If you have developed a knack and passion for world travel, you should include an African safari to your bucket list. The wildlife scenes that you used to see on National Geographic Channel or Discovery Channel? Finally, you will be able to witness them with your own eyes.
The experience of going to the remote African bushlands and personally observing the larger-than-life presence of wild creatures in their most natural behavior? It is just beyond description! You virtually become part of their untamed world. Game-hunting used to be one of the regular things to do in a safari, but thankfully this activity is now banned in the name of conservation.
An African safari is not just a holiday – it is also a life-changing experience. If you are about to plan for your first-ever African expedition, naturally, you will want to find out how much you can spend on your trip. Fortunately, an African safari caters to every traveler. There are more affordable options while there are also luxurious safaris that offer things like “glamping” and even gourmet dinners.
While budgeting for the African safari seems to be an immense task, it does not have to be. If you know your budget from the start, then you will have little problems with the ensuing procedures as you are planning for your trip. If you put in a bit more thought and discretion, not only will you be able to save more cash, you may be even able to extend your holiday too!
1. Important things to know before you travel
Before setting out on that dream African safari, it is essential to know that most of the higher costs of the trip can be paid in advance. They include visas, flights, accommodation, and the safari itself, some of which can be paid as a deposit or installment.
Packaged tours are quite popular. If you do not have a generous budget, but you still want to push for your dream African safari, there are individual travel packages with corresponding rates. Those rates will help you decide which of the travel packages are the most suitable for your budget. But keep in mind that the less expensive the travel package, the fewer the itinerary options and perks . So if you want to enjoy those additional perks, you may add a little more money to your budget.
If you choose to book an African safari package, probably the things that you should be budgeting o are expenses before and after the accommodation.
2. Consider off-season travel
The peak season for tourism in African depends on how good or bad the weather will be. But the change of the seasons depends on the region. The dry season is the most popular time for tourism because it is in this season where animals come together around the lakes and rivers to drink and to cool themselves off.
However, there are also good things about having a safari on wet weather, among them a 25% to 30% price discount, which is an attractive lure for tourists. But it’s not just the slashed-down prices. During the wetter seasons, many animals give birth to their young, which is something that you definitely do not want to miss. Another — amateur and professional photographers will be rewarded with gorgeous sunsets due to cloudy skies, which appear most commonly during the wet season.
If you plan to go on a safari in East Africa, the lowest peak will be from March or April through May or June. If you plan to travel to South Africa, the off-season starts in May and ends in September – this is where winter brings drizzles on the southern coast, while the northern part remains delightfully dry and sunny.
3. Choose your accommodations well
Most safari trips offer accommodations, so you do not have to worry about the cost of the lodging while you are on the site. However, do not forget that you should pay regular rates for accommodations that are outside of the safari trip. That is why you must plan your budget accordingly.
Also, keep in mind that accommodation costs may vary. Africa has thousands of accommodations that range from basic hostels to ultra-luxurious camps that come complete with gourmet meals and personal butlers. But these palatial-looking tents may cost you a grand (or more) per night, something that backpackers obviously cannot afford.
But the good news is that there are options that sit in the middle-price range. These mid-priced accommodations allow you to enjoy comfortable beddings, excellent meals, a packed list of safari activities, and even a personalized service, sans the opulent trimmings. While looking for the ideal safari accommodation seems to be a pretty daunting task in itself, there are ways to make this task less complicated. The best way to start is to log on to iSafari, a reliable source that provides all the details that you need to know about Africa’s nine safari countries – several national parks, reserves, and routes that cross through these regions. It also features a hand-picked selection of excellent camps, complete with reviews from actual travelers.
While still planning, it also helps to check what is included in a safari trip, and what is not. Check if these trips include meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) wildlife drives, and transfers from airports to safari destinations (and back).
4. Try mobile camping
If you are essentially a backpacker who can get by with a handful of creature comforts, mobile camping will be your best bet. It is significantly cheaper than the fully furnished tents that you usually find in luxury camping. You will be all right with a simple set-up tent with only the crudest and most basic amenities. The trade-off is what really matters: exciting off-the-beaten-track adventures plus more savings for your trip.
5. Try joining a group safari trip
Group safaris are generally cheap due to the shared cost. So if your limited budget precludes the other options mentioned above, you may consider this alternative. It also gives you the chance to meet and mingle with other travelers (and that’s a bonus if you’re an extrovert). However, it offers little room for flexibility and privacy, but you can work on that.
6. Try a tailor-made safari trip
Aside from safari trips with a pre-made itinerary, many travel companies also provide their clients with the option to customize a safari trip. It allows you to choose an itinerary to your liking such as gorilla-spotting in Rwanda, white-water rafting on the Zambezi River, or visiting a Maasai village to have a peek of their lifestyle and culture. If your budget allows it, you can also add some amenities