The words ‘affordable’ and ‘safari’ aren’t often seen together in the same sentence, but there are definitely ways to keep costs down on a trip to Africa – you just have to know where to look! If you’d like to plan an affordable Tanzania safari then you’ve come to the right place. Our guide is full of handy tips and tricks that you may not have thought about, from cost-saving locations to the best time of year for saving a few pennies.
The green and shoulder season
One of our top tips to plan an affordable Tanzania safari is to look at travelling in the off-peak seasons. In Tanzania, these months are November or anytime from February to May. Whether it’s called the green, shoulder or low seasons, don’t underestimate the highlights of travelling now – you’ll get the same excellent standard of guiding and fabulous camps but for much less. Highlights of the season include plenty of newborn babies springing around emerald-green plains (especially in the Serengeti, when it’s wildebeest calving season in the south) and the dust-free landscapes in places like Ngorongoro that make for excellent photographs. The only downside, however, is that some camps may close at these times of year, particularly in southern parks like Ruaha and Selous. Have a look at our When to Go guide for everything you need to know about the different seasons.
To luxury or not to luxury?
One of the biggest myths surrounding safaris all over Africa is that you either have to stay in a lodge that costs an arm and leg, or camp with only a sheet of canvas for comfort. Happily, neither of those is true and Tanzania has an astonishing array of camps for all styles, tastes and budgets (use the filter at the side of the page to see what’s available at different price points). Take for example, somewhere like Ruaha National Park. At the very top end is somewhere like Jabali Ridge, at a cool £910 pppn in the high season, but with a little research in your quest to plan an affordable Tanzania safari, you’ll find gems such a Kwihala Camp (£570 pppn) and Mdonya Old River Camp (£340 pppn). And whilst they might not have private butlers and plunge pools, they are wonderfully authentic (and quite stylish), and provide a genuine and excellent safari experience.
Look for special offers
As with most long-haul trips and big holidays, special offers can be a huge help when trying to plan an affordable safari. In Tanzania, there are plenty around and we can certainly help you find them! A good place to start your search is with companies that have a number of camps and lodges in different locations. Safari stalwart Asilia Africa has camps at varying price points all over the Serengeti (Sayari and Kimondo are two), Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire and The Highlands on the edge of Ngorongoro. Currently, if you book a combination of more than three camps across their portfolio, you’ll get a good chunk of money off. Honeymooners are also in line for some top notch discounts (but you’ll have to be travelling a maximum of 6 months after your wedding) and it’s always worth an ask to see if there are any other offers you can make use of, even if you’re not getting married.
Stick to one or two locations
As you’ve probably realised, internal flights are expensive. Very expensive in fact, and the more you take, the more you spend, and the longer the flights are, the more you spend (again). To get around this, one of our tips to plan an affordable Tanzania safari is to consider visiting parks that are close in proximity and that fit together easily. Tried and tested circuits make for cheaper and hassle-free trips. Take for example Tanzania’s northern circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Tarangire) which can be combined in a trip like this one, or the southern circuit (most commonly a combination of Ruaha and Selous, but sometimes with the addition of Katavi – although beware of the added cost of this). Our classic southern route is this off-the-beaten track route, and this one which includes some time at the beach.
Hop in the car
If you’ve been on safari in southern Africa, you might wonder what we’re talking about. But Tanzania is one of the few places on the continent where driving between parks really is possible and doesn’t take hours and hours. As well as often working out cheaper than flying, you’ll also get to see some pretty awesome sights as you drive. If you choose a driving trip, you’ll meet your driver/guide in Arusha and stick with him (and his vehicle) for the rest of your journey. This type of safari is only really on offer in the northern parks of the country and our trip, A driving expedition in northern Tanzania, is a good place to start if a 4×4 safari sounds like your cup of tea. You’ll enjoy walking safaris in baobab-filled Tarangire, wildebeest-watch in the Serengeti and marvel at some of best game viewing on the continent in the Ngorongoro Crater, but if you need a little something else, Lake Manyara is good addition that isn’t a million miles away.