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Last item we discussed what makes a bad, good or great safari. But another thing to be on the lookout for is that some deals not be as good as they look. Let me share some secrets with you.

Serengeti National Park Sign

Newcomers to the safari world often don’t realize the range of the expenses involved. So what actually goes into the cost of a safari? First there are the obvious ones, accommodations and meals. Then you have the vehicles. Good quality vehicles take a lot of maintenance due to the rugged terrain (which is why good companies carry two spare tires and not one) and the fuel (if you think gas is expensive in the U.S. try buying it in Tanzania).  Flying from one spot to another – yup, factor that in too.  Now you need an experienced, knowledgeable guide to drive and tell you about (and spot) all the animals you will observe.   He needs to make your game drives safe, flexible and fun.

And like here there are government permits and insurance.  And speaking of insurance the company should provide medical evacuation insurance to get you out of the bush and into a city with a good hospital should something happen.  OK, have we covered everything?  Nope we forgot about all the entrance fees to the park!  With tourism a major contributor to the economy and so much of the country devoted to National Parks the parks rely on the fees to keep things maintained and running smoothly.  Those can add easily up to $1250 or more per person!

That is why I sometimes laugh when I see “budget trips.”  Recently I got a catalog from a company offering safaris.  I was shocked when I saw the prices.  They seemed awfully low.  Then I saw what was not included. No internal airfare and no park fees.  Add those in and the deal was not very good. That is why it is best to look around for an “all-inclusive” trip – one that does not have unexpected added costs.   Plus it’s more relaxing and fun not to worry about what something is going to cost. Except for that post-safari cocktail, that souvenir beaded bracelet and a tip for your incredible guide, that you have come to feel is like family, you should not have to reach into your wallet for anything else.  That way you can go on your safari with Hakuna Matata – no worries!