One of the most common responses I hear from discerning travelers when I ask them why they haven’t considered going to Africa is “it’s too expensive.” The reality is, a trip to Africa is going to be more than the average vacation. BUT, I assure you that if you educate yourself on where that money goes and the value you receive for that money, you will definitely consider taking an African safari vacation, even if the price tag is a little more than you wanted to spend on a vacation.
The bottom line is that most frequent travelers can afford a trip to Africa, even if they’re on a tight budget. However, a tight budget means the following:
Accommodations with low standards, lack of security, and non-all-inclusive: Most budget accommodations found throughout southern and eastern Africa also lack en-suite bathrooms, which means you will have to share a bathroom with others. Africa safari tours are also rarely included in your accommodations rate.
Budget safari tours also lack personalization: You are crammed in a four by four with a group of other tourists, leaning over each other, trying to get the slightest glimpse of a lion or baby rhino.
Public transportation is also necessary if you are taking a budget trip to Africa: Most roads (outside of the main travel routes) are poorly paved and what would normally take 5 minutes to drive can often take an hour or even 2 hours. You’ll also find that public transportation is jam packed—they utilize every last inch of space.
So as you can see, a trip to Africa on a budget isn’t the most appealing way to spend your precious vacation time. The bottom line is that you can receive a much greater value for your dollar if you opt for the more personalized African safari tours and more intimate accommodations.
When you take a more luxurious African safari vacation here is what you’ll get for your money:
The trip of a lifetime: For many travelers, Africa is considered to be the trip of a lifetime. Why? Because if you do it right, it is typically more expensive than the average vacation, plus, the travel time to get to Africa can be quite long for those living in the United States. So, in my opinion, I believe that taking a more personalized safari vacation and visiting Africa only once is better than taking two trips to Africa on a budget.
All aspects of your trip are customized to your exact needs: When you take a customized safari vacation to Africa, you’ll never have to join a group of other travelers and take part in activities that you might not be crazy about. Rather, all of your activities are tailored to exactly what you want to see and do. You run the show.
Personalized tours are way more enjoyable than group tours: Imagine sitting in a row of five people, trying to peer over other travelers’ shoulders and through their camera lenses, just to get an itty bitty look at an elusive leopard. You’re hot, you’re bothered, and you can’t see a thing (maybe the leopard’s leg if you’re lucky). Personalized tours; however, are more intimate and can also include other travelers, but are not NEARLY as big. You can even enjoy completely private safari tours where it’s just your party and your very own safari guide.
Four- and five-star accommodations offer first-class service: Not only are four- and five-star properties in Africa celebrated for their extremely hospitable and customized service, but they are also renowned for their exceptional cuisine (which is often included in your nightly fee), knowledgeable guides, delightful safari experiences, and comfortable suites with en-suite bathrooms.
So I’m sure you’re wondering: What does a trip to Africa actually cost? If you are looking for a luxurious African safari vacation (like I described in the list above) that offers value for your money, then you’re looking at a price tag of $5,000 and up per person (excluding commercial airfare). This cost does include food and drinks and most activities at your accommodations, as well as domestic airfare and transfers ($5,000 is not a set rate, however. Depending on what you want to do and where you want to go, you might be spending more. But $5,000 can certainly get you an amazing safari experience!).