What Does an Africa Safari Cost?
How to Get the Most
Value For Your Budget
General Cost Considerations
When it comes to reviewing itineraries, it is not always easy to compare them “apples to apples,” understand the out-of-pocket totals, and see the quality differentiations. However, this is an important step to making an informed choice. Location, guiding expertise, group size, vehicle quality, and accommodation style all matter. In addition, park fees, mileage limitations, and other necessary expenses might be left out of a package in order to showcase a competitively-priced option. For this reason, it is entirely possible that a $300 per day safari quote will eventually cost more than a different quote at $550 per day.
Just like bargain flight fares that later charge for a personal item, you may discover that the safari quote was discounted because it was missing critical elements. Quotes should include, or note when not included, food, lodging, beverages, park fees, game drives/activities, transfers, and any applicable rental fees.
Beyond these major African safari costs, other typical expenses include vaccinations and other health considerations, guide and staff tips, trip insurance, and tourist visas. Camera equipment, binoculars, reference books, and perhaps some safari clothes are also common purchases but not required.
Questions to Ask Your Safari Planner
- What would you change if it was your trip?
- Are the camps in the right location for the season?
- What is the accommodation bed night capacity?
- How do you support local communities? Can you share reports?
- What is the maximum group size?
- What is the maximum number of guests to a vehicle?
- How far are the transfer distances, and are they experiential?
- Are there unavoidable costs being left out of the quote, such as park fees?
- What are the vehicles like? Does the quote include fuel and unlimited
- What is your repeat customer and referral rate?
- What is the experience level of the guide leading my safari? Is the person
named and guaranteed?
How We Determine Safari Pricing
Since we specialize in custom safaris, the cost of the safari is highly dependent upon your personal choices. For most travelers, a safari is a significant investment, and that is why the planning process is critical. Our philosophy is to focus on quality of guiding and locations. These are areas most important to having an exceptional safari, and cutting cost on them will compromise your experience.
One of the largest cost components where you have flexibility is your accommodation. In some areas (like Northern Tanzania), we have a wide range of choices to work with. In other countries, like Botswana, there are often no mobile, budget, or rustic options that meet our quality standards. We classify accommodation budget categories in three tiers:
- Classic Safari. Prices range from $500 to $600 per person per night. This traveler wants top locations and great guiding but is happy with classic, rustic safari accommodation, including en-suite tents with bucket showers. This category means you will consider low and shoulder seasons to get better value while still having great game viewing.
- Authentic Luxury. Prices range from $600 to $800 per person per night. This traveler’s budget is somewhat flexible, and they care most about top notch guiding and outstanding wildlife. Accommodation at this level is excellent with great service. The camps often have special small touches but maintain the authentic safari style rather than high luxury focus. In most safari areas, this price point is possible even in peak season. However, in Botswana we target low or shoulder seasons to fit this price range.
- Peak Luxury. Prices range from $800 to $2,000 per person per night. This traveler wants luxury accommodation in peak season. Within this, $800 to $1,000 is possible in East Africa and parts of Southern Africa (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia). The higher end of this range is needed for high luxury in Botswana and South Africa.
We will always do our best to meet any budget with a high quality itinerary. If we cannot provide a high level of quality, we will honestly inform you that we can’t make that budget. As such, we will not beat high-volume, budget operators on price because the cost of guiding, unlimited mileage on game drives, and many other quality factors that we offer are not places where we can cut costs. We are not willing to compromise the experience for our clients or our reputation. Despite how incredibly important this role is, very few safari-goers have any idea who their guide will be until they arrive; most companies are simply unable to commit a guide at the time of booking. However, we keep a small team of outstanding guides in Tanzania and Kenya to ensure that each client has a spectacular safari. For itineraries featuring Tanzania’s northern circuit or Kenya’s Masai Mara, we can tell you who your guide will be ahead of your safari.
We do provide excellent pricing and value within the bespoke top-quality safari market segment. We do our best to include deals, and recommend low seasons or best value accommodation choices (more expensive is not always a better experience!), and other proven secrets to provide the best pricing for your dream safari.
Special opportunities often add large costs beyond our control. For example, each gorilla trek requires a $1,500 per person permit cost in Rwanda, or $700 per person permit cost in Uganda.