The Glamping Business: Rafiki Safari Lodge

Written by: Alexandria Autrey

How long have you been in the Glamping business?

We have been in the glamping business for 13 years.

When did you get involved in Glamping?

We got involved with the glamping trend in 2000.

How long did it take to start the business up?

It took us 2 years to start up Rafiki Safari Lodge.  

Where did you get all your Glamping supplies?

We got all of our glamping supplies in South Africa.

Were there any hurdles you had to tackle?

There have been tremendous hurdles with our glamping property.   We had to build the road to get to the property, learn the language, build our own hydro-electric system and so much more.  It has really been an epic journey for us.  

Where do people like to stay mostly?

When staying at Rafiki Safari Lodge, most of our guests enjoy spending time on the porches.  They enjoy sitting back in the rocking chairs and looking out at the jungle backdrop that is quite mesmerizing.

What activities do people do during the day when staying?

They like to go whitewater rafting, hiking, horseback riding, birding and sea kayaking.  

How long did it take to install yurts, tents, etc. ?

We put 5 up the first year, added 4 the next year and then the 10th unit the following year. We are hoping to expand with a couple of family units next year!

Biggest lesson you’ve learned so far being in this business?

Tourism is a very fickle business! 

How much work goes into maintaining your accommodations?

The tents are relatively low maintenance and fixing them is silent.  We do not have to climate control them, they don’t get eaten by termites and cleaning them is a cinch with a pressure washer!

Do you have plans to expand?

Yes, this coming year we have plans to expand. 

What is the biggest challenge operating the glamping? How did/do you solve this problem?

On the beach, security is the main challenge. We solved it be attaching concrete lockable bathrooms where guests can leave their belongings.

In the mountains, trees falling on the tents is a major threat. We have had to clear many trees, which is difficult when you have an eco lodge!

What, if any is your Target demographic?

Our target demographic is active families and honeymooners.  We also get some golden oldies, who are always fun.  If they are seeking out Rafiki, they still have some spunk left in them!

What is the demographic of your resort, if any?

We get a majority of people from North America as there are a lot of flights to Costa Rica.  They tend to like activity based travel more than Europeans.