There are many misconceptions in the world of tourism. The price of safari trips is one of them.
For many people a safari is thought of as being overpriced, we will prove to you in this article that this doesn't have to be true and that you can really live your dream of a safari in South Africa without breaking the bank.
The golden rule for a safari that fits into your travel budget? Organise it yourself!
Your best friend will be the South African National Parks site, gathering information about access to parks, the rules to follow, the activities to do on-site, and even accommodation within the parks.
Book your flights and rental car
The rental car can be reserved through our car hire price comparison tool. Note that it is very easy to get around the country, and they drive on the left, just like us.
Prices will be around £350 per person for return flights from the UK, and between £150 and £200 for car rental for 10 days of travel.
We think 10 days is the minimum travel time to be able to make the most of the park and the rest of the country, without having to rush.
Access to national parks
It is quite easy to move around in total autonomy in the national parks of South Africa, and to observe wild animals from your own vehicle, at your own pace.
Animals are absolutely everywhere in the park. Make sure you're armed with a little patience and a lot of respect for their natural environment and pace of life and you will be able to observe them really easily.
One place you should think about heading is Kruger National Park. All the information about this park can be found on this page. To access it, you have to do 2 things:
- Pay an entrance fee (approximately £23 per day and per person)
- Present the booking confirmation of the accommodation for your nights in the park
At the entrance, you will be briefed by the rangers on the rules to be observed for your safety and that of the animals. You will then able to get back into our car and start your safari.
Inside the park, you must obviously respect the speed limits, which are very low to ensure that the animals are not frightened. This is also your best chance to spot them, as patience really is your best weapon on a safari. To make sure you don't miss anything, remember to take a good pair of binoculars with you!
Obviously, some animals are more capricious than others or live at a completely different pace - like lions and other predators for example. To put the odds on your side, we advise you to book an excursion very early in the morning with the park. Accompanied by an experienced ranger you will have more chance of seeing them. A good alternative to avoid the expensive safaris of specialised agencies while benefiting from the experience of locals and professionals.
These activities can be booked spontaneously with the camps when you arrive, or in advance online.
The Booking.com site is a real gold mine for booking accommodation outside of national parks.
Here are some of our favourites:
Off Beat Safaris Bush Lodge (around £30 per night, or £15 per person ), a camp not easily accessible but very quiet in the heart of nature.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary (around £60 per night, or £30 per person), with its typical accommodation in the heart of Swaziland.
Lebo's Soweto Backpackers (around £22 per night, or £11 per person), a great alternative to discover the history of the country in the suburbs of Johannesburg.
For the nights you want to spend in the park, remember to book them in advance on the park's official website.
Cabin, tent, bungalow, chalet, there is something for all tastes and budgets. It is possible to book easily by paying directly online.
To choose which camps you are going to stay in, you need to decide how many nights you are going to spend inside the park and what your itinerary will be. To do this, go to this park map.
The advantage of these main camps is that they are equipped with electricity, a rescue centre, shops, restaurants and usually a petrol station. They are all very well organized, each day you will find a map of the animals spotted by other travellers, to help you organize the rest of your safari.
There are of course other types of camps, bush camps, for example, are much smaller and less equipped. It's up to you to choose from this list according to your desires and your budget.
Eat inside the park
Finally, to eat inside the park, you will easily find restaurants in the main camps. You can stop there to eat, even if you are not sleeping there. These main camps also have shops if you want to prepare your own meals.
You now have the keys to organize your safari in South Africa at a more than reasonable price.
In these difficult times, we are changing the way we do things, you can read our statement of intent here.