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Which is the cheapest Safari?

Going on a safari can be an exhilarating experience. Getting up close with wild animals in their natural habitats is a dream for many. However, safaris can also be quite expensive, especially if you are looking to go on a luxury safari with all the bells and whistles. For those on a budget, a cheaper safari is still very much possible. By choosing affordable lodging, traveling in low season, booking with budget operators and choosing parks with lower fees, you can go on safari for a fraction of a luxury trip. In this comprehensive guide, we will compare the costs of safaris in different African countries and highlight some tips for finding the most budget-friendly option.

Which is the cheapest Safari?

African Countries Offering Budget Safaris

The cost of a safari can vary greatly depending on which African country you choose. Here is an overview of some of the more budget-friendly safari destinations:


Known for the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania offers safaris at a range of price points. While luxury options exist, it is also possible to go on budget safaris here. Opting for mid-range tented camps instead of high-end lodges can drastically reduce accommodation costs. Choosing parks like Tarangire and Lake Manyara over the more famous Serengeti can also save money on park fees. Budget camping safaris are also available.


Kenya is home to the Maasai Mara, one of the most iconic safari destinations. But it also offers cheaper safari options, especially in parks like Tsavo East. Staying outside the park in budget lodges reduces accommodation costs. Low season safaris can offer good deals on lodging and tours. Kenya is a good budget option for those who still want to see spectacular game viewing.

South Africa

South Africa offers safaris at all price ranges. Kruger National Park is its most famous safari destination. Budget options include self-drive safaris where you rent a car and camp or stay in affordable lodges just outside the park gates. Safaris focused on Kruger tend to be cheaper than those visiting Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Low season safaris also offer savings on tours and accommodation.


Zimbabwe is an underrated safari destination that offers good value compared to other countries. Staying in budget lodges and camping in safari areas like Hwange National Park can greatly reduce costs. Guided safaris, while more expensive than self-drive, are still relatively affordable compared to other countries. The low tourism numbers in recent decades also mean you can get budget-friendly safari deals here.


Namibia has seen a boost in tourism in recent years but safaris here can still be a budget-friendly option compared to other destinations. Utilizing their extensive network of campsites can drastically reduce lodging costs for those willing to rough it a bit. Safaris to Etosha National Park tend to be more affordable than the desert reserves along the Skeleton Coast. Renting a car for a self-drive safari provides flexibility on a budget.

Tips for Finding Cheap Safaris

Here are some top tips for getting budget-friendly safari deals:

  • Book for the low season – Safaris are cheapest when tourism numbers are lowest. This is usually during the rainy season. While animal sightings may be a bit harder, substantial savings make it worthwhile.
  • Use budget accommodation – Opt for affordable lodges, tented camps or campsites instead of luxury safari lodges. Location is usually slightly farther from park centers.
  • Choose affordable safari parks – Parks that are lesser-known or more remote tend to have lower fees than famous safari destinations.
  • Go on a self-drive safari – Renting a car and self-driving allows you to save costs by being independent and camping or staying in budget lodges.
  • Book with budget safari operators – Local budget companies offer cheaper rates than international luxury tour operators. But do vet safety and reviews first.
  • Travel in a small group – The per person costs on a private safari decrease as group size increases to a point. Small group tours can offer savings over individual bookings.
  • Pack food and cook for yourself – Self-catering lets you cook your own budget-friendly meals instead of dining at the lodge.

What To Keep In Mind with Cheap Safaris

While it is certainly possible to go on safari on a budget, it’s important to keep the following in mind:

  • Park fees may still be high at some parks like Serengeti even if you choose budget accommodation. Factor this cost in.
  • Avoid ultra-cheap safari operators that cut corners on safety and guide quality. Read reviews thoroughly.
  • Budget lodges will provide basic accommodations. Don’t expect 5-star amenities or service.
  • Safaris at any price range still require significant travel budgets for flights and visa fees.
  • Going budget means being flexible – you may not be able to see every animal on your wishlist.
  • Self-drive safaris require confidence in driving and navigation in remote areas.
  • Budget camping safaris mean giving up comfort. Make sure you are prepared for camping conditions.

Key Takeaways

  • Good budget-friendly safari options exist across Africa with Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa offering competitive prices.
  • You can reduce costs significantly by choosing lesser-visited parks, budget accommodation outside park centers, and avoiding peak season.
  • Self-drive safaris give flexibility and affordability but require preparation and self-sufficiency.
  • Budget safaris may be basic but still offer a chance to see incredible wildlife across Africa’s national parks.
  • Balance desire to save money with vetting safety reputations carefully for very cheap safari operators.


Going on a budget-friendly safari is very feasible across Africa’s top safari destinations. With savvy planning using low season deals, budget-lodges, and lesser-visited parks, the dream safari adventure need not break the bank. Always thoroughly vet safety though – scrimping here can be dangerous in remote areas. The key is managing expectations – trade luxury for longer stays, more parks and adventurous self-drive freedom. Use these tips to plan your cheap African safari to see the Big Five on a little budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which African country generally has the cheapest safaris?
A: Tanzania and Kenya offer some of the most competitive budget safari options without sacrificing too much in terms of wildlife and scenery.

Q: What is the cheapest time of year to go on safari?
A: The rainy off-seasons when tourism is lowest offer the best deals on lodges, park fees and tour packages. This is usually from March-May and November-December.

Q: Is it safe to book very cheap safari tours?
A: Thoroughly vet reviews of any budget tour companies to ensure they do not cut corners on safety or hire unqualified guides. Avoid offers that seem too good to be true.

Q: What is the typical cost per day on a budget self-drive safari?
A: Around $100 per person per day is realistic for a budget self-drive covering lodging, park fees, food and fuel. This can be reduced further by camping.

Q: Can I see the Big Five animals on a budget safari?
A: While less likely than a luxury safari, it is still very possible to spot lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinos on a well-planned budget safari if you manage expectations.

Q: Is it dangerous to self-drive in Africa?
A: Self-driving safaris do come with risks like breakdowns and accidents in remote areas. Proper preparation, rental car choice and emergency plans are critical for safety.

Q: Should I book all safari accommodation in advance?
A: Booking at least the first few nights is wise for budget safaris to ensure room availability at preferred lodges during peak seasons.

Q: Will I have contact with other travelers on a budget safari?
A: Most budget lodges and tour groups offer chances to meet other travelers without the privacy of luxury safaris. This allows for shared costs.

Q: Can I still see the Great Migration in Tanzania on a budget?
A: Yes, the migration can be seen from budget lodges and campsites in the Serengeti. Lower cost national parks like Manyara also host impressive migrations.

Q: Is camping on a safari safe from the wildlife?
A: Campsites are specifically chosen for safety and located outside park areas with dangerous animals. Standard precautions should still always be taken.

Q: Should I pay park fees directly or through my safari operator?
A: Paying directly ensures the money goes to conservation. Reputable budget companies will not add commissions and will arrange direct payment.

Q: Is it better to fly or drive between safari destinations?
A: Flying can save significant time and money over long overland transfers. But a rental car allows flexibility to change plans.

Q: Can I get budget safari deals as a solo traveler?
A: Yes, avoid single supplements by sharing tents/rooms in group tours and lodges. Solo rates are also often lower than packages for two.

Q: Are budget safaris appropriate for families with kids?
A: Many budget lodges and camping tours welcome families. Choose operators experienced at catering to kids for the best experience.

Q: Will I have electricity and WiFi on a budget safari?
A: Budget accommodation and camps may have limited or no electricity. WiFi is unlikely outside major lodges. Bring batteries and offline entertainment.


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