Wednesday, 02 September 2015 16:19

Budget Safaris

Written by  Lisa Loverro
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Africa-SafariA safari vacation can be a bit on the pricey side no matter how you slice it. The term “affordable” is relative when considering a safari option. Of course, there are tips you should consider when trying to book a budget safari for your client. Consider having them travel in the off-season (in South Africa, for instance, the quieter May-July winter months offer cooler temps and better animal viewing), select owner-operated safari lodges and lesser-known game reserves. If your client is adventurous, have them try a self-drive safari. In some instances in Namibia and South Africa, the roads are good and parks fees low. Below are some options for a safari that won’t break the bank...relatively speaking.

Kirawira Serena Camp (www.serenahotels.com) is the most exclusive of the Serena Group’s many safari venues, and a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group. Located in the Serengeti, the camp is the quintessential African safari experience, with just 25 widely-spaced luxury tents, raised on timber platforms, each with a view of the plains. Tents have a spacious furnished deck leading to a bedroom furnished with a four-poster bed with patchwork quilt. Each tent has its own personal valet. Rates can start as little as $206 full board for single room, per night.
Local tour operators can arrange some spectacular trips for your clients. Check out Matoke Tours (www.matoketours.com) for an unbelievable gorilla and chimpanzee safari trip to Uganda offering the diversity in landscapes and activities and the best of what Uganda has to offer. A sample itinerary includes a visit to the Queen Elizabeth National Park with its grassland savannah teeming with wildlife and Bwindi Forest, full of interesting endemic flora and fauna. All of this is on top of all main highlights of gorilla tracking, chimpanzee tracking and the boat safaris.  Rates for an 8-day itinerary can start at as little as $2,200 per person.
For an unusual, yet extremely affordable option, try a tented camp in the city of Nairobi. The Nairobi Tented Camp (www.nairobitentedcamp.com) is located in the heart of Nairobi National Park. Part of the Gamewatchers and Porini Safari Camps group, the camp is the only one of its kind in the Nairobi National Park. Each of their nine tents house accommodations for two people with their own toilet and shower, so you can enjoy the luxury of en-suite living “safari style” with hot water heated over a log fire and bought to your shower when you’re ready. It’s rustic but chic and prices for a double tent can start at just $105 per person/per night, including breakfast. And while there are a lot of “add-ons” (game drives, dinners), the camp offers special packages including a Special Full Board Safari Package which can start for as little as $140 per person/per night.
As previously stated, the off-season in South Africa (May-August) can offer some of the best game viewing. Samara Private Game Reserve (www.samara.co.za) in the Eastern Cape offers great deals during this time. As an added bonus, you won’t have to worry about malaria, as it is located in a malaria free zone. Samara also welcomes children of all ages (with special activities available) but the kids must be 8 years or older to join in on the game drives.

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