For many, the allure of Africa lies in its vast savannas, teeming with diverse wildlife, from majestic elephants to cunning leopards. Going on a safari is a dream for many travelers, and it offers the chance to witness nature in its rawest form. If you’re considering a safari in Africa, this guide will provide a brief overview of the best safari tours and what you might expect to pay.
Recommended Safari Locations
1. The Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
One of Africa’s most iconic safari destinations, the Maasai Mara is home to the annual Great Migration. This is where over a million wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes journey across the Serengeti and Maasai Mara in search of greener pastures. Beyond the migration, it boasts incredible sightings of the ‘Big Five’ (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo).
Budget safari trips in the Maasai Mara are available starting at just $330 for a 3 night safari trip.
2. Kruger National Park, South Africa
South Africa’s flagship national park offers a diverse wildlife experience. Known for its luxury lodges and skilled guides, Kruger promises sightings of the Big Five and more. The southern part of the park is more densely populated with wildlife, while the northern part offers a more remote experience.
For those looking to explore Kruger National Park on a budget, a number of tours are available that cost between $430-600 for a 3 night safari excursion.
3. Chobe National Park, Botswana
Located in the northern part of Botswana, Chobe is renowned for its massive elephant population. In addition to elephants, one can spot lions, leopards, and a variety of antelopes. A unique feature is the Chobe River, where travelers can embark on a boat safari to see hippos, crocodiles, and birdlife.
A budget tour to the Chobe National Park in Botswana ranges from $545 to $845 for a 3 night safari excursion.
4. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Adjacent to the Maasai Mara, the Serengeti offers vast landscapes dotted with acacia trees and the annual migration. The park is split into different regions, with the Central Serengeti being ideal for lion sightings, while the Western Corridor is famous for the Grumeti River crossing during the migration.
The Serengeti National Park features a number of budget safari options for you to see in famous migration. These tours start at $580 for a 3 night safari package.
5. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
For something different, Bwindi in Uganda offers the chance to come face-to-face with mountain gorillas. Gorilla tracking is the main activity here, and the experience is both humbling and awe-inspiring. Remember, gorilla tracking permits are required and can cost upwards of $600, depending on the season.
Perhaps the most famous Gorilla trekking tour, the safari options in Bwindi are a bit more expensive than others on this list. A budget 3 night tour in Bwindi begins at $1,110 and goes up if you want a longer tour or more luxurious accommodation.
6. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
The Ngorongoro Crater is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera. It acts as a natural enclosure for many species, making wildlife viewing exceptional. The crater floor is teeming with wildlife, including the Big Five and flocks of flamingos.
A budget traveler should expect to pay between $580 to $1,100 for a 3 night tour of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
7. Etosha National Park, Namibia
Etosha is a unique safari destination due to its salt pan, which can even be seen from space. During the dry season, animals congregate around the waterholes, providing excellent game viewing opportunities. Sightings of black and white rhinos are relatively common here.
The most affordable option to tour Etosha is a 3 night camping safari which costs $750 per person.
Factors Influencing Costs
Prices for safari tours can vary based on several factors including:
- Accommodation Type: Options range from budget camping to luxury lodges. The type of accommodation significantly influences the price.
- Season: High seasons (often corresponding with migration or dry periods) are more expensive than off-peak seasons.
- Inclusions: Some safaris are all-inclusive, covering meals, game drives, and activities, while others might only include the basics.
- Duration: Obviously, the length of your stay will influence the total cost.
- Private vs. Group Tours: Private, customized tours tend to be pricier than group safaris.
An African safari is a transformative experience, one that leaves indelible memories of mesmerizing landscapes and majestic wildlife. While safaris can be pricey, the experience is truly priceless. Whether you’re looking for a budget adventure or a luxury escape, Africa has a safari that’s just right for you. Plan, budget, and embark on a journey of a lifetime.