How much does an African safari cost?

An African safari can cost anywhere between USD 200 and USD 1,500 per person per night. The price of a tour varies with different tour operators. If you’re on a tight budget, you can expect to spend around USD 150 per night, while mid-range safaris will cost you around USD 300. In this article you will know the various elements that determine the cost of an African safari.

What is the average price of An African safari?

An African safari can cost anywhere between USD 200 and USD 1,500 per person per night. The price of a tour varies with different tour operators. If you’re on a tight budget, you can expect to spend around USD 150 per night, while mid-range safaris will cost you around USD 300. For those looking for a more luxurious experience, you can expect to pay around USD 800 per night. However, there are also top-tier safaris that can easily cost over USD 1,500 per night. The good news is that there is a safari to suit every budget, so you can pick the one that works best for you.

Here is the general price range outlook for different types of safaris:

  • Budget Safaris: These start at around $150 per person per day for basic camping and meals. Destinations include Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
  • Mid-range Safaris: These cost between $300 and $550 per person per day and offer more comfort and exotic destinations. Examples include Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
  • Luxury Safaris: These can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,500 per person per night, depending on the tour operator and level of luxury. Examples include Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda.

For a more detailed breakdown, here are some specific prices for different types of luxury safaris:

  • Four-star Safaris: 7 nights from $5,297 per person sharing.
  • Five-star Safaris: 7 nights from $6,757 per person sharing.
  • Five-star Premium Safaris: 7 nights from $8,897 per person sharing.

Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the season, with peak season (December to February) typically being the most expensive.

Essential factors to consider for your African safari budget

Going on an African safari is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling experiences one could ever have. But before you start planning on this adventure, it’s essential to consider the factors that could affect your trip budget. Various elements determine the cost of an African safari, such as the location, time of year, and level of comfort. However, there are some general guidelines to follow when creating your safari budget.

While package deals may seem like the cheaper option, a tailor-made safari specifically crafted to your budget is more cost-effective in the long run. It allows you to save and spend where necessary, and you are not locked into a rigid itinerary.

The more privacy and exclusivity you desire, the more you will spend. However, it’s still possible to have a fantastic time in less luxurious surroundings. Your agent’s expertise is crucial in this regard. 

South Africa remains one of the most affordable and popular safari destinations, especially for first-timers. But for experienced safari-goers, East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda) offers a unique and varied experience.

Attempting to plan the safari yourself may not always be cheaper and could sometimes be impossible. In many places, you need an agent’s specialized knowledge of local aircraft schedules, transfer companies, and ground handlers for your itinerary.

Using an agent to plan your African safari gives you a single ‘all-inclusive’ price, so there are no hidden surprises. Your tour operator will have access to room availability, special deals, and other factors to create an entire itinerary at one cost. However, it’s essential to note that most agents don’t include international flights and visa fees in their package deals.

Costs for an East African safari 

CountryBudgetMid-rangeLuxury
Uganda$450$800$1,500
Kenya$350$600$1,300
Tanzania$350$600$1,400
Rwanda$550$1,200$2,500

East Africa is known for its exceptional safari experiences, from spotting the iconic Big Five to encountering rare rainforest primates and hiking towering mountains. In Kenya, the famous Masai Mara National Reserve offers epic wildlife encounters. Other notable destinations include Amboseli National Park, Samburu National Park, Mount Meru, Tsavo, and the Aberdares. Tanzania is home to the equally famous Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater Conversation Area, Ruaha, and Nyerere National Parks. The Serengeti-Mara ecosystem offers the incredible Great Wildebeest Migration. 

For a truly unique African safari experience, go gorilla trekking in the verdant rainforests of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo. These destinations are home to endangered mountain gorillas, and tourism is a crucial part of their conservation. Some porters, guides, and rangers come from the local communities to support the preservation of Africa’s great apes and earn a living from guiding visitors.

The most important cost of a Uganda gorilla safari is the gorilla permit fee, which is currently USD 700 but will increase to $800 per person starting July 1, 2024. The Rwanda gorilla permit fee is USD 1,500.

Highly Recommended: What is The Average Cost of Gorilla Trekking in Uganda & Rwanda?

Southern African Safari Costs

CountryBudgetMid-rangeLuxury
Botswana$575$900$2,000
Mozambique$500$600$800
Namibia$120$180$740
South Africa$380$600$1,300
Zambia$350$600$1,000
Zimbabwe$250$500$900

Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park are among the most famous wildlife areas in South Africa. South African top destinations include Kruger National Park, Cape Town, and Sun City. Namibia’s Etosha National Park is another must-visit place for wildlife enthusiasts, while Zimbabwe and Zambia share the magnificent Victoria Falls.

Namibia and South Africa are great options if you want to go on a safari without breaking the bank. You can reduce costs by renting a vehicle and self-catering accommodation, which means you will need to do some driving and cooking yourself. However, this will make the trip more budget-friendly without compromising on the experience.

July to August is typically the busiest season of the year for many African countries as it coincides with the winter season and high demand from tourists. Nevertheless, the shoulder season, which falls between the high and low seasons, can be a fantastic time to visit. During these periods, the rains are either beginning or ending, the weather is either warming up or cooling down, and both rates and availability are reasonable.

Year-round game viewing is possible in South Africa, making it the ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts. However, it is worth noting that many camps in Zambia close during the rainy season, which spans from November to May. Although October is a good month for game viewing in Botswana, it can be quite uncomfortable for those who prefer not to stay in air-conditioned lodges due to the extreme heat and dry weather. As the rainy season commences in November, the animals tend to scatter, making game viewing more challenging.

Other Additional Safari Costs

It’s important to factor in some additional costs during your African safari trip. The list below includes both apparent and less obvious expenses that you should consider when planning your budget. Make sure to account for all of them so that you can have a stress-free and enjoyable experience.

International Flights: To minimize flight expenses, avoid flying during school holidays and transit through a third country instead of taking a direct flight, as it usually costs more.

Visa Costs: Visa fees vary from country to country, depending on your nationality and destination. However, most African countries charge for tourism visas, usually between US$30-50 per person.

Accommodation: Make sure to check your flight schedule. If you arrive in the afternoon and your tour is scheduled to start the next day, you may require accommodation before the tour begins. The same applies to the end of your safari if you have an early morning flight.

Vaccinations: You may need several vaccinations before arriving at your destination. Most safari destinations recommend taking anti-malarial medication. East African countries require a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Consult with your doctor before you travel.

Service Tips: Tipping drivers, servers, room staff, and guides can add up quickly. It’s advisable to bring a couple of hundred dollars in smaller bills to cover tips. As a general guideline, tipping around USD 10 per person per day is common.

Travel Insurance: We highly recommend not to skip travel insurance. A decent policy can cost anywhere between USD 50 and USD 175 for two weeks.

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How much does an African safari cost?
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