Why even tented camps safaris are so expensive ?


Jan 3rd, 2013, 03:29 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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"But 1st timers must know that on average you see less while on foot, due to the smaller distance covered."

Pixel, generally you are correct, but a couple of the camps (Kanga and Chitake) on that list are not the norm. The wildlife actually come to you day and night, and game drives is not what people do while there. In fact at Chitake, there is not really much in the way of tracks for game drives. Kanga has a similiar reputation for drawing wildlife from miles around to their waterhole. This safari is not like what you have experienced in the past. At all the camps, the wildlife is extremely habituated to people on foot and vehicles.
luangwablondes is offline  
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 06:00 AM
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Hey LB,

Sorry, I was speaking about the walks in/near Kruger (be it at camps in private reserves that offer this, such as Africa On Foot and Shindzela. Or be it at companies that provide idem in Kruger NP, like the Rhino walking trails and Pafuri walking trails)

I know Zambia is (or can be) very different. Sorry for not being clear!


pixelpower is offline  
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Jan 7th, 2013, 07:05 PM
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The comments and advice provided have gone into depth with lots of info and specifics.

Back to your question of
"Why even tented camps safaris are so expensive ?" The EVEN tented camps part makes me think you are figuring tents should be less than lodges. Not so for the luxury, small private, tented camps with excellent guiding and fine food. These are MORE expensive than lodges because they are higher end and have less economy of scale, with maybe 10-24 beds instead of 100 at the lodge.

Now there are budget tented trips that cost much less. These use decent tents that are put up and taken down at each location. Whether YOU put them up or have a crew is up to you and offers additional pricing disparities. You can help cook meals too and save even more. There are generally more people in the vehicle in these kinds of trips than the companies you mention above. The daily flexibility on game drives is generally less due to less time and more people. In addition, budget camping is not suited for serious photographers.

Some very inexpensive lodging which is not tented is the Kenya Wildlife Service bandas. The ones I stayed in were really nice (bathrooms like any western hotel room) in gorgeous locations. They are self catering, so along with the driver/guide, I added a chef. Still, the cost was way less than even most other lodges and no comparison with the pricely luxury tented camps.

That's not to say the luxury tented camps are not worth it, if they fall within your vacation budget. But if you are looking to cut costs, there are other solutions.

On my last Kenya trip my approach was to focus on great guiding in a private vehicle and stay in good locations, but in cheaper accommodations. KWS bandas allow the cheaper accommodations for sure. But no KWS in Mara or Samburu.

Usually Kenya-based safari providers are the only ones keen to offer you KWS bandas.

Here's a link to the bandas.


Good luck.
atravelynn is offline  
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Jan 7th, 2013, 08:38 PM
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Here's another angle on the price tag offered by safari providers, such as the ones you mention, itrvlr.

Part of the price is paying for a known and reputable company.

Part is a convenience premium for working with a company in your own home country that is jut a toll-free call away--and willing to take lots of calls about everything from spiders to sodium content of the cuisine.

Part of it is the ability to use a credit card and not wire $$.

Part of it is knowing your camps and guides have been checked out by the company--and these companies usually deal with higher end providers to minimize problems.

Part of the cost may be the level of luxury offered is truly beyond what you need or want.

Part of it is the helpful pre-departure materials or even travel gear that may be provided.

Regarding The Africa Adventure Co, which I have traveled with, part of it is the extra level of service they are willing to extend if a problem occurs. They have helped fix some problems for me which can occur when traveling in Africa so that I had no disappointments. So it can almost be considered similar to extra insurance that everything will go well even if things go wrong that are nobody's fault.

For an expensive trip (even budget trips to Africa are expensive) to an area that one is unfamiliar with and cautious about, the higher cost may be well worth it.

Good luck researching and pricing your trip.
atravelynn is offline  
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Jan 7th, 2013, 09:02 PM
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Well said indeed, Ms. Lynn

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
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Jan 8th, 2013, 02:44 AM
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If you price around, you should be able to find a complete safari(exclusive of airfare) w/a reputable local operator in E Africa for
sub $300pppd camping-basic lodges
$300-450pppd luxury lodges midrange tented camps
$450pppd+ luxury tented camps

While I like the luxury tented camps and will pay for them, the animals dont care where you spent the night. My #1 suggestion is to get a PRIVATE Safari and MAXIMIZE the number of hours you are in the parks while there
FrankS is offline  
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Jan 13th, 2013, 08:08 PM
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I contacted Sun Safaris suggested by pixelpower. Got a very good itinerary (4n SA + 5n Botswana + 2n Victoria Falls + 1n transfer), but it is in a shoulder season (June) and still $6000 pp in double. I may take it, but also looking at alternatives, like Zambia (there is a different thread about it).
itrvlr is offline  
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Jan 14th, 2013, 12:55 AM
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I assume the reason why it's still a tad expensive is because of all the transfer costs. Try to limit the number of countries, and the total price will drop drastically. ;-)
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