Why I chose mobile safari over lodges any day of the week
A mobile safari offers much more to me than a lodge ever can do. Of course there are pros and cons about both types, but I prefer the mobile safari setup and will tell you why.
I will start by using a quote from my safari operator in Mana Pools National Park.
Our ethos is to provide a true wilderness experience. Leave a minimal environmental ‘footprint’ where we operate. Keep our operations small and personalized. Only operate mobile safari camps to preserve the wildness of our parks. Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time. Offer our guests a rich experience leaving them more in harmony with nature.
This speaks volumes to me and is not something a lodge ever can provide. A lodge can try to tick these boxes, but they will never succeed. Most lodges will say they try to be eco-friendly and I am glad they try.
Still you need to understand that the construction of a lodge most probably will include cutting down trees, building permanent structures like chalets for the guests, a reception area, diner area, kitchen, storage, quarters for the staff and most often a swimming pool which imho isn’t how water should be used in arid Africa. A lodge also need waste management, better infrastructure and many more things. All of these leave a big environmental footprints that a mobile safari camp won’t.
Don’t get me wrong
I don’t reject lodges, not at all, but I do prefer the mobile safari most times. Especially when I go to Botswana or Mana Pools in Zimbabwe as these two countries offers the much greater exclusivity that a mobile safari allows. To me a mobile safari is about an authentic safari experience, stripped of the unnecessary barriers to an intimate, exclusive wilderness experience, without sacrificing any comfort or convenience.
There is something thrilling about sleeping under canvas. No barrier of brick and glass between you and nature. Only the romance of lantern light and the lullaby of the African night. Trust me a chalet will not give you this.
A mobile safari camp is a tented affair with all the creature comforts of a lodge. It also provides much greater exclusivity than most lodges ever will. Mobile safari allows you to experience the real Africa. It gives you the chance to follow in the footsteps of Dr Livingstone and the early explorers.