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Embarking on an African safari often tops many people’s bucket lists, yet some hesitate to pursue it due to perceived high costs. However, the reality is that an African safari can be more affordable than you might think. The expense largely depends on factors such as your chosen destination, the timing of your trip, the extent of your itinerary, and your accommodation preferences. So, while cost is a consideration, there are plenty of options to make this dream adventure within reach.

By comprehending the key factors influencing the cost of an African safari, you can better tailor your itinerary to fit your budget, preferences, and aspirations. While quality often aligns with price, affordability doesn’t equate to compromised experiences.

As for the price range, an African safari can vary significantly, typically ranging from approximately US$250 per person per day to US$2,000 per person per day. Your final cost hinges on factors like your chosen destination and the timing of your journey.

The cost of an East African safari

By comprehending the key factors influencing the cost of an African safari, you can better tailor your itinerary to fit your budget, preferences, and aspirations. While quality often aligns with price, affordability doesn’t equate to compromised experiences.

In Kenya

As for the price range, an African safari can vary significantly, typically ranging from approximately US$250 per person per day to US$2,000 per person per day. Your final cost hinges on factors like your chosen destination and the timing of your journey.

Your safari costs in Kenya are shaped by various factors including the timing of your visit, your mode of transportation, your chosen safari accommodation, and the frequency of domestic flights between destinations. It’s worth noting that safaris in Kenya are priced in US dollars, which can make them relatively more expensive compared to similar experiences in South Africa, where safaris are priced in South African rands.

Kenya’s peak safari season, occurring from mid-July to the end of September, coincides with the migration period when vast herds of wildebeest migrate from Tanzania to the Masai Mara National Reserve. If the cost of a luxury safari camp is prohibitive, consider traveling during the shoulder season, between January to March and sometimes in November. During this time, prices typically range from around US$550 per person per night for a scheduled small-group safari to US$1,100 per person per night for a luxury fly-in safari.

Shoulder Season In Kenya

The shoulder season offers a less crowded experience in the parks and reserves while still providing excellent game viewing due to the abundance of resident wildlife. Even within popular game reserves, there are budget-friendly options available at camps outside the reserve boundaries, providing authentic safari experiences at lower costs.

The cost of your safari itinerary in Kenya is influenced by various factors, including the time of year you visit, your mode of transportation, your choice of safari camp, and the frequency of domestic flights between destinations. It’s worth noting that safaris in Kenya are priced in US dollars, which can make them comparatively more expensive than similar experiences in South Africa, where prices are in South African rands.

Peak Season In Kenya

Peak season in Kenya occurs during the migration period from mid-July to the end of September, when vast herds of wildebeest traverse from Tanzania into the Masai Mara National Reserve. If the expense of a luxury safari camp is beyond your budget, consider traveling outside of peak season, particularly during the short rains from January to March and sometimes in November.

During the shoulder season, prices typically range from around US$550 per person per night for a scheduled small-group safari to US$1,100 per person per night for a luxury fly-in safari. Despite being less crowded, the parks and reserves still offer rewarding game-viewing experiences due to the abundance of resident wildlife. These options provide authentic safari experiences within the most popular game reserves. However, there are more budget-friendly alternatives available by staying at camps outside the game reserves.

Please bear in mind that the prices mentioned here are approximate estimates based on 2023 pricing. For personalized guidance on how to optimize your budget, our destination experts at Wild Wings Safaris can assist you. They can discuss strategies such as traveling outside of Kenya’s peak season, opting for a private guide and personal driver instead of a fly-in safari, and minimizing the number of stops on your itinerary, all of which can help you save costs.

Safari In Tanzania

Similar to Kenya, the expense of your safari in Tanzania hinges on several factors, including the timing of your visit, your mode of transportation (fly-in versus drive-in safari), the type of safari (private versus scheduled small-group), your accommodation preferences, and the frequency of domestic flights between national parks or safari lodges. Although park fees in Kenya are slightly lower than those in Tanzania, the overall pricing for safaris in both countries is in US dollars, resulting in minimal difference between the costs of Kenyan and Tanzanian safaris.

In Tanzania, safari costs typically range from US$450 to US$2,800 per person per night (excluding international flights), with variations based on the season and choice of camp.

Have You Planned For Wildebeest Migration?

The wildebeest migration unfolds in various phases over several months, commencing with the calving season from January to March in Ndutu and Southern Serengeti, followed by the rutting season from April to June in Western and Central Serengeti. The dramatic river crossings occur from July to August in Northern Serengeti. In October and November, the herds start their southward migration again.

Apart from targeting the shoulder season, selecting suitable accommodation plays a crucial role in cost management. This is where the expertise of a reputable tour operator like Kenlink Tours proves invaluable. For budget-conscious travelers, joining a group tour and opting for larger, more economical safari lodges might be worthwhile. Conversely, some individuals may prefer to invest slightly more to enjoy the intimacy and prime location of a smaller, exclusive safari camp.

Another effective cost-saving strategy is to streamline your itinerary by minimizing the number of stops. Rather than rushing between multiple game reserves, which can inflate expenses, consider extending your stay at one or two locations. This approach allows you to take advantage of long-stay specials or early booking discounts, ultimately maximizing your safari experience while minimizing costs.

The cost of a Southern African safari

The cost of embarking on a safari in Southern Africa can vary depending on various factors. Southern Africa offers several enticing features for safari enthusiasts, including exceptional game-viewing opportunities and the convenience of combining two or three countries in a single itinerary. Notably, South Africa stands out as Africa’s least expensive safari destination, while Botswana is renowned for being the most expensive.

South Africa

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In general, South Africa stands out as the most affordable safari destination, offering the rare opportunity to experience luxury within a budget. Thanks to consistently excellent game viewing throughout the year, the timing of your South African safari has less impact on costs compared to your accommodation choices. Safaris in South Africa are typically priced in the local currency, the South African rand. This favorable exchange rate adds extra value for safari-goers earning US Dollars, Pounds, or Euros.

For travelers on a budget, a scheduled, small-group safari to Kruger National Park presents one of the most economical options. While the cost of long-haul flights to South Africa must be considered, the affordability of the safari itself compensates for it. For instance, a typical four-day Kruger Park budget safari in 2023 is priced at only ZAR 15,500 per person, which translates to well below US$900 for a 3-night/4-day safari, considering the current exchange rate. This package includes return road transfers from Johannesburg, Kruger Park entrance and daily conservation fees, three nights’ accommodation inside the park, breakfasts and dinners, and all game drives in an open safari vehicle with a qualified English-speaking guide.

You love Budget Safaris?

These budget-friendly safaris prioritize maximizing the game-viewing experience over luxurious five-star accommodations. Accommodations are relatively basic, featuring simple air-conditioned bungalows with two or three single beds and a small en-suite bathroom. Savvy travelers can save between 5% and 10% by taking advantage of early bird specials and booking well in advance, thereby also keeping flight costs reasonable.

While cheaper safaris may be available outside the park, it’s generally less ideal. On the other hand, in the adjacent private game reserves, accommodation prices vary widely, depending on the reserve and the chosen lodging. The most affordable options in these reserves range from about ZAR 4,000 to ZAR 8,000 per person per night. This price typically includes three daily meals, early morning and late afternoon/evening game drives, as well as tea and coffee. However, transport to the safari lodge, gate entry fees, and drinks are usually excluded from the nightly rate at these budget-friendly lodges.

Safaris In Botswana

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Botswana has adopted a high-revenue, low-volume, low-impact approach to safari tourism. While there are a few affordable options available, Botswana is renowned as the most expensive safari destination in Africa. Most safari camps here are priced between US$1,000 and US$2,500 per person per night during peak season. Consequently, if you’re seeking an affordable, budget-friendly safari experience, South Africa is likely a more suitable choice.

In Botswana, many lodges are situated in remote locations accessible only by light aircraft or challenging 4×4 journeys. This geographical challenge significantly impacts the cost of constructing and maintaining high-end safari lodges. The combination of high running costs, substantial concession fees, and the necessity for light aircraft charter flights contributes to the elevated cost of a typical fly-in safari in Botswana.

However, the advantage for guests is that Botswana offers some of the most remote and exclusive African safari experiences, free from the crowds and congestion often encountered during peak season in East Africa and South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Additional factors influencing the cost of a Botswana safari include the type of safari booked, the timing of your visit, the number of stops on your itinerary, and the pricing in US dollars for all services.

Safaris In Zimbabwe, How Expensive Is Zimbabwe Safari

Zimbabwe, much like South Africa, offers more than just safari experiences. It’s renowned for Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World”. Many travelers opt to fly in solely to visit this iconic site, often combining it with a safari in neighboring South Africa or Botswana.

Nevertheless, Zimbabwe boasts some of Africa’s finest game reserves, providing ample opportunities for wildlife sightings. Visitors can easily spend a week or more on safari in Zimbabwe and encounter abundant wildlife. Safari experiences in Zimbabwe are typically priced in US dollars.

Zimbabwe stands out as one of our top safari destinations, brimming with hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Its expansive and remote wildlife areas offer an intimate and unspoiled game-viewing experience, free from crowds. Renowned for its exceptional wildlife encounters, Zimbabwe provides outstanding photographic opportunities both on land and amidst its waterways. With friendly and hospitable locals, Zimbabwe is widely regarded as a safe destination to explore. Considering all these factors, a safari in Zimbabwe remains reasonably priced, making it a compelling choice for travelers seeking unforgettable experiences without breaking the bank.

How Expensive Is Zambia Safaris

Zambia, renowned as one of Africa’s most pristine safari destinations, is celebrated for offering some of the continent’s finest walking safaris. Its wildlife-rich game reserves are secluded and tranquil, with most safari camps offering an intimate and exclusive experience. However, these factors contribute to Zambia being a relatively expensive safari destination.

Additionally, other factors may drive up the cost of a safari in Zambia. Domestic travel between game reserves and national parks is primarily by air, adding to the overall expenses. With safaris priced in US dollars and a limited operating season (with many camps closing during the intense rainy season from November to May), Zambia’s safari industry caters primarily to discerning safari enthusiasts seeking authentic, off-the-grid experiences.

During the low season, four-star comfort safari camp accommodation typically ranges from US$800 to US$900 per person per night, while in the high season, the cost rises to around US$1,000 per person. On the other hand, five-star luxury safari camps command higher rates, averaging approximately US$1,400 to US$1,500 per person per night in the low season and escalating to around US$2,000 per person in the high season.

Safaris In Namibia

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A trip to Namibia’s vast landscapes can vary in cost, offering affordability as a Southern African safari destination based on several factors. These include the timing of your travel, your chosen mode of transportation between destinations, the number of stops on your itinerary, the level of accommodation, and the remoteness of your safari lodges.

Similar to other African destinations, the price of a safari in Namibia correlates with the exclusivity and remoteness of your chosen destination. Remote lodges, accessible only by air, incur higher operating and maintenance expenses, thereby impacting overall costs. Many of these lodges also actively participate in community upliftment and eco-tourism initiatives, which may involve additional levies.

For travelers eager to delve into Namibia’s diverse offerings without splurging on a private tour or fly-in safari, joining a scheduled, small-group, road-based safari is an excellent alternative. These tours often cover the country’s most iconic highlights, providing a cost-effective means of exploration.

However, it’s crucial to note that Namibia is a sought-after safari destination with limited accommodation options. Securing availability can be challenging, particularly if bookings aren’t made well in advance—sometimes up to a year ahead.

Your dream African safari start here

At Africa Travel Hub, we’ve been curating tailor-made safaris across East and Southern Africa since 2010, earning a reputation for delivering expert guidance and top-notch service to our clients. Our team of travel consultants are not just destination specialists—they’re passionate safari enthusiasts who understand the essence of an unforgettable safari experience.

We collaborate closely with you to craft a personalized itinerary that aligns with your interests, preferences, and budget. Whether it’s choosing the perfect safari destination, determining the ideal time to travel, optimizing your itinerary’s stops and modes of transport, or selecting accommodations, we provide comprehensive advice to ensure a seamless safari journey.

While a higher budget affords more options, don’t let cost deter you from realizing your dream of an African safari. With our assistance, we’ll demonstrate that it’s attainable within your means. Let us guide you toward an unforgettable safari adventure that fits your budget and exceeds your expectations.

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