Find peace of mind & answers to your questions about which is the best affordable African safari for you! Free advice. Superb deals on the best affordable African safaris, flights, tours and trips.
Tip # 1 – Get The Best Airfare & Get The Best Safari Price Separately
Sometimes it is easier to get the most affordable African safari tour if you break your trip into two parts. First get the best discount airfare to Africa and and second getting the best land safari price.
Here are some links that contain useful tips on: finding the best safari airway
how to fly for free or get the best cheap flights to South Africa, Kenya & Tanzania – a guide to how to use frequent flyer miles and points to get a free airfare to Africa
Tip # 2 – Flexibility Pays
If you are looking for the cheapest African safari or the most affordable African safari, then Kenya has to be at the top of your list. Botswana safaris are generally the most expensive since you must fly on small planes to get to its major parks. Only Chobe National Park offers an option for a very affordable African safari in Botswana.
South African safaris in rest camps of the national parks like Kruger offer excellent value for money. So these are worth looking at if you want an affordable African safari.
But note that airfares to South Africa are often high, so if you want to experience South Africa you need to check our tips on finding the best fares on flights to South Africa. Finding a good airfare will be key to having an affordable African safari in South Africa.
Tip # 3 – Take Day Trips Into The National Parks & Stay Outside The Park
Accommodation within a game park are often more expensive than outside. So stay in the nearest town and just go in for the day. In South Africa it is very easy to have an affordable safari trip like this.
For Kenya safaris and Tanzania Africa safaris you can also stay outside the park and take day trips in. This can be a very good, affordable African safari option.
- A lot of wildlife congregates
Outside of game parks so you may not have to drive in at all to see the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino. This is especially the case at reserves like Kenya’s Masai Mara.
- Takes more time to get to the game park so you may miss an early morning drive which often yields the most successful viewing of wildlife. This is the case if you want to see the predators – like lions. They hunt mostly at night and in the early morning. So though you may want the most affordable African safari, you need to weigh your potential savings versus the value of seeing as much wildlife as you can.
- Tip # 4 – Join A GroupOrganized scheduled safaris are cheaper because you get group rates and this reduces your transportation and accommodation costs. So if you want an affordable African safari and like groups this is an option to consider.Pros:
- Good option if you don’t want to camp and participate but still want a budget safari.
- These packages include a guide which will make your safari a lot more interesting. Having a guide that can explain the ecosystems and animal life vastly improves your experience.Cons:
- You may not like the people you are booked with.
- Often you are packed into the vehicle with little space for moving around or taking photos when you want.
Tip #5 – Camp in the Wildlife Parks
Most national parks have public camping facilities (we’re not talking about the luxury tented safari here) and it’s a lot cheaper than staying in lodges. If you like camping, this is a great way to have an affordable African safari.
- You get to enjoy the proximity of wildlife
- If you don’t have a car carrying all your supplies it can be a hassle and you’d still need to join a group to go on game drives. You can eliminate this problem and still save money by renting a car in South Africa or Namibia
In East Africa, the poor condition of the roads does not make this a real option. Only if you were driving to Tsavo from Mombasa, Kenya would it work.
But this is a really good option in South Africa and Namibia. The roads are excellent and though I have never camped in the national parks, the standard of the government camping facilities is very high and quite affordable. Remember, if budget is an issue take a look at our tips for cheap African safaris and budget African safaris.
Tip #6 – Book a Safari in the Low Season – East Africa
In East Africa, the low-season coincides with the rainy season and in most popular safari destinations there are two rainy seasons a year. Low seasons usually run from April – June and October – November.
- Low season prices will save you least 25% on any safari.
- You avoid the crowds. We traveled to the Serengeti during rainy season and because it was considered rainy season we had the park to ourselves and had good weather!
- The rains mean that wildlife doesn’t have to limit their wanderings to a few available water sources. So you may have trouble spotting the animals from your safari vehicle.
- During the rainy season the foliage camouflages the animals. Despite this though you’ll still get to see plenty of wildlife during the low-season.
- The roads to and in some of the game parks could be washed out. Ask if the tour operator is using 4x4s otherwise you will be on the side of the road for a long time.
Tip #7 – Book A South Africa Safari In Low Season
In South Africa the low season for safaris is from May to August.
- Low-season prices will save you least 25% on any safari.
- You avoid the crowds – if you also avoid the South Africa school holidays. This is most applicable if you are going to one of the national parks like Kruger
- It is easier to see the animals. This is the case for two reasons. First, in South Africa, May to August is the winter. Second it is also the dry season. Animals are easier to spot since they have to go to waterholes to drink and there is little foliage to camouflage them.
- In June through August the airfares from the US to South Africa are high.
Tip # 8 – Choose Just One Wildlife Park
The more parks you visit the more it costs. In East Africa, choose a park that will almost guarantee you see a lot of animals. Two such parks are the Masai Mara & the Serengeti. Then just plan to just visit there.
For South Africa the two best national parks that guarantee you see a lot of animals are Kruger National Park and the Pilanesberg National Park . For the most affordable African safari just plan to visit there. There are also more and more private game reserves and private lodges within national parks opening up in South Africa where you are almost guaranteed to see the Big Five (lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, buffalo in just a few outings. This is a big advantage of a private lodge, but it costs more.
- Cheaper than going from one park to the other
- Leaves you with time to explore Africa’s incredibly interesting cultural and historic sights as well.
- If you’re unlucky you may not get to see all the wildlife you want
You can miss out on seeing a variety of ecosystems
Tip # 9 – See Wildlife Without Going on Safari
There are ways to view animals without booking an official safari.
- Take local trains through African wildlife parks. The train from Nairobi to Mombasa Kenya in Kenya runs through the Tsavo National Park. There’s also a local train that runs through Selous National Reserve in Tanzania.
- Stay in places like Kariba or Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe where it’s not uncommon to see elephants wondering around the center of town.
An option, if your love train travel but aren’t really that interested in wildlife. What’s the shortfall? From a train or in town you really don’t have time to observe the animals carefully or in their natural settings.
Tip # 10 – Do A Self-Drive Safari- Get More Freedom & A More Affordable African Safari
The two countries I’d recommend for self-drive safaris would be South Africa and Namibia.
- You have the freedom to decide how long you want to stay in a park
- You avoid the cost of hiring a guide
- If there are more than two of you it’s a real savings to rent a carCons:
- You may not know the best roads to take for wildlife viewing
- Car rental can be expensive in many African countries (over US $50 a day)
- You are limited in your choice of safaris to countries with reasonable roads. That means you can do parts of Botswana but you’ll need a 4×4. You can look at renting one in South Africa that allows you to go across borders.
- Without a guide you may not know what animals you are looking at.
Here are some links to help you plan and save money on self drives. Or scroll below and we give you free personalized advice.
In addition, in South Africa we can get you a free cell phone for you to use on your affordable African safari trip.
Learn about the best self drive safari routes with free South Africa maps.