What Does an African Safari Cost?

One of the first questions we ask our clients is when planning an African safari is “Do you have a budget we should work within?” This is for no other reason besides the fact that Africa can either be a very expensive or very cheap destination depending on how you want get around (fly or drive), what areas you want to see, and what level of luxury you'd like. As we tailor-make all of our itineraries, asking these questions allow us to offer what is right for you within a stipulated budget. We also know that many people don't have any idea what an African safari will cost. For those persons, we have put together a very rough indication of price.

The below figures are rule of thumb estimations based on safari travel to Africa's more iconic destinations. These estimates below are based on a 10 day itinerary, and would include accommodation in privately run camps and lodges and be full inclusive of all internal flights and transfers, all accommodation, meals and local beverages; and exclusive of international airfare. Please see below:
 
 - Value or budget orientated safaris (3*) cost between US$2,000 to US$3,000 per person sharing
 - Mid-range or standard level safaris (4*) cost between US$3,000 to US$5,500 per person sharing
 - Top-end luxury safaris (5* plus) cost from US$7,500 and above per person sharing
 

Other important notes on African safari costs:

1) Not all African countries are considered similar when it comes to the cost of a safari. For example, an itinerary to the remote safari areas of Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya that have a limited supply of accommodation will cost more than an itinerary to Zimbabwe, South Africa or Namibia.
 
2) The safari portion of your trip is generally sold on a fully inclusive basis (i.e the price you pay includes accommodation, all meals, game drives, activities and often alcoholic beverages) as opposed to the bed & breakfast basis on the ‘non-safari’ portion of your trip (visiting Cape Town or other more developed cities). For this reason, the safari portion may initially seem more expensive, the reality is that you will not spend anything further whilst on safari besides for items of a personal nature (tipping, curio shop purchases etc), versus the additional cost you will spend in your personal capacity visiting cities (restaurants, non-included activities and shopping).
 
3) As we customize our safaris, we can work  within almost any budget and our first priority is to share Africa with you. By booking through us you are getting excellent value and unbeatable rates, we encourage our clients to clarify how much you are comfortable spending as opposed to choosing to book with a competitor on a safari that is seemingly 'cheaper'.
 
4) Great efficiencies in cost can be found in travelling as a group of family or friends, especially as where vehicle costs can be split between the group and accommodation can cater for the whole groupe (ie apartment and villa rentals). We are familiar with superb locations for small group travel (typically 12 persons or less)
 
5) We work closely with our suppliers and access some superb special offers and last minute booking deals. These specials often reward longer stays (4 nights or longer) or when a supplier has short-notice availability. This is an excellent method of reducing cost should the offer suit.
 
6) Seasonality plays a large factor in the cost of a safari, and if your travel dates are flexible, good value is to be found at travelling at the shoulder periods to peak travel without necessarily sacrificing the quality of the safari experience. Below is further insight into seasonality of different areas and countries:
 
  • Botswana and Namibia: 
    ‘Green Season’ safaris will reduce your price dramatically (approximately between December and the end of March, depending on the supplier chosen. Please speak to us about expected temperatures and humidity in these seasons as it will be hot and humid). ‘Shoulder Season’ is considered to be in November, April, May and still represents good savings compared with high season rates. The most expensive season is also the best time for game viewing (during the dry season of June to October), as wildlife gathers around water holes or at rivers, and the vegetation is at its thinnest - making it easier to spot animals in the bush.
  • South Africa:
    The winter months (June to September) is low travel season for South Africa and the rates are reduced. In the northern sectors of the country there is less rainfall and it is an optimum time to go on safari (although the coastal areas of Cape Town and the Garden Route will experience much rainfall during this period. 
  • Victoria Falls:
    Costs do not fluctuate excessively at Victoria Falls as this is a year round destination. It is important to note that the amount of water that flows over the falls does however vary substantially during the year, which will influence the experience you will receive as well as determine the side of the falls you should stay at. Between February and May, the period just after the rainy season is when you’ll see the greatest flow of water. It’s important to note that this may make photographing the falls a little tricky without getting your camera wet, as the plumes and sprays can extend up to 1km from the actual falls. The end of the dry season, between October and November, offers a less spectacular flow of water over the falls, but a better viewing experience as you’re able to get closer. The temperatures at this time of year are also hotter throughout the day and night. 
  • Tanzania and Kenya:
    Due to the fact that these countries are located close to the equator, they represent a very good year round game viewing destination with minimal variance in temperatures. One does however need to take note of the long rains from April and May (these are afternoon rains with thunderstorms, considered spectacular). The biggest driver of cost increases in the Masai Mara and Serengeti ecosystems is the popular Great Migration, as we pre-book camps and lodges that will be close to the moving Wildebeest Migration, which have limited availability. Please discuss with your consultant about an update of the movement of the migration and booking the right accommodation.
 

 

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