African safaris are costly, but the price is always worth it when you prefer good food, accommodation, comfort and expert guides. The cost of making luxury private game reserve trips in Africa is high because of the remote settings within which they take place. The complicated logistics involved in running lodges and camps in the African bush where supplies are difficult to find increase the cost of safaris. Protection of wildlife and environment as well as maintenance of game reserves also cause safari expenses to go up.
In some game reserves, visitors spend up to $100 per day, per person in park entry fees. However, if you are working on a tight budget, there are ways to reduce the cost of your safari to Africa. Here are several things you can do to cut your safari costs:
1. Travel in a group
Rather than travelling alone in a customized trip, travel with a group of friends or family and get the same benefits. A group enables you to share costs such as hiring tour guides and vehicles. Though a group safari isn’t as flexible in terms of schedule like a customized one, your costs will reduce significantly and enjoy similar benefits.
2. Plan your safari during off-peak season
Traditionally, the dry season is considered the best time to go on an African safari. This is the season when grass in the wild is short and animals can be seen gathering around waterholes to drink providing a great game viewing experience for traveler. The down side of traveling during this season is that it is peak season and costs are often high. Instead of scheduling a safari during this season, consider doing so during off-peak, wet season. Plan to visit private parks and use a good tour guide. This will cost you have the price of a peak season safari and you will be guaranteed of a great safari. There are incredible opportunities that the wet season has to offer including bird watching and boat rides to view wildlife.
3. Plan to visit one country
Africa is a huge continent, you cannot visit all the places and see everything in a single trip. The best thing to do is to pick one country and limit your safari to it. This will enable you to eliminate costly regional flights so you spend your money on a great safari within your focus country. When choosing a country to visit, bear in mind that safaris in some countries are costly than others. Find one that is more economically friendly depending on your budget. Price variations between countries are due to factors such as infrastructure, tourist volumes, location of tourist sites and size.
4. Cut down on internal flights
Depending on the country that you choose to visit, find ways to reduce the number of flights you need to take internally. In countries that have good road networks to tourist sites, opt for road trips as opposed to flights to reduce cost and enjoy quality views.
5. Avoid extra luxuries
Your trip can be a memorable experience just by spending your money on good accommodation and hiring an expert guide. You do not have to include luxuries like air conditioned tent, personal staff, spa services, private plunge pools and wine selections to have a great safari. Limit your expenditure to the basics and you will enjoy your safari at a lower cost.
6. Stay in properties that are under same management
Staying in properties that are either owned or managed by the same company can help you reduce your accommodation budget by up 20%. This is because you qualify for promotion packages such as free nights, combination specials and less costly transfers to facilities located elsewhere.
7. Hire an experienced safari expert
A safari consultant with the right experience can help you plan your safari to Africa in the most affordable way so you have the best experience. Such a consultant will listen and help you get value for your money depending on your preference. An experienced consultant knows the best time and places to find animals and can advise you when a road trip will make more sense than a flight and the other way round. It’s easy to find such a consultant on safari.com and get the help you with the planning so you get the best out of your budget.
8. Book your flight early
Booking flights early, up to nine months ahead of your travel time can help cut down on your safari budget. Do this for both accommodation and airlines. This will enable you to take advantage of early bird offers so you make savings on your budget.
9. Schedule time to visit cities
Bush safaris just show you a small piece of Africa. Plan to spend a little time in a town or city before going for a bush adventure and after so you have a complete African experience. While you do this, you can make some savings because often, accommodation in cities is cheaper and includes breakfast. You will be free to try local dishes in restaurants at your discretion. It also gives you time to experience cultural interactions as well after spending time in the bush with animals.
Getting the kind of safari that you want for the budget that you have is what matters at the end of the day. These tips enable you to experience just that, a memorable African safari.