An African safari doesn’t comes in many forms, depending on the light of your stay, countries visited and the level of accommodation. Most of the African safaris planned for our clients are 100% customized to their individual interests, timeframe and budget. The rates for the destinations cover a wide range and typically vary significantly from the “high season” (generally July through mid-November) to the “low season” (generally November through June). It’s like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Note that the price not only includes accommodation but also twice-daily game drives, a ridiculous amount of tasty food, sundowner stops out in the African bush and the tracking skills of your highly trained guide. Lower end cost are around $350 pppd up to $1,000 pppd. Wether it is a chalet or tented camp, you can always be assured of comfort and service on all levels.
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$2,500 to US$3,000 per person sharing
– Mid-range or standard level safaris (4*) cost between US$3,500 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.
4) Great efficiencies in cost can be found in traveling 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 group (ie apartment and villa rentals). We are familiar with superb locations for small group travel (typically 12 persons or less)
5) 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 traveling 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.
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.
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 during July, August and September when the migration is the the northern Serengeti Masai Mara.