What kind of digs can you expect on your next big hunt? It can vary greatly, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of lodging arrangements prior to your trip. Depending on your outfitter, destination, and specific hunt, you may find yourself in one of the following types of accommodations:
Luxury Lodges: If you’re after five-star accommodations, you’ll find them on offer as part of many outfitters’ packages all over the world. You can usually expect gourmet meals, plush private suites, spas, concierge services, entertainment, and other amenities. In addition to hunting, you and others in your party will also have the opportunity to sightsee and enjoy a variety of outdoor pursuits, which may include hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, kayaking, swimming, or fishing.
Rustic Lodges: This type of lodging can often offer the best of both worlds: you get to stay in a more authentic style of hunting lodge that features modern amenities, including hot showers, warm beds, and prepared meals. But you don’t have to break the bank to stay in one, making it a great option for groups and families. Comfortable common areas and family-style meals are usually on offer at these facilities.
Chalets/Rondavels: Call them what you will, but these generally refer to thatched-roof huts, usually found in Africa, that are decidedly more rugged than luxe accommodations, but still usually very well-appointed. You may have heat and running water as well as your own shower and toilet facilities, or there may be a separate hut for this purpose. You’ll have beds with sheets, dressers or chests, and other furniture. Often situated around a central campfire area, where you’ll probably spend your evenings, these offer a more authentic safari experience without foregoing the most important creature comforts. Meals will be prepared for you on-site.
Canvas Tents: These (often permanently erected) tents can run the gamut from basic to luxurious. Either way, they are open to the air, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter (when they are often equipped with kerosene heat). They may have attached or adjacent toileting and shower facilities, and often feature comfortable cots, linens, furniture, and perhaps even rugs and lighting. Meals are usually prepared for you on-site.
Cabins or Cottages: Hunting cabins are generally stocked with just the basics—beds, sheets, blankets, possibly other furniture–and may or may not include heat, running water, showers, and toileting facilities. Some even have private kitchens so you can prepare your own meals. These are great for those who just want to get out there and hunt and have a warm, comfortable, private place to crash at the end of the day.
Primitive Huts and Cabins: These are basic structures that provide a roof over your head and four walls—no running water or heat. Staying in a hut or cabin like this can also mean you’re closer to your hunting area. Shower and toileting equipment are usually packed in. These buildings offer more shelter than a tent, but if you’re headed to someplace cold, be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes as well as a sleeping bag rated for the temps (which may be provided to you). You might eat MREs (meals ready to eat) or you might have a cook prepare your food.
Backcountry Base/Spike Camping: This is as rugged as it gets. There’s nothing that gets you closer to nature—or closer to your hunting grounds—than tent camping in the wilderness. For some, there’s no other way to hunt. By using one of our outfitters, you’ll get the incredible experience of backcountry hunting camp, with no logistics to worry about and far less to pack up and carry yourself. Tents are of very high quality and made to keep out the elements. Nonetheless, very warm clothing and a high-quality, low-temp rated sleeping bag are crucial (the outfitter will generally provide the latter). Depending on how you pack in to your hunting area, you may have a small backpacking tent or a large family-size tent. Shower and toileting equipment are usually packed in. You might eat MREs or you might have a cook prepare your food.
If you plan on bringing along non-hunters, such as spouses, children, or friends, you’ll probably want to consider higher-end lodging options for their comfort. Some types of accommodations may bunk you with other hunters, especially if you aren’t traveling with family or in a private group, so be sure to inquire ahead of time so you know what to expect. And please note that individual accommodations may vary from the descriptions above, so you’ll want to get full details from your outfitter regarding what’s on offer at your particular abode.