A safari in Africa is a bucket list travel experience for many travelers. With a heritage steeped in creating luxury travel experiences in some of the most remote and wild places on earth, it’s no surprise that many people think an African safari is just plain out of their budget.
While there is a safari experience in Africa to fit all budgets, it is important to think about a few things well in advance so you can budget and plan accordingly.
Here are a few things to think about if you’re wondering what does a safari in Africa cost.
Size of Accommodation
In Africa, expect to pay for privacy and exclusivity. Generally speaking, the larger the property while on safari the lower the cost.
A safari camp on a private conservancy with only 6 rooms will be more expensive than a large lodge in the middle of a national park.
The thing is there is no “right” answer when it comes to accommodations, and our job is to find one that will work best for you and your travel companions while fitting your budget.
One of the nice things about booking safari accommodations is that while in the bush prices are “all inclusive.” Your drinks and food are typically included, seeing as you would have no other options available, which offers strong value for money.
Expect to pay a minimum of $200 per person per night for a mid-rage safari lodge, and over $1,000 per person per night for a high-end, exclusive safari experience.
Africa has a well-developed network of domestic airlines, small airports and remote airstrips. Flying from point to point in Africa is typically very do-able and is a much more efficient way to travel.
However, this does come at a cost. Expect to pay anywhere from $200 to over $400 for a scheduled safari flight, and more for a charter flight or helicopter transfers.
If you have the time to drive, even on a few legs of your trip, this can save you some money. Plus, driving is a great way to see the continent and experience a local side of safari you would otherwise miss. However, driving in Africa can also involve dry, potholed roads and long hours in the car so it’s best to pick your driving legs wisely.
Mixing driving and flying is a good way to remain cost efficient while making the most of your time on the ground.
Visa and Park Fees
Depending on which countries and wildlife areas you are visiting, park fees and visa fees can really add up. Don’t forget to account for these while budgeting for your safari in Africa.
All national parks, private conservancies and wildlife areas charge guests a fee per day to visit. These fees range from $35 for small national parks in Kenya to well over $100 per person per day at private conservancies in the country. Gorilla trekking permits in Rwanda are over $600 per person per day.
This is one area that’s best not to compromise. If you have your heart set on a particular wildlife experience, don’t skip a park because the fees are too high. The vast majority of these funds are effectively and directly used to support conservation and protect wildlife in these areas, so you can be confident your money is going to support a good cause.