Experiencing Africa’s wildlife while driving across the Savannah is one of those moments right out of your wildest dreams. (Right, T Swift?). If you're a traveler exploring the world on a budget and a quintessential African safari ride seems a little out of reach, do a little digging and you may just be surprised what you find.
At an average $1,000 per person per night, the everyday traveler may think they'll never get to experience the natural beauty of a herd of elephants splashing through a watering hole, or the grace of a cheetah as it runs across a plain. But there are a few companies making the experience of the African safari accessible to everyone by flexing their prices based on the seasonality of your visit, and these eight companies below are among the best.
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Cottar’s Safari Service
Located in the Masai Mara National Reserve of Kenya, this beautifully glamorous residence has been providing luxury African safaris and accommodation since 1919. Its vintage-luxe vibes are reminiscent of a bygone era, providing unspoiled sunset views that stretch the horizons of the Masai Mara and adjacent Serengeti plains. Cottar’s safaris, as well as their tour guides, are award-winning, providing visitors with the best possible experience of this breathtaking reserve, dubbed the ‘seventh’ natural wonder of the world. Take in the vintage romance of Cottar’s during the Green Season, from March to May, for savings of up to 50% per person, while still experiencing the romance and luxury of another time.
Boasting tours through prominent wildlife regions in Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, and more, Matoke Tours is no novice when it comes to African safaris. Their Value Tours through Uganda provide travelers with a week-long experience of world-famous gorilla tracking at a budget-friendly price that includes transportation, beautiful accommodation, and gorilla and chimpanzee tracking permits. You’ll explore the Queen Elizabeth National Park in the country known as “the pearl of Africa.”
Nairobi Tented Safari Camp
Just 7 km from the city center of Nairobi is a safari experience where you can literally sleep among the wildlife. The Nairobi Tented Camp is the first accommodation of any kind to be allowed in the unique Nairobi National Park and is the only protected habitat in the world that is on the very outskirts of a capital city. Ease of city and airport access is only one of the many perks of this tented paradise which offers early morning safari rides from right outside your doorstep to catch the beauty of mother nature as the animals begin to stir in the awakening daylight hours. Return to camp for hot coffee, a hearty breakfast, and maybe a day in the city of Nairobi before venturing back into the wild in the afternoon for excursion #2 to catch the movement of the animals as dusk settles throughout the jungle.
Red Chilli Tours and Safaris
Backpackers love the low prices and tented accommodations of the overnight Red Chilli Safaris. With over 12 unique packages to choose from, visitors have the chance to explore many different parts of Uganda’s largest national park, Murchison Falls. It’s proximity to the iconic Nile River allows adventurers the chance to explore the park by both land and water. Red Chilli’s signature tour is a three-day excursion starting at the top of the majestic waterfall, before taking you on a trip along the Nile as you watch for everything from lions to hippos, and even giraffes, which can’t be seen from Uganda’s other famed park, the Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Africa Flash Mc Tours
While offering safari excursions all throughout Kenya and Tanzania, this tour operator's’ best-selling adventure brings guests up-close and personal with magnificent herds of elephants. Ride alongside these majestic beasts and other wildlife on this three-day luxury safari that costs much less than a one night stay in any five-star hotel. Take in the breathtaking views of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s peak across the country’s border in Tanzania, the perfect backdrop for your Insta-worthy photo as you stand at the foot of Kenya’s Amboseli National Reserve.
Explore the safari wildlife of East Africa from an entirely different perspective - underwater. The beautiful island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania gives guests the experience of a five-star, all-inclusive resort with access to amazing coral reefs, dolphins, and award-winning beaches. The island is also inhabited by a healthy population of the endangered red colobus monkeys and giant Aldabra tortoises. Plus, this dreamy island’s proximity to Tanzania still allows guests the opportunity to experience a classic safari ride through the African savannah in the iconic game reserves of Serengeti or Masai Mara.
Samara Private Game Reserve Excursions
Escape on a South African safari from May to August for amazing deals during this up-and-coming country’s low season. This private game reserve epitomizes the idea of desert-chic, with 10 luxury lodges for an overnight safari experience you have to see to believe. Enjoy food and wine from the local region, getting a taste of the South African culture as you watch for rhino, cheetah, antelope, and mountain zebra, with the elephants just a few hours further away at the Addo National Elephant Park.
African Budget Safaris
Awarded with TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence year after year, this travel company is the cream of the crop when it comes to budget-friendly safaris. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, this company explores regions and parks all along the southern and eastern coasts of the continent, as well as excursions around the jungles of the beautiful island of Madagascar. With so many different parks and packages to chose from, planning a budget safari can feel overwhelming, but interested guests are provided with the opportunity to chat with the experts before booking, allowing you to find the tour that best suits what you’re looking to find in the plains of the savannah and beyond.