Bargains become harder to track in East Africa

Bt Thumbnail DefaultBt Thumbnail Default

Costs for travelers to East Africa have been on the upswing. Take, for example, the costs of visiting Tanzania's Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is famous for having a volcanic crater with a spectacularly wide diameter. In 2005, a one-day admission fee was $30 per person. Now it's $50 per person. An identical price jump has happened at the nearby Serengeti National Park.

Elsewhere in East Africa, admission fees have jumped $10 per person in the past year at the Lake Nakuru National Park and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Each spot now charges $40 per person per day.

Costs for visas, departure taxes, and accommodations are also on the rise. To stay within your travel budget, you'll need to track down safari bargains. Here are two key options for keeping your safari costs low....

Book an air and lodging package with an established tour company. Many East African lodges sell discounted rooms to tour companies, which bundle them with airfares. The total price hides the lodges' discounts, so their advertised rates aren't undermined. You can save hundreds.

A fine example is 2Afrika, whose packages Budget Travel often recommends in its 40 Best Deals and Real Deals sections. The company's vice-president, Michael Kerneklian, admits that it is difficult to avoid increases in accommodations, national park entrance fees, visa costs, and departure taxes in East Africa. But, he says, "by crafting group departures that visit the highlights on everyones safari wish lists, our passengers save hundreds of dollars off of a customized safari."

Book locally. If you're a youthful backpacker, you may find safari options that start at $400 per person if you fly to Cape Town, South Africa, and then book a safari with one of the vendors there. Last-minute seats go cheap. Follow the recommendations of well-regarded hostels in Cape Town, whose owners have an interest in steering you straight.

For 10 tips on how to get the most out of your safari, click here.

Related Content