Can you do a safari trip on a budget? The expense of going on an African safari trip can seem rather high to a lot of tourists. Many visitors end up remaining put because to the costs associated with viewing the “big five” in Tanzania, the Great Migration in Kenya, the various mammal species and other sights. To have the same experience without necessarily going over budget, you can still afford it provided you stick to a thorough and well-planned budget. The following advice can help you plan a safari vacation on a tight budget:
Go on group joining safari.
When like-minded people go on a trip to split the expense of everything from accommodation to fuel and meals, they form a group and go on safari. Budget-conscious people use this tactic to good effect. Sharing the experience with individuals from different cultural backgrounds is another benefit. While maintaining pace with your group and splitting up your time to sit by the window for optimal viewing are two of the strategy’s drawbacks, the overall experience and cost-effectiveness make it worthwhile.
Go during low season.
Since many African safari companies are open all year round, you might choose to go during the low season which is also the rainy season when fewer people are visiting the parks to see the wildlife. The long rains in East Africa occur from March to June, whereas the short rains occur from October to December. There may be a few hours of drizzle or rain throughout this season, but it’s still worth it because there will be lots of sunshine. Less people visit during certain times, which results in cheaper costs. This can result in savings of up to 40%.
Book in advance.
It saves money and time to make a reservation. With direct flights to Africa, airline schedules are often available 330 days in advance, so planning your safari vacation 6–8 months in advance will help you take advantage of lower rates as well as lower costs for accommodations and logistics. When making a reservation, you might also wish to take advantage of promotions and seasonal discounts provided by tour operators and travel companies.
Book with a local tour operator.
Be careful to get in touch with a local tour operator rather than using online booking services like Viator or Safari Booking, which tack on a commission to the cost. Even while some of these internet businesses and agencies have promotions, if you are interacting directly with the ground operator, you may have a greater chance of haggling for a lower price. Make sure the operator you book with has a solid reputation and positive reviews like Focus East Africa Tours.
Opt for affordable accommodation.
Choosing reasonably priced accommodation for your safari excursion will significantly reduce your costs. For example, a particularly cost-effective substitute for hotels and lodges are some safari camps, which offer public amenities and wilderness locations where you can set up your tent. Make sure to let the tour operator know that you want cheap accommodation if you are utilizing one. Typically, this would be a separate tent equipped with a bed and a bathroom. It may still seem above your “budget- expectations” and you may be wondering whether there are any more affordable dorm-style accommodations where you can just pay for a bed. Regretfully, there aren’t any because these are the typical requirements for safari accommodation.
Research your destination.
Choosing a safari destination that fits your budget is the first step in organizing a low-cost safari trip. For instance, accommodations in Kenya are frequently more affordable than in Tanzania, and Nairobi offers both hostels and Airbnbs, whereas Tanzania mostly offers hotels and fewer options of a similar nature. Their charges are typically made in local currencies rather than dollars, so you can benefit from the good exchange rates and have extra cash on hand.
Do a one day safari.
As long as you get to see the animals and scenery on your list of things to see, a 1 day safari is just as excellent as a weeklong excursion. Many safari parks provide a full day of 4×4 riding to explore the African bush and its diverse species. For example, you can see the “big five”. Nairobi National Park in Kenya and the Arusha National Park in Tanzania also offer one-day itineraries.
Concentrate on a single game reserve or park.
Most tourists who go on safari in Africa want to see as many game reserves as possible. But if you restrict the number of days on your safari and focus on just one park especially the ones with lower entrance fees you can save money on domestic flights, vehicle rentals, and a host of other incidentals. Choose a game reserve that has the animals you are interested in seeing, then stick to that choice to keep within your budget. For instance, the Masai Mara in Kenya is a fantastic option if your main goal is to visit the Big 5, and you can forego any other parks that are typically included with them. You can only imagine how much money you can save by sticking to one location and cutting down on the number of days you spend on safari, considering that each park has an entrance cost.
You can arrange your itinerary to suit your preferences and budget when you use DIY (Do it yourself) planning. You can also combine a DIY with a Tour Operator to save time and still benefit from local assistance. For instance, in Kenya, take a group safari with a tour operator to see Lake Nakuru and Maasai Mara. Since they are practically in the same location, tour companies frequently provide this package. You can have a safari inside Nairobi and visit other locations, such as the Giraffe Centre. You can use public transportation or Uber to get to these places instead of using a tour operator.
Plan carefully but don’t overthink it.
Ultimately, all it takes to successfully execute a budget safari is thorough planning and study; find the possibilities that will fit your budget the best, identify your goals, and make plans to fulfil them while you’re there. Don’t assume that you should forego the experience completely because of a tight budget. While some are fortunate enough to be able to accumulate more money and prepare for a more extensive vacation in the future, most others pass up the opportunity entirely because they hesitated too long.
The fauna exists as it does. You get to see the same natural surroundings as everyone else, even if you are camping in a public area while everyone else is staying in a lodge with a swimming pool. The best part is that, at the conclusion of your safari excursion, you will have had an adventure of a lifetime without having to spend a significant portion of your life savings. The nice part is that you can return at any time! Next time, you could take a more opulent safari and stay longer possibly with your whole family instead of the more economical one you took today.
Finally, remember that sustainability shouldn’t be sacrificed in the name of low prices. Refuse to support businesses operating without permits. They most likely don’t pay taxes, which makes them inexpensive. Keep an eye on how they run things, particularly the lodging facility where you will be staying, and let them know when you think something may be done better.