A budget safari can cost as little as $150 per person per day, a luxury safari over $1,000 per person per day. A mid-range Tanzania safari costs $300 to $500 per person per day. We won’t beat around the acacia tree. Tanzania is one of Africa’s more expensive safari destinations.
Average Costs of a Safari in Tanzania (Per person per day)
The costings table here gives an instant overview of how much the average Tanzania safari will cost, depending on your travel style. Using this table allows you to quickly match your daily budget to the kind of Tanzania safari you can afford. Remember that travel seasons play a big role in Tanzania safari costs. If you don’t mind the sometimes more challenging travel conditions encountered during the rainy season, then big savings can be made. As with anywhere, the more comfort and intimacy you require, the more cash you’ll splash.
|Mid Range Accommodation
|Luxury Plus Accommodation
Rates in USD $
Excluding additional costs, such as international flights, tips and personal items
Additional Costs Explained
The following list covers a few additional Tanzania costs – some obvious,
Flying to Tanzania often costs considerably more than flying to some neighboring destinations. It’s often cheaper to fly into Nairobi and take a connection from there. To keep costs down, travel outside of the high season.
Most nationalities pay $50 for a single-entry visa. US passport holders aren’t eligible for a standard, single-entry tourist visa and have to take a multiple-entry visa, which costs $100.
Doing a safari in the low season can save you up to 50% on accommodation costs. Accommodation is much more expensive in or around Tanzania’s big-name parks and reserves. Concentrating on lesser-known parks will save you big bucks.
A yellow fever vaccination is obligatory for entry into Tanzania. We strongly recommend that you take malaria pills.
Tipping is expected in better-quality hotels, safari lodges and camps. Guides and drivers also expect to be tipped. Suggestion: around $25 per person per day. Bring a couple of hundred dollars in smaller bills to cover tips.
Standard travel insurance is fine for most safari activities, but if you’re intending to climb Mt Kilimanjaro or one of the other big mountains then make sure your insurance policy covers trekking at altitude. Many policies don’t cover this.
10 factors influencing the cost of a Tanzania safari
The general cost of a Tanzania safari varies hugely depending on several factors. The most important of these are the time of year you’ll be traveling, the parks and reserves you’ll visit, and how exclusively you wish to travel.
Length of stay
If you’re on a full-package safari (especially a budget safari) then per-day costs will likely be slightly cheaper the more days you include. And hiring a jeep and driver is always cheaper per day if you hire the vehicle for a longer period. The amount of time you spend in Tanzania, in general, doesn’t tend to alter day-to-day costs. Park entry fees are charged on a 24-hour basis and don’t get cheaper the longer you stay in a park. Occasionally safari camps and lodges might have a special offer on where every fourth or fifth night is free.
Level of comfort of accommodation
It goes without saying that going all adventurous and pitching a small tent on a basic campground (most parks and reserves have official camping areas) and cooking your own meals is considerably cheaper than accommodation of the four-walls-and-a-roof kind. And like anywhere the more luxury you demand the more the price rises. What does surprise many first-time visitors to Tanzania, though, is that even very basic accommodation can often cost more than a nice mid-range place in a popular European city.
Location of the accommodation
Perhaps nothing influences the cost of a Tanzania safari like location does. A lodge with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Ngorongoro Crater naturally costs more than a place of similar quality an hour down the road and with a view over nothing in particular. But what’s unusual is the enormity of the price difference. Sometimes hundreds of dollars a night separate the two. If you want to save money then opt for a lodge just outside park gates rather than a place within the park. This might also save you on some entry fees as well.
The bigger your group size then the cheaper your Tanzania safari will be on a per-person basis. If you’re on a fully organized safari then having eight people crammed into a safari vehicle brings costs right down, but on the flip side it’s also likely to mean a lower-quality safari. The same rules apply on a private safari, except that here it will be you who has picked your travel companions, which generally leads to a more intimate and enjoyable safari.
When you want to go
High season is June to September and mid-December to mid-January. Late February, when the wildebeest give birth, is also a popular time for the southern Serengeti, but the most expensive time for a Tanzania safari. Low season is March to May. Rains sweep across much of the country and some safari accommodation closes. This is the cheapest time to go on safari with prices often 50% lower than in high season. For an ideal balance between costs, weather and general value for money, the in-between months (October to mid-December and late May to mid-June) are a good compromise.
How to get around
If you stick to the main parks and reserves of northern Tanzania, the cheapest way of getting about is by vehicle. An organized budget camping safari can cost from around $100 per person per day excluding park fees. But exercise caution with very cheap safari packages, they’re cheap for a reason! If time is more precious than money, or you’re taking in remoter Tanzanian parks and reserves, or visiting all four corners of the country, flying between parks is the best way to go. But it’s also more expensive with even the shortest hop costing at least $100 per person.
Where you want to go
Where you go makes a big difference to what you pay. Hit up the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater or Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) and you’ll pay for the privilege. Aim for lesser-known parks such as Katavi, Saadani or Arusha National Parks and you’ll still see a fabulous array of wildlife (and sometimes of an even greater variety than if you just stuck to the Serengeti). And, what’s more, park entry fees and accommodation will often cost you less than in Tanzania’s big-name parks. A win all round!
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro or taking a hot-air balloon ride is a popular safari add-on. But, neither of these activities is cheap by international standards. Kilimanjaro park fees alone average out at around $800 per person. An organized trek to climb the mountain by the shortest possible route (not recommended for acclimatization issues) costs at least $1,200 per person. But for safety reasons, you should avoid these very cheap offers. Instead, expect to pay closer to $2,000 per person for a trek with a reliable operator. A hot-air balloon ride across the Serengeti costs at least $550 per person.
There’s more to Tanzania than just safaris, and many safari-goers sensibly decide to break up the endless days in a safari jeep with a bit of beach time. The most popular beach location by a long way is Zanzibar. There’s enough accommodation here to ensure that competition is fierce so you can normally find a decent room for a fair price. But, for a cheaper beach holiday, forget Zanzibar and try mainland Tanzania. There are some superb beaches, including Sange and Ras Kutani, with good-priced accommodation at both.
A special-interest holiday, such as one focused on chimpanzees and visiting the parks and reserves in the west of Tanzania, which provide a home to our closest cousins, is likely to cost more than a standard safari around Tanzania’s Northern safari circuit. A special-interest holiday focused on bird watching or hiking might see you paying more per day for a specialized guide, but as you will likely travel to some lesser-visited and therefore cheaper parks, you’ll probably end up with a cheaper Tanzania safari overall.