Budget Zambia safari

Zambia offers excellent value on exclusive safaris and wildlife activities, but budget travelers will struggle to make the most of what’s available. In part this is because many of Zambia’s best wilderness areas are extremely hard to reach, with wonderfully isolated lodges that are therefore also very expensive to run. Just getting to these areas can hit the budget hard, with long 4x4 transfers or charter flights required. Staying close to Livingston and/or Lusaka will reduce costs, but limits your options to the immediate area.

Renting a camping-equipped 4x4 is certainly the most affordable way to explore Zambia properly, especially if you’re travelling in a small group. With four people in a vehicle you can expect to spend around $120 a person a day, including fuel, camping, park fees and food. Be aware, however, that Zambian roads can be challenging and some previous 4x4 experience is highly recommended.

On a very tight budget, your best bet is to base yourself in Livingstone and take advantage of the excellent adventure and safari options nearby. These can be pricey too, with a Victoria Falls bungee jump at $160 a person and white-water rafting at $130 a day. A double room at a backpackers starts at around $45 a night so If you’re just passing through Zambia you’ll probably spend around $50 a day on basic accommodation, food, drinks and public transport. This can easily become $150 a day with a guided safari and a few adventure activities thrown in.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Zambian Odyssey

day 1

  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey

day 2

day 3

Lower Zambezi National Park

day 4

Lower Zambezi National Park

day 5

  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey
  • Zambian Odyssey

day 6

day 7

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Active holiday in Zambia

Zambia’s village communities hold centuries of traditional wisdom to stop you in your tracks, but it’s Mother Nature’s ‘Smoke that Thunders’ (known as Victoria Falls to most) that steals the show as Zambia’s standout attraction. Thrilling safari activities play worthy supporting roles to Victoria Falls show-stopping spectacle. Zambia is home to what is arguably the best white water…

Kasanka National Park

Kasanka National Park is Zambia’s only privately managed park, run by the Kasanka Trust charity in partnership with the local community. At slightly less than 400km2, it’s also one of Zambia’s smallest, lying just south of the Bangweulu Wetlands near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With its wonderful papyrus marshes, swamp forests and miombo woodland it’s one…

Healthcare system Zambia

Zambia’s public healthcare system is very basic by first-world standards and suffers from inadequate funding and a lack of infrastructure and facilities, especially in rural areas. There are good private hospitals in Livingstone and Lusaka and if you have any kind of medical emergency you’ll be transferred there as soon as possible. For very serious or on-going treatment, patients may…

At your lodge in Zambia

The lodges in Zambia are extremely accommodating – of guests’ specific needs and Western customs in general. Courtesy is expected, but nothing unusual there, and beyond that visitors will rarely notice if any cultural norms are being stretched. Homosexuality is illegal in Zambia, although the law is rarely enforced. Most lodges won’t have any problem with same-sex guests booking a…

Southern Zambia

Zambia’s southernmost region is also its most popular, dominated by the mighty Zambezi River, which flows east from the town of Sesheke all the way to Mozambique. The river forms Zambia’s southern border with Namibia and Zimbabwe, and it’s along this strip that you’ll find the country’s best infrastructure. The T1 and T4 highways, which stretch from Livingstone to Lusaka and…

Zambia in November

November is the spring ‘shoulder’ season in Zambia when many lodges offer reduced rates or close completely, mostly on account of the unpredictable weather. Nobody knows exactly when the rains will begin, but they usually start in the north of Zambia first, then slowly move south over the course of the month. Lodges with fly-in access are more likely to stay open, but even some of…

Popular Zambia Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | 10-day wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe

10-day wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Experience the best of the migration and wildlife in Kenya, then travel to Zambia to witness Victoria Falls, ending your adventure at Hwange National Park....

Boat at sunset | Zambian Odyssey

Zambian Odyssey - Safari to Three National Parks

One week safari to three Zambian national parks, including the flagship South Luangwa, and end in style with a visit to the remarkable Victoria Falls...

Victoria Falls | Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)

Best of Zambia Luxury Safari

Combine water and wildlife in a journey that takes you from the Victoria Falls to Kafue and South Luangwa national parks – Zambia at its best...

 | Southern Africa safari adventure

Southern Africa safari adventure

Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

Boating on the Chobe River | Quick and affordable Victoria Falls & Chobe experience

Quick and affordable Victoria Falls & Chobe experience

Visit Livingstone, Zambia, to marvel at the Victoria Falls – or 'the smoke that thunders' – before going on safari and a river cruise in Botswana's Chobe National Park...

 | South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

Explore the romantic Atlantic Ocean with it's multi-cultural heritage and a Big Five safari in the Sabi Sands, finally ending off at Victoria Falls from the Zambian side...

Romantic view | Cape Town, Kruger & Vic Falls Deluxe Honeymoon

Cape Town, Kruger and Vic Falls Deluxe Honeymoon

Combine three of Southern Africa's most loved destinations into one romantic getaway and you'll share the memories forever...

 | Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

Experience the paradise of Botswana and enjoy game viewing as well as exciting activities in Zambia ...

 | Luxury Victoria Falls, Hwange & Mana Pools

Affordable Vic Falls, Hwange and Mana Pools

Fall under the spell of three prime attractions in Zimbabwe and Zambia – Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and the Mana Pools ...

 | Best of Zambia Safari

Best of Zambia Safari

With some of the wildest and most remote game areas on the continent, and a remarkably low population in a massive country, Zambia has an aura of mystery waiting to be uncovered....