Beautiful African Holidays, the africa accommodation guide specialist
Comprehensive Africa accommodation guide to help you make an informed decision on which country to visit and where to stay in Africa. Includes african accommodation maps, pictures and travel information,
Beautiful Holidays Specialists

Africa has some types of accommodation that you simply won’t find anywhere else; owners can pride themselves on offering quirky and unique experiences.

There are several categories of game reserves, and the main three are below:

Luxury reserves allow you to see animals in style. You won’t need to lift a finger, but will be whisked about on game drives and boating safaris by expert trackers who know where the Big Five hang out. These reserves usually have excellent chefs too.

Large reserves, like Kruger, offer a range of accommodation. However, much of it is in semi-permanent tents, where you’ll have your own braai (or barbecue stand) and be responsible for driving yourself around. There’s usually a shop on site, and everyone will be fenced off from the animals.

Undeveloped reserves exist where it’s just you, your tent, and the elephants, lions and crocodiles. Often camping is only allowed in designated areas, and some parks have rules about only admitting 4x4 vehicles or vehicles in a convoy of two or more. Although you’ll be camping, it’s not necessarily a budget holiday, as you’ll have to buy or hire suitable equipment. However, these holidays are great for experiencing the African wilderness as nature intended.

Beach resorts are also popular, although you’ll only find European-style resorts in the Med and Red Seas. The rest will be lower-key and not as busy, which is no bad thing.

Luxury beach resorts, with their own private beaches and with every comfort imaginable, can be found in numerous destinations.

There are some excellent city-beaches in Africa, allowing you to combine easy access to sights with the seaside. Leave any valuables at the hotel before you go, though.

If you’d prefer something quieter, enjoy the beach by staying in a seaside village, either in a self catering apartment (see below), or in a small hotel.

If you’re visiting a land-locked country but would still like to try out swimming, then do as the locals do and head to the nearest lake, particularly if you’re in Eastern Africa. In the lakes, you can find swimming, sailing and fishing (NB – if you’re planning on doing water-based activities, particularly in calm water, have a chat to your doctor about bilharzia before you go; don’t get paranoid but do get clued-up!).


Tourist style hotels are found across Africa and all provincial cities will have a hotel, although choice can be limited in the lesser visited destinations.

Luxury hotels are found in capitals and tourist destinations. These offer the same level of service as you’d expect anywhere, which can be a bonus or a drawback.

Boutique hotels are reasonably unusual, and mostly found in centres like Cape Town. They can offer a quirky and stylish place to sleep.

Guest houses are popular in tourist areas, and generally include a bed and breakfast, although some arrange evening meals on request. They’re generally very clean and good value, and owners will do their best to help you find out about local attractions.

Self catering can be a great option – in some parts of Africa, the majority of non-luxury accommodation falls into this bracket.

Semi-permanent tents and rondavels are great budget options, and are often attached to holiday parks with their own swimming pools and access to other leisure activities, like canoeing, golfing and fishing.

At the other end of the scale, luxury self-catering options are available in some parts of the continent, and generally come with swimming pools and staff.

It’s worth noting that one of the great Southern African ways of eating can only truly be experienced through self-catering. Head to the local supermarket or butcher and buy a selection of steaks, sausages (preferably spicy boerewors), ostrich kebabs and all manner of other goodies. Then go to the local alcohol outlet (or drankwinkel) and stock up on beer and wine. Cook, eat and drink under the stars.

Hotels are found across Africa:

All provincial cities will have a hotel, although choice can be limited.

Luxury hotels are found in capitals and tourist destinations. These offer the same level of service as you’d expect anywhere, which can be a bonus or a drawback.

Boutique hotels are reasonably unusual, and mostly found in centres like Cape Town. They can offer a quirky and stylish place to sleep.

Guest houses are popular in tourist areas, and generally include a bed and breakfast, although some arrange evening meals on request. They’re generally very clean and good value, and owners will do their best to help you find out about local attractions.

Self catering can be a great option – in some parts of Africa, the majority of non-luxury accommodation falls into this bracket.

Semi-permanent tents and rondavels are great budget options, and are often attached to holiday parks with their own swimming pools and access to other leisure activities, like canoeing, golfing and fishing.

At the other end of the scale, luxury self-catering options are available in some parts of the continent, and generally come with swimming pools and staff.

It’s worth noting that one of the great Southern African ways of eating can only truly be experienced through self-catering. Head to the local supermarket or butcher and buy a selection of steaks, sausages (preferably spicy boerewors), ostrich kebabs and all manner of other goodies. Then go to the local alcohol outlet (or drankwinkel) and stock up on beer and wine. Cook, eat and drink under the stars.

The hostel scene has exploded in recent years, and is an increasingly popular way to see Africa. These allow you to make friends as you travel. Hostels generally include access to a kitchen, and some have private double or family rooms.

Staying in ‘granny flats’ in large city houses, or cottages attached to farms, can be a good way of keeping accommodation costs down, and finding out more about local life.

Townships stays are increasingly popular, especially in South Africa. These give you a chance to help the local economy and get an insight into how the majority of South Africans live. In other countries you can stay in traditional villages.



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