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South African Safari Cost, Day By Day Prices, 2024

How much does a safari in South Africa Cost?

When we talked about how much does a safari in South Africa cost it is quite a challenging or tricky question to answer and the main reason as to why this is so is because this country is not only a safari destination but also offers a variety of fascinating activities for people that visit on holiday such as the flourishing wine lands, the numerous cosmopolitan Cities, the beautiful scenery, the towering mountains to hike and above all the breathtaking beaches.

While analyzing the cost of a Safari in South Africa it is worth mentioning that the biggest determinant of the overall price will be the number of safari nights in the national parks / reserves you will have on your itinerary as these are considered to be the most expensive compared to spending a night elsewhere across the country.

Factors Determining the Cost of a Safari Holiday in South Africa

As earlier mentioned there are number of factors and below we have highlighted them to give you a clearer breakdown how much money you may have to spend as you plan to visit South Africa on your Safari in Africa

  1. Cost of accommodation

south africa safari lodge

Accommodation in South Africa is very plentiful offering good service, nice amenities and value for money. In summary, it can be rated as budget, mid-range, luxury and the super luxury facilities and each of these is rated in the local currency – the Rand. However the cost of accommodation in safari lodges inside the national parks is higher compared to that across other parts of South Africa. These may range from about US $280 per night,every person while sharing in a budget game Lodge, to as much as US $2,300 per person for every night in a super luxury Safari lodges.

Below is a summary of the average costs of accommodation in South Africa Safari lodges and out of safari lodgest

Type of Accommodation Price Range in Safari Lodges Price Range Elsewhere
1. Budget accommodation $275 to $450 $100 to $200
2. mid-range accommodation $450 to $750 $200 to $350
3. luxury accommodation $750 to $1100 $450 to $650
4. super luxury $1100 to $2300
  1. Number of nights on a safari

south african safari animals

A number of holidaymakers that visit South Africa enjoy a favorite holiday itineraries that offer various activities such as whale watching, relaxing on the beautiful beaches, visiting the Table Mountains, exploring the wine estates as well as touring around the beautiful cities not to forget exploring the national parks to see the rich wildlife. it is however very typical that during that itinerary they will spend three to four (3 to 4) days on Safari as they explore the national parks every single night spent in a game Lodge within South Africa’s national parks is more expensive compared to a night spend in other holiday destinations across the country. So as earlier detailed in the cost of accommodation, you will realize that the more night you spend on safari the more costly your overall price.

It is for that reason that you are highly advised when planning your itinerary based on your budget you should keep in check and number of days you will be spending on Safari

  1. Safaris are priced in Randas

south africa tours

Fortunately South Africa is one of the least expensive tourist destinations on the African continent when compared to a number of other countries. The main reason as to why this is so is because it’s Safari are priced in the local currency unlike most destinations that cost that itineraries in the US dollar.

Table showing the Average cost of Safari in different Africa Countries per day

Country Budget (private) Mid-range (private) Luxury (private) Super Luxury (private)
1. South Africa $230 – $350 $350 – $450 $550 – $650 $700 –
2. Botswana $400 – $550 $550 – $850 $850 -$1100 $1,000 -$1,700
3. Tanzania $250 – $400 $400 – $550 $550 – $800 $850 – $1,200
4. Namibia $230 – $400 $400 – $550 $550 – $750 $750 – $1,100
5. Zambia $200 – $350 $370 – $500 $500 – $800 $800 – $950
  1. The peak Safari season is the Low climatic season

south african safari cost

Unique about South Africa is that the best time to take a safari here is during the dry season from June to September which is also the winter season. on the contrary Europe is experiencing its summer time so a very large number of tourist fly into south Africa to enjoy the summer holiday which in fact leads to the highest demand for safaris in the country.

Because of the unique seasonality of South Africa, it is pretty amazing that game viewing in its safari national parks and reserves such as the Kruger, KwaZulu-Natal, Madikwe and Pilanesberg is at its best as the vegetation is thin, short and dry, and the wild animals tend to congest the few remaining water holes which makes it much easier to view compared to the summer when they are dispersed across the terrain in the longer grass.

At this time of the year, Safari lodges do not increase the accommodation prices and interestingly you will discover that the cost of safari accommodation all year around is the same with a number of facilities in national parks and reserves in areas like Madikwe and the Eastern Cape offering even lower discounts in May, June and July.  In addition, a number of facilities offer special discounts for persons that spend more nights at their facilities. On the contrary across South Africa

In South Africa the low season is considered to be experienced from the month of May until mid September a thing that attracts discounted accommodation  rates of as low as 10-20% discount by some lodges and hotels. However when you move to the northern part of the country this season is considered the best time to enjoy game viewing making it the peak Safari time in the drier months.

  1. Cost of mode of travel while on safari

south africa lion safari

While on Safari in South Africa holidaymakers have a number of options on how to travel within the country. A number of them prefer privately guided safaris, others self-drive safaris and while there are also a number that prefer to do both the privately guided and shared day tours as highlighted below.

Privately Guided Safaris

wildebeest safari south africa

In South Africa private guiding is more complex then you can actually imagine. It’s without a lie that this service is expensive but will give you a fully dedicated private guide who normally doubles as the safari driver.  These guides work under fully operating standards and are highly regulated. For a full day, these services may cost approximately $100 to $110, which may turn out to be more costly especially if you are just two people rather than when you are in a group. since you will be moving with a guide to every destination, this will mean that he / she will have to be accommodated overnight which will bring an extra cost in the total price of you South African Safari.

However there are so many advantages linked to using guide service: the guides have the capability to access a number of areas within the parks that may be closed to an ordinary tourist. They are also well aware of the best places to find and spot the animals due to their vast knowledge of the animals’ calling sounds and easy detection of their tracks. In addition, these highly trained guides also have extensive information about the plants and wildlife in the various safari destinations, the local culture and history – which they will gladly share with you; these people will make you game viewing much easier and fun. In

Self-guided safaris


Although self drives may not be possible in all destinations the different South African National Parks are very suitable for this and offer holidaymakers an opportunity to drive their own personal Safari vehicles, a privilege that can best be attributed to the good Network of roads that are well-maintained. This option save you some money as you will not have to incur the cost of paying a guide daily.

one of the advantages of a self-drive safari is that you will have the liberty of staying in a particular sport for as long as you want or follow different animals as long as that you want, unlike a guided safari where the game drive is limited to about two and a half to three (2.5 to 3) hours. this option is best suited for holidaymakers that have been on Safari before.

Privately Guided and Shared Day Tours

The other option would be to take a safari that includes shared tours and private guided safaris. this may begin with a few days on your itinerary being led by a professional tour guide and then followed by couple of days of self drive out in the country areas mixed with private transfer especially in sections of your itinerary that include longer drives and finally charter flights to the Safari destinations. This way you will be able to reduce on the cost of hiring a guide on a daily basis however such an itinerary can only be put together with the help of a professional tour operator.

How to cut on a safari in South Africa

Having analyzed the different aspects that affect the overall cost of your Safari below we have highlighted a few tips that will guide you on how to save money

  1. Book your accommodation directly using the various online discounted sites

These discounted websites normally serve as a place where all unsold rooms are cleared off for most of the best lodges within the country. in fact holidaymakers that are willing to take the risk of making last-minute accommodation booking about one week to their safari date will be able to get more attractive discounts

  1. Sleep Outside the National Parks

Sleeping immediately outside the National Park’s boundaries normally turns out to be an affordable option as you can be able to self drive into the park or instead book a guide once inside the park. Fortunately majority of the country’s wildlife destinations have various nice accommodation options around them. for example you can opt to stay at the cost friendly Halsted Farm located about 10 km from the park gate of a Addo National Park whose accommodation is cheaper ($80) compared to its sister property the Camp Figtree located within the national park that costs about ($130) per person.

  1. Your meal plan wisely

throughout your Safari holiday with the exception of the days when you will be staying in The far-away Safari lodges found in the national parks or reserves where you will surely need to book an all-inclusive package that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, when you set out to explore the rest of South Africa we highly recommend that you try out the scrumptious variety of cuisines offered in this country. There are a number of fine restaurants where travelers are recommended to enjoy meals such as lunch and dinner away from their hotel; this will give you an opportunity to enjoy a wider range of food and even lower the overall cost spent on Meals.

Please note: avoid eating street food; always ensure that you are served hot food and preferably visit only renew restaurants.

  1. Choose the right time to travel

As earlier mentioned the off peak / low climatic season in South Africa is from the month of May to September (which is the winter) and this season comes with very attractive discounts on a large number of hotels and lodges despite the fact that in the northern part of the country this is the best time for game viewing. The best discounts can be enjoyed in the Eastern Cape as well as in Madikwe Reserve.

  1. Opt for longer Stays at Safari lodges

Many of the Safari lodges in South Africa’s national parks and reserves offer special discounts for all their guests that spend longer night at their facilities. It’s for that reason that you may take advantage of such unique offers to cut down the total cost for your Safari.

Best Time to Visit South Africa

Because South Africa is a very large country and offers a variety of activities not to forget that experiences a very unique climatic pattern, the most important thing to do while planning your Safari is to know what primary activities do you want to engage in and then you will be able to determine the best time to visit

Best time for game viewing

The best time to enjoy viewing in South Africa is during the winter and spring months that run from the month of May to September and sometimes extending to early October. The dry winter causes the vegetation to become thin making it easier to support animals that’s normally congregate around the few water holes. Destinations like Kwazulu-Natal, Kruger National Park, Pilanesberg as well as Madikwe Reserve can be visited during this time.

Best time for whale watching

Plettenberg Bay and Hermanus attract a large number of holidaymakers especially from July to end of November who come to marvel at the whales in these areas. The peak month for watching these whales is September and although it might be cold with some slight drizzles. It is a very breathtaking sight watching the baby whales swim close to the coastline.

Best time to visit cape Town

Cape Town is the most popular city second to Johannesburg in South Africa and receives a very large number of tourists annually who come to explore its amazing splendor. The best time to visit is from December to the start of March however if you wish to combine a tour here with a wildlife safari then consider visiting any of the private game reserves to enjoy some wildlife viewing.