African safaris have been stunning travelers since they were first formalized slightly more than 100 years ago. There’s simply no other trip that can get you as close to the world’s most loved creatures, from antelope to zebra. Safari holiday package costs can vary for a number of reasons, including location, standard of comfort, and the time of year. We cover all the basics below.
How Location Affects Safari Holiday Package Costs
Although you might think of a safari as a set form of experience, usually with tented camps or lodges and 4x4s to get around, the fact you can go on a safari as far afield as the tip of South Africa and the northern plains of Kenya mean there’s still plenty of variability between costs.
Some countries have lower safari holiday package costs than others, often because they have better safari infrastructures. In other words, the more off-beat the destination, the more safari package holiday costs are likely to be.
As the birthplace of the modern safari, the east African nations of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania not only have more expertise than anywhere else, but also some of the best safari holiday package costs. This is because their infrastructure is so well prepared, which is one of the many reasons we focus on east African safaris!
It’s also worth noting that wanting to visit a specific national park on your safari can also sometimes increase costs. A premium is placed on national parks, such as the Maasai Mara National Reserve, which are home to the Big 5 animals (lion, leopard, elephant, black rhino, and Cape buffalo) because of their rarity.
It’s Often Cheaper to Use a Local Travel Agent
It may sound counterintuitive to some, but using an agent to arrange all the aspects of your safari, from transfers to accommodation, can end up saving you money. For instance, our agents have on the ground knowledge you probably don’t have, knowing which lodges, companies, and national parks are best. This in turn helps you enjoy your once in a lifetime experience and stay safe in Uganda and everywhere else we operate. Our agents get access to special deals too, allowing them to pass savings on to you.
Using an agent takes all the stress out of making sure you’ve booked everything correctly, given how much there is to organize. At the same time, should you decide to customize your trip for whatever reason, such as choosing a more luxurious accommodation option, you will see your safari holiday package costs rise.
Even then however, you’ll know exactly how much your safari is going to cost from day one. Generally speaking, you’ll be quoted an all-inclusive price, meaning that all major in-country costs will be covered before your arrival. So, while safaris can sometimes appear expensive at first glance, you’ll find you spend very little on the ground, further helping with budgeting for your trip. Have a little money for alcoholic drinks (which aren’t usually included in safari holiday package costs), souvenirs, and tips for staff and you’ll be all set!
Seasonal Variations in Safari Holiday Package Costs
Much of Africa experiences significantly more climatic diversity than Europe and North America, with dry seasons interspersed with wet seasons.
Traditionally, it is the dry season which is the peak time for safari holidays on the continent, with the Christmas and New Year periods particularly popular. But that’s not to say that the wet seasons should be avoided entirely.
Also sometimes known as the ‘green season,’ these times of year can offer a very different safari experience. The landscapes of east Africa look lush and fresh, whilst there will be far fewer other tourists taking to 4x4s, boats and footpaths. Opting for a safari during the wet season can therefore feel like you’re the only ones within miles. What’s more, safari holiday package costs are normally lower at these times of year.
Where Your Money Goes
Book a safari in east Africa and you’re contributing to the upkeep of a country’s reserves as well as helping the country’s overall development. Safaris provide a vital lifeline for lifting many who train as hotel staff, rangers, or guides out of poverty. At the same time, national park fees and permits usually go directly to maintaining these vast spaces – sometimes the size of small European countries.
For example, the cost of permits required to undertake a mountain gorilla trek in either Uganda or Rwanda goes directly to paying the wages of the rangers who protect these rare animals 24 hours a day from poachers and other modern threats.
Additional Costs To Be Aware Of
Like most holidays, it’s likely you’ll want to update your wardrobe before departing on safari. Despite what some sites might tell you, you don’t need expensive technical clothing to get the most out of your time on the plains. Instead, choose lightly colored items in natural materials which you are comfortable in. You may also decide its time to upgrade your camera.
Another vital item to have on your packing list are anti-malarial medications, sometimes called prophylactic treatments. You’ll want to speak to a medical professional before leaving home about which is the best option for you, to avoid catching this potentially fatal disease spread by mosquitos.
Finally, you’ll also want adequate travel and medical insurance to cover you in the unlikely event the worst happens. In uncertain times be sure your policy covers you in case of cancellation. The medical section of the policy should cover you for a minimum of $1 million and emergency medical evacuation.
How to Book a Safari
Even if you plan to leave everything to a professional travel agent, there are certain things to keep in mind when planning a safari. Check out our guide to how to book an African safari and you’ll soon know exactly what you need to do and when! Then it’s just a matter of counting down the days until you’re within earshot of trumpeting elephants, roaring lions, and snorting rhinos!