Glamping vs Camping Safari in Kenya – Which to Pick?

When planning a safari in Kenya, there are many different options to choose from when it comes to camping. Glamping, or glamour camping, is a luxurious option that provides all of the amenities of home while you’re enjoying nature. Tent camping is a more traditional option that is less expensive and allows you to get up close and personal with nature. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each type of camping when on safari in Kenya.

What is glamping?

Glamping is a more luxurious way of camping, with amenities that can make your experience much more comfortable and enjoyable than traditional tent camping. Glamping usually involves staying in safari tents or other permanent housing structures, such as yurts or cabins, and may include items like air conditioning/heating, en-suite bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and even room service.

Glamping–a luxurious, redesigned form of camping incorporating innovations from the hotel industry–is growing in popularity due to its unique and appealing accommodations. By bringing together the best aspects of camping and hotels, glamping provides a quality experience that is driving a new strategic shift towards competitiveness in the leisure industry.

Latza (2011) argued that glamping is derived from “glamourous” and “camping”, and is really luxurious camping or 5-star camping.

What are considered glamping accommodations?

In a 2018 study that interviewed various glamping sites, it was found that each site had its own unique accommodation style. Some featured luxury tents, safari suites, and eco-chalets with private bathrooms; while others had cabins and lodges with amenities such as air conditioning/heating and mini-bars. That being said, some of the most popular glamping accommodations in Kenya include tented safari camps, luxury villas, and treehouses.

Advantages of Glamping when on a Kenyan Safari:

1. Comfort & Luxury – When glamping in Kenya, you can expect to be surrounded by all the comforts of home such as air conditioning/heating, en-suite bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and even room service.

2. Convenience – Glamping allows for the convenience of having all of the amenities you need without having to pack it all yourself.

3. Variety & Adventure – Glamping sites in Kenya are located near some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes and provide a range of activities to experience the local culture.

Some glamping operators offer these additional activities or services that may or may not have additional charge;

  1. Guided safari walks
  2. Picnicking
  3. Bush cooking
  4. Game drives
  5. Sunset cruises
  6. Hot air balloon safaris

Cons of Glamping:

1. Cost – Glamping is far more expensive than traditional tent camping, and the cost can add up quickly when you factor in meals and activities.

2. Lack of privacy – Depending on the glamping site, there may be other glampers nearby that could cut into your private time.

3. Not as close to nature – With all of the amenities, glamping can feel more like a resort than camping in nature.

Best glamping setup ideas:

1. A private villa – These luxury villas come with all of the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, including air conditioning/heating and en-suite bathrooms.

2. Luxury tents – Choose from safari-style or bell tents that are fully furnished and equipped with electricity, Wi-Fi, and other modern amenities.

3. Eco-chalets and lodges – For a more rustic experience, you can opt for eco-chalets or lodges that are nestled away in the wild and provide access to wildlife viewing areas.

4. Treehouses – For those looking for something truly unique, treehouses offer an elevated view of the Kenyan landscape and plenty of privacy.

5. Glamping pods – These modern-style shelters are perfect for couples or small groups, as they provide enough space for up to four people with all the comforts of home.

How to go on a glamping safari:

1. Choose a reputable glamping operator – The key to having a great glamping safari experience is choosing the right company. Make sure you read reviews and research the different companies before booking.

2. Check availability – Glamping sites can book up quickly, so make sure to check availability before committing to any dates.

3. Research activities – Different glamping sites offer a range of activities, such as guided safari walks, game drives, and bush cooking. Make sure to research any additional activities that you would like to take part in.

4. Book early – Booking your trip well in advance will ensure you get the best deals on accommodation and activities.

5. Pack wisely – Glamping comes with amenities, but it’s still important to pack the items you need for a comfortable stay.

What is Tent Camping?

Tent camping, on the other hand, is an affordable way to enjoy Kenya’s beautiful landscapes and wildlife. You will be able to get closer to nature by sleeping in a tent and setting up camp in a remote area or campsite. You may also have the opportunity to explore untouched areas of nature, although it is important to stay safe and follow all safety regulations.

Advantages of Tent Camping when on a Kenyan Safari:

1. Cost – Tent camping is much more affordable than glamping, which means that you can spend more time exploring and less time worrying about the cost.

2. Closeness to nature – Tent camping offers a much closer experience to nature, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the landscape and wildlife.

3. Privacy – Tent camping allows for a level of privacy that glamping cannot provide, as you will be able to set up camp in a more remote area and away from other people.

Cons of Tent Camping:

1. Lack of amenities – Tent camping does not come with the same level of comfort as glamping, so you will need to bring all necessary supplies or items that may be lacking.

2. Potentially dangerous – Tent camping can be potentially dangerous due to the lack of amenities and access to medical help.

3. Difficult to set up camp – Tent camping requires more work and preparation than glamping, as you will need to set up your own campsite with limited supplies.

How to go on a regular tent camping safari in Kenya:

Unlike glamping, tent camping requires you to bring all the necessary supplies and equipment. Some campgrounds in Kenya’s national parks have some utilities such as showers and toilets but you many need a local tour operator who can guide you on how to plan your tent camping safari.

You will most likely want to drive yourself from place to place but you can still opt for a guided tent camping safari.

1. Choose a reputable tour operator – As with glamping operators, it is important to choose a reliable tour operator that has good reviews and experience leading tent camping safaris. We set up Kambu to exclusively cater for luxury glamping safaris

2. Research the area – Make sure to research the area you’ll be visiting and any restrictions on camping in the national parks, such as fire safety regulations.

3. Pack appropriate gear – You will need to bring items such as a tent, sleeping bags, cooking supplies, food and water. If you book our campervan or our self-drive or even guided rental cars, you will have a few items to carry as we provide most of all the camping gear you’ll need on any safari in Kenya.

4. Choose a campsite – You can choose from campgrounds with facilities or opt for more remote sites without amenities. When you book with us, we’ll assist with suggested campgrounds that we have used ourselves. You can also browse our campsites map for all campgrounds in Kenya.

5. Take the necessary precautions – Tent camping can be potentially dangerous due to the lack of amenities and access to medical help, so make sure you take all necessary precautions and safety measures when out in the wild. I always encourage my clients to make sure that they have emergency contact numbers and know the necessary safety protocols for lions, elephants, buffalo and other wild animals. When you hire our vehicles, you’ll have access to both emergency contacts including our roadside assistance support.

Why Choose tent camping over glamping?

Tent camping is a great way to get closer to nature and experience the wilderness without breaking the bank. You also get more privacy than you do in a glamping site, allowing you to really immerse yourself in nature. Tent camping requires some extra preparation and may not be as luxurious as glamping, but it’s still an unforgettable experience and a great way to explore the wilds of Kenya.

Glamping vs tent camping cost:

In our review of existing offers from both tent camping and glamping operators with accommodations in a few popular Parks such as Lake Nakuru and the Mara, a glamping safari was found to cost around 70 – 90% more than a tent camping safari. In dollar terms, the average glamping accommodation for non-residents on a safari ranges from $170 to $500 per night during low season from December to March and goes up to $220 to $700 per night during peak season from July to October.

On the other hand, tent camping will require you to do a good amount of work (which Kambu can help with) but you can expect to pay no more than $100 for any campsite in Kenya. The public campsites located within national parks are significantly cheaper costing you no more than $20 for non-residents ($2 for residents) and even private campsites located outside the national parks charge no more than $30 per night. This is during both low and high tourist seasons.

If you are on a budget and worried about tent camping, Kambu team can help you put together an itinerary that will be almost as good as exorbitant glamping safaris. Your biggest expense when doing wild or traditional tent camping is transport and may cost you anywhere from $50 to $350. Our campervans fitted with kitchenettes and sleeping spots will cost you as low as $200 per day and you won’t need to camp out.

In a 2018 comparison put together by thewanderlustkitchen the average cost of glamping from their 2015 trip was $469/per person per night while camping cost them $206 per night.

This image shows the cost of tent camping in kenya which is half of what glamping cost per night

From this, it is clear that a glamping safari in Kenya will cost you double what you would have to pay for a camping safari.

This image shows cost of glamping which is $469 per night, more than double the cost of tent camping in Kenya

Can you combine glamping and camping in a Kenya Safari?

Yes, of course. The combination of both glamping and camping offers a great way to give you the best of both worlds. You can book yourself in one of the luxury lodges or campsites located within some of the national parks and then opt for traditional tent camping when exploring remote regions on your itinerary.

This will allow you to experience both the remoteness of camping and the comforts of glamping. I recommend camping earlier on in your safari and saving glamping for later as you end your trip to Kenya. This way, you’ll have a chance to explore the wilderness before unwinding and indulging in some luxury.

Is glamping a luxury safari in Kenya?

Glamping is a great way to experience the safari in Kenya in luxury and style. It’s perfect for those who want a unique adventure without having to rough it out or sacrifice comfort. Glamping sites come with many amenities such as outdoor showers, swimming pools and spas, making them a truly luxurious experience.

Glamping Safari Operators in Kenya:

– Asilia Africa – offering luxury tented camps and lodges in some of Kenya’s most iconic parks

– African Bush Camps – a collection of 10 different camps, ranging from the secluded, luxury tents to the more rustic bush camps

– Basecamp Explorer – offering tented safaris and camping trips in Kenya’s national parks

– Sasaab Safari Camp – a luxurious camp set on the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River in Samburu National Reserve

– Great Plains Conservation – offering tent camping, safaris and luxury lodges in some of the most remote areas of Kenya.

Osero Sopia River Camp: Offering luxurious tent camping near the Osero Sopia River in Maasai Mara National Reserve. You get to this camp using Sekenani gate and is about 4 km from the gate. I have used this camp twice and for locals (resident Kenyans like me), you can rates as low as $80 especially during low season.

Elephant Pepper Camp

Castel Mara Camp

Here are 4 glamping sites in the Mara ( site)

There are advantages to both:

Glamping and Tent Camping both offer unique experiences in Kenya, with each one offering its own advantages. Glamping provides a luxurious experience that is perfect for those who want to be comfortable while still being able to explore the wilds of Kenya. Tent camping offers a more rustic and immersive experience, allowing travelers to get up close and personal with nature without spending a fortune.

Whether you are looking for a luxurious glamping experience or an adventure in tent camping, Kambu Safaris is here to help make your safari dream come true. From the moment you book with us, our team will take care of all the details so that you can focus on enjoying the beauty of Kenya. Contact us today to book your Kenyan Safari!


who started glamping?

It is believed that glamping started in Scotland during the 16th century when Earl Atholl provided a luxurious camping experience for King James V and his mother. He did this by purchasing an opulent tent and filling it with objects from his own palace. Glamping has become increasingly popular over the years and is now a common form of lodging in many countries.

Can I camp on my own in Kenya?

Yes, you can camp on your own in Kenya, however it is highly recommended that you book with a tour operator as they will be able to provide guidance and assistance if needed. It is also important to note that many of the national parks and reserves in Kenya require you to book a permit before entering, so it is advisable to work with an operator that can make all the arrangements for you prior to your arrival. When you book with us, you’ll have a 24/7 chat line with our team who will guide you on everything you need to do to make your camping safari in Kenya a success.

What is included in Glamping?

It depends on each glamping site and what they offer. Generally, you can expect to find luxury tents with amenities such as en-suite bathrooms, outdoor showers, swimming pools and spas. Many glamping sites also provide meals and other services, such as safari game drives, which can make your experience even more enjoyable.

who goes glamping?

Glamping is becoming increasingly popular with people of all ages, but it is especially attractive to those who want the luxury and comfort of a hotel without sacrificing the beauty and adventure that comes with camping in nature. Many families also find glamping appealing as it allows them to spend quality time together while enjoying the great outdoors.

Why is Kenya a good place to visit?

Kenya is an incredible destination with a vast array of natural beauty, wildlife and cultural attractions. It is home to the iconic Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Great Rift Valley, which are both renowned for their incredible landscapes and abundant wildlife. Kenya also has some of the best beaches in East Africa, as well as a diverse culture that is steeped in tradition.

This article has 21 reasons tourists prefer Kenya for their safaris over other African countries.