At Rothschild Safaris we believe that a Safari is always a good idea.
We also understand that our favorite type of vacation is not an inexpensive dream.
Here is why Safaris don’t (and shouldn’t) come cheap. And how you can save money on your dream trip.
Why a Safari costs a lot of money
As the population of the world expands (did you know the world population doubled between 1959 and 1999?) the demands on our natural resources increase exponentially. Safaris run in countries where growth has not outstripped conservation and preservation and where precious tracts of the earth are set aside specifically for the goal of sustainable tourism.
🐾 These vast tracts of undeveloped land and the animals that roam them must then be protected.
🐾 Costs are often all inclusive of food and drink, include game activities in specially modified vehicles and highly trained guides (with a tracker in some locations).
🐾 Lodges are small and remote by necessity and supplies must often come in from great distances.
If price truly is more important than the experience you might want to consider investing in some great coffee table books and immerse yourself in nature programs instead. Very cheap Safaris often undermine conservation and sustainable community growth.
Tips for affording a great safari
💸 Failing to plan is planning to fail
An ill-planned itinerary will add hidden costs at every turn. The excellent Safari properties are also booked out early and advance planning is very important.
💸 Angel on the shoulder
Consider traveling in shoulder season. Depending on the rainfall and water levels it might be a little more difficult to find wildlife in the lush bush, but the trade-off is a vibrant landscape, stunning sunsets, plentiful birding, fewer crowds of tourist and more baby animals. You can take advantage of special ‘stay four pay three’ rates offered by camps at this time.
Travel designers are shoulder season gurus and will advise you on the best options for your budget and available travel dates.
💸 More fun together
If you are traveling as a family or group costs can come down as you will not have to pay extra for exclusivity.
💸 All the places
It is easy to have your head turned by all the incredible highlights in Africa. Unfortunately, distances between areas (even in the same park) can be vast, resulting in a lot of extra flight and transfer costs, as well as much time, wasted traveling.
You need a Travel Designer who will be able to weigh the cost of getting around against the specific points of interest in different areas.
From game viewing to photography, most of your activities may be improved when you spend a little more time in one place and you really get to know the people and the area better.
There is an added bonus to traveling around less, with properties offering long stay rates or special rates for using affiliated properties.
Park fees are also based on a daily rate and your Travel Designer will ensure you get the maximum value from each park.
💸 Is it a car? Is it a plane?
Light aircraft transfers are faster than a road transfer (they are often unavoidable due to rough terrain) but when you mix them with road transfers and scheduled tours you can bring the costs down.
💸 Show your Travel Designer the money
It isn’t a competition for who can stay at the most expensive properties and in many cases price point will not determine satisfaction. Travel Designers have one job. Satisfying your needs. When you are honest about your target budget you empower your Travel Designer to find the best deals within your budget and meet that target.
They will also be able to manage your expectations and match the right property at the ideal price point to what is most important to you.
When you establish which properties and experiences are non-negotiable, your Travel Designer can base the rest of your Safari around the best value for your money. You can enjoy an opportunity or activity associated with one property while taking advantage of savings by staying at a more affordable neighboring property.
We like to say a Travel Designer knows when to splurge and when to save. This means you get more of what you want for the price you want.
💸 Versace, Versace, Versace
That brand name? Just like your jeans, the name tag comes with a price tag. A good Travel Designer will know incredible spots, attractions, and properties that may be less well-known but offer similar (or better!) experiences for value. So, whenever they suit your personality, your dreams and your budget better they will book them for you.
💸 The Simple Life
Your Travel Designer has done all the research. They know the value of every park and what you may experience in each one. Instead of visiting the big names like Masai Mara, Kruger, Serengeti or Hwange, they may suggest a slightly less expensive park like Samburu, Timbavati, Selous or Matobo Hills if it will suit your needs. You may even have an added bonus of seeing fewer people when you visit.
If you are adventurous a more simplistic camp (with an incredible staff) may be a wonderful way to save money and get under the skin of Africa.
The same goes for lesser known countries like Namibia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Morocco, Rwanda, and Uganda.