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How Much Will a Safari Cost You in South Africa?

South Africa is one of Africa’s most formidable Safari destinations. How much a safari costs across its Big Five reserves depends on various factors such as seasonality, lodge choice, transportation, conservation levies, gratuities, and additional activities.

Understanding your standard safari lodge package inclusions and budgeting for extras will help you plan for a memorable and hassle-free safari experience. These are the crucial cost considerations for your safari bucket list journey.

When You Want to Go

Seasonality: Prices for your safari adventure in South Africa can fluctuate, depending on the time of year due to peak seasons and availability.

Discover Africa’s Best Time To Go On Safari Calendar gives you month-by-month highlights of Africa’s top safari destinations.

Weather conditions, crowd levels and optimal wildlife viewing windows for the Serengeti’s Great Migration, for example, are key considerations for seasonality. Explore this Peak Season vs. Low Season for Safaris in Africa guide to decide which is best for you.

Where You Choose to Stay Matters: Solo, Private, or Family and Friends Group

Number of People and Length of Stay: The more people and the longer you stay, the higher the overall cost may be.

Type of Lodge: The level of luxury and amenities offered by the lodge can significantly impact the price. Entry-level lodges start around R2,500 per person per night, while top-end luxury lodges can reach up to R45,000 per night.

Standard Inclusions and Exclusions: Most safaris include meals and game drives, but it’s essential to clarify what the package covers to avoid unexpected expenses. Try our Safari Cost estimator tools to help you shape your budget.

Try Our Safari Cost Calculator here.

What Type of Transport Suits Your Needs

Flights and Transfers: Your preferred mode of transportation to and within South Africa can affect costs. Options include:

Charter Flights: Direct flights to lodge airstrips may be pricier but offer convenience and time-saving benefits. These can be booked at an estimated cost of R8,000 each way.

Scheduled Flights: These can be more affordable and in South Africa you can fly into main airports like Hoedspruit’s Eastgate Airport, Kruger International, and Skukuza Airport, serviced by Airlink.

Operators include FlySafair, with direct connectivity between Cape Town and Kruger International at an estimated cost of R3,000 each way.

Charter Flight provider Federal Air offers private charters and more bespoke scheduled service with direct connectivity to specific lodge landing strips like Sabi-Sabi or Marataba.

Conservation Levies and Park Fees: These fees contribute to wildlife conservation efforts, a vital part of ensuring a credible and authentic experience. These can vary depending on the location, ranging from R250 to R450 per night.

Gratuities: Tipping guides and staff is customary. On average, budget around $25 per person per day for general staff, with additional gratuities for private butlers or exceptional service.

Additional Expenses to Consider: Scheduled morning and late afternoon game drives are typically included in your lodge stay, but extras like volunteer programs, excursions, and stargazing sleeping decks may incur additional charges.

Group vs. Private Safaris

Group safaris may offer cost savings due to shared expenses, while private safaris offer personalized experiences at a premium. Discover Africa’s pricing calculator, as detailed above, can help determine your budget based on your group size.

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