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Planning Your Safari

Planning a safari is sure one of the hardest exercises every traveller to East Africa faces. This is because of the involvement of things like transport, accommodation and meals. So what should you put into account when planning to go on a safari in any of the East African regions of Kenya, Tanzania?

Budgeting and Costs

Many people fail to get the perfect safari experience due to poor planning of their budgets but this is going to help you overcome that hurdle. The cost of a safari average between $300-$400 per person per night. This is usually a safari of two to four people sharing a three or four-star property, meals, transport and entrance fees.

What does the $300-$400 constitute?

  • Accommodation-the safari party is usually accommodated in hotels, parks and lodges depending on preferences.
  • Meals-during safari meals are offered thrice a day i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Transport-a safari party is usually given a six-seater 4×4 jeep which carries a maximum of six people and every person in the van in guaranteed a window seat.
  • Guide-every safari party has its own private guide who mostly is often the driver. The guide usually has extensive knowledge of East African flora and fauna and also an understanding of the various cultures of the East African communities.
  • Amenities-in the safari vans there are wildlife books to enable the tourists to understand and appreciate the different species of plants and animals that they come across in the tour. There are also binoculars for a clearer view, first aid kits and fire extinguishers in case of accidents, ice chest to keep beverages cold when there are hot weather and bottled water.
  • Park entrance fees to the parks listed on the itinerary that the safari party have been given.
  • Government taxes, levies and other fees.
  • Arrival and departure transfer fees between various parks and hotels listed on the itinerary as part of the safari program.
  • 24-hour telephone contact from the comfort of the safari van.

It is important to note that there are other expenses usually incurred during the safari and over the course of stay in the region. It is important to note these expenses and budget for them appropriately since they do not fall within the $300-$400 prescribed above as the night average of a person. Such expenses include:

  • Domestic and international airfares and departure taxes-each individual traveller has to cover these costs by themselves as they are not included by the safari company in computing their costs.
  • Personal communication costs-it’s vital to note that a traveller pays for charges incurred by personal communication through telephone, emails, Skype and other means of communication.
  • Tips-after good service it is usually courteous to give tips to guides and waiters. These tips are not included and therefore each person incurs the cost of the tips they give
  • Beverages-alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are allowed during safaris but they are not included in the safari expenses of the Private guided safaris.
  • Laundry expenses
  • Expenses for between-meal snacks and entrance to parks, reserves, attractions and events not included in the itinerary.


It’s important when planning a safari to consider the number of people in the safari party. Private Guided Safaris allow a maximum of six people per vehicle .The price decreases with to increase in number so the more you are the less expensive it will be to cruise through East Africa.

There is usually a special consideration for groups exceeding fifteen people with the group leader of the party enjoying the benefit of a free trip.

There are usually two types of programs in these safaris;

(i)Private programs-these only constitute persons in your party and the party will have its own private minivan and a private guide

(ii)Public programs-these may include people from outside your safari party and it’s usually limited to a   maximum of six people. In the public program the van and the guide are usually shared.


Since most safaris are usually made on vacations most people feel the need to have the whole family including children in the journey. There are usually plenty of sceneries and experiences such as beaches and pools that these kids would enjoy besides the pleasure of interacting and playing with other kids in the course of the safari. One, however, needs to ask themselves several questions before deciding whether it would be in the best interest to have the child accompany them.

(a)Are the children braced for travel complication?

This should be to determine whether the children can cope with long hours of travel and the fatigue that usually accompanies most safaris.

It’s also prudent to consult their physician on their health status and whether they can cope with the climatic atmosphere of extremes of heat during the day and cold during the night.

(b)What are the park policies to children?

Before deciding to include children it’s important to check whether the parks, hotels and lodges in the itinerary allow children. It’s important to note that some places such as Shimba Hills Hotel and Tree Tops do not allow children of below the age of five years.


Travel is an integral part of the safari experience. Over the course of safari, one is constantly moving from one park to another, from a park to a hotel and lodge and to other sceneries such as beaches.

For maximum comfort, we give each party a 4*4 land cruiser that can cope with the rough terrain of most game parks and reserves in the East African region.4 WD vans are also usually available at additional costs.

These safari vans usually have pop-up roofs for easy viewing and photography and as mentioned at the beginning each person has the luxury of a window seat for a more panoramic view of the surroundings during the journey.

The average time travel between various places is as follows

Nairobi – Masai Mara      4.5 hours

Nairobi –  Samburu 4.5 hours

Nairobi –Lake  Nakuru 2.5 hours

Nairobi – Amboseli 3 hours

There is also an option of air travel at a cost of $250 per person per flight segment.


The tourism industry in the East African region has been known for its high standards when it comes to accommodation. Since the aim of most safaris is to experience nature most accommodations are simple, clean and elegant with most decorations done with African artefacts.

Tented camp versus lodge

Most people have the option of choosing between a tented camp and a lodge. Tented camps are usually small, privately owned and usually have very close proximity to nature. Lodges, on the other hand, are usually bigger and mostly secluded from nature. One is, therefore, more likely to hear the cry of an owl in a tented camp than a lodge. Camps are more expensive than lodges and usually fill up more quickly so if you opt for a camp timing is vital.


There are usually three meals in a day, prepared by skilled gourmet Chefs. Most cuisines and delicacies are a fusion of European style and African preferences.

Breakfast is usually cereals, bacon, eggs, sausage and a toast, a buffet lunch with salads and cold meats and a dinner of meat, fish and pasta dishes with sausages and vegetables.

Dinner is often followed by coffee or tea, desserts and cheeses.