Thumb through most safari travel brochures and you’ll quickly begin to assume there’s no way you can afford one. Luxurious rooms, or often permanent tented structures, sit above the jungle plains.
Equipped with plush beds and posh showers, the rooms are situated in resorts that offer everything from gourmet meals to indulgent spa treatments. But getting up close to the big five in the wild can be affordable on almost any budget.
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African safaris can vary wildly in cost – from the ultimate in exclusive luxury to bare-bones camping. But what many people don’t realize is the wealth of options that run the middle ground. Take the Thornhill Safari Lodge, for example, where Rolf Potts recently went on safari during his No Baggage Challenge. Three nights and four days, including all meals and activities, cost just $475 per person.
The rooms are comfortable and stylish, and the resort is located just outside of Kruger’s main gate, making it significantly less expensive than other private lodges that are located within game reserves. You might not wake up to find a herd of impala grazing outside your door, but you’ll save money and still get the full safari experience on your daily game drives.
Cheap flights to South Africa are harder to come by, but if you book farther ahead and travel in off-season, you can often score a great deal. Transportation within South Africa is inexpensive, and the cost of food and drinks is very low (thanks to a favorable exchange rate for those coming from the US and Europe), which means planning an affordable safari in South Africa may be easier than you think.