There are many places in Africa where excellent safaris can be affordable.
African safaris are fundamentally an expensive holiday, especially anything of quality offering responsible and sustainable practices. However, not all safaris offer good value for money, and there are many ways to avoid the highest prices and ensure that your money is wisely spent, whilst still travelling responsibly.
This page will discuss these options and offer advice accordingly, as well giving links to some of the best value safaris available. But please note that ‘Great Value’ does not necessarily equal ‘Cheap’. We offer mid and upper range safaris, and whilst we can help you achieve great value in Africa, we don’t offer budget safaris, minibus tours or backpacker style overland tours.
Top Tips for Getting Value for Money
Avoid peak season prices
Many safari areas offer an excellent experience outside of peak season and sometimes travelling just a week or two outside peak season can save you a significant amount of money. Low season prices can be incredible value, though a greater compromise on the safari experience is usually expected. It is important to note that seasons are very relevant in Africa and some areas do offer a very different experience during their ‘low season’ months. Always ensure you have the seasons fully explained to you before making a decision.
Reduce your travelling and spend longer in fewer areas
We find there is a tendency for people to rush around Africa, but in fact it is often better to explore fewer areas in more depth, and this can help reduce overall costs. It is easily possible to spend a week or more in many of the best safari areas, and there are many camps and lodges which offer long stay discounts.
Consider self-driving, where it is realistic to do so
You can explore big game areas such as the Kruger National Park (South Africa) and Etosha National Park (Namibia) under your own steam and this is an extremely economical way to be on safari. Beyond these core safari regions, both countries offer more general self-drive exploration, so the safari element can form just part of a wider sight-seeing holiday.
Spend a lower proportion of your holiday time actually on safari
A safari is usually the most expensive section of your trip, so balancing your safari with time spent sight-seeing or relaxing on a beach is a good way to fit a longer holiday into a limited budget. South Africa in particular offers a wide variety of general touring options, including the lovely city of Cape Town, whilst Mauritius, Seychelles, Kenya and Tanzania can all offer excellent and affordable beach extensions.
Choose the right countries and camps
As covered in the sections below, certain countries offer better value for money options than others, and certain camps and lodges are obvious choices where value for money is a priority.
Which Countries Offer the Best Value Safaris?
South Africa tends to offer a much greater range of good quality, affordable safaris than other countries, as well as offering much more to do than ‘just safari’. South Africa also offers the option to self-drive, which means you can enjoy a much longer holiday for your budget. A south coast self-drive itinerary with just a few days on safari in the Eastern Cape can be incredibly well priced. If you want a longer and more dedicated safari experience, then a northern South Africa self-drive itinerary is a brilliant option, including the Kruger National Park, the Tuli Block in south-east Botswana (access from northern South Africa) and the Waterberg Plateau. For families or honeymooners looking for a malaria-free safari and beach adventure, combine Madikwe and Mauritius.
Kenya offers a very wide range of safari options, including a few great value options which are not minibus tours or mainstream safari hotels. Spending longer in the incredible Masai Mara is usually helpful when looking for value for money, whilst time on the coast can be a good way to extend the length of your holiday whilst keeping the cost down. Combining the Masai Mara and Kenya coast is a classic safari and beach combination and can offer superb value. For a longer safari including two different regions, Kicheche Camps offer excellent value as well as a superb in depth wildlife experience.
Namibia can also be very affordable and can offer an incredible self-drive adventure taking in the Namib Desert, Skeleton Coast, Damaraland and Etosha National Park. Etosha offers traditional big game whilst other areas offer more specific desert wildlife and stunning desert landscapes.
Zimbabwe is still recovering from the Mugabe years and offers some excellent value options. An especially good option is combining Hwange, Victoria Falls and the Upper Zambezi.
For honeymooners or families with older children looking for a safari and beach alternative to Kenya, then consider a Southern Tanzania and Zanzibar combination. Alternatively, there are limited affordable options in northern Tanzania, and a combination of the Serengeti and Zanzibar is a fantastic option.
Which Safari Camps Offer Really Good Value for Money?
As with anything, some camps and lodges are, quite frankly, over-priced whilst others represent incredibly good value for money. You will need our specialist help in identifying which camps and lodges will be specifically suited to you, but if you want a decent quality experience at an affordable price, here are a few properties to consider.
- Ol Seki Hemingways Mara, Masai Mara, Kenya
- Kirurumu Serengeti Ndutu & North Camp, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
- Mdonya Old River Camp, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
- Mashatu Tented Camp, Tuli Block, Botswana
- Hwange Bush Camp, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
- Bateleur Camp, Kruger Region, South Africa
- Umkumbe Safari Lodge, Kruger Region, South Africa
- nThambo Tree Camp, Kruger Region, South Africa
- The Bush House, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
- Mushara Bush Camp, Etosha National Park, Namibia
Please note that booking the above properties or any other safari properties through Safari Consultants should cost the same as booking direct, and we would advise you not to fall into the trap of assuming that booking direct will save you money. Our profits come from commissions, not from extra charges ‘on top’, and it is common for our customers to actually save money by booking with us.
Our specialist advice should also be invaluable in helping you decide what will work best on your holiday, and our professional services will ensure you are well-prepared and fully supported throughout. As we take Responsible Tourism extremely seriously, you also have the satisfaction of knowing that you are travelling responsibly when you book through us. We are also fully bonded for your financial protection.
If you would like to find out more about Safari Consultants, please visit our About Us section. If you would like to talk to us about your plans and receive more detailed advice on how to make the most of your holiday budget, please call us on +44 (0) 1787 888590 or email us via our Contact Us page.