serengeti Mobile Camp is perfect for intimate groups and families travelling together. There is one 4WD game viewer and an expert guide entirely dedicated to your group, and there is a team of skilled and thoughtful staff at camp who ensure the experience lives up to the Serian reputation. There are 6 tents, all of which are beautifully laid out under draping canvas, and enjoy en suite bathrooms with hot bucket showers, flushing toilets, and generator-powered electricity 24/7. Think Moroccan rugs, wrought iron bed frames, warm, rich textiles, simple pleasures, and flawless execution.
Afrika Ecco Mobile Safaris
From sophisticated luxury off the beaten track, to good old camping in canvas dome tents, at very close quarters with the wild: Afrika Ecco Mobile Safaris. Without the frills and excess of some fine-tuned mobile operations, the experience becomes one of adventure and simplicity, and we are left with the elements of what is truly shoulder to shoulder with the wilderness.
What we love most about this rustic camping excursion is that it changes destination as you travel, taking you to numerous wild and wonderful spots all over Botswana. From the bejewelled Okavango Delta, and marshy Moremi Game Reserve, to the predator paradise that is the Savute, and into the great expanse of the Kalahari Desert, and Makgadikgadi Pans. During a 2-week trip with Afrika Ecco, guests will delve into some of Botswana’s most sought after safari regions, as well as including a visit to Victoria Falls at the end of the tour and a night in a lodge in Kasane. This is a truly Botswana experience, from the guides, hosts, cooks, and camp helpers – these people know their country like the backs of their hands. Owner, Chris Hatshe (also a partner at Machaba Camp), was born and raised in an Okavango Delta village, just like most of the team at Afrika Ecco, making this one authentic experience.
The camping facilities are basic, yet entirely comfortable. Each of the dome tents is set up with the help of the guides, and a canvas, open-air bathroom is pitched alongside each tent, which will have a dug out long-drop toilet, a bucket shower, and hand basin. At each meal time, a dining table is set up in the middle of the gloriously wild, unfenced campsites, and home-cooked dishes are served by the cook who prepares everything on an open fire. The wildlife experiences are phenomenal, the food is good and nourishing, and the camps are comfortable. Guests at Afrika Ecco should not expect luxuries such as ice on demand during long trips, and when in areas like the Kalahari, water is sparse so showers are brief. However, during Delta trips, the water from the channels is abundant, allowing for longer washes and cool-downs. This is an African experience for the adventurous!
Ibo Island Lodge Mobile Dhow Safari
To complete our trio, we’ve included something entirely unique and magical: an island-hopping excursion in the warm azure waters of Mozambique’s Quirimbas Archipelago. This is a mobile safari like no other – an ocean safari, exploring the magnificent Southern African seas, indulging in some serious sun bathing, snorkelling, kayaking, and of course: camping. This is a superb adventure activity offered by Ibo Island Lodge, which is one of northern Mozambique’s most thirst quenching and soul enriching beach retreats, and what makes this Mobile Dhow Safari even more appealing is that it includes a final night in the luxurious comfort of Ibo Island Lodge to finish off the trip.
This sea-faring endeavour is an eco-friendly and simple island camping experience. It is about the subtle beauty of the ocean, the natural wonders that lie beneath its surface, and the gentle sights, sounds, and smells of the islands. The accommodation is in traditional 2-man canvas dome tents, which contain 2 stretchers with foam mattresses and bedding, while bathroom facilities are simple bucket showers and long drops. Some islands are completely uninhabited, while others might be the home of local communities.
The joy found in this wonderful camping, sailing, bird-watching, snorkelling, kayaking, hiking, scuba diving, and revitalising journey is unbeatable. Families with children will be endlessly entertained by the variety of activities on offer, while the excitement of sailing in a traditional wooden dhow across the open seas to get to the next destination awakens the adventurous spirit in all of us.