Safaris aren’t most people’s first thought when planning an affordable holiday and whilst it’s true that Africa is expensive, if seeing the big five or catching some of Kenya’s numerous cultural highlights is on your bucket list, there are ways to do it and cut costs. Our handy guide will teach you some sneaky tricks to shave a few dollars off your trip and help you to plan an affordable Kenya safari.
Stick to the shoulder season
Hear the word ‘holiday’ and automatically think of long sun-drenched days and balmy evening temperatures – right? Well, if you’re willing to put that aside you can find some astonishingly good deals. When planning an affordable Kenya safari, it really is worth looking at all the seasons and weighing up cost vs weather. November, for example, is an excellent time to visit Kenya and although the forecast can be difficult to predict (you could experience glorious sunshine, you could get caught in a rain shower), it’s an excellent time to witness new life entering the world with topi, impala and giraffe all calving in this period. And new life always brings great drama as the big cats start to circle, waiting for an opportunity… April and May are often avoided by travellers because they can be a little, well, damp, but don’t let that dampen your spirits as some of the best prices can be found during this time. In the Masai Mara, you’ll spot elephants moving out of forested areas search of the lush new shoots that have popped up, making for excellent viewing opportunities. The other benefit to travelling when nobody else is, is exactly that – you’ll find you might have some areas entirely to yourself. A nice change from the most popular areas of the Masai Mara. To read more about when to visit Kenya, have a look at our guide.
Tack on a couple of extra nights
It might seem counterintuitive but sometimes the longer you stay somewhere the more money you save. Let us explain. Many camps offer excellent stay longer deals (e.g. pay for three nights stay for four), making a great excuse to lengthen your safari. At the time of writing, Great Plains are offering an incredible deal that gives guests the chance to stay for four nights and pay for three or stay for eight nights and pay for six! An excellent discount that includes some of our favourite spots such as Mara Expedition Camp in the Masai Mara and Ol Donyo Lodge in Amboseli. Sanctuary Retreats offer a similar deal in which guests staying at the beautiful Olonana Camp in the Mara can save up to 30% if they stay 4-6 nights and up to 40% if they stay for 7+ nights. It just goes to show that you can still enjoy a lengthy stay and save money! Win win.
Stay loyal to the brand
Sticking with the excellent deals theme, there are often great discounts to be had if you stay at sister properties belonging to the same groups. For example, Classic Portfolio are offering (at the time of writing) up to 40% off for guests who stay at either Sala’s Camp, Sasaab, Solio Lodge and Giraffe Manor! Deals like these can be found right across Africa and can really help if you’re looking for a saving. The other benefit is of course that if you like one of the properties you’re probably going to like the others, almost guaranteeing an excellent stay for your whole trip. So if you’re looking to plan an affordable Kenya safari, get in touch and find out the best deals you can take advantage of.
Find a private driver – seriously!
We know, we know, hiring a private driver isn’t usually on the list of ways to save money but bear with us. Flying anywhere in Africa is likely to cost you a small fortune, especially when you’re looking at booking a multi-destination trip so having our own driver really can be a cheaper solution. The added bonus is that you’ll really get to take in your surroundings as you travel from place to place and you might even spot some wildlife along the way (extra safari drive anyone?!). You can swap out some of the flights in both our Classic Kenya bush & beach and Conservation & culture in Kenya trips quite easily and you’ll see so much more on the ground than from the air.
Choose locations carefully
When you’re planning an affordable Kenya safari and looking at all the options available, it can become easy to convince yourself that you have to stay inside the parks and conservancies to make sure you’re in the middle of the action. And whilst it’s a great option, it’s not the only one, especially if you’re trying to plan an affordable Kenya safari. There are some excellent lodge options set just outside many of the national parks, which are usually much more affordable than those within the gates. This means you can make a saving and still be up bright and early to explore the parks and seek out the wildlife. Lake Nakuru National Park, for example, is famous for its candyfloss-pink flamingos, white and black rhino, hyena, leopard and lion, and Susie’s Camp and Camp Carnelley’s are excellent budget options that both offer basic but brilliantly-placed accommodation. If it’s the Ol Pejeta Conservancy that’s on your list (and with the large numbers of rare wildlife, why wouldn’t it be?), we’d recommend Kongoni Camp, which also comes with added views of Mount Kenya. It’s not impossible to find affordable accommodation, you just need to know where to look – that’s what we’re here for!