Safari on a budget!


Jan 21st, 2015, 02:07 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 18
Safari on a budget!

Hi, myself and a friend have an opportunity this summer to travel for 2/3 months (budget dictating timeline) so we are planning a trip to Africa to include a safari.

We have a budget of approx. €10,000 for the entire time and while we appreciate that a sizeable chunk of this will go on the safari, we would like to only pay what we need to have the best safari experience without the unnecessary luxuries.

We would like to do a good safari – I see this as being by far our biggest cost. My friend is eager to do one of the better tours where you stay very close to/in the parks rather than waste much of our time getting into/from the parks. The problem is that this naturally more expensive and often comes with expensive accommodation. The most reasonable of these trips that we found a couple of years ago when we looked into this (were planning African safari then but was too expensive) were Roy’s Safaris and Good Earth Tours which were €4,000 - €6,000 for the following itinerary (approx. 2 weeks Safari and Zanzibar ex international flights)

• 2 nights Arusha
• 1 night Tarangire National Park
• 1 night Lake Manyara National Park
• 1/2 nights Ngorongoro
• 3 nights Serengeti National Park
• 1/2 nights in Stone Town
• 3 nights beach resort

We plan to travel June, July, August - is any time better for a safari as set out above?

I would really appreciate your advice as to whether we do need to spend this much to do a good safari – we may never do one again so do want to do it properly, or is there any way we can reduce these costs without compromising on experience (we don’t need the luxuries).
em101 is offline  
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Jan 21st, 2015, 11:52 AM
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Stay longer In each place. Moving around is expensive and time consuming.

I go to Southern Africa and for three weeks on one of our recent trips, we spent under $5000 for two. It was mostly safari. I could plan a 2-3 month safari on your budget, but I am not an East Africa traveler. If you are at all interested, click on my screen name and read my trip reports for some ideas. Southern Africa, in my view, is easier to do inexpensively because you can do self drive, stay in the parks because their national parks system is excellent and combine self drive/fully catered to make it more affordable, along with Cape Town, Durban, Johanessburg and beach. No tour required, giving more options for doing what/when/how/cost.
christabir is offline  
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Jan 23rd, 2015, 09:12 AM
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June, July, Aug: Good times in Tanz.

Agree with Christabir to reduce your moves. Do 2 nts Tarangire and remove Manyara is one suggestion.

To maximize your odds of seeing the migration in Tanz and with just 3 nts in Serengeti, late June would be good and stay in Central Serengeti. If you could add another day, then I'd suggest going in mid to late July and staying 2 nts Central Serengeti and 2 nts in the Lobo area (north of central), to increase your odds of seeing the migration. In fact I'd probably remove the beach time (you have beaches near your home, right?) so that you could spend more time in the Serengeti.

Roys and Good Earth are reputable companies that would give you good lodging in good locations. Your friend's concern about being in the park is important but Roy's and Good Earth WILL put you in the park.

To address this in/out of the park concern, why not post a Roys' and Good Earth itinerary here vs. on of the other "better tours" for comments on lodging. Some of the lodges might even be exactly the same.

Now for "better tours"--If by better you mean a private vehicle and more secluded remote small camps vs the economy of scale lodges, THEN it may be better to pay more for those features. It all depends on what is important to you.

But if by better is defined as a more prestigious name and a fancy carry-on bag, then it is not worth more.

Again, post some of the options you are considering and specific input/comments will be given.

Finally, if Tanz is too expensive, you can consider Kenya. But I'd push the dates back to late July at the earliest for Kenya.

You and your friend should have a wonderful time!
atravelynn is offline  
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Jan 24th, 2015, 01:48 PM
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Christabir: I've been planning a trip to South Africa with friends. My cost for 9 nights, (5 nights in Cape Town and 4 nights at 2 different reserves in Kruger Region) with 2 days of scheduled tours in Cape Town and transfer costs is $2800. Next time I want to take DH so what are your tips for 3 weeks for $5000 for 2 people? (I'm assuming the $5000 did NOT include airfare)Thanks
deladeb is offline  
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Jan 25th, 2015, 10:23 PM
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deladeb- click on my name and check my trip report from 2011. It breaks down all the costs, including food, tips, gas - everything. It was a great trip, but we combined inexpensive reserves with time in Kruger and Hluhluwe National Parks. Wildside in Entabeni, Tembe Elephant Park and Rhino River Lodge were all fantastic values, and you get to meet S Africans, not just Americans and Europeans. I would now add nDzuti in the Kruger Ecosystem, and maybe Gomo Gomo. We just visited iSimangaliso Wetland Park and loved it - we only had two nights and it wasn't close to enough time. Always research the lodges/camps that aren't marketed to the high end market. There are many that cater to local visitors and have very good Rangers/guides and are affordable and great value. Go in the off season, usually the months of May-September.

Be open to self catering in the national parks - very easy, but you need to plan ahead. Book a "room" that includes utensils and you'll have just about everything you need. Self drive is easier than you think. The roads are generally good, especially the highways. We avoid driving at night - we don't like to arrive at a new place after dark, plus driving at night is more difficult. Spend the money on an SUV for the height. We rented a little van last year and it was awful. Generally a 4x4 is not required (and significantly more expensive). Always get medical/evac insurance, trip insurance may not be necessary - your choice. Lots of ways to save money, but you won't be going to Mala Mala or Phinda. There are many other options.

Have fun planning! And enjoy your trips. So fun!
christabir is offline  
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Jan 26th, 2015, 06:20 AM
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Thank-you Christabir!
deladeb is offline  
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Jan 31st, 2015, 01:53 PM
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Safari Tanzania - June, July & Aug - are 'peak' travel months and thus the most expensive. To save funds you can consider a mix of camping and lodges, the camping being done on 'private' sites so no sharing facilities - loo/shower - with others. Your cook will set up a loo and provide sufficient hot water for showers. The extra cost is relatively small compared to basic camping.

Rates are 'low'; season in May. Then go down a bit as Nov to mid-Dec.
Keep this in mind when planning.
sandi is offline  
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Feb 1st, 2015, 08:34 PM
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kawh is offline  
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Feb 3rd, 2015, 11:37 PM
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I went on Safari in October. We emailed a wide range of companies with our budget and our priorities for what we wanted to see and do. Based on the responses we chose one company and fine tuned our itinerary from there. Surprisingly camping wasn't that much cheaper than tented camps and lodges

I would skip the 2 nights in Arusha and head right from the Airport to Tarangire. You could also skip Lake Manyara. Ngorongoro was very cool, however you can only get half day entrance, either morning or afternoon. If I were going again I would also skip Ngorongoro for a full day in the Serengeti or Tarangire. But that is just MHO

Also, you pay park entrance fees based on vehicles not by person, so adding more people brings down the price significantly. Even from 2 to 3 will reduce your costs. There are often singles looking for other people to join and travel with. This could also be an option. Try the lonely planet thorn tree site.

Safari is amazing, a trip of a lifetime. Even if you can only manage a 4 or 5 day it is worth it.
hulio is offline  
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Feb 5th, 2015, 04:25 AM
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Thanks all - I am traveling with Em101. Really appreciate the feedback.

The more we look into Africa the more exciting it sounds!! We are now thinking of doing 5 months in total - very provisionally:

Ethiopia – 1 month
Rwanda/Uganda – 1 month
Kenya/Tanzania – 1 month
Zambia/Zimbabwe/Botswana/Namibia – 1 month
South Africa – 1 month

We should have the opportunity to fit in a number of safaris I hope. Advice to date has been to organize trips when we arrive, would you second that - or should we book in advance (is significant price difference).
emcer is offline  
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Mar 1st, 2015, 02:47 AM
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To keep stuffs in advance is realistic matter on travelling , so keep everything in advance in order to avoid inconvenience as that time you will tarvel is high season in Africa . And as you said you'll be travelling on tight budget , so its better if you will do sharing safaris with the groups , in Arusha there is a joining point which people use to join with other anf form the group , last time i join the group for only $ 800 for 4 days and did T
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