How much does an African safari cost?

An African safari brings the continent’s landscapes, wildlife, and culture to life. But when it comes to planning this dream adventure, the first question I’m asked is almost always the same: what’s the cost of a safari in Africa? Understanding the financial investment required is key to setting expectations and budgeting properly for your journey.

This comprehensive guide breaks down the myriad factors impacting safari costs, from trip duration to accommodation choices. I’ll outline the expenses involved, from bare essentials to worthwhile extras that can shape your experience.

Whether you seek an uber-luxury escape or a more affordable adventure, read on for insider insights on navigating the costs of an African safari.

Key Takeaways: How much does an African safari cost?
Minimum Costs:
– Camping Small-Group Trip: USD 175 pp/night
– Accommodated Small-Group Tour: USD 250 pp/night
– Personalised Trips: USD 375 pp/night upwards
Average Spend: USD 500 pp/night (excluding international flights)
Factors Influencing Costs: Safari length, seasonality, destination, accommodation, transportation, and specific requirements
Additional Costs: International flights, visas, vaccinations, tips, and travel insurance
Value Proposition: I focus on quality and personalised service, and never compete on price

Defining The Safari Cost Spectrum

Safari prices span a broad range, ranging from budget-friendly to ultra-luxurious. You can expect to pay around $175-$220 per person per day for simple camping safaris as part of a small group, travelling on a fixed route on fixed dates, or $1,500 per person and upwards per day for opulent high-end options.

The specific type of safari largely determines where you fall on the cost spectrum. Rustic camping safaris allow you to experience nature up close while saving money.

Mid-range safaris offer comfortable lodging and activities without the premium price tag of luxury versions, which include 5-star lodges, personalized services, lavish amenities, and exclusive access. I don’t generally book or recommend the highest-end lodges and camps as I don’t feel they offer the real African safari experience. Having said that, some clients like to splurge on a couple of nights of indulgence as part of an itinerary…

Duration Impacts Overall Cost Significantly

The length of your safari directly correlates to the total investment required. A longer safari naturally incurs greater expenses for lodging, activities, park fees, and other elements. However, an extended adventure allows you to venture further and have more time for once-in-a-lifetime encounters.

I think 3 nights at each place should be a minimum if possible, and advise longer stays at each destination rather than trying to cram in as many different camps as possible in one trip.

You will be back, believe me.

The nightly rate per person often declines the longer the trip due to bundled packages and discounts. Finding the right balance between trip duration, budget, and depth of experience is key to fulfillment. Don’t limit trip length solely based on cost if more time allows you to fulfill bucket-list dreams.

Calculating Additional Expenses

While the core safari package covers lodging, meals, guides, and activities, additional costs contribute to your total budget. International flights will be the biggest supplementary expense, varying tremendously based on origin, route, and travel dates. Entry visas generally range from $50-$100 depending on your nationality and destination country. Vaccine costs, vital for health and meeting entry requirements, can add up too. 

Since most safaris start and end in cities, extra hotel nights before and after should be accounted for in planning. Tipping guides, drivers, and lodge staff is customary; allocate $10-$20 per person per day. Comprehensive travel insurance is strongly advised to cover any emergency medical expenses, evacuation, or trip changes. Incorporate these extras upfront for a true picture of your full safari investment.

When And Where You Go Impacts Prices

Delving into the factors affecting safari costs equips you to make choices aligned with your budget and wishes. Here are key considerations that influence pricing:

  • Seasonality – Peak season rates during dry months and migratory periods are often double the cost of green season safaris when wildlife is harder to spot.
  • Destination – Remote, exclusive spots like Botswana’s Okavango Delta or Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are pricier than South Africa’s Kruger National Park which offers varied options.
  • Accommodations – Camping and simple lodges are budget-friendly. Luxury hotels in premier wildlife locations cost exponentially more. Location/access affects rates.
  • Transport – Chartered flights between parks quickly add up but save time. Overland travel is slower yet less expensive.
  • Exclusivity – Private safaris are pricier than small group tours but offer a more customized experience.
  • Specialized Activities – Add-ons like hot air balloon rides, helicopter flights and bungee jumping all impact costs.

Budgeting Effectively For Your Safari

With safari costs varying so broadly, adequate budgeting is crucial. Have clear priorities like your ideal destinations, wildlife encounters, accommodations, or activities to establish a baseline cost. Talk to me as early as possible in the process so that I can let you know what we can do within your budget. Off-peak travel brings lower rates, while private tours mean higher costs.

I can provide cost-saving suggestions and itinerary fine-tuning to maximise value. Consider mixing mid-range and luxury lodgings to balance comfort with budget. All-inclusive packaged deals can also offer savings compared to custom trips. Keep things affordable without compromising too heavily on quality to realize your safari dreams.

And as I always say – if you can’t afford it this year, or if you think you may end up worrying whether a bottle of Tusker in the airport bar is going to bankrupt you, wait until next year. Save those pennies and make it the trip of a lifetime that it should be.

Understanding the Value of Quality and Personalised Service

When it comes to planning an African safari, understanding the financial commitment is crucial. At The Grown-up Travel Company, I specialize in creating high-quality, personalized experiences that cater to discerning travelers seeking more than just a holiday.

My focus is not on competing for the lowest price, but on delivering unparalleled quality and a fully personal service that justifies every dollar spent.

I also believe in providing as much information as possible to all those visiting my company website and not wasting time by being secretive about costs, unlike most others in this game.

On that note…

Transparent Pricing and Minimum Rates:

  • Camping Small-Group Trip: An entry-level safari starts at a minimum of USD 175 per person per night. This cost is for a fixed-route, scheduled camping safari. These trips are perfect for those who love the great outdoors and the camaraderie of group travel. For a 10-day adventure for two people sharing, the cost would be USD 3,500.
  • Accommodated Small-Group Tour: For a more comfortable experience with lodging accommodations, our small-group tours start at USD 250 per person per night. This option offers a blend of adventure and comfort, ideal for those who prefer a bit more relaxation in their journey. A 10-day trip for two would total USD 5,000.
  • Personalized Trips: Our bespoke, personalized safaris start at USD 375 per person per night, reflecting the tailored service and exclusivity of these experiences. These safaris are crafted to your exact preferences, ensuring a trip that is uniquely yours. The cost for a 10-day personalized safari for two people would be at least USD 7,500.
  • Average Client Spend: Our average client spends around USD 500 per person per night on their safari, excluding international flights. This rate ensures a premium experience with attention to detail and the highest standards of service and accommodation.

How much does an African safari cost?

Value Beyond Price

It’s important to note that all prices are exclusive of international flights, and the inclusions vary based on the type of safari chosen. My commitment is to provide an extraordinary experience that goes beyond the ordinary. From the moment you contact me, you receive 100% personal service, with every aspect of your trip meticulously planned and executed.

You will deal with me and me alone – you will not be just another customer being bounced around by a bunch of different agents working on volume commission.

I believe in offering value that transcends cost – a journey that enriches your life and leaves you with memories to cherish forever.

I understand that our services may not fit everyone’s budget, and that’s okay. My aim is to cater to travelers who prioritize quality, personalized experiences, and the magic of Africa over price. If this resonates with you, I invite you to begin an unforgettable journey by contacting me when you are ready.

By the way, if you want to learn more about why an African safari costs so much, read this article: Why Are African Safaris So Expensive? on my general travel blog.

Over To You

Planning an African safari involves weighing numerous factors that impact final costs, from trip length to accommodation choices. Carefully considering these elements and budgeting accordingly ensures your adventure matches expectations, interests, and financial realities.

With wise investments, your safari will yield priceless memories, new perspectives, and stories that will last beyond a lifetime. The expedition of a lifetime need not break the bank with mindful planning. Let your African dreams take flight with strategic guidance from a true expert with an unmatched network of contacts.

Join Me in Zimbabwe in May 2025!

A unique adventure through Africa’s untamed beauty in May 2025. On this 9-night itinerary we will start with a stay in Victoria Falls and then explore two world-renowned areas of wonderful Zimbabwe: Hwange National Park and Lake Kariba.

Staying at two legendary camps, Bomani and Musango, we will get to experience the thrill of the wilderness in two very different ways.

“This small-group safari, limited to just six guests, is designed to ensure a truly immersive adventure for those with limited time but very high expectations.” – Andy Higgs

Get your comprehensive free guide to planning the trip of a lifetime

Subscribe for help and advice on planning an adventure you will never forget, starting with my free 40+ page guide to planning your African adventure. Unsubscribe with 1 click at any time.