12 January 2014

How park fees make an African safari expensive


Thankfully there are national parks and reserves to protect the wildlife and to preserve the African bush as much as possible. That needs manpower and material and is funded through the visitors of the parks. As civilization has become more and more a thread to unspoiled wildlife areas and in other areas former agricultural areas can be reverted into bush, the efforts had to be increased to protect and reinstate the natural conditions to let the amazing wildlife survive. That means in other words park fees have increase quite a lot.

The Masai Mara in Kenya park fee is USD 80 per person per day and in the Serengeti USD 60 per person per day. That is the price of an average hotel room per night or a budget flight to any destination in Europe. And it is charged for every day you are in the park, which makes it a main factor of your
African safari holiday price. As a result lower priced safaris stay only shortly in the park to avoid the fees, which reduces overall the number of visitors to the park. That has the good effect, that the impact on the eco system is reduced.

However when planning your safari budget reserve an amount for park fees to keep it realistic and not to get disappointed when the fees increase the total rate. They are there for a good reason. Without the park there wouldn’t be any lion anymore.

Happy conservation minded safari travelling!

What does an entry level African safari cost?


Lets imagine you want to visit South Africa with a part of your holiday in Cape Town and the other part with a safari in Kruger. To get a reasonably good idea of an African safari tour you should stay at least for 3 nights. That would make a 4-day/3-nights safari preferably with a professional guide for the game drives. Lets say you do self-drive to Kruger and choose accommodation at a lodge just outside the park on half board basis, the rate would be about ZAR 6,800 per person sharing. The game drives are of course in the park.

The Cape Town part of that holiday works completely different. You can just book a hotel online, rent a car at the airport and drive yourself around. Accommodations for any budget are available and so are scheduled tours, hop on hop off busses and more sight seeing activities like in any other city in the world.

Yes, you can also do self-drive in Kruger, but if you really want to have great sightings invest in a professional guide and vehicle for the game drives. Its worth it.

Happy photo safari holiday travelling!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

How taxes and levies influence African safari rates


Meanwhile we have all learned that airfares are mostly taxes and it is not pleasant to see how much of the ticket price is actually not for flying, but for all sorts of taxes and surcharges. Unfortunately this is the same with safari flights.

Yes, even a dusty airstrip in the bush has departure taxes and fuel surcharges apply to light aircraft flights. These costs can be surprising when it comes to the actual costs for an
African safari tour. The good news is that the amounts are much lower than for commercial flights and the biggest part of the ticket costs is really for flying, but still. It adds on.

And then there are the tourist and bed levies. They are also small amounts, but added per night and at the end they are costs as well. The levies are usually already included when you get the quotation for your safari, but like with the airfares they are there and add on.

This is just a reminder when moaning about expensive flights and accommodation that there is more to it than just the bed.

Happy adventurous safari travelling!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

Best price African safari 2014: Namibia safari?


Namibia is the ideal country for self-drive safaris. The roads are good, although many are dirt roads, but still good to do for self-drive. It is a country of great landscapes, panoramic vistas, a dramatic coastline, ancient deserts and last but not least amazing wildlife.

Due to the well to do self-drive tours Namibia is a best price
African safari option. Just rent a car and go. Book your accommodations on the standard you prefer, half board to have your breakfast and dinner at your accommodation and during the day you do your explorations in the area yourself, independently from the lodge or camp. That way you make the best use of your rental car. Only don’t try to save too much when choosing the car. Take one with higher ground clearance to feel comfortable in any terrain. And get information on the distances you cover to drive during daylight. Off you go.

Happy safari exploration in Namibia!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

What to check when comparing African safari prices

what to check when comparing african safari price

It is a common habit to compare holiday offers, but you should know what to look at to compare them well.

Have a close look at the specification of your best price
African safari tour. Does the price include beverages and refreshments during game drives? How many people are on the game drive vehicle, 6 or 10? Are the transfers in minibus or with 4x4 jeep? And what kind of vehicle is the game drive vehicle, minibus or 4x4? Are park fees included? When doing flight transfers are the departure taxes and surcharges included? What about the transfers from/to airstrips and airports? Is the meal plan full board or half board? What safari activities are included?

When the offers are checked that way and are identical the difference will lie in the accommodation. From now on just follow your heart and choose the accommodation you love the most.

Happy photo safari holiday traveling!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

African safari rate breakdown

african safari rate breakdown

Safaris are generally known for being expensive, but when you take a closer look it is not so bad considering what is included.

Many safari camps and lodges are on remote locations with demanding and complex logistics to provide good and safe accommodation with good food and game activities. When you can get your supplies only by air or boat, it gets expensive to run a camp. Also maintenance needs to be spot on, otherwise the timber deck will not be safe and good anymore. All this work reflects in the lodge and camp rates and the smaller the camp the more per person, but also the better the safari experience.

To get to your camp, the next one and back to civilization you need transport. Road transfer is an option and when you are a group of people the costs per person are low. But sometimes air transfer is the only option or the best option and that comes at a different cost.

When you are in the bush you cannot go out in the evening and find yourself a restaurant for dinner. It needs to be at least full board, fully inclusive is even better with local wines and spirits included.

When you put all that together an
African safari holiday price includes accommodation (the smaller and remote the camp the more luxurious), food, drinks, transfers, taxes, surcharges, levies, park fees and safari activities. The only thing extra is the international airfare, well and possible shopping in the curio shop.

A safari is the most transparent and predictable holiday cost wise. The tour is planned and you go for it with no other sights or tours you could fall for in between, which could double the price of your vacation, well with the curio shop temptation.

Happy photo safari travelling!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa

Get your African safari documents sorted


There is nothing worse than finally going on the long waited for holiday and stumbling from one problem into the other, just by not having the right documents, visas or insurance with you. So get it sorted before you go for a worry free holiday trip.

To experience a perfect
African safari tour, make sure you have your vaccination book with you (see blog post from last Friday). Entry into a country might be rejected, if you don’t. The same can happen when you don’t have enough empty pages in your passport for immigration to place their visas and stamps. Depending on how many countries you visit have at least four empty pages or more. Enquire for visas beforehand. In most of the African safari countries you can buy a visa at the port of entry, but not all. Make sure you know what your countries require.

The same importance has a travel insurance. Check with your credit card provider, if you have already one with your credit card. It should cover cancellation/curtailment, medical expenses, default and baggage loss.

Bring also your vouchers and other travel documents you got from your tour operator, just in case you are unsure about inclusions. And of course flight tickets and if you do self-drive bring your drivers license.

All set? Now its time for a happy safari!

Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui “soul of leopard”, Travel Africa