When we talk about a safari in Tanzania, tourists see themselves spending thousands of dollars and it sometimes discourages those that are on a budget to make the trip to country. But did you know that you can get to enjoy a safari in Tanzania for as low as $250 per day? Well it is possible and it all depends on the style of trip that you choose. Tourists always have lots of questions when it comes to budget safaris and we are going to try to answer most of these questions in order to make your safari as smooth as possible.
What is a budget safari?
A budget safari is a trip that is meant to be enjoyed by anyone who wants to enjoy the Tanzanian wilderness with the amount of money that they have. You will still get to travel to the different destinations just like a tourist taking on the luxury safari and the exception comes with accommodation and the group size. The tour guide assigned will make sure that you are comfortable all throughout your stay in the country but note that you will be sharing the vehicle with other tourists and you will have to follow the itinerary that is designed for you without making any changes.
What does a budget safari include?
A budget safari is the same as a luxury safari and the things that differentiate the two are accommodation, the itinerary chosen and the group size. Below is what will be included in a Tanzania budget safari.
- Bottled water
- A cook
- 4×4 transport
- All meals that is breakfast, lunch and dinner
- An experienced tour guide
- Park fees for the chosen destinations
- Accommodation in camps.
How much does a budget safari cost in Tanzania?
This is an extremely hard question to answer due to the fact that the different tour operators have different prices for the itinerary chosen. There are quite a number of factors that can affect your budget safari cost and once you put these into consideration, you will be able to enjoy a budget safari in Tanzania.
The type of accommodation that you choose for your safari will determine the amount of money you will spend per day. There are various types of accommodation facilities that you can choose from but if you are on a strict budget, it is advisable that you go with the basic accommodation facilities because you can use as low as $200 per day.
- Group size
The group size will also determine how much you can spend on your safari. When you travel in smaller groups, the safari cost will be high. But when you travel in large groups of about 7 people and above, you end up saving more since most of the costs like transport and accommodation will be shared.
If you are on a budget, then it is better to use the overland transportation which can transport about 20 people at ago. The costs will be shared among the group unlike those using fly-ins which are expensive.
The time spent on a safari will definitely determine how much you are to spend. The more the days, the more money you will spend and the lesser the days, the cost of the safari reduce. Tourists who are on a budget are encouraged to try out itineraries with few days like 3 days safari, 2 days safari and 4 days safari.
Tanzania safaris have two main seasons that is the dry and rainy season. The dry season (June to October) is also known as the peak season and during this time, the cost of a safari is high due to the high number of tourists. The rainy season which is also known as the green season or low season (November to April) is the best time for tourists who are travelling on a budget.
There are also other costs that you should put into consideration as you plan your budget safari and these are:
- Tips, these are almost mandatory and a sign of appreciation to those offering you the services. A tip to the guide can be at least $40 per day, chef $20 per day but it mainly depend on what you have.
- Park fees.
- Shopping money, you need to carry some extra money for buying locally made good that you will take back home with you.
What are the Tanzania Budget safari destinations?
There are several destinations that you will get to see on your budget safari some of which are found in the Northern circuit Tanzania while others are found in the southern circuit Tanzania. The southern circuit Tanzania is known to be the cheapest place to go for a safari and the most famously visited Park here is the Selous Game Reserve. Other Parks in the Northern circuit that can be included in your budget safari include:
- Tarangire National Park which is a host to the largest number of elephants in the country.
- Lake Manyara National Park famously known for the tree climbing lions.
- Ngorongoro crater, a home to quite a large number of wildlife and the best place to catch the calving month.
- Serengeti National Park, this is where the annual wildebeest migration.
Do I get to buy extra food or drinks on budget safari?
Yes you can extra food and drinks on budget safari especially alcoholic ones since the only drink that is provided during safaris is water. Before we set off for the safari, the driver guide will stop at either a local market or supermarket so that you can get all that you might need in the wilderness.
How is the accommodation on a budget safari?
The most commonly used accommodation types on a budget safari are camps and although most of them are basic, they are very comfortable. Note that different companies have different types of tents and these are put up for you when it is time to rest. You are provided with a rain cover and mattress which is laid on the ground and if the destination that you are heading out to is a cold, there is an option of being given a warm sleeping bag. You will have to share the toilets and bathrooms which are kept clean all the time and it is also advisable that you do not move out of your tent during the night to ease yourself because the wild animals keep on moving around the Park and you can never be sure of whether they are far or near your tent.
How are the vehicles used for transportation?
This is one of the things that you should first research about before choosing a specific company for your safari. Most tour operators use vehicles that have an open roof for easy viewing of the animals and although some are in good shape, others are a little bit old. You need to make sure that the vehicle you are using is comfortable otherwise you might not enjoy your safari.
How are the meals on a budget safari?
Just like on a luxury safari, meals on a budget safari are always good. You will have breakfast in the morning, pack a to go lunch for picnicking in the afternoon after the morning drive, juice and water will also be packed and in the evening, the cook will prepare a heavy dinner with both international and local dishes and dessert. No matter how many you are in a group, you will be able to enjoy the meals till you are satisfied. The cook will prepare the meals, set the tables and help with erecting your tents.
There are several itineraries that you can choose from for your budget safari in Tanzania and below are a few that you can look at so that you get an idea of what to expect while on a Tanzania budget safari.
Budget Tanzania camping safari
This budget Tanzania camping safari will start in Arusha and still end in Arusha. It is a 5 days trip that will take you around the Northern circuit Tanzania and we shall be exploring the Tarangire, Ngorongoro crater and Lake Manyara National Park.
Duration 5 days
Destination Arusha, Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro National park
Region Northern circuit Tanzania
Group size maximum of 7 people per vehicle
Day 1: Arusha to Tarangire National Park
We shall start our trip in Arusha to do some little shopping for essentials before diving to Tarangire National Park. Tarangire which is best known for having the largest herd of elephants is one of the most frequently visited Parks in Tanzania due to the wide range of wildlife that it hosts. Some of the animals that we shall see during the drive include giraffes, antelopes, cheetahs, lions, buffalos, hippos, gazelles among others. These are best seen during the dry season (July to October) because during this time, animals gather around at the Tarangire River to cool off the heat. The whole day will be spent enjoying game drives which will be followed by dinner and an overnight at a campsite.
Day 2: Tarangire to Lake Manyara National Park
After breakfast, we shall have a short drive around the Tarangire before driving to Lake Manyara National Park. The Park is located within the Great Rift valley and is surrounded by soda Lakes almost 3/4s of the park. It is a home to climbing lions, giraffes, pink flamingo, buffalos, hippos, zebras, cheetahs, wildebeests and many more others which can be seen while driving through the National Park. Dinner will be served at the campsite where we will spend the night.
Day 3: Lake Manyara to Ngorongoro crater
We will depart from Lake Manyara National Park to Ngorongoro crater after breakfast. Ngorongoro crater is the largest caldera in the world and it was formed after the collapse of a now extinct volcano. Ngorongoro is a host to a wide range of animals and bird species that we shall see during our afternoon drive like giraffes zebras, lions, spotted hyenas, the black jackal, zebras, buffalos and antelopes. An overnight will be spent at the campsite and all meals from breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided.
Day 4: Ngorongoro crater to Mto Wa Mbu
We will have breakfast at the camp before descending down the crater where we will get to see the big five and other animals. We will drive through the conservation area while game viewing and then after lunch, we will drive to the Mto Wa Mbu village which is known to be the best place for tourists who love the calving season (January). Dinner will be prepared by the chef and then you will rest at the campsite.
Day 5: Mto Wa Mbu to Arusha
After breakfast at the Mto Wa Mbu, we will drive you to the spot where you can get good photos of the Great Rift valley before continuing to Arusha. When we get to Arusha, we will either take you to the airport or your hotel room depending on your preference and this will mark the end of the budget safari in Tanzania.
5 days budget safari Tanzania
Enjoy 5 days in Tanzania while exploring the best destinations for game drives that is Serengeti national Park, Ngorongoro crater and Lake Manyara National Park all on a favourable budget.
Group size maximum of 12 people
Destination Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro crater
Day 1: Arusha to Lake Manyara National Park
We will meet you at your hotel in Arusha after breakfast and head out to the Lake Manyara National Park. the Park is known to be small in nature but is a home to over 350 bird species and wild animals which include the tree climbing lions, hyenas, buffalos, hippos, warthogs, zebras, elephants, giraffes and elands among others. As we drive through Lake Manyara, we get to see all the wildlife that the Park hosts, a view of the Great Rift Valley and the woodlands that cover the park. An overnight will be spent at the campsite and this is where you will have dinner from.
Day 2: Lake Manyara to Serengeti National Park
After breakfast, we will drive through the Lake Manyara park so that we get a good look at the birds that come out very early in the morning and some wild animals. We will leave for Serengeti National Park at 7:30am and on our way, we shall get to take a short trip to Olduvai Gorge where archaeologists are believed to have found the remains of the first humans. We will have lunch and then drive through Serengeti National Park until we get to Seronera (central Serengeti) for a short game drive before having dinner and an overnight at the campsite.
Day 3: Serengeti National Park
Day 4 will begin at exactly 7:00am after breakfast and the whole day will be spent exploring some of the Park. with our help, you will be able to track the wildebeest migration which takes place in the dry season (June to October). Some of the animals that you should expect to see on this game drive include lions, cheetahs, hyenas, zebras, elephants, hippos, elephants, buffalos, giraffes and wildebeests. A packed lunch will be served in the afternoon and later on in the evening dinner will be served at the campsite where you will be spending the night.
Day 4: Serengeti National Park to Ngorongoro crater
Early in the morning, we shall have breakfast and with a packed lunch, set off for Ngorongoro crater. Animals that you should expect to see while on a drive through the largest caldera in the world include elephants, zebras, elands, the black rhino, antelopes just to mention but a few. Ngorongoro is also the best place to catch the calving season which happens to take place in January. We will retire to the campsite in the evening for dinner and rest.
Day 5: Ngorongoro carter to Arusha
In the morning we will have breakfast and then have a drive around the National Park, explore the waterfalls, visit the River where you can catch most of the animals cooling off the heat and get to enjoy a packed lunch in a chosen bush. After lunch, we will drive back to Arusha and this will be the end of our 5 days budget trip in Tanzania.
5 days Tanzania Family Budget safari
The 5 day Tanzania budget safari will be the best especially if you are spending it with family. You will get to visit some of the best safari destinations in the Northern circuit that is Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti National park.
Group size maximum of 7 people
Destination Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro crater, Arusha
Day 1: Arusha to Serengeti National Park
Enjoy a delicious breakfast in Arusha and then drive to Serengeti National Park to be more specific, the central part of Serengeti commonly known as Seronera. Seronera is the best place to catch the wildebeest migration and large herds of animals surrounding the Seronera River especially during the dry season which is experienced between July and October. Get ready to enjoy the view of animals like zebras, gazelles, wildebeests, elephants, lions, antelopes, hippos and several bird species.
Day 2: Serengeti National Park
After breakfast, we will head out with our packed lunch for a game drive though Seronera. Since it has a large concentration of animals, we will drive around analysing each, taking as many photos as we can and also learn how to track down the wildlife before retiring for dinner and an overnight at the campsite.
Day 3: Serengeti to Ngorongoro
Day 3 will start with an air balloon ride very early in the morning in the plains of Serengeti. After the hot air balloon ride, we will have breakfast, pack our lunch and have a short drive through Serengeti before driving to Ngorongoro crater. On our way to Ngorongoro, we will make a short stop so that you get to take as many photos of the Great Rift Valley. Lunch will be served and later on in the late afternoon, dinner will be prepared by the cook as you prepare for the overnight at the campsite.
Day 4: Ngorongoro to Lake Manyara
We will leave for Lake Manyara National Park after breakfast and a morning drive through the Ngorongoro crater. Before Lake Manyara, we will drive down to Ndutu where most of the calving of animals which is best seen in January and February takes place and then have lunch at a picnic site which has a clear of the animals. After lunch we will drive to Lake Manyara National Park from where we will have dinner at the campsite as we prepare for the next day.
Day 5: Lake Manyara National Park to Tarangire Park
This is our last day and we will drive to Tarangire National park after having breakfast at the campsite in Manyara. we will drive to the Tarangire National Park best known for the huge herds of elephants . We will spend the whole day driving through Tarangire with the views of the baobab trees, zebras, hippos, elephants, buffalos, antelopes and elands. A packed lunch will be served at one of the chosen picnic sites an after that, drive back to Arusha which will mark the end of our budget safari in Tanzania.