A safari is often categorized as a vacation that only the rich can afford. We often see pictures of luxurious accommodations and guided tours, however this post aims to demonstrate that a safari can be more than a distant dream for the common man. Here are my tips on how to go on a safari for cheap.
1. Visit a National Park for your safari instead of shelling out more to stay on a private game reserve. National parks in Africa have plenty of wildlife. I visited Kruger National Park in South Africa and was able to see 4 out of 5 of the big five (lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard & rhino) plus so much more! The one thing we missed was a leopard, but they are generally tricky to catch sight of. We spotted rhinos, hippos, giraffe and countless antelope species. The best part? We were able to see all of this for only $22 a day per adult. The cost for children under 12 is a minuscule $11 per day. Some other parks to consider visiting are Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and Chobe National Park in Botswana. Both of these parks have relatively inexpensive daily fees and boast an impressive amount of wildlife.
2. BYOC. Bring your own car. We rented a car and drove ourselves throughout the southern section of Kruger National Park instead of paying for a guided tour. You don’t need a car with four wheel drive and it was easy to get around the park using a map. Be sure to plan your route out ahead of time! The perks of having your own car? You can stay out in the park as long as you want during the day and you can pull over and observe the animals at your own pace. Basically, you are in control of your experience…just make sure to do your research.
3. Camp out in your own tent or splurge and stay in the classic safari tent. At Kruger a safari tent will set you back a mere $43 a night while camping costs just $20 per night. Camping at Chobe costs between $40-60 per night. We stayed in safari tents because we did not have our own equipment and they were pretty nice as they included outlets and cots.
4. Go with a group…splitting costs is an age old way of saving money. If you go with a group, then you can share costs for the accommodation and rental car. Also, having several drivers is helpful when doing a self-guided tour. Every person should be able to look out the window take pictures without having to worry about running over an endangered species.
5. Pack your own food instead of spending money at the rest camps’ stores and restaurants. We brought breakfast bars, sandwiches for lunch and lots of snacks. There are designated locations within the parks where you can picnic outside of your car. Be sure to check your chosen park’s rules on bringing in outside food and exiting your vehicle.
I would 100 percent recommend doing a “safari for cheap” because I did not feel like I missed out on any of the experiences that a safari has to offer. So when planning your next trip, don’t dismiss going on your dream safari for fear of the sticker price. Because now you know that it is possible to go on an outstanding safari for cheap.