Kenya is the birthplace of the word ‘safari’ which represents adventure tourism into places where iconic wildlife and birds scenes inhabits incredibly immaculate wildernesses. Planning a Kenya safari requires prudence to create lasting memories of the destinations you are visiting and in the most befitting budget. Importantly , Kenya is not the place to acquire that top level comfort with most of the facilities being made of canvas, park roads dusty and inadequate basic infrastructures like clean water and reliable electric power. But the experience will always stand out as an authentic feel of nature and all that it holds. Whenever you are planning for a safari the first thing that will always hit your mind is the pricing and the value of money that comes with it. In this guide we shall look at different safari categories and their pricing.
Firstly, Kenya safari cost range from as low as 200 USD per day and can go up to over 1500 USD/ day depending on:
- Accommodations categories. Budget accommodation cost as low as 45 USD per night while the luxury category may cost over 1000 per night.
- Activities. Different bush activities will cost differently.
- Destinations. Some destinations attracts more cost than others
- Seasons. Safaris tend to be more expensive over the peak and high seasons.
Kenya safari cost on budget( 200 USD/ day to 400 USD/ day)
Budget safari does not necessarily mean low quality experiences. A budget safari will in most instances encompass the location of the accommodation facility which may not always have a great impact on your safari experience.
1. Budget safari at 200 USD- 350 USD per day
This is the least you can pay for a quality Kenya safari. This package will have:
- Transportation in a shared vehicle (group safaris)
- Accommodation in a good but pocket friendly tented accommodation
- Game drives as the major/only activity
What to consider when booking a group safari
Group safari minimizes the cost of hiring land cruiser/ a tour van that you will be using for
your safari. This makes it the most pocket friendly option if you are a small group/ solo traveler. Some of the most important considerations to make when booking a group safari include:
a) The tour operator you are booking with
Group travels are the most problematic safari tours as the success of your trip is dependant on your tour operators marketing capability to reach the minimum number of travelers required to guarantee departure. Some tour operators even resort to last minutes cancellation of trips or selling out your booking to other companies which might not guarantee the quality of experience. A well organized group safari should have all guests booked in a single accommodation for easier coordination.
b) Number of occupants in the vehicle
A group safari should have a maximum 6 travelers per vehicle. This will guarantee a window seat for all occupants for great viewing and photography.
Ensure the facility being offered for the trip meet your desired safari experience. If you are traveling for the first time carry out some background research.
Get to know some of the activities the group will be engaging in and confirm whether they please you.
2. Budget safari cost ( 350 USD- 500 USD per day per person)
Under this budget you will be able to get a budget/ mid range accommodation and an exclusive use for the safari mini van. Notably, the accommodation will most likely be situated outside the national parks but at least 30 minutes drive from the nearest park gate. This however does not make your experience less of what you would have inside the park as all game drive activities closes for all after 1700 hrs.
Kenya safari cost on luxury ( 500 + USD per person per day)
Luxury safari is the epitome of Africa safari experience bringing with it comfort merged with an authentic bush stay. In this category you will get a top level accommodation uniquely designed to enhance your bush experience. Most probably an accommodation in strategic migration or game viewing hot spots. For instance, accommodations along Mara river in Masai Mara. These facilities will always offer a more intense bush experience by extra activities like night game drives, mobile camping, walking safaris and riding safaris especially when they are members camps of a conservancy or has a large concession area. A good luxury accommodation must:
- Offer an outstanding bush experience
- Create the desired comfort
Some of the most popular activities you can engage in include:
- Balloon safaris. This is the most sought after activity in greater Mara. Taking place in the early morning hours balloon rides gives guest an aerial perspective of wildlife in masai mara in an event that goes for up to 1 hour airborne. Balloon safaris cost approximately 450 USD per ride.
- Walking safaris. Walking safari can range from a short stroll within the precincts of your facility to multi-days fly camping inside a conservancy allowing a guided near range view of wildlife off the beaten paths. This would cost anywhere between 25 USD and over 1500 USD depending on the time to be spent outdoors.
- Bush meals. Mostly a candle lit dinner in select location in the wilderness this is a magical display of nature as you enjoy the cool breeze and a sweeping view of the Savannah plains all crowned by a sumptuous meal and a mouth coating cocktail. Bush meals cost approximately 45 USD per person but could be cost more or less depending on the facility you are staying in.
- Horse back safaris. Gallop your way into some of the most places in Africa wilderness and enjoy a close up view of wildlife in some of the most untouched wildernesses in Africa. A riding safari in greater Mara will cost approximately 200 USD per person for an hour ride and inclusive of a horse guide and an armed ranger. The price might very for other destinations depending on the nature of engagement.
- Night game drives. Go out in the evening for a guaranteed encounter with nocturnal wildlife. The night game drives only take place in private conservancies and take place up to 22000hrs. After nightfall game drives are the best for watching predation at play as most of the big cats are highly active at night. This will cost you about 75 USD per person for up to 4 hours game drives.
- Traditional village tours. These are some of the most sought after excursions in Masai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Turkana and Samburu game reserve. Traditional village tours cost approximately 45 USD per person though the price would vary with the village visited.