How Much Does an African Safari Cost?

It’s hard to imagine anything more exciting than experiencing the wonders of Africa! Whether you want to walk the trails, or travel the waterways in a boat, canoe, or kayak, you can do it in Africa. If you long to see the incredible wildlife up-close, meet new people, or visit the villages and market bazaars, you can do that, too!

Amboseli National Park, Kenya
You’ll forget all about the cost of an African safari once you get there!

In fact, there’s something for everyone, and it’s all just waiting for you on an African safari adventure. So, how much does an African safari cost? We’ll break it down for you; rest assured that you’ll find options for every budget, making this fantastic adventure yours for the taking.

And because you’re a savvy (and ethical!) traveler, as you’re exploring your program and package options, you’re going to want to plan for funds to address the associated impact of the overall African safari cost when it comes to concerns like budgeting.

Things like environmental offset fees, conservation donations, and community-building fundraising to support the needs of this second-largest (and second-most populous) continent are all fantastic reasons to get fundraising, right?

But first, why not start with the basics…

What is an African safari?

Editor’s note: In light of recent COVID-19 developments, we strongly recommend that you heed all CDC warnings for this location in order to avoid localized outbreaks.

The word “safari” comes from the Swahili word for journey. Early safari literature focused on rising early, guided walking tours across the landscape during the day, and setting up camp in the evenings — and doing this repeatedly, over a series of many days.

nebula over south africa
You’ll love sleeping under the stars.

Some early safaris also focused on big-game hunting…but now (thankfully!) the term primarily applies to adventures undertaken by those focused on observation, sketching, photography, and even conservation tourism.

For this reason, many, if not most, reputable providers will include environmental and conservation or animal welfare fees in the African safari prices they charge. Those seeking meaningful travel adventures should consider ethical practices, travel safety, and social impact on the community when reviewing options for programs and providers. 

As you can see, the true cost of an African safari can go far beyond the financial one, so while the goal is to have a wonderful time, you should also try to leave your destination even better than you found it.

And, one more bit of good advice: While it might be tempting to travel to completely unexplored locations for your first safari adventure, the best places for you to visit would include countries with well-established programs.

This would mean exploring locations like Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia (home of the beautiful Victorian Falls!). Those looking for even more adventure might enjoy the opportunity to trek Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, or a flyover view in Ruaha. Just remember that summit or helicopter fees will add to your overall African safari cost.

Related: FundMyTravel’s Guide to Budget Travel in South Africa

How to calculate the cost of an African safari

people in a jeep on safari near elephants
Ethical practices are the cornerstone of the best safaris.

When you look at the overall cost of an African safari, it’s important to include all the kinds of fees (including donations!) you might need to plan for when you’re making your budget and scheduling your trip.

With that in mind, when you’re trying to figure out the range of fees for the safari alone, you will find that it varies quite a bit by location, type, and country.

However, the average cost for a mid-range safari experience is between $125 USD and $400 USD per person, per night, depending on whether or not you’re looking for private sleeping arrangements.

Here are a few other costs to consider:

1. Airfare and getting there

If you’re planning an African safari, the first thing you need to do is get to Africa! When you’re plotting out the airfare portion of your African safari cost, it’s always good to check discount airfare aggregators (like Kayak, FareCompare, and Expedia), but some individual airlines offer specials that rival the discount programs — with the added benefit of options for nonstop travel.

2. Visas

While visa regulations will vary from country to country, the average cost for a travel visa is roughly $50 USD. The best way to make certain you have all the paperwork you need for your African safari is to work with a reputable list of regulatory bodies, like the GoAbroad Embassy Directory, to get all the info you need!

3. Vaccinations & medical coverage

Whether it’s taking out extra medical coverage for your travels, or making sure that you get all of the required vaccinations and immunizations in the 4-6 week period before you go to Africa, don’t forget to include medical fees and insurance add-ons as part of your overall African safari cost. Pro-Tip: Even if you don’t think you’ll need extra medical coverage, you really should get it.

4. Program & provider fees

Your overall program and provider fees will vary from place to place, and program to program — but there’s an easy way to avoid guesswork when you work with a reliable resource like the GoAbroad Guide to Safari Adventures Abroad! Before you start narrowing down your dream programs, make sure they’re within your budget.

Amboseli National Park, Kenya
Capture incredible moments during your adventure!

5. Donations & conservation fees

Some safaris are built around green practices entirely, while others simply tag on additional fees, giving as much as 30% of the African safari cost they earn to government agencies that redistribute that income for conservation and wildlife.

So when you’re asking, “How much does an african safari cost?” remember that you’re not just buying an experience, you’re supporting an economy reliant on tourism as its core industry. Make sure you purchase ethically and wisely.

6. Extras — tipping, laundry, souvenirs, and more

Your focus might be on the landscape and surroundings, but don’t forget that safari travel is hospitality-intensive. There are entire teams of people working to make your experience exceptional, and gratuity is often not included for things like taxis, dining, and personal services

Also, for most people, the cost of an African safari includes crafts and souvenirs as reminders of the experience, so don’t forget to plan for some extra spending money in your budget!

5 top programs for your African safari

Planning an African safari is a highly personal process; from the kind of adventure you seek, to the location and duration, to the African safari cost, there are plenty of factors to consider when choosing the perfect program for you. To make getting started with that task even easier, be sure to check out the top 5 safari programs from our friends at GoAbroad.com below!

1. Worldaway Learning Tours

This program gets consistently high reviews, and even includes an opportunity to become a certified South African Wildlife Ranger while on your African safari adventure! The programs range from rhino conservation in Silkaatsnek to providing gorilla habitat support in Uganda.

As for the cost, each experience is customized (including options for add-on service components) so you’ll want to contact the provider to get their African safari prices.

2. Frontier

This provider has locations all over the world, but their African adventure travel and safari options are in places including Morocco, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Zambia.

African safari prices for this program start at about $255 USD, with most including group housing options to keep costs down. Additionally, options for specialized causes (from conservation to wildlife and youth development) can be added.

3. Culsans Gap Travel

If you’re looking for an even longer stay opportunity, doing an eight-week program in Kenya or an entire gap year in Africa could be just the thing for you! The African safari cost for this adventure runs around $1200-1500 USD per week, but it’s an all-inclusive experience.

That means things like meals, accommodations, certifications, and on-site medical care, bottled water, and in-country transportation (just to name a few!) are provided.

4. International Volunteer HQ [IVHQ] Programs

This organization offers a wide range of meaningful travel opportunities, from adventure travel (including safaris) to volunteer vacations and medical missions. One of their most popular African safari opportunities involves working with lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo in Victoria Falls.

Trips last anywhere from two weeks to three months, with African safari prices that include a registration fee of $299 USD. Once you’re registered, you’ll have access to discounts on airfare and a wide variety of other included resources.

5. The Real Uganda

This program provides an absolutely affordable, all-inclusive one-stop-shop for the novice traveler. For an average African safari cost of $175 USD per day, adventurers in the 7-day culture tour of Uganda will have an experience chock-full of adventure. 

You’ll get to track lions, giraffes, elephants, baboons, and hippos during a two-day ride along the Blue Nile, as well as culture tours, daily meals, accommodations, transportation; the donation fees for site visits are included!

Use FundMyTravel to defer the cost of an African safari

No matter what destination you choose for your African safari adventure, you can make your trip even more affordable by launching a targeted travel campaign on FundMyTravel!

From the toolkit of free resources to the access to other successful campaigns for inspiration, it’s the perfect solution to helping you pay your way to the safari of your dreams.

And, when you partner with the FundMyTravel platform, it’s just a matter of four easy steps to launch your campaign — and you’ll be on your way to Africa in no time!

Make like a cheetah and spot the Big 5

person reflected in side view mirror
Budget wisely and keep the dream alive — you’re going on safari!

As you can see, there are amazing reasons, ways, and places to explore when in Africa on safari…most of which include some powerful options to add value to the communities you’d visit through acts of conservation, donation, ecotourism, and service.

When you think about the cost of an African safari, remember that you can add a lot more value than just your dollars spent when you focus on the good work that can result from this truly exceptional travel opportunity.

So now that you’ve got this important information at your fingertips, it’s time to explore your options, make your budget, check out the free resources for fundraising, and get started on your plan to cover the cost of an African safari adventure today!

Keep reading! Find more blogs on Affordable Travel → 

andi sciacca

This article was written by Andi Sciacca. Andi is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and their four-legged family. She works with inspired professionals who are expert practitioners, experienced educators, and well-known contributors to their field. Andi helps them take ideas and put them into practice. When not working or writing, she loves to experience music, see the world, and learn new things. Andi’s favorite places to travel include anywhere she can eat good food—and swim.

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