How much does it cost to take a trip to Africa? DK Grand Safaris breaks it down for us!
This is one of the major questions that tourists ask themselves when planning for a trip to Africa. While answering this question might be quite difficult due to different dynamics such as length of stay, country of interest and its state of the economy as well as your choice for accommodation, the fact is that a safari in Africa can be a costly experience if you don’t plan well.
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Here are 10 tips on how to save money, and enjoy a budget-friendly, yet adventure-packed safari experience.
- Use A Multi-Country Visa
Depending on where you are going to Africa, you will need to obtain a visa beforehand. Some countries, such as Rwanda, Botswana and South Africa don’t require a visa from US passport holders, while other countries have enforced visa requirements.
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Visas could be obtained before the visit, while some countries allow you to apply upon arrival at the airport, with costs ranging from $50 to $200. Sadly, this can prove to be very expensive when you need to visit different countries, for an adventurous and diverse safari experience. For example, a single entry visa to Uganda is $100 for 3 months, the same is $50 in Kenya, $30 in Zimbabwe, $60 in Angola, and $100 for a multiple entry visa in Tanzania, lasting 12 months.
To cut costs, you could opt for cheaper visa prices for multi-country entry. For example, tourists keen on visiting Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda could save by paying for the East Africa Tourist Visa for $100, granting you entry to these three countries for 90 days.
- Choose Affordable Safari Options
The most common misconception about African safari tours is that they are costly. The truth is that there are very affordable safari options. In Kenya, for example, budget safaris cost between $47 and $280 per night, while luxury safaris can cost as much as $1264 per night. It is, therefore, your duty to sift and see the most pocket-friendly option that will help you save money, without compromising on a good quality safari.
Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya offers one of the most affordable safari options in Africa, while Botswana is renowned for its very luxurious safari options, making Kenya an ideal location for an amazing safari at an affordable cost.
Instead of using vehicles for safari, a walking safari offers an even cheaper option. Although walking alongside wildlife is a bit tiresome, you cannot ignore the thrill and intimate connection you have with wildlife, at the same time, cutting fuel costs.
- Find A Cheap Plane Ticket
Going for an African safari needs adequate prior planning to get things right. Having a set date helps you to have a better sense of the time of travel and vacation duration, which of course helps you plan your flights better.
With this information, you can certainly know your travel dates, thereby booking return tickets instead of two one-way tickets, which are usually more expensive. Additionally, scout through the internet for price comparison websites that show you cheap flight options.
Some destinations in Africa, such as East Africa, have cheaper flights than the rest of Africa, making them ideal locations for budget-conscious travellers.
- Avoid High Season In Africa
Have you ever wondered why people cram up at the beach over Christmas? Not only are such seasons hectic because of high traffic but are also very expensive due to high demand. This is the same case with high season periods, where tours and travels companies hike their prices, and hotels increase their cost of accommodation. It is therefore prudent to avoid high season, after all, the only thing you’ll miss is tourist crowds.
- Buy A Local Sim Card
Instead of paying huge roaming rates when calling your relatives back at home, buy a local sim card which will also help you to conveniently call your local taxi driver and make use of the local 3G/4G internet.
- Travel In Groups
Travelling as a group allows you to have fun with your friends, and also save money. Group travels attract discounts at lodging facilities and some travel agencies allow tourists to mix with other strangers for a common adventure experience. This allows you to make new friends while exploring Africa for less. Also, you could share and split car hire and accommodation costs.
- Eat Out
Although convenient, food from accommodation facilities is very expensive compared to eating out. Eating out also gives you a break from western cuisines, giving you a chance to enjoy local delicacies. Talk to your local guide to show you cafés serving delicious local food at a cheap price, with great scenery as well.
- Take Advantage Of Long Stay Rates
Instead of spending nights in different hotels during your stay, you should opt for longer stays in the same hotel to take advantage of long-stay rates. Usually, hotels and lodges offer long stay rates, also known as ‘stay for 4 pay for 3’ deals. Other accommodation facilities have ‘circuit’ rates which give you better rates when you stay at their sister locations or camps. The trick with this is that many of these deals are not advertised online, but your tour operator will know.
- Avoid Brand Names
Well-known brands that have spent thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns are usually more expensive than least-known brands. In the same manner that you pay more for brand jeans, you pay for brand name safari camps. True, these places are amazing, but your travel consultant or safari expert will always know a cheaper place that is just as awesome.
- Book Ahead
As much you want to avoid peak seasons, these are sometimes the best times to see certain phenomena such as the wildebeest migration. So, you need to be wise and plan. Some lodges have long-standing relationships with tour operators, hence offer great discounts for clients who book ahead.