An African safari is expensive because most tours are all-inclusive of the logistics and resources, covering safari vehicles, lodging, food, and activities. The exclusivity and the number of days you stay also influence the cost. You'll invest in high-end experiences and professional tour guides that will make your trip memorable.
While deemed expensive, a safari trip to Africa is valuable and will become a memorable investment in the future. Safaris can be one of the most costly trips you'll ever take, yet you'll get every penny's worth.
What You Get for the Price of an African Safari
African safari expenses may shock most first-time visitors. However, knowing what makes a safari trip to Africa expensive will help you understand why your dream safari is worth the price.
Resources and Logistics
The number of resources and effort put into creating a successful African safari adventure mainly drive up the cost. Getting qualified safari guides for game drives and world-class chefs takes serious logistical planning. Hiring professionals and naturalists are also necessary to guarantee safety while traveling.
However, African safari road transfers require an enormous expense to move people and supplies. Beyond the capital cities, there are only airstrips that can support light aircraft. The country's limited infrastructure makes providing safari services to remote areas more difficult and expensive.
Most tours avail charter flights or specialized safari vehicles since many African nations don't have roads connecting to different parts of the country. Refueling alone for safari game drives will consume time and money.
An all-inclusive African safari tour guarantees no hidden fees. We have everything covered for you. You only need to show up and enjoy the experience.
As professional safari operators, we aim to provide our guests with a stress-free luxury Africa safari experience, which is why your fees include these essentials.
African Safari Activities
Another main reason an African safari is expensive is due to the activities. Our African safari tour consists of a small group of 11 travelers, ensuring you get an exclusive glimpse and adventure in South Africa.
Your dream safari trip will come true with morning until afternoon game drives. These are among the highlights of a luxury safari tour.
A sampling of local cuisines and fine wine
Swim with penguins at Boulders Beach
Viewing of the Big Five in Sabi Sands
Photograph Victoria Falls, one of the world's Seven Natural Wonders
Soak in the scenery of Cape Point
See the Zambezi River
Go on a sunset cruise
Ride a cable car to reach the summit of the Table Mountain
National Park Fees and Conservation Levies
Each African safari visitor must pay a conservation fee for every day spent inside national parks and game reserves. Your safari park fees contribute to the financing of wildlife conservation. You also give to local communities to help protect indigenous ecosystems.
Maintenance expenses for game drives are significant factors in driving up the cost of safaris. Generators, access to fresh water, plumbing, and repairing roads are necessary for each trip, and these need a budget.
Preserving African safari wildlife and landscapes takes time, workforce, effort, and money. Anti-poaching units and environmentalists maintain the safari through programs and community initiatives.
Africa has among the best luxury game lodges in the world, despite some being in the most remote areas. The type of safari lodging depends on the tour company. Some budget African safari camps will cram over 10 people in small tents.
For our tour, you can enjoy the exclusive use of a five-star luxury safari lodge in the Sabi Sands. This is the most well-known private game reserve in South Africa. Additionally, you will spend a number of nights at a wilderness lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River.
Some opt to drive alone, thinking it could help them save. However, an untrained eye will find it difficult to spot wildlife and danger on a safari.
An African safari operator may use large truck-like vehicles that cram 20 people or more during game drives. This means you may end up sitting in the middle, seeing more cameras or heads of people than wildlife.
In comparison, we use an exclusive open-game safari vehicle designed for a maximum of six guests. This adds to the cost of an African safari, yet everyone will get a window seat, ensuring comfort and a great view. You can use the middle seat for your supplies.
Your payment covers every meal for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and in-house beverages. Most African safari operators have a chef on the staff to create authentic safari cuisine, including some of the most popular foods in Africa.
You will be miles away from cities once you arrive at the safari camp. This means safari lodges or camps must have everything you need, especially for emergencies. Staff must haul supplies and food across miles of poor roads in Africa.
It can sometimes take up days to drive African safari supplies. The fuel and staffing can make the trip pricey.
Exclusivity is another factor contributing to an African safari's high cost. We team up with safari lodges that only accommodate a maximum of 20 guests, sometimes even fewer.
It's normal for a park to be open to the public. However, a budget African safari typically packs a lot of people in a national park.
In comparison, luxury safaris are in remote locations with off-beat trails so that you won't compete with thousands of tourists during your stay. This alone can increase the cost of game drives.
It takes a big team to maintain an African safari camp. Most of the staff, especially the housekeeping, medical staff, and guides, live near or on the premises of a safari lodge.
Some African safari camps also have additional staff, like babysitters and butlers. There are safari lodges that only use hand-picked ingredients, which means there are gardeners around.
Cheaper safari tours and game drives may have fewer people to handle and guide several guests. We aimed for our luxury trip to have a one-to-two staff-to-guests ratio, ensuring the best staff, guides, and trackers will cater to your safari needs.
You won't fully immerse yourself in an African safari adventure if you're rushing during game drives.
The resources and logistics for each day will add to the overall cost. However, our 10-day African safari trip ensures you have enough time to explore the landscape, experience the local culture, enjoy the safari activities, and be in awe of the wildlife.
Four nights in Cape Town and Winelands
Three nights in the Sabi Sands and Kruger National Park
Two nights along the banks of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
What Makes an African Safari a Priceless Experience
A considerable part of your pay comes from the African safari experience. African safaris involve witnessing and following an age-old route of animals moving in search of water and grazing.
Africa boasts an unparalleled game drive in contrast to seeing animals in a zoo. As a responsible African safari visitor, you also grow to understand the wild's lifestyle and develop empathy for them. A study shows that human emotions and attitudes influence the presence and recovery of wildlife.
With our safari game drive, you'll see, smell, and hear the majestic wildlife in their natural environment and not in cages. For instance, during the Great Migration, you'll witness herds of elephants traveling from the Maasai Steppe to Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara, where they will get a good water supply.
More than that, an African safari visit lets you observe how animals interact, eat, and play. One moment, you can watch zebra and gazelle grazing along the fields. In the next second, you can have a once-in-a-lifetime close encounter with the elusive African wild dogs.
Nature and Landscape
Beyond wildlife, Africa features pristine and diverse ecosystems that will enchant you. You can see mountains, plateaus, ridges, and rivers during your stay. You will also encounter swamplands, savannas, and forests.
You can unplug and reconnect with mother nature's greatness at an awe-inspiring scale. You will have a new outlook on nature and African safari moving forward.
What You Need to Know About Safaris Before Booking a Trip
We've been asked several times to make a budget safari trip in Africa. However, we recommend saving up more because every cent will be worth it. These are things you need to consider when planning an African safari tour.
Choose the Right Location
Some safari national parks in Africa are popular because of certain activities, scenery, and wildlife. For example, the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is in demand because this is where the Great Wildlife Migration happens.
In some cases, lesser-known African safari parks like the Okavango Delta in Botswana can also give you a unique experience due to fewer crowds and wildlife. Meanwhile, Hwange, Zimbabwe's largest national park, is home to packs of wild dogs.
Some of the most secluded safari parks in Africa have unique landscapes. Since they are farther off the grid, limited access to these harder-to-reach destinations costs more.
Pick a Lodge or Safari Camp
Much of your African safari experience will depend on the lodging. Some people may have a tight budget that limits their accommodation choices, while others have enough savings for a luxurious and more comfortable stay.
Are you traveling with your partner, with a small group of friends, or as a family with children? Regardless, you must consider the amenities you need for the safari trip.
Amenities: Do you want to sleep on a lumpy cot or a relaxing mattress? Are you comfortable relieving yourself in a makeshift safari bathroom, or do you prefer flushing toilets? Do you need laundry services so you can pack light?
Staff: You will interact with the African safari staff regularly. It's crucial that you feel satisfied with customer service, especially from the guide, camp manager, and chef.
Food: You wouldn't like to spend more time cooking than exploring the wild. Focus on bringing essential safari items rather than dealing with cookware. A luxury African safari includes an in-house chef that will give you a taste of authentic African food.
Game Drive Experience
Wildlife viewing through game drives is the primary goal of going on an African safari. You will get the value of your safari trip while searching for the animals and observing their way of life.
It's common for safaris to have game drives in the morning and afternoon. For some budget trips, you'll spend much time waiting back at the tent or hotel for the next African safari activity. With our luxury tour, you'll spend more time outside, from sunrise to sunset.
In luxury tours, you'll spend a lot of time inside a safari vehicle, which can be a minibus, an overland truck, or an open-game viewing vehicle. Aside from knowing how many people each vehicle can accommodate, you should check the kinds of seats, middle seat storage, and even charging options.
A professional safari tour guide can also be costly, although they are responsible for a lot of things during the trip. Their passion for nature and years of experience with the wilderness will bring value to your African safari trip.
Planning your itinerary: With almost 15 years of experience working and living in the South African wilderness, we know every crucial matter in planning and coordinating a luxury African safari tour. We tailor each safari trip to give you an exclusive and extraordinary experience.
Explaining what you're seeing: A professional guide has vast knowledge concerning Africa's wildlife and biodiversity. They will locate the animals and explain what is happening.
Going to remote locations: Some people may think driving and doing safari tours independently is cheaper. However, you may only access most parks with the guidance of an expert safari tour guide.
Keeping you safe: This includes teaching you how to get close to an animal for pictures without stressing it and putting yourself in danger.
Be Aware of Your Environmental Impact
More than the thrilling adventure, you'll learn more about the environmental and cultural impact of safaris.
Some African safari tour operators follow eco-friendly practices. These include recycling, reducing plastic usage, optimizing solar power, and supporting conservation efforts.
Participating in a safari gives you a life-changing experience, supports hosting communities, and shows respect for locals. Your involvement directly contributes to job creation and feeding families.
Spend Enough Time on Safari
Every hour on the safari trip will give you something unique to see and explore. It's important that you have enough time for the adventure.
You can't expect to see, eat, and experience everything during an overnight stay. This is why we planned a luxury yet extensive African safari tour lasting 10 days and nine nights.
Backpacking trips or short stays in other countries are commonly packed with itineraries where you must move fast. In contrast, safari in Africa lets you experience slow travel, allowing you to travel smarter, become more conscious, and have a truly immersive stay.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Traveling to Africa So Expensive?
Traveling to Africa tends to be expensive mainly because of the long-distance travel, staff-to-guest ratio, and complicated logistics. Particularly for an African safari trip, seasonal demands and conservation efforts can also spike fees. Despite these factors, you'll be gaining an extraordinary safari adventure.
Which African Country Has the Cheapest Safari?
South Africa and Namibia are among the most affordable safari destinations yet have spectacular game drive spots. Botswana and Kenya also have the most budget-friendly African safari campsites with incredible animal sightings.
What Is the Total Cost of an African Safari Trip?
When planning an African safari, the total cost will depend on location, duration, and the safari operator or tour company you choose. Our options start at $6500 per person. Our 10-day luxury package: “Safari, Sights & Sips” package is perfect for those embarking on their first African adventure. Valued at $15,000pp, this package offers unparalleled luxury lodging, meals, in-country transportation, and a 5-star safari experience complete with English-speaking local guides and all tours.
A safari trip to Africa is expensive because of the resources and logistics. However, you can maximize your investment because aside from an all-inclusive tour's convenience, you'll get rewarded with magnificent landscapes and wildlife. As an African luxury safari tour specialist, Find Your Africa can make your trip worth it.
Are you ready to check African Safari off your bucket list?
About the Author:
Find Your Africa is a Southern California-based travel agency specializing in bespoke luxury safari tours to Africa. Meet James, our owner and Safari Specialist, who has over 15 years of experience in the South African wilderness, making him a knowledgeable and passionate guide and curator. Find Your Africa creates life-changing journeys tailored to your preferences with a commitment to detail and service excellence.
Our unique itineraries are made possible through our personal relationships with local lodges, DMCs, tour operators, and suppliers. Partnering with both fellow agents and private clients to create life-changing experiences, "Let us be your Guide."