Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Africa & the Middle East (
-   -   Is wildlife viewing possible w/o going on tour? (

mp413 Feb 8th, 2007 09:19 AM

Is wildlife viewing possible w/o going on tour?
I am a single female traveler on a very very tight budget - is there a way for me to get out to some of the game viewing sites in Tanzania or Kenya without shelling out $2000 or more? That seems to be the min. price for a 5-7 day tour...which is prohibitively expensive for me. It may just be something I have to save for another trip...but if there are alternative means of getting out to these places I would appreciate any info!

Patty Feb 8th, 2007 09:30 AM

You could camp. If you can find a group budget camping safari that you can join, it should cost you +/-$150 per night depending on the number of participants. This would include a vehicle, guide, cook, food, park fees, etc. You might need to bring your own sleeping bag or rent one and maybe set up your own tent. There are even cheaper trips, but I'd be wary anything much cheaper as you generally get what you pay for on a safari.

ShayTay Feb 8th, 2007 12:51 PM

You might also check out some of the overland outfitters. They travel in large overlander trucks and usually camp. You also help out with chores. I've seen these trucks in the Serengeti and, while many of the trips go through several countries, you might find some that concentrate on East Africa.

Geelong2007 Feb 8th, 2007 12:55 PM

go and buy a guide book they have companies in there that do the sort of trips you are looking at
email a few of them and then compare prices etc
tell them you want to join one of their groups

atravelynn Feb 8th, 2007 04:30 PM

I think Nyamera has done some wildlife vieiwng without taking an actual tour and by staying near the parks. I have not seen her postings in awhile. I think she stayed near Nakuru but did not enter the park itself.

luangwablondes Feb 8th, 2007 04:52 PM

Not East Africa, but there are a few places that have budget to moderate accomodations and activities(like game drives and bush walks) at South Luangwa NP, LZNP and Kafue NP in Zambia. The canoeing in at Mana Pools is excellent for game viewing and priced right too.

Patty Feb 8th, 2007 05:51 PM

Here's Nyamera's trip report;tid=34652401

There was also a long post by kimburu about a hypothetical 3 week safari in Kenya for around $1000 a week using a combination of public and private transportation. However, I can't seem to find it right now.

Leely Feb 8th, 2007 06:10 PM

Great ideas above. Even if you can only afford two or three days (and spend, say, the rest of the time at the beach or visiting the countryside), please do so. It's absolutely remarkable and if you have an interest in this, I think you will find it worthwhile.

Please continue to post questions and definitely check out the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree board as well.

I think you can do it! Good luck.

Leely Feb 8th, 2007 06:21 PM

Here's kimburu's thread, as mentioned by Patty above.;tid=34818960

If this isn't the right link, search for "A game for the cheap trip gang" (maybe with a hyphen between cheap and trip?).

mp413 Feb 8th, 2007 06:34 PM

Hi everyone, I really appreciate the encouraging suggestions here! I have seen a couple of 3 nights tours for around $700, which is definitely getting to be closer to my price range. I would still need to find three people to form a group since many of the tours require a group of 4 or more. And decide where exactly I want to go, which I guess depends on the migrations and stuff.

I am planning on going the last week of July or first week of August, if anyone is interested in doing a camping tour let me know!

Patty Feb 9th, 2007 06:53 AM

Thanks, Leely! I was using all sorts of search combinations and couldn't find it.

You can contact a few local tour operators to see if they already have trips scheduled during that time frame. Late July/early August is a busy period and they may have groups going so you won't be responsible for finding additional participants. For example, here's a camping safari in Tanzania scheduled for late July looking for others to join

Other operators to contact for budget camping -

Nairobi Backpackers


I've also seen posts on Thorntree looking for fellow travelers, so check that out or post something there too.

Good luck!

kimburu Feb 9th, 2007 11:58 AM

Another place I would try is Let's Go which mostly operates as an agent for East African lodges, camps and safaris and may have some interesting offers if you tell them what you want (not a recommendation for this company, although I've only had reasonable to good experience with them - it just seems like a good shortcut to getting more options - and they are reputable).

Naplo999 Feb 9th, 2007 12:21 PM

If you are not set on Kenya and Tanzania you can see wildlife on a budget - look into Kruger National Park in South Africa. You can stay at rest camps with in the park there for very cheap. Camp site for $15, Tent for $35 or Bungalow for $65. You can drive yourself through the park looking for game (the park is built for that) or take ranger led drives (day and night and walks) for about $15. You could also stay at a nearby private reserve that will get you closer to the animals but they can be very expensive. Anywhere from $150 pp per night (Elephant Plains) to $1,700 per person per night at Singita which Conde Nast consistantly ranks as the #1 resort in the world.

I'm heading there the same time as you are planning - last week in July 1st week in August. We got airfare on Iberia airlines for $997 out of JFK to Johannesburg. We will be staying for a week in Cape Town and Winelands then 6 nights on safari and a night in Blyde River Canyon. For two full weeks including meals, flights, food, it will probably cost about $3,000.

But you can do it a lot cheaper still by just going to Kruger.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:28 AM.