Watch a honey-hued sunrise over the African plains and witness the Great Migration in Tanzania. Embracing all the wonders on the African continent is on just about everyone’s bucket list.
An African safari is one of the most remarkable and exciting vacations you’ll ever undertake. But not all of us can afford fluffy pillows in opulent lodges on luxury safaris in Africa.
However, there are cheaper alternatives to the usual pricey safari packages; especially if you’re the more adventurous traveller.
Find Cheap African Safaris (in the Best Reserves)
If you’re looking for a cheap safari in Africa, there are plenty of ways to budget and still make your way to some of Africa’s most beautiful reserves.
1. Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango Delta lies in the heart of Botswana’s safari circuit and is one of the top places to visit for an African wildlife safari. Picture a large wetland nestled at the edge of the Kalahari Desert.
With the seasonal flooding, flocks and herds are attracted to this watery paradise. Finding the best time to visit Botswana may be crucial to what you see and the price you pay.
There are plenty of budget camping trips and hidden gems, providing an opportunity for everyone. Look for an all-inclusive off-peak packaged tour that includes your shuttle service, accommodation, game viewings, and meals to save money.
2. Chobe National Park, Botswana
Chobe, Botswana’s first national park, is one of the largest on this list. Considering Chobe boasts a large concentration of wildlife and is the elephant capital of Africa, it may not be deemed a ‘wallet-friendly’ destination.
But, your chances of finding a budget safari in Chobe National Park are higher during the shoulder season (May-June), and wet season (November-April).
Alternatively, you can do a self-drive through the park. There are also campsites suited for low budgets like around Kasane campsite.
3. Kruger National Park, South Africa
The largest and most famous wildlife sanctuary in southern Africa is the Kruger National Park. It’s home to the Big 5 and a plethora of other wildlife species.
Kruger provides a more budget-friendly Africa safari because you can do a self-drive tour in the park.
If you’re not looking to drive yourself, taking a safari tour may cost a smidge more, but it will allow you to experience a little more.
4. Greater Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa
Another excellent African wildlife safari destination located a short drive north of Port Elizabeth is the Addo Elephant Park. It’s the 3rd largest park in South Africa and provides an abundance of wildlife, including the Big 5, everything that you can expect on a South African safari.
The park is the ideal self-drive destination and provides other guided safari tours on the cheap. From hop-on trips, horse trails, hiking 4×4 trails, and more. It’s the perfect option for a budget safari trip.
5. Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa
Pilanesberg National Park is arguably one of South Africa’s most accessible parks, near to the major city of Johannesburg. So picking a safari tour won’t involve having to go long distances and will save on costs.
The Big 5 and hundreds of other wildlife residents are easy to spot, and it’s one of the best places for bird-watching safaris.
The reserve is open to self-drive visitors at a small cost per vehicle, ideal for a budget African safari.
6. Etosha National Park, Namibia
Located in northwest Namibia, amidst a glistening salt pan, the Etosha National Park is home to an abundance of fauna and flora. Guaranteeing an array of inhabitants eagerly approaching the watering holes year-round.
You can visit Etosha on a self-drive safari, providing plenty of benefits such as air conditioning. Choose to rent a vehicle, one with a rooftop tent and save extra on accommodation. Campsites within the park charge a small daily visitor fee.
7. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
You don’t need to take a luxury hot air balloon over the Mara to feel its magnificence. All you need is to soak in the greatness of these expansive plains, and the incredible wildlife that inhabits them.
The reserve boasts the famous Big 5, as well as the popular wildebeest and zebra migration.
Though visiting this park may come at a relatively steep price, there are options to budget for your experience. These include visiting during the off-season, staying in campsites outside the park, and doing self-drives tours.
8. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Once a gigantic volcano, the Ngorongoro Crater in Northern Tanzania is a superb safari destination. Apart from the fact that the natural wonder is a 264km2 crater, it guarantees Big Five sightings all year round.
With having said this, the park’s entrance fees and lodging is catered for the higher end mark. If you want to travel the park on a budget, you should do it on a self-drive adventure, or find discount African safari packages.
But, If you’re looking for an adventure, camping on the rim of this crater saves on costs quite a bit.
9. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Serengeti National Park is a special place. Safaris here are truly remarkable, especially during the wildebeest and zebra migration. Here you’ll feel as if you’re in one of Attenborough’s movies.
Although trips to this park may come at a high price tag, you don’t have to take the glitzy, glam route to experience this slice of heaven. Serengeti safaris are possible, but you may need to rough it but a bit (tents anyone?).
Also, to save a buck, you can do a self-drive tour and walking tours.
10. Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Hwange is Zimbabwe’s flagship reserve, conveniently located next to the famous Victoria Falls and provides an all-round great safari experience. The park supports a large volume of wildlife and is one of Africa’s most widespread migratory ecosystems.
As a tourist favourite, this reserve may cost an arm and a leg, but with affordable camping and chalets at rest camps, there’s a budget to suit everyone.
Entrance fees to the park are about R343 for overseas visitors and R257 for regional residents.
Planning an African Safari on a Budget?
A safari in Africa is something to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. By following an African safari vacations budget planner, you’ll easily get your dream wildlife safari.
What safari tips do you have for an affordable safari vacation? Where did you go?