Factors to Consider When Budgeting for Your Safari in Tanzania
How Long Should Your Budget Safari Take?
The length of your safari has an impact, on your budget. According to a study by Safaribookings.com for a safari experience it is recommended to allocate approximately 3 4 days. However keep in mind that with this itinerary you may only be able to visit two parks, which means you’ll spend an amount of time traveling instead of enjoying the comfort of the lodges.
If you want to experience the Serengeti National Park, which spans around 14,750 kilometers it is advisable to set aside at least 1 2 days. Additionally make sure to allocate another day for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. These timeframes are just recommendations; if you prefer a relaxed or comprehensive exploration then you should plan for a longer stay.
If your goal is to visit all four parks in Tanzania – including Lake Manyara National Park (known for its flamingos and tree climbing lions) and Tarangire National Park (famous for its elephant migration) – then consider adding a 1 2 days into your itinerary.
Furthermore keep in mind the park entrance fees; starting from 2023 onwards non Tanzanian adults are required to pay $60 per day for Serengeti $70 for Ngorongoro, $45 for Lake Manyara and $45, for Tarangire.Considering these fees is crucial, for travelers on a budget as they can significantly impact the cost of the safari. With planning and smart financial management it is feasible to enjoy a vacation in Tanzania without putting excessive strain on your finances. You can have an experience exploring the landscapes and wildlife of Tanzania over a period of 4 7 days while staying within your budget. The key to having a fulfilling and cost effective safari lies in planning that allows you to strike a balance, between enjoying a wildlife encounter and managing your expenses wisely.
Choosing Between A Group safari in Tanzania, Self Drive or Private Safari
Planning and budgeting are essential when considering a Tanzanian safari especially when deciding between Group, Self Private tours. Each option has its features, benefits and limitations that greatly impact your budget. Lets explore each choice in detail, including a breakdown of the associated costs.
Group safaris are a choice, among budget travelers due to their affordability. However it’s important to note that they come with limitations in terms of flexibility and exclusivity.
Typically a group safari package costs around $200 per day. This includes transportation ( via overland truck) shared accommodation, most meals and pre planned activities. These tours can accommodate up to 30 travelers.
It’s worth being cautious of budget packages priced at around $130 per day as they often exclude experiences, like visiting the Serengeti National Park – renowned for its incredible wildlife spectacle.
Self Drive Safaris
For those who value independence and flexibility during their experience, self drive safaris offer an option. However careful planning is necessary to avoid expenses.
Renting a vehicle for a self guided safari usually comes with a price tag of, around $70 per day which already covers insurance. If you prefer to have a driver the daily cost goes up to $110. In case you plan on camping inside the vehicle an extra $25 per day is necessary for a rooftop tent – a safety consideration when camping in the wilderness.
Furthermore you need to factor in park entrance fees for Tanzanias attractions; $60 for the Serengeti $45 for the Ngorongoro Crater, $45 for Tarangire and $45 for Lake Manyara (as of 2023).
When it comes to private safaris, they offer flexibility and personalization while being surprisingly budget friendly especially if you’re traveling as a group. The cost can vary significantly depending on the level of luxury. Typically starts from around $350 per person per day. This includes use of a vehicle your own guide, accommodations, meals, park fees and specific activities.
However keep in mind that certain activities may come with costs. For example experiencing a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti can add $600 per person to your expenses. Similarly opting for a walking safari in Tarangire National Park could incur a charge of $50, per person.
Additional Expenses Not Included in Your Safari Package
When planning your safari it’s important to consider costs that are typically not covered in your package. These expenses include flights, visa fees, vaccinations, tipping and travel insurance. Lets take a look, at the breakdown of these expenses.
Some tour companies may include flight costs in your package. However if you choose to book you have the option to utilize frequent flyer points or take advantage of booking deals. As of 2023 round trip flights from New York to Dar es Salaam Tanzania usually range between $800 and $1,200.
In order to enter Tanzania a visa is required and it comes with a fee of $50 per person for tourist visas. This fee is typically paid in cash upon arrival or through a portal prior to your trip. It’s important to note that tour companies do not cover this cost; therefore it becomes your responsibility.
Ensuring your health protection is vital when traveling to Tanzania. We strongly recommend consulting with a travel doctor who can provide guidance on vaccinations and associated costs. As of 2023 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends immunizations such as Hepatitis A, Typhoid fever prevention measures Yellow Fever vaccination (depending on the region) and Malaria prophylaxis, for travelers visiting Tanzania. Make sure to keep yourself informed about the border control regulations related to COVID 19. It might be required to have a PCR test taken within 72 hours prior, to your arrival.
When it comes to tipping in Africa it is customary although discretionary. In restaurants, hotels and taxis it is generally suggested to leave a tip of 10% of the bill if you are satisfied with the service. At lodges gratuities are often given when departing and are shared among the staff. Its recommended to tip guides separately at a rate of $10 per day per guest. For lodge staff a tip of $5 per guest is suggested, while transfer drivers usually receive around $3, per guest.
It’s crucial to invest in travel insurance that covers any emergencies or cancellations you may encounter. While accidents are rare being prepared for any situations is always wise. You can find many online platforms that provide comparisons of insurance options and your tour provider may also offer recommendations.
The best time to visit Tanzania on a budget
In December, which is often overlooked you can find opportunities to visit Tanzania. During this time there is demand and better deals available. The landscape is breathtakingly lush, after the November rains. If you plan your safaris to coincide with the afternoon showers that’re typical during this period you can have experiences.
The low season from March to April may offer some advantages for those to brave the “long rains” season. While the weather can be hot and humid with showers there are price cuts due to lower demand. Moreover fewer tourists mean wildlife encounters.
The shoulder season in January and February is often underrated. Makes for a trip. These months usually experience a spell. Showcase lush green plains with fewer tourists around. After the surge of visitors during the season rates tend to decrease making it more appealing. Additionally witnessing the season, in the Serengeti becomes an extra bonus during this period.
Looking for parks and attractions, in Tanzania? Here are some great options that won’t break the bank;
1. Tarangire National Park
This park is famous for its herds of elephants and beautiful baobab trees. The best part is, it offers a experience at a fraction of the cost compared to other parks. As of September 2021 the entry fee for Tanzanian adults is approximately $45. If you’re looking to save consider a camping safari to cut down on accommodation expenses.
2. Lake Manyara National Park
For around $45 as an entry fee Lake Manyara provides an diverse safari experience. You’ll have the chance to spot tree climbing lions witness flocks of flamingos and explore ecosystems within the park. It’s an option for wildlife enthusiasts on a budget.
3. Arusha National Park
Despite being smaller in size Arusha National Park offers a range of activities without breaking the bank with its entry fee. You can hike up Mount Meru for views explore the Ngurdoto Craters landscape or enjoy canoeing on the Momella Lakes. Adventure seekers who appreciate diversity will find this park perfect for their budget travel plans.
4. Mkomazi National Park
Often underrated by tourists Mkomazi is a gem that shouldn’t be missed by budget travelers. For an entry fee of $30 you can experience an off the beaten track safari adventure here. The park is home to species, like wild dogs and black rhinos.
5. Selous Game Reserve
While the entrance fee may be a bit higher $50 Selous provides an uncrowded safari experience at a lower cost, per square kilometer compared to the parks in the northern circuit. A four day safari in this reserve can be as affordable as $750 per person inclusive of accommodation, meals, park fees and game drives.
Aside from safaris Tanzania is renowned for its beaches. Zanzibar offers an option for unwinding after your adventure. You can explore the Stone Town indulge in cuisine or engage in snorkeling, amidst crystal clear waters.
How Much Should You Spend on Accommodation For A Budget Safari in Tanzania?
Expenses, for Camping Safaris
Camping safaris offer an experience in Tanzania’s wilderness and the average cost is approximately US$200 per person per day. This price includes transportation, tents, camping necessities, park entrance fees, guides and certain meals.
However it’s important to note that the overall cost can vary based on factors like the chosen tour operator and group size. Some operators may offer prices while others may charge more for the experience. Additionally popular destinations or those located far from transport routes could potentially increase the price. Considering these variables camping safaris can range up to US$500 per person per day for those with a flexible budget.
Expenses for Lodge Safaris
For those seeking a experience lodge safaris provide a middle ground option. The cost of a mid range lodge safari starts at over US$300 per person per day.
However customizing the safari according to preferences such as accommodations, private guides or off the beaten path destinations can raise the price. Tailor made lodge safaris can range from US$350 to over US$550 per person, per day based on the desired level of customization and luxury.
Looking for budget accommodation options, near National Parks? Here are some great choices;
Serengeti National Park Budget Accommodation
Seronera Public Campsite
Located in the area of the park Seronera Campsite offers a camping experience with necessary amenities like communal ablution blocks, cold showers and toilets. It’s a spot to unwind and marvel at the African night sky.
This accommodation combines beauty with comfort. You can enjoy the adventure of staying in tents while having ensuite bathrooms and running hot water. For those seeking a stay there are thatched chalets available.. There’s a restaurant and bar where you can relax and socialize after a day of game viewing.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area Budget Safari Lodges
Simba Public Campsite
Situated on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater Simba Campsite offers views of the crater. The facilities here are basic. Guests often rave about the awe inspiring scenery and abundant wildlife surrounding the campsite.
A drive away, from the Ngorongoro Crater Rhino Lodge provides comfortable yet affordable accommodation options.
Enjoy your stay while exploring these wonders!The rooms, at the lodge are modest. Include a bathroom and a cozy wood burning stove for chilly nights. In addition there are spaces such as a bar and a restaurant that serves home style meals.
Tarangire National Park Budget Accommodation
Tarangire Public Campsite
This campsite is situated within the park grounds. Provides a camping experience. Despite its simplicity being surrounded by nature and having the opportunity to spot wildlife within the area creates a truly unique experience. There are shared ablution blocks for use.
Tarangire Safari Lodge
Located inside the park this lodge offers both tents. Bungalows. Each accommodation option features its bathroom and a lovely veranda that overlooks the Tarangire River. Within the area of the lodge guests can relax in the lounge enjoy drinks at the bar or dine in an inviting space while observing wildlife roam freely.
Lake Manyara National Park
Jambo Public Campsite; Situated near the park entrance Jambo Campsite offers a yet camping experience. Guests have access to shared toilet and shower facilities. Staying here allows you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
Twiga Lodge and Campsite
This lodge is located in Mto wa Mbu town, conveniently close, to Lake Manyara National Park. They provide accommodations options including lodge rooms, permanent tents and a campsite.
The property includes a restaurant and a bar, along with a swimming pool providing a retreat from the African weather.
Nyerere National Park Budget Camps
Selous River Camp
This camp offers affordable mud huts and tents both equipped with private bathrooms. You can also enjoy dining at the restaurant grabbing drinks at the bar and taking a dip in the pool. The camps advantageous location overlooking the Rufiji River allows for wildlife viewing opportunities.
Africa Safari Camp Selous
Positioned near the park entrance this camp offers budget accommodations such as safari tents and bungalows all featuring private bathrooms. In addition to that you can savor meals at the restaurant and unwind by the pool. As an added bonus they even provide bush TV (campfire) experiences.
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha Hilltop Lodge; Enjoy breathtaking views of the park from this lodges self contained cottages. You’ll find a restaurant and bar on site to cater to your dining needs. The lodge can arrange game drives walking safaris and night game drives for you.
Sunset Lodge Ruaha
Situated close to the park grounds this lodge offers budget bungalows with bathrooms for your comfort. The on site restaurant serves an array of meals to satisfy your palate.
Katavi National Park
Katavi Wildlife Camp
This camp provides tents equipped with bathrooms, for your convenience.
Although the facilities may not be luxurious the game viewing opportunities, at this camp are truly outstanding. The camp itself offers views of the Kapapa river, which attracts a variety of animals particularly during the dry season.
Katuma Bush Lodge
The spacious tents and wooden decks provide an feel overlooking the stunning Katisunga Plains. Each tent even has its bathroom for added convenience. Additionally you’ll find a restaurant and bar in the area where you can relax and unwind, after wildlife encounters.