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Exploring Affordable Safari Costs in Tanzania

Embarking on a safari in Tanzania is a thrilling adventure that allows you to immerse yourself in the wonders of the African wilderness. However, understanding the various factors that contribute to safari costs is essential for planning a budget-friendly and unforgettable experience. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of safari costs in Tanzania, providing you with valuable insights to make informed decisions and optimize your safari budget.

Time of Year and Duration

When planning a safari in Tanzania, the timing of your trip can have a notable impact on the overall cost. Understanding the different seasons and their implications is crucial for budgeting and maximizing your safari experience. Here’s a breakdown of the timing factors to consider:

  1. Peak Season: Tanzania’s peak season generally falls during the dry months, from June to October. This period offers excellent game viewing opportunities as wildlife congregates around water sources, and vegetation is less dense. However, peak season also coincides with higher prices due to increased demand. It’s essential to book in advance and expect premium rates for accommodation, park fees, and other services.
  2. Shoulder Season: The shoulder seasons, which occur from January to March and November to mid-December, present a more budget-friendly option while still offering favorable game viewing conditions. During these periods, you can enjoy reduced rates on accommodations and fewer crowds in popular national parks. It’s worth noting that rainfall may occur, particularly in November and March, but it is typically short-lived.
  3. Low Season: The low season in Tanzania corresponds to the long rainy season, usually from April to May. While this period experiences the highest rainfall, it also offers significant cost savings for travelers. Many lodges and tour operators offer discounted rates, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious safari-goers. Wildlife sightings may be slightly less predictable due to the denser vegetation and fewer tourists in the parks.
  4. The Great Migration: The Great Migration, a magnificent natural spectacle where millions of wildebeest and other herbivores move across the Serengeti ecosystem, occurs throughout the year. However, pinpointing the exact location and timing of the migration can be challenging. To witness specific stages of the migration, such as river crossings, careful planning and flexibility are required. Certain periods may have higher prices due to the migration’s popularity, so consider this when budgeting.
  5. Special Events and Holidays: During national holidays and popular events like Christmas and New Year, prices for accommodations and services may increase. It’s important to factor in these peak periods when estimating costs for your safari.

Remember, while cost is a crucial consideration, it’s also essential to balance it with your desired safari experience. By carefully selecting the timing of your trip, you can align your budget with favorable conditions and potentially save money without compromising on the magic of a Tanzanian safari.

Choosing the Right Airport for Your Tanzania Safaris

Choosing the right airport for your Tanzania safari is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your travel experience and overall cost. Tanzania has several airports that serve as gateways to different safari regions. Here are the main airports to consider:

  1. Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO): Located near the town of Arusha, Kilimanjaro International Airport is the most common entry point for safaris in northern Tanzania. It provides convenient access to popular destinations like Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, and Lake Manyara National Park. This airport is well-connected to major international hubs and offers a wide range of flights, making it a popular choice for both scheduled and chartered flights.
  2. Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR): Situated in the capital city of Dar es Salaam, Julius Nyerere International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Tanzania. It serves as a gateway to southern and western safari destinations, such as Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park, Mikumi National Park, and Katavi National Park. If your safari itinerary focuses on these regions, flying into Dar es Salaam is a viable option. You can then connect to your safari destination via domestic flights or ground transfers.
  3. Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ): Located on the island of Zanzibar, Abeid Amani Karume International Airport serves as the main entry point for visitors heading to Zanzibar and other nearby islands. If your safari itinerary includes exploring the diverse wildlife and pristine beaches of Zanzibar, this airport is the most convenient choice. From here, you can easily access the national parks and conservation areas on the island, such as Jozani Forest, Nungwi, and Chumbe Island.

When choosing the right airport for your Tanzania safari, consider the following factors:

  1. Proximity to your safari destinations: Select an airport that offers convenient access to the national parks and reserves you intend to visit. This will minimize travel time and costs associated with ground transfers or domestic flights.
  2. International flight options: Assess the availability of direct flights or well-connected routes from your departure location to the chosen airport. Direct flights can save you time and potentially reduce costs compared to multiple layovers.
  3. Domestic flight connections: If your itinerary involves visiting multiple safari destinations within Tanzania, check the availability and frequency of domestic flights connecting the chosen airport to your desired destinations. Efficient flight connections can enhance your travel experience and optimize your time.
  4. Ground transportation options: Consider the availability of reliable ground transportation, such as private transfers or shared shuttles, from the airport to your safari destination. This can impact both convenience and costs.
  5. Safari operator recommendations: Consult with your chosen safari operator or travel agent for their recommendations on the best airport to use based on your specific itinerary, budget, and preferences. They can provide valuable insights and assistance in coordinating your travel logistics.

By carefully considering these factors, you can select the most suitable airport for your Tanzania safari, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable start to your wildlife adventure.

Accommodation Options

When planning a safari in Tanzania, one of the key factors that can greatly impact the cost is the choice of accommodation. Tanzania offers a wide range of accommodation options, catering to different budgets and preferences. Here are the main types of accommodations to consider and their implications on safari costs:

  1. Luxury Lodges and Camps: Luxury lodges and tented camps provide the highest level of comfort and luxury. They are often located in prime wildlife areas, offering stunning views and exclusive experiences. These accommodations feature spacious rooms or tents with en-suite bathrooms, fine dining options, swimming pools, spa facilities, and personalized service. However, luxury comes at a price, and these accommodations tend to be the most expensive option, significantly impacting the overall cost of your safari.
  2. Mid-Range Lodges and Camps: Mid-range lodges and tented camps strike a balance between comfort and affordability. They offer comfortable accommodations, often with en-suite bathrooms and pleasant common areas. While they may not provide the same level of luxury as high-end options, they still offer a comfortable and enjoyable safari experience. Mid-range accommodations usually come at a more reasonable price point, allowing you to save on costs without compromising too much on comfort.
  3. Budget-Friendly Camps and Campsites: For travelers on a tight budget, budget-friendly camps and campsites are available in some national parks and conservation areas. These options typically provide basic facilities such as shared bathrooms and communal areas. Some campsites may require you to bring your camping equipment, while others provide pre-erected tents. Staying at campsites or budget-friendly camps can significantly reduce accommodation costs, making it an attractive choice for budget-conscious travelers.
  4. Exclusive-Use and Mobile Camps: Exclusive-use camps and mobile camps are temporary setups that offer a unique and intimate safari experience. These camps are typically set up in remote and pristine areas, allowing for privacy and a closer connection with nature. While they may offer a high level of exclusivity, the costs can be higher due to the specialized services and logistics involved in setting up and maintaining these camps.

It’s important to consider your budget and preferences when selecting accommodation. While luxury lodges and camps provide unparalleled comfort and service, they may not be essential for an exceptional safari experience. By opting for mid-range accommodations or budget-friendly options, you can significantly reduce your safari costs while still enjoying the beauty of Tanzania’s wildlife and landscapes.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the location of the accommodation also affects the price. Accommodations situated closer to popular national parks or in more remote areas may have higher rates. Considering the proximity to your preferred safari destinations can help you choose accommodations that balance cost and convenience.

Ultimately, striking a balance between your budget and desired level of comfort is key when selecting accommodations for your Tanzanian safari. With careful planning and suggestion from ZAFS, you can find options that meet your needs and contribute to a memorable and affordable safari experience.

Safari Itinerary and Destinations

When planning a safari in Tanzania, your itinerary and choice of destinations play a significant role in determining the overall cost of your adventure. Tanzania boasts a variety of national parks, conservation areas, and private reserves, each offering unique wildlife experiences. Here’s how your safari itinerary and destinations can impact the cost:

  1. Popular Destinations: Tanzania is renowned for its iconic wildlife destinations, such as Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, and Manyara National Park. These parks attract a large number of tourists, resulting in higher park fees, accommodation rates, and transportation costs. Including these popular destinations in your itinerary may contribute to a higher overall cost.
  2. Less-Visited Areas: Exploring lesser-known or off-the-beaten-path destinations can be a more cost-effective option. Tanzania is home to several hidden gems, such as Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park, Katavi National Park, and Mahale Mountains National Park. These areas often have lower park fees and more affordable accommodation options. Incorporating these less-visited areas into your itinerary can provide a unique and budget-friendly safari experience.
  3. Private Reserves and Concessions: Tanzania has private reserves and concessions adjacent to national parks, offering exclusive and intimate wildlife encounters. Staying in these private areas can provide a more personalized safari experience but often comes with a higher price tag. The costs associated with private reserves include accommodation rates, exclusive access fees, and additional activities. Including a visit to a private reserve or concession can elevate your safari experience but may increase the overall cost.
  4. Serengeti Migration and Seasonal Factors: If witnessing the Great Migration is on your bucket list, it’s essential to plan your safari itinerary around the movement of wildebeest and other herbivores. Following the migration can be an incredible experience but may require additional days in the Serengeti or adjusting your travel dates. Timing your safari during the peak migration season can also impact the cost, as demand for accommodations and services is higher during this period.
  5. Duration of Safari: The length of your safari directly influences the cost. Longer safaris involve more park fees, accommodation nights, meals, and transportation expenses. Consider balancing your desired safari duration with your budgetary constraints to find the right balance.

It’s important to note that while popular destinations and specific wildlife experiences may come with higher costs, they often provide unparalleled wildlife sightings and unforgettable moments. However, a well-designed itinerary can incorporate a mix of popular and lesser-known areas to strike a balance between cost and unique experiences. With ZAFS, we can provide guidance on optimizing your itinerary based on your budget and interests. We can help you select a combination of destinations that align with your preferences while maximizing the value and minimizing unnecessary expenses.

National Park Fees

Please note that these are approximate fees and can vary based on factors such as the season, park regulations, and currency exchange rates. Additionally, there may be separate fees for activities like walking safaris, night drives, or boat safaris within the parks.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it’s recommended to visit the official websites of Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) or consult with your safari operator who can provide you with the latest fee structure for each national park.

Here is a list of national parks in Tanzania along with their approximate entrance fees for international visitors:

  1. Serengeti National Park:
    -Adult: $60 – $70 per person per day
    -Child (5-15 years): $30 – $35 per child per day
  1. Ngorongoro Conservation Area (includes Ngorongoro Crater):
    -Adult: $70 – $80 per person per day
    -Child (5-15 years): $30 – $40 per child per day
  1. Tarangire National Park:
    -Adult: $45 – $55 per person per day
    -Child (5-15 years): $15 – $20 per child per day
  1. Lake Manyara National Park:
    -Adult: $45 – $55 per person per day
    -Child (5-15 years): $15 – $20 per child per day
  1. Arusha National Park:
    -Adult: $35 – $45 per person per day
    -Child (5-15 years): $15 – $20 per child per day
  1. Ruaha National Park:
    -Adult: $30 – $40 per person per day
    -Child (5-15 years): $10 – $20 per child per day
  1. Mikumi National Park:
    -Adult: $30 – $40 per person per day
    -Child (5-15 years): $10 – $20 per child per day
  1. Katavi National Park:
    -Adult: $30 – $40 per person per day
    -Child (5-15 years): $10 – $20 per child per day
  1. Selous Game Reserve:
    -Adult: $30 – $40 per person per day
    -Child (5-15 years): $10 – $20 per child per day

Tanzania Safari Prices By Activities

African Photo Safaris (US$ 750 – US$ 1200)

– A photo Safari in Tanzania Costs between $750 to $1200 USD per person per day.
7 Day Photographic Safari: $ 2400 USD
10 Day Classic Photo Safari: $4900 USD
Photographic safaris are best carried out during the green season which is experienced from November to April and this is because the lighting during this period is good. Cost includes meals, transportation, an experienced and professional photographer as a tour guide  and accommodation.

Birding Safaris (US$ 400 – US$ 600 )

Costing between $4oo and $600 USD per day, a birding safari in Tanzania is done during the green season (November to April) when the rainy season starts. Tanzania is a home to over 1000 bird species and these include migratory birds that fly into the county when the rains start, 43 near endemic bird species, 22 endemic bird species and over 800 local species. Birding in Tanzania can be done in any of the National Parks that are located in the country and some of the birding destinations that you should check out include the Ruaha National Park, Usamabara Mountains, and the Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro crater which is a home to the pink flamingo, Serengeti and Lake Manyara National park.

Cultural Experience Tours (US$ 50 – US$ 300 )

The most entertaining cultural tour in Tanzania is carried out in Masai land. A cultural safari costs between $30 and $40 and with this amount, you get to visit the famous Masai villages where you will learn more about their culture that is how they hunt, their language and get to enjoy an evening filled with dance and music with the locals. Other tribes to visit include the Hadzabe tribe,  Datoga tribe, Sukuma, Iraqw and the Swahili.

Have a cultural tour to the Maasai communities. The Masai origins are not well traced but their families and history has existed for over 2000 years, Maasai is a world-renowned Nilotic ethnic group staying in the North of Tanzania and Southern Kenya, the mainly live near National Parks. They speak a language called ‘Maa’ and the Maasai was famous for their unique dressing code and customs.

Balloon Safaris

These are normally carried out in Tarangire and Serengeti National Park and an air balloon safari costs $550. It is one of the ways that you can get an overhead picture of the wildebeest migration in Serengeti and getting a clear view of both National Parks form above.

Boating & Canoeing

Duration: 3 Hours
Canoeing on Lake Manyara Price: $40 USD Per Person
Canoeing on Lake Momella(Arusha National Park) Price: $60 USD Per Person.
Experiencing various wildlife in Tanzania, see giant crocodiles, fish, hippos, as well as other animals on shores like elephants, hogs, bush buck and giraffes.

Wildebeest Migration Safari

Between the months of May to July, the wildebeests start on a great trek, over 1.5 million of them, between Masai Mara and Serengeti plains. You need at least a safari of 4 days to enjoy the Migration Safari.

Diving & Snorkelling Trips

Scuba diving destinations in Tanzania include, Pemba Island, Zanzibar Island, Mnemba Atoll, Mafia, Mesali Island, Leven Bank, Lake Tanganyika and Sea Cliff resorts. Mafia Island is among the Zanzibar Archipelago which includes other islands like Unguja, Latham and Pemba. Mafia is an incredible place that attracts snorkelers, game fishermen, scuba divers and people who just want to relax from all over the world to come and experience a life under and on the sea, this is protected by the Mafia Island Marine Park- the Island and all activities are managed from the mainland. The economy on this island is based on  the market in Kilindoni, fishing, and subsistence agriculture.

Mafia is an amazing place for those interested in deep-sea fishing such as the sail fish, marlin, tuna fish and others. There are beautiful coral gardens and variety of fish owned by the Marine Island Park. This place also is a breeding place for green turtles however they are about to be extinct, there are over 400 fish species and very many bird species, it is a wonderful and unforgettable time spend on mafia island. Activities like Scuba diving are best done from October to March; there are heavy rains in month March and April so it’s not mainly advisable to scuba dive during this time and the best weather on the Island is from May to October.

Walking Safaris

Walking safaris in Tanzania are popular. The law indicates only less that 6 tourists per walk, accompanied by an armed ranger. Katavi National Park, Nyerere National Park, Ruaha, Serengeti and Tarangire top the list of walking destinations in Tanzania.

Chimpanzee Trekking In Tanzania

Chimpanzees are found in Mahale Mountains National Park and Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. about 2,500 chimpanzees are found in Tanzania.

Beach Holidays

This archipelago in the Indian Ocean is comprised of Zanzibar and Pemba islands. Zanzibar Island is also called ‘Unguja’. Zanzibar is more like a small slice of the paradise with various numbers of white sand beaches and resort which makes it a major holiday destination. There is nothing as amazing as surfing, sailing on traditional boats and diving in ocean waters- there are great scenic views in Zanzibar such as the sun sets, the coral reefs, and lagoons also you can’t miss out on the dolphins, manta-rays and turtles. 

Zanzibar is also an amazing place concerning history since it was the major centre of slave trade during the 1800s. While in Zanzibar visit the Stone Town; it is located in the centre of Zanzibar and is regarded as the world’s oldest Swahili city- It was built in the 19th Century, so those interested in history will have a great time seeing ancient Arabian buildings, narrow streets. Visitors will have chance to see some historic buildings which are now museums, there are also old churches like the Anglican church, other things to see are the Beit el-Amani, Central Darajani Market, Beit el-Sahel which is the former home of the sultans, the Old Dispensary with engraved balconies made of wood, Old Fort among others.

Additional Costs and Considerations

When planning a safari in Tanzania, it’s essential to consider additional costs and factors beyond the basic safari package. These considerations can help you budget more effectively and ensure a smooth and enjoyable safari experience. Here are some important aspects to keep in mind:

  1. Park Fees and Permits: Tanzania’s national parks and conservation areas charge entry fees for each visitor. These fees vary depending on the park and the duration of your stay.
  2. Accommodation Extras: While your safari package may include accommodation, it’s important to clarify what is covered and what may incur additional charges. Some lodges and camps may have extra costs for amenities such as laundry services, Wi-Fi access, spa treatments, or premium alcoholic beverages. Familiarize yourself with the lodge’s policies and any potential surcharges to avoid surprises upon arrival.
  3. Transport and Transfers: Depending on your itinerary, you may need to consider additional transportation costs. This can include domestic flights between different safari destinations or ground transfers from airports to lodges/camps. If your itinerary involves road transfers, confirm whether these are included in your package or if they require separate arrangements. Private transfers or customized transport options may incur higher costs compared to shared transfers.
  4. Optional Activities: Tanzania offers a range of optional activities to enhance your safari experience, such as hot air balloon safaris, guided nature walks, cultural visits to local communities, night game drives, or boat safaris. These activities are usually not included in the base safari package and may have additional costs. Consider which activities align with your interests and allocate a budget accordingly.
  5. Tips and Gratuities: Gratuities for safari guides, drivers, lodge staff, and other service providers are customary in Tanzania. While the amount is discretionary, it’s recommended to allocate a budget for tipping as a gesture of appreciation for excellent service. Check with your tour operator or research the general tipping guidelines to ensure you plan accordingly.
  6. Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is essential for any safari adventure. It helps protect you financially in case of trip cancellations, medical emergencies, lost luggage, or other unforeseen circumstances. Be sure to obtain comprehensive travel insurance that covers your safari activities, including wildlife encounters and adventure sports.
  7. Pre- and Post-Safari Accommodation: If you require accommodation before or after your safari, whether in Arusha, Dar es Salaam, or Zanzibar, factor in the costs for these additional nights. Consider staying in conveniently located hotels or lodges that offer airport transfers to streamline your travel logistics.
  8. Visa Requirements: Ensure you understand the visa requirements for entry into Tanzania, as they may vary based on your nationality. Check whether you need a visa upon arrival or if it’s recommended to obtain one in advance. Single Entry Visa for most nationalities is around $50 to $100 USD. Multiple Entry Visa can range from $100 to $250 USD, depending on your nationality and the duration of validity.

Safari Packages With ZAFS

  1. ‘Elephant’ 2 Days Safari Tour
  2. ‘Baboon’ 3 Days Safari Tour
  3. ‘Wildebeest’ 4 Days Safari Tour
  4. ‘Lion’ 5 Days Safari Tour
  5. ‘Impala’ 6 Days Safari Tour
  6. ‘Migration’ 7 Days Safari Tour

This Trip Cost Includes:

– 1 night hotel accommodation in Arusha on arrival on bed and breakfast basis
– Return airport transfers from/to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)
– Full board accommodation at safari as per itinerary
– Exclusive use of 4WD safari vehicle and English speaking driver guide
– All Park fees and Crater fees
– Complimentary lunch on day 1
– Game drives as indicated in the itinerary
– Bottled mineral water while on game drives
– Prices are based on 2 people sharing a room/tent on the itinerary

Planning a safari in Tanzania involves considering various factors that contribute to the cost. It’s essential to determine your priorities, whether it’s luxury accommodations, specific destinations, or unique activities, while also being mindful of your budget. Working with ZAFS can help you navigate the options and create a safari experience that meets your expectations without breaking the bank. Remember, a safari in Tanzania is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and careful budgeting can ensure you make the most of this incredible journey.


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