Notices

What's your limit on lodging prices?

Reply

Jan 1st, 2006, 06:34 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,372
What's your limit on lodging prices?

Just wondering what everyone is willing to spend pp/pn for lodges in Africa. With prices going up every year do you a)go no matter what the price b)book at less luxurious/expensive types of camps c)wait a year and save d)go in the off season e)choose a different country/location f)any other thoughts? I thought $375 pp/pn was my limit, but now that I'm hooked, I think I'd go higher, but I don't think I'd pay Mombo/Mahale prices...even if they are the ultimate destinations.
btw...65 more days and I'm off to Zambia!
matnikstym is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 1st, 2006, 06:37 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Hello,

Well, I'm staying at Mombo for five nights...solo...which pretty much says it all.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 1st, 2006, 07:47 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Dennis,

I never thought that I would spend more than $500 per person per night again, after doing it only on my very first trip, this at Singita. However, on my upcoming trip, not one, not two, but three of my lodges break the $1,000 per night ($500 pppns) mark, and if I am successful at changing my itinerary around to add two nights in Tarangire, it will likely make it four different lodges that are $1,000 per night. My status in Southern Africa is completely meaningless for the East African travel each on this upcoming safari and on my next one. I am just another tourist when it comes to East Africa and Central Africa (Rwanda/Uganda) since I will not be representing any of these properties. I do not expect this, however, from dissuading me from travelling. In the next couple years I surely expect to visit Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and elsewhere.

High season pricing at luxury safari lodges/camps is definitely not for the faint of heart. Zambia and Zimbabwe still offer some measure of relief in comparison to South Africa and Botswana.

I guess the answer to the question for me is that I will pay as much as I can possibly afford. A couple years ago, I barely scratched by in low season Zambia. Although I was only paying $200 per person per night, at the time, this may as well as have been $600 per person per night, but I was determined to go.

Really, this year was the first time that I was fortunate enough to even enjoy a high season safari. Before then it was low season specials and a civil war special in Zimbabwe with my Matetsi Water Lodge stay that was about five days after the elections, complete with armed Zanu-PF militia patrolling the streets, daring anybody to protest Mugabe's "re-election."

Providing it will not likely rain, I would not hesitate to go on safari in low season. Of course, if high season pricing is not going to break me, I will probably try to stick with high season on future safaris, not just for better possible gameviewing, but also because more lodges are likely to be open. For example, South Luangwa will be great while you are there in March, but even if you had wanted to go to Lower Zambezi, Kafue or North Luangwa at this time, you would not be able to do so at any of the lodges that would likely appeal to you since they will all be closed at this time of year. Of course, the positive side of all this is that you will really be able to get an in-depth look at South Luangwa. Your river safari at Tafika will give you a look at South Luangwa like few have had the privilege to experience.

Some places are better than others with their low season price breaks. While Tafika, for example, drops from $450 per night for high season down to $375 per night in emerald/low season, only a $75 per person per night savings, Kwando in Botswana offers a huge price break in secret/low season from a high of $675 per person per night down to a low of $325 pppn in secret/low season, a huge savings of $350 per night, all while not charging a single supplement at this time of year.

Back to my own upcoming safari...I would not have shortened my safari in order just to stay at the best properties. I have seen many travelers on this forum, mostly first timers, try to race through their safaris, spending an insufficient time at luxury lodges due to the expense. Better to extend the stay, even if it is not at the very top lodges, I say.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 1st, 2006, 09:14 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,297
I choose (g) which I guess is a mix of all of the above. Yes, we try to go in the off-season, but often what we do is mix more expensive places in with less expensive ones. On a 2-week trip we might stay 5 nights in places that are $200 per person per night or more, but the rest of the places we stay will average well under $100 per person per night.
lisa is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 2nd, 2006, 12:58 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Happy New Year All,
Well, right now it is $500 pppn. Whether you are staying at Mala Mala ($500) or Singita ($1,200) there are still only 24 hours in a day at both places. Or, another way to look at it, I could stay twice as long at Mala for the same cost. Both are all-you-can-eat so that satisfys me. A private dip pool/sauna or big fluffy robs do not mean much to me. Do you get a private vehicle at Singita? That would be worth something. Having a petting zoo of lions, leopards, tigers, bears, elephants, pandas, gorillas, etc. would be worth extra.
Having said that, when we win the California lottery I will definitely give Singita a try. In addition to flying business class. Flying first class not necessary, just to get out of coach will be like going to heaven.
Happy Safaris in 2006 - Tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 2nd, 2006, 04:07 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Hello,

f) I'm only willing to pay Mombo prices because of the game-viewing to be had there -- sheer luxury wouldn't be enough. In places like the Sabi Sand where there is a wider choice of lodges with excellent game-viewing, I'd never pay that much. Admittedly, rack rate for a suite at Londoz is a bit more than $1000 pppn, but I've never paid rack rate for my stays there!

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 2nd, 2006, 08:05 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Like Jasher the wildlife experience is the only thing that justifies high per night rates for me, whether in Africa or elsewhere.

I try for b) whenever possible since luxury acccommodations mean little to me. But going too cheap can result in poor guides, bad vehicles, and a whole lot of down time that undermines what you paid a lot to see.

A variation on your letter c) that I use is to eliminate/reduce other expenditures so that more $ is available for travel. Also to moonlight, increasing the cash inflow and travel budget.

A hard working credit card helps as well, whether it gives you miles or cash back or gift cards for stuff you need anyway.

Can't remember if you travel alone or not, but a willing and compatible travel partner can reduce trip costs. As a solo traveler for most trips, I often pay a premium.

Did you write Mombo/Mahale?? Now that would be a trip!

atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 2nd, 2006, 09:11 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,309
Dennis,
Do the prices you talk about include game drives and park fees?

If I have the money to go at all I do b), d) and e).

For my last trip my limit was $ 150 pppn for Samburu, but I ended up paying $ 200 though that included flights as well. As long as I have the money, a reasonable security that Iíll continue earning money after the trip and will be able to return in a year Iíll just pay what it costs. The last time I didnít have this security, but went anyway.

Iím a bit worried that people who are thinking about going to Africa read posts where $ 300 pppn is considered reasonable and just forget about it and never even dare to return to have a look at this forum. In 2004 I paid $ 120 pppn, everything included, in a smallish camp in Tsavo with elephants almost inside the tents. Though I have to say I had a driver more than a driver/guide. I knew I had got a good price, but I didnít know just how good until I discovered Fodorís Ė and started researching my 2005 trip.

Even if I had a very high income, I wouldnít pay $$$ for a private plunge pool etc Ė I even consider that kind of thing a minus - preferring just some tents on the ground and a restaurant tent Ė but I might pay it for an excellent wildlife experience that couldnít be had for less money.

To increase cash inflow is an excellent idea though thereís the problem of making people pay for your labour/products. Hypnosis? I think Iíd have a better luck with firearms though that costs $$$ as well.

Outside parks, in towns and on the cost I pay around $ 15 pppn, sometimes a lot less, and Iím by no means a backpacker type. Itís places with nice ambiance and rooms with bathrooms. Just reducing the nights at non-wildlife places will of course save even more money for safari, but I like the idea of at least being close and that an incredible offer might appear.
Nyamera is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 2nd, 2006, 07:31 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,252
Nyamera makes a good point. Some posters do make it all sound very scary! Also it could be confusing to talk about how much a night costs unless you also define whether it is per room or includes all transport, game drives, extras, etc. I only know Kenya, but good transport/guides and other extras are a significant addition to cost. And if we are talking per night overall, do we include airfares? And only those in Africa or those from home too? Pretty significant additons!! Good question Matnikstym, and some very interestingand informative answers (as always on this forum), but maybe it needs to be asked again with a clear definition of what "per night" means. Do you think I should call myself "nitpicker"? (I swear I am not trying to be negative, though)
kimburu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2006, 01:52 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Happy New Year All,
Question was "lodging prices"? To me that clearly means lodging, lodging only. Not including flights to nor from the lodging. Just the price you see when you look up the camp on the internet and they quote a rate for the room per person night. When I get a proposal from my travel agent for a safari he breaks the cost down into - 1) per camp cost per night, 2) cost for intra Africa flights, 3) cost for hotel stays if required between camps, 4) cost of flights from USA to Africa. On occasion some other fee like a park fee will be an add on to the room but that has always been just pennys, insignificant. But I'm sure someone has had an experience where they thought something, maybe wine/liqour, was included but then got hit with a not small bill. Well, what can you say then, live and learn I guess. I have been pick-pocketed, cheated by taxi drivers, cheated by hotels, and taken advantage of in ways I wasn't even aware of. (And that's not including my divorce). Why, I remember one time in the deadly jungles of Borneo we had nothing to live on but only food and water. Our crate of gin was dropped by a porter and all was lost except for the tiniest amount that splashed into my shoe. I didn't tell anyone and drank it all myself and then wrung out my sox for the last drop. Ahhh yes.
Regards - Tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2006, 02:34 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,131
Ditto Julian and Atravelynn - we'll pay the high prices only if the wildlife experience itself justifies them to us, not for the accommodation.

(If all we wanted was lux accommodation we'd look to the Far East where they offer wonderful accommodation, food and service at much lower prices than somewhere like Mombo).

That said, it also depends on our finances which were stronger in 2003/ 2004 and allowed us to include 4 nights at Mombo but are weaker at the moment - we're looking at a budget trip to Africa later this year if we can.
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2006, 08:28 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Dennis,

Unfortunately, my bank account doesn't allow for really high-end accommodations, so I can't even say whether I would prefer them or not. The cost of flights eats up so much of my meager budget that I just have to make it work somehow.

But ditto to what Lisa said; I try to get a mix. I think we're paying a bit over $500 pppn at Nomad Serengeti this coming June. The rest of our accommos are less $: Mawe Ninga, Olduvai, Ronjo, and even the Wildlife Lodge at the Crater. Last time we did budget camping (not bad--we liked it! but I camp a few times a year for fun anyway) and some lodges.

If I could swing it, I'd go as often as I could without going broke or getting fired.
Leely is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2006, 11:19 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 10
Hi Lisa,
We (group of 4 friends) are planning to to go Africa this summer, but we are still trying to decide where to go (first time) to East Africa o South Africa (Bostwana, Zimbabwe, etc), we have been looking and for a 15 days trip we are looking to spend $15K for two people with air from the US. Which countries would you recommend for this time of the year (July, Aug) and do you have a company, travel agent you would recommend? we are looking for tented camping, nothing luxorious but moderate, we rather stay longer and have a great wildlife experience. Please help!!!
Jessica
jessituarte is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2006, 11:22 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 10
Has anyone travel with Overseas adventure Travel company? we are looking to book our trip to Africa with them but would like to hear if someone recommends another company?
jessituarte is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2006, 11:49 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
jessituarte,

Do a search for OAT in the little search box above. I know people have used them and recommend them, although most on this board prefer private safaris.

You don't say where you're flying from, but that can sometimes eat significantly into the budget.

Whichever country you choose, you will NEVER regret going on safari in Africa. I congratulate you on deciding to go, and good luck with your planning!
Leely is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2006, 02:47 PM
  #16
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jessica -

OAT has very attractive itineraries, inclusive of International air... but they are group tours, with a maximum of 16 participants... though I doubt they have that many on their African itineraries. However, and not knowing your ages, OAT tends to cater to those between 45 - 80, avrage age 55 - 65. If this has any impact on you decision.

 
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2006, 05:02 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 10
thanks Sandi and Leely. We are a group of 4, all 30 year old. We are flying out of San Francisco, California, which is a pretty expensive ride, about $2500. So you would recommend to do a private safari, could you recommend few companies that you have had good experience or heard good comments? We are planning on going end of July beg of August (we could go earlier if necessary), which part of Tanzania and Kenya would you recommend? Have you booked your flight and safari with same provider, or separate? thanks Jessica
jessituarte is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2006, 05:11 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Jessica,

To give you a better idea of costs, I am flying SFO-JRO in June for a little more than $2300. You can do better if you fly into Nairobi and your dates are a bit flexible (July 2004 we paid $1700 pp SFO-NBO).

I book airfare and safari separately. Actually, last time I booked the Zanzibar portion of our trip separately as well.

Start your own thread and you'll get more respones. Maybe title it "Planning first safari in East Africa" or something. (Are you set on E. Africa?)

Good luck. You and your friends are in for a real treat. And that doesn't even begin to cover it.
Leely is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2006, 05:19 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Hi Leely,

Didn't realise you were in the Bay Area -- I was just out there visiting family!

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 3rd, 2006, 05:20 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407
I wish I could stick to a limit when it comes to a safari!

I had an original budget of $10 000 for my safari and in the end it's costing $25 000!!...excluding international air,HD video camera,accessories,Sony cybershot pro digital camera etc,etc....Oh! AND OUCH not working for a month!!

Denis I've been hooked for years and it seems like every year the ''limit'' goes up and up and up....
safarinut is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:27 PM.