Africa Safari Deals

How do you get a great deal on your safari?
This section covers possible ways for you to get extraoridnary value for your safari. We also address frequently asked questions regarding getting a better price on your safari.

Are Off Season Safari Deals Good Deals?

Too often special offers focus on the “off season” when a camp or lodge has difficulty drawing guests and far fewer offers include the best times of year. Game viewing may be down and the weather may not be optimal. Off season deals are not automatically a bad deal though.
Correct seasonal location is critical to witness The Great Migration. Wildebeest on the move. Photo by Bill Given.

When an Off Season Safari Deal is a Good Deal

I love the green season in Botswana (December through March), game viewing is not as easy and plentiful as found during the height of the dry season but the wildlife is in its peak condition, calving occurs, and scenery and bird life is at its spectacular best – and when it is sufficiently discounted at accommodation rates of 50 to 65% off the high season it becomes a great value that still delivers a tremendous experience. See my earlier blog post for more on the “off season” pros and cons in Botswana – Botswana Safari Green Season.

Off Season Deals that May not be "Deals"

Contrast Botswana’s off season with some deals in Tanzania. Many deals coincide with when The Great Migration is far from the accommodation on special, and in some areas that may mean poor game viewing. Likewise, there may be great deals during the long rains but the impact to the experience of 13 to 14 inches of rain in a month is far different from Botswana’s green season when 2 to 4 inches in a month is the average.
Thus, it is essential to consider the location and time of year when looking at any safari deal to ensure a quality game viewing experience. Traditionally, publicly announced safari specials during the high season are hard to come by. However, under current worldwide economic conditions many safari specials are available. Plus, more often than not we have the ability to provide our own generous discounting for camps that have not published any safari specials for the high season.

Recommendation for Evaluating Off Season Safari Deals

Do your research. Know what your objectives are for your safari, and don’t sacrifice those objectives just to get a good deal – you could end up very disappointed. Of course, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about seasonal factors to game viewing – as well as any other safari questions you may have.

Camp Bundling Gotchas

Traveling by traditional wooden Mokoro is the way to get around at Delta Camp.

Should I Beware of Camp Bundling?

One of the most common safari deals is for one company to bundle together a number of camps into a pre-determined itinerary. It should be no surprise that on such pre-planned itineraries a company will often bundle one of their harder to sell camps along with a gem that attracts people in.
Often times a camp that is out of season is bundled into a safari deal as it is the best way for the company to get visitors at a poor time of year. Another common inclusion is a specialty camp that appeals to a narrow audience – such as one that focuses on all water activities, or one located in the desert. Including diversity like this can be an excellent choice and it is sometimes worth considering such options. However, these specialty camps that are sometimes thrown into safari deals can be poor choices if you want an emphasis on big game viewing.

Recommendation for Safari Deal Camp Bundling

I prefer safari deals that are flexible leaving the consumer with a wide range of choices for the camps and lodges that fit your needs best. Keep in mind that there are price advantages for operators that can sell their pre-designed itinerary so it is a trade off. I recommend that you carefully evaluate each camp included in a safari deal and make sure it’s a choice that works for you.

Are Free Nights Worth It?

A common safari special offer is to receive free nights based on a certain number of paid nights. This could be at a single camp or at a combination of camps.

Shorter stays are sometimes better, because you can get an adequate number of nights at a camp without letting it dictate your entire safari itinerary. These allow you to accrue a serious benefit with just a typical length stay for a single camp.

Safari Deals Featuring Longer Stays for a Free Night

For safari deals that require 5 or more nights at a single camp/lodge you need to make sure it’s a camp that you really want to spend that much time at. Likewise, many operators may require more nights over a long period of time, such as Wilderness Safaris Pay 6 nights at any number of camps and get one free. This can be a good safari deal as long as that is the operator and grouping of camps that you would likely choose with no deals. Others are more aggressive such as &Beyond’s current safari offers of Stay 6 and Pay 4 that is long enough to include two camps but yet receive a deal on each.

Recommendation for a Safari Deal Offering Free Nights

It is important to find a safari deal that is structured to meet your needs rather than allow one to dictate your trip. In general a shorter number of nights involved is appealing because you can then take advantage of a special for one segment of an itinerary without having your entire safari dictated by one specific deal.

Finding Secret Safari Deals

FACT: Many Safari Deals Aren’t Even Published

Just like the stealthy leopard, a lot of the best safari deals are hidden under cover.
Many of the best safari deals are not made available for viewing by the general public but are available through safari planners. Some safari operators do not want to devalue their pricing or impressions of their products so they do not publish safari specials. However, they still want to motivate safari goers to utilize their product so they provide safari deals directly to safari planning agents. This could be in the form of additional commission rates, or multi-night stay deals just like consumers receive.
Agents then have the opportunity to create their own deals, but there are often stipulations that prevent advertising/publishing any safari offers that are below the published rack rates of the operator. Because of these agreed upon terms, many of the best possible pricing options can only be obtained by contacting a safari planner and seeing what they produce. I personally have been able to offer itineraries that include some of my favorite properties this year with discounts in excess of 20%. I have a wide range of offerings throughout Africa that I can discount to create custom safari deals exclusively from The Wild Source.

Recommendation for Finding Good Safari Deals

You need to talk to your safari planner. As a wildlife biologist and safari guide who travels frequently to Africa, I can offer you access to these deals that I am privy to but am unable to publish. I can also help craft an itinerary that will meet your needs using my scientific background and experience from both my time on safari and performing predator research in Africa. Read my blog entries, view my website, sign up for our newsletter. It is my mission to provide all of my clients with the same sense of wonder and awe that I experience each and every time I go to Africa.

Combining Separate Safari Deals

Like a coalition of male lions, synergy can be achieved by combining different individual deals. Skimmer boy male lions at Duba Plains, photo by Bill Given.
It can be advantageous to combine safari deals to utilize each special offer for the best camps that an operator has on their circuit rather than use only one operator’s camps. This works particularly well with deals that have set special rates per camp rather than being dependent on a certain number of night stays. For example I often combine camps from the Kalahari Summer Special with camps from the 5 Rivers Special during Botswana’s green season. By mixing and matching from these two special deals there is great flexibility of camp choice to meet the diverse needs of different clients and there is much more on offer than if limited to one deal or the other.

Recommendation for Combining Safari Deals

Remember – you don’t have to be locked in to one tour operator’s deals for your entire safari itinerary. Look around at different safari specials to see if you can combine them. I can match your safari objectives with the best deal – or deals – possible. Contact Me.

When Good Value Trumps Safari Deals

Guests at Mapula Lodge have had extraordinary African Wild Dog puppy viewing for nightly rates 25% or more below similar camps. Photo by Bill Given.
People get caught up in safari deal mania and enter the mind-set that they will only book with a special safari deal offer. Some camps and lodges have always maintained prices well below their competitors and their regular prices are still often less than what special offers can deliver. Because they remain priced below the new deal levels and they have always operated on lower profit margins these camps have no need to offer any specials. In fact, they continue to deliver a consistent product as they are accustomed to their pricing model.
Unfortunately, sometimes the higher priced places are not as adept at operating for lower rates and they cut corners to a noticeable extent. Now is a good time to try out some of these vintage style operators who have consistently provided great experiences for less money over the last couple years.

Recommendation For Finding Good Value That Isn’t Technically Even a Safari “Deal” or Special

Don’t get so caught up in looking for “safari specials” or “safari deals” or “safari offers” that you miss great values. It is almost too easy to hop the computer and find these deals and specials with a search engine. Many camps have outstanding value – and you’ll probably never find them searching for special deals on Google. I would be happy to discuss potential camps that offer great value and still meet your safari objectives

For the Best Deals, Contact Us Directly

For the best deals, call us at 720-497-1250 or email [email protected]

As a custom safari tour operator, we continuously negotiate the best pricing with our favorite partners in Africa on a trip-by-trip basis, and apply any deals that are applicable to your desired itinerary. These may include Stay 4 / Pay 3 deals, seasonal offerings, flight inclusions, circuit deals, and other special discounts.  Additionally, as an agent we receive wholesale nett rates from our partners. These prices are different from the “rack” rates you see online, which typically include a markup. The space between our nett rate and the published rack rate gives us room to offer you exclusive pricing.

Please contact us directly to learn more about current safari deals created and offered exclusively by The Wild Source.

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