Which Safari Suits My Budget

One of the most commonly asked question asked is “how much does a safari cost?” Truthfully, there is no short answer for this as a safari is unlike any other holiday, and there are so many factors that contribute to the price of a safari. Some of these include accommodation type, logistics (flying or driving safari), which national park you go to, and time of year.

In this article, we break down a few of these contributing factors and explain the key logistics of an African safari. This should help work out your safari budget but if not, do not fear. Our safari experts are always on hand to help run through logistics, options and itineraries that suit you.

Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Zanzibar Beach

Activities

Safaris will vary on what sort of safari experience you are looking for. Although the majority of safaris are done as game drives in 4×4 vehicles, there are many other activities to consider. Zambia is famous for safaris on foot, Botswana offers private helicopter safaris, and Kenya is the heart of family activities like camel riding and quad biking. Each come with their own price tag.

For more specific safari experiences, such as gorilla trekking, the price is largely dominated by the permits and park fees. In Uganda, the price of one gorilla trek (which allows you one hour with the gorilla family) is USD $750 per person. In Rwanda, a permit is double that – at USD $1,500 per person per trek.

Another point to bare in mind when it comes to choosing which country you go on safari in, is what you would like to combine. If a safari and beach combination is something you are looking for, then landlocked countries like Botswana and Zambia are not the best choices.

This isn’t to say you cannot fly to a beach destination after your safari but it will save you time and money if you choose a country that offers both. Tanzania is a great example. You can spend a morning on a game drive in Tanzania and with a short internal flight over to Zanzibar, you can be sipping a cocktail on the beach by the afternoon.

Flying safari in Africa
Driving safari in Africa

Logistics

Because a lot of safari destinations are remote, a fair amount of the budget will be dedicated to getting in and out of the area. There are two main options for safari itineraries – a flying or a driving itinerary.

A flying itinerary involves small Cessna Caravan plane transfers between the different safari destinations. This is a fantastic way to save time as you get from one national park to another quickly.

A driving itinerary is a good way to experience a slower-pace safari as you drive in-between destinations. Generally speaking, because of the small-plane flight costs, a flying itinerary will be more expensive than a driving itinerary.

Best time of year to do a safari
Best time of year to do a safari

Time of Year

Naturally, the most expensive time of year to travel on safari is when the demand is high and the game-viewing is at its best. The period between July and September is one of the most expensive times to go on safari. This is because it offers the driest conditions and best game-viewing months (for most parks across Africa), and the fact that many of us are locked into traveling during school holidays and summer months.

That said, there are some “hidden months” which offer similar game-viewing experiences but with a much lower price tag. In Tanzania for example, this is the end of June and the very beginning of November (before the short rains arrive).

Tented safari camp
Africa safari lodge

Accommodation

One of the most expensive parts of a safari is the nightly cost, determined by the accommodation type. From simple tented camps, to eccentric luxury safari lodges, Africa has it all.

Generally speaking, the simpler accommodation will be less expensive. This shouldn’t put you off though, as some of the more basic and cost-effective tented camps on the continent are situated in the best game locations. In East Africa, basic tented camps can be around $400-500 per person per night, which includes all of your park fees and safari activities.

As facilities and luxuries increase, as will the price. Swimming pools, air conditioning, private guides, and infinity pools are just a few examples. The most luxurious lodges can sell for up to $1,500 per person per night.

It is important to find safari accommodation that will suit your style, and budget. Speak to one of our safari specialists to explore these different options and price points.

African lion cubs
Wildebeest migration in Kenya

Budget Range Summaries

As a starting point, we have put together a summary of safari experiences within different price brackets. These are based on per person, excluding international flights.

USD/GBP 2-3K per person 

South Africa offers a variety of safari experiences and nice accommodation for this price range. Namibia is also a good option. Within these countries, self-drives are worth exploring to keep costs down.

3-6k per person 

A South Africa safari on this budget would go a long way. A good 3-5 days on safari and a beach combination would be doable in Kenya and Tanzania with this budget. Depending on how many gorilla treks you would do, a Uganda trip would work well in this budget.  

6-10k per person 

This bracket certainly opens up more options for safari destinations. A very good safari in Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are definitely in this price bracket. A Botswana safari would be possible but it would depend on the accommodation and time of year as generally speaking, Botswana is the most expensive safari destination. 

10k + per person 

Longer safari trips, private experiences and luxury accommodation will be offered in this category. This will also open the opportunity to combine countries. For example, Tanzania for the safari, and Rwanda for the gorilla experience. A luxurious safari in all countries will be possible on this budget.

Start Planning Your Safari

Hopefully this article was helpful and offers more clarity when it comes to safari costs. However, if you still have questions, please do get in touch with our safari specialists Elaine and Gemma. Either drop us an email, give us a call on +44 208 004 2345 , or book a video consultation to find out more and start planning your safari adventure.