We utilized eight lodges or camps in the seven parks visited during our safari. The tented camps (Mara Sarova and Voyager Ziwani) were very authentic to the experience of going on safari back at the turn of the 20th century, with the exception of the bathrooms and outstanding dining facilities.
With no locks on the front . . . mmmm . . . tent flaps, and mosquito nets around the beds, it really felt like we were staying out in the wild. While staying at the Voyager in Tsavo West, we were also cautioned to not leave the confines of our quarters after midnight as the power generators would be turned off at that time and the local hippos would make their way onto the property to graze the lush green grass. Sure enough, when I got up to use the bathroom at around 3:00am, I could hear SOMEthing outside the bathroom tent window munching. My travel companion Jane said she heard the same thing at some point in the night as well.
Much of the lodging experience was built around meals. Many of the lodges had very extensive buffets, featuring a wide range of choices given the international nature of their clientele. There were some meals that I felt a bit challenged by, mostly because of my general nature to not be very adventurous in my food choices. That said, I never found it difficult to find something good to eat.
My favorite dining was at the lodges that provided a full four course meal ordered off menu. Breakfasts were generally still buffet style, but lunch and dinner were plated service. I found dining in this manner to be far more relaxing, providing for more opportunity for us to have conversation about the day's activities.
Every place we stayed had a swimming pool, and by all accounts from my travel companions, they were in good shape with the exception of one that appeared suspect due to green water. The views from the pool decks were outstanding and provided a wonderful place to relax at the end of a long day.
For me, I didn't find much time for relaxation poolside, however, as I did not skip any of the afternoon game drives in favor of swim time. Others in my group did however enjoy the opportunity to do so.
I found the greatest tranquility at sunrise and sunset, especially at the lodges that provided the vantage point for a great view.
(Yet to come: Look for detailed reviews on each of the lodges & camps we stayed at.)