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African Safari Costs

Chicago, Illinois
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African Safari Costs

Having no idea how much a safari costs I thought I would ask for some advice thru this forum.

A luxury safari operator said they could do a 10 day/9 night stay/safari for $9,000/person. This includes the following:

transfer from international airport or hotel in Nairobi to Wilson Airport

- flight from Wilson Airport to Mara Siana

- 4 nights full board (all meals on a la carte basis) accommodation in Masai. Private dining in your tent whenever you wish.

- 2 game drives per day and full day game drive with pic nic lunch. All our game drives are conducted in open converted 4x4’s and are accompanied by a professional ranger and a local Masai spotter

- All airstrip transfers

- Sun downer and night game drive

- Walking safari, accompanied by an armed ranger

- Private conservancy fees and park entrance

- Laundry

- All non alcoholic drinks, beers, house wines and non luxury spirits

- Unlimited massage but subject to availability

- Flight from Masai Mara to Kogatende (via Isabenia border) Please note you need the yellow fever certificate to enter Tanzania from Kenya. The visa for Tanzania you can obtain at the Isabenia border without any problems.

- 5 nights full board (all meals on a la carte basis) accommodation in Serengeti. Private dining in your tent whenever you wish.

- 2 game drives per day and full day game drive with bush breakfast or pic nic lunch. All our game drives are conducted in open converted 4x4’s and are accompanied by a professional ranger and a local Kuria spotter

- All airstrip transfers

- Sun downer

- TANAPA camping fees and park entrance

- Laundry

- All non alcoholic drinks, beers, house wines and non luxury spirits

- Unlimited massage but subject to availability

- Temporary Flying doctors membership

- Flight from Kogatende to JRO (Kilimanjaro)

Is this price reasonable? if not, what should a safari of this type cost?

Thank you.

Ottawa, Canada
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10,199 posts
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1. Re: African Safari Costs

Please tell us what time of year you are travelling, as in Tanzania, that makes a big difference in cost. Also, how many of you are travelling?

A typical safari in Tanzania can start at $350 per person per day depending on time of year and lodgings. This would be a semi-luxe lodge or a large permanent or semi permanent tent similar to Mara Siana. What is your Tanzania accommodation going to be?

The trip you have outlined only visits one of the many wonderful parks of Tanzania. Staying only in one camp in the country is limiting you in scope of viewing and environment.

If using the camp's on site drives, you generally will be sharing the vehicle with others.

An expensive trip does not mean more or better animal viewing, but may provide massages and chandeliers in the room. If you determine what your priorities are, we may be better able to advise whether the price is reasonable.

Know that many on this forum contact several tour operators who work with you to create a private safari with your own car and driver to transport you between parks and give private game drives - as many and as long as you wish. It is harder if you really want Kenya and Tanz, but know that Masai Mara park is just a small extension of the larger Serengeti Plains of Tanzania. One can easily organize a guide and driver meeting your plane in Serengeti and taking care of you until your time in Tanzania is done. You can then fly back to Arusha while he drives back, your you can take the opportunity to drive back with him and see some parks or countryside enroute.

Nashville, Tennessee
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2,264 posts
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2. Re: African Safari Costs

This seems high to me. I think if you shop around a little and find an in country outfitter, you will see that price come down quite a bit, but as stated above, that depends on what time of year and which accommodations. If this is a micato, A&K or Disney then you are paying about 200%-300% more than a local outfitter would do the came trip.

If this is paying for a really high end camp then the price may be fine.

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: African Safari Costs

As others. Luxury, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. If you need fancy chandeliers in your tent and a flunky pouring your Champange then this is not a bad price for that.

However, do note that when you go on the game drives you may be looking at wildlife alongside another car where the pax have paid a fifth of that price. The animals will look exactly the same to both of you.

QMs figure of $300 pppd is more realistic and even then you won't be in slum accommodations with a beat up car .

"Unlimited Massage" the mind boggles. Unlimited in what way?

Hoever the main comment I have is "Why?"

Why in 9 days are you bustling between two countries? There is enough in TZ to keep you occupied for a month and still you won't have seen it all.

I am sure if you contact four or five operators in Arusha with an itinerary covering arrival/departure at JRO, flying to Kogatende where an Arusha car will meet you for a slow nine day drive back through the Serengeti and visits to Ngorongoro, maybe Lake Manyara and definitely Tarangire.

Say 4 in Serengeti, 1 Ngorongoro, 1 Manyara and 3 Tarangire you will see as many quality animals as you can dream of and save a bucket full of $$.

Subject to seasonal variations of course and the number of Pax in the car.

Finally, never equate cost with better. It ain't necessarily so.

I can sprinkle a few rose petals around and put points on the Bog Rolls for far less if asked.

Stanley, Falkland...
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32,677 posts
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4. Re: African Safari Costs


There's no right or wrong answer to "what should a safari cost?"

There's as many answers as there are visitors. The question is NOT "is this reasonable?", but rather, "will I get value from this?". I mean, the offer of free massages is only of interest if the basic content of a safari (ANIMALS) has been delivered. There's no point in telling your friends in Chicago that you didn't take any photos of wild animals because you were enjoying a "free" massage...

You can approach this in several ways, eg -

1. Tell some operators what you would like to get out of a trip, what level of accommodation you want, and how many days you have and ask them what it would cost.

or, if you don't have a clue what you want -

2. Tell them you have a maximum of $$$$$ and nn days - what can they do for you?

Compare the replies, and choose the one you like most.

By all means, come back when you have some more responses, and ask for further input from the old safari hands sitting round the virtual TA camp fire having a Kilimanjaro beer......

Ottawa, Canada
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10,199 posts
137 reviews
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5. Re: African Safari Costs

Before you put down your money, you might want to check out the TripAdvisor reviews of Siana Springs which seems to be the Mara siana Camp. If so, it is a moderately budgeted place with okay food. Of course, maybe it is a luxury camp by some other name, but without the names of the camps, we can't tell for sure.

For 10 days, you would be better off in one country or the other, but that is just the majority suggestion.

You would be best served fpgetting quotes formthe same itinerary from several sources to determine if you are paying too much or not.

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6. Re: African Safari Costs


I think this is a bit complicated Itinerary and cost.

What i recomend you to do is try to contact the local operator who will give you a resonable prices according to you interest.

So you just tell them what is you interest,the time you planing to visit and how many days you have then they will prepare the best itinerary.

Me and my friend we did a good 8days safari in Tanzania which cost us $250/person per day.the guy gave us an option of joining a group of other 2 people who were doing the same safari just to reduce the cost to be $200/person per day.

That was including All park fees,accomodation while on safari and after,all camping gears,3 meals a day while on safari,4 wheel land cruiser for safari + a profesional driver guide and camping cook for safari,1.5 litre of mineral water while on safari.

The guy was from a Tour company named SAFARI TRACKERS ADVENTURE their contact is safari@safaritrackersadventure.com

We realy had a happy time in Tanzania and they were halpful to us since we start asking for a quotation and itinerary.

Hope it will help.

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: African Safari Costs

Welcome to the Forum Charles STA . Maybe you could let us share some of your photographs for your trip?

And perhaps read the posting rules about soliciting and self promotion?

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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12,484 posts
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8. Re: African Safari Costs

To the OP; you are paying almost $1,000 per person per day, that's so far over the top it is indescribable. It had better be indescribable luxury and you had better be very pampered. I would never consider this for over 1 minute.

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9. Re: African Safari Costs

What time of year? Even if in peak, Siana Springs sure isn't a luxe camp, nor located in the best area. And, once you get to the Serengeti, there is no mention of where you'd be laying your head... duh! (or did I miss something).

$9K/person is quite high and not at lodges/camps deserving such, even when including park fees. There isn't even a hotel on arrival assume you get into NBO in the evening and even if in morning, it can be difficult to make the road transfer from international airport to Wilson at that hour to fly away to the Mara. Likewise, on the back end, if you have an evening homebound flight... no dayroom provided?

The air from Wilson to Mara is about $200/pp; from Mara to Kogatende is about $450-500/pp and from Kogatende to JRO about $225-250/pp... what remains is still quite high.

What is your objective, just the Mara and Serengeti?

At $1K/pp/day, have to ask 'who is offering this itinerary?'

Edited: 12 October 2012, 23:43
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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10. Re: African Safari Costs

That's an expensive itinerary, and it's hard to work out why. I looked up Siana Springs and it doesn't seem to be expensive enough (about $350 pppn) to justify the whole thing working out at $1000 a night. The itinerary doesn't list where you stay in Tanzania, but all I can say is it must be VERY expensive, or there are lots of hidden logistical costs in there. Don't be scared to ask for a breakdown- then you can figure out exactly what that money is being spent on.

To me the itinerary doesn't make sense. As QM says, you are combining two countries, but only visiting two parks which are, in essence, just two parts of the same park with the border cutting it in two. So you're not gaining much variety by visiting both, just adding costs. Not that visiting lots of parks is essential- if all you want to see is animals, a lion in one park looks much the same as a lion in another park. However, if that's the case you might as well spend all 9 days in the Mara in 2 camps or the Serengeti in 2 camps. That would be no different to visiting both "sides". However, if this is a first safari you probably want to visit more than one park.

If that's the case, then stick with one country. You could visit other parks in that country that will offer something different, at least in terms of scenery- eg in Tanzania- Tarangire, the Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara, or in Kenya- Laikipia, Samburu, Lake Nakuru.

A couple of posters make the point about "value", which is also about what is important to you, and so you need to figure that out for yourself. Perhaps massages and luxury accommodation are important and you're prepared to pay for that- fair enough, as long as you know that's what you're paying for. A number of factors can increase the cost of safaris, and you may think some of them are worth paying for and some not. For example-

Luxury accommodation- stuff like massages and "a la carte dining", swimming pools

Size of camp- regardless of the luxury level of each individual room, smaller camps (eg 6 room tented camps) are more expensive per guest to run, so will be more expensive. But you get a more intimate atmosphere and more of a feeling of being in the bush than in a 50 room lodge. However, in a small camp there will be a lot more interaction with other guests eg communal dining at one big table, which may or may not be for you.

Remoteness of location- probably not such a factor when comparing prices within Kenya and Northern Tanzania, but further afield a camp in a remote location is more expensive to run. On the plus side, you might get a very exclusive experience.

Number of guests in vehicles- some safaris (especially group tours) will pack people into vehicles but will be cheaper

Fly in or drive- with this you just need to pick what's appropriate for your itinerary depending on distances. If you want to do the Northern circuit- eg Tarangire/Manyara/Crater/Serenget, it would be stupid to try and fly it, but if you want to, for example, just go to the Serengeti for a week, then flying might make more sense. There are pros and cons of both. Driving will give you your own vehicle and guide, but flying means you use the camp's vehicles and guides and share with other guests. However, camp guides are in their area all the time so might know it better and you might prefer to experience different guides rather than one for the whole trip.

I don't know how much this operator talked you through the options before presenting you with this itinerary, but if all you said is "I want to go on safari to Kenya and Tanzania" and that is what they gave you, then I would look elsewhere. A good operator should at least be able to talk you through some options and try and put something together that suits you, rather than just try and sell you the most expensive trip (and this is a very expensive trip!).

If you haven't already run a mile at the idea of spending 9 grand, then you probably have money to spend. I think you could spend it more wisely than this itinerary. You could probably get something extremely nice for half the money and save the rest for next year!