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Top Countries for Budget African Safaris

by Cris Puscas

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African safaris are still surrounded by an aura of glamour and exclusivity which only reinforces the misconception that they are all pricey.

Just do a quick search online for a safari and you are bound to come face to face with the luxury end options. Thankfully, there are alternatives for affordable safaris that would not only provide a lovely experience but won’t leave a big hole in your pocket either.

With that being said, it is important to know what to expect from a budget safari and to choose a country where affordable options are plentiful, without putting a damper on your experience.

While you may not be offered champagne as you watch the gorgeous African sunset, you will get the opportunity to observe the majestic African elephants up close at Olifants River in South Africa.

Budget safaris in Africa are all about being close to nature and forgoing some creature comforts.

If you are looking for an affordable way to experience Africa, let’s take a look at our pick for the top countries for budget African safaris.

 

 

Budget Safaris in South Africa

lion in south africa

The biggest national park in South Africa, Kruger National Park is home to an estimated 1,500 lions, 17,000 elephants, 48,000 buffalos, and 1,000 leopards. It is also the top place to spot the Big Five animals and a great option for a budget safari in South Africa.

The best time to plan for a budget safari in Kruger is during the low travel season. Thankfully, it also mostly coincides with the ideal months to visit the park (April to September).

Try to avoid traveling during the traditional vacation times in the Northern Hemisphere, which are July, August, and December. This is when accommodation and international flights tend to cost a lot more than during the rest of the year.

Planning a safari in Kruger and feel stuck? Read our detailed guide to visiting Kruger National Park.

Budget Safaris in Kenya

wildlife in kenya

The quintessential safari experience in Kenya may be a balloon safari over Masai Mara but you really don’t need to indulge in it to see the greatness of the place.

Masai Mara National Reserve is home not only to all of the Big Five animals but also to the Great Migration. So, you just need peace and quiet so you can enjoy the vastness of the place and see the wildlife that resides here.

The best time to visit the reserve is during the dry season (June to October) which also falls right during the high travel season, making the prices fall on the higher end.

You may want to book your budget safari in Masai Mara in May when the game viewing conditions are still good. Plus, the park is green and there are lots of flowers. But since it falls outside of the high season, there are more chances to find affordable prices.

 

Planning to visit Masai Mara and don’t know where to start? Read our detailed guide to visiting Masai Mara National Reserve!

 

Budget Safaris in Botswana

elephants in botswana

Botswana may not be a particularly wallet-friendly destination but if you get a chance to include it in an overland safari, it will deliver a rewarding experience.

The elephant herds crossing the Chobe River in Chobe National Park are a sight to be remembered for life and the reason why most travelers visit this park. However, a myriad of other wildlife – lions, cheetahs, crocodiles, and hippopotamus – also call this park their home.

The best time to visit the park if you plan to focus on the riverfront area is between August and October, which falls right during the high travel season.

Your chances to find a budget safari in Chobe National Park are higher during the low season, from November to June. You may want to know that from November to March, it’s the ideal time to see adorable baby animals and plenty of zebras and other wildlife at Savute Marsh.

 

Planning to visit Chobe to see the herds of elephants? Read our detailed guide to visiting Chobe National Park!

 

Budget Safaris in Tanzania

wildebeest in tanzania

A safari in Tanzania is most often synonymous with witnessing the Great Migration, which passes through Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater as well as the adjoining Masai Mara in Kenya.

But you don’t need to take the glitzy route to experience the spectacular numbers of wildebeest and zebras in Serengeti National Park.

June and July are the best months to see the migration in the western corridor, while August and September are ideal if you are headed in the north part of the park.

Most of the year is high travel season here so you may need to rough it a bit (tents anyone?). In order to find a budget safari in Serengeti National Park. But let’s be honest, who needs creature comforts when you have unbeatable “access” to wildlife?

 

Planning to see the Great Migration in Serengeti? Read our guide to visiting Serengeti National Park!

 

Budget Safaris in Namibia

lions in namibia

The striking beauty of the Namibian landscape may not conjure images of affordable travel. But that’s just not true. Thanks to a lot of affordable accommodation options – especially campsites – a budget safari in Namibia is more than possible.

Here, the best place for a safari is Etosha National Park. Most of the year, almost the entire park is a dried out giant salt-crusted lakebed. Plan your trip during the dry months – July to October – when the animals gather around the waterholes.

Unfortunately, that also falls during the high travel season, so you may need to opt to stay in the above-mentioned campsites. But who needs 5-star accommodation when you have a million stars above your head?

Want to see the wildlife roam in the striking Namibian scenery? Read our guide to visiting Etosha National Park!


What are you waiting for? Book yourself an affordable safari right now and have the time of your life during your African vacation!

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