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Kenya Budget Safari Tours

4.6/5  –  1,319 Kenya Reviews

Few countries are as well-suited to the budget safari as Kenya. The country’s safari industry highlights its budget safaris and takes advantage of ideal expedition conditions. A seemingly endless array of possibilities is created by cheap accommodation and low-cost transport options, such as the pop-top safari minivan. Kenya is, in many ways, the home of the East African safari, and there are few finer places to plan your trip than here. A string of iconic national parks and reserves provide the venues for excellent wildlife viewing, including the Masai Mara, Amboseli, Tsavo East, Tsavo West, Lake Nakuru and Samburu.

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1-20 of 393 cheap tours, packages and holidays to Kenya

6 Questions About Kenya Budget Safaris


6 Questions About Kenya Budget Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

Why should I choose Kenya for a budget safari?

“Nairobi’s role as a hub for African budget travel has given Kenya a long and reliable tradition of budget safaris. Nairobi is one of the cheapest African destinations when it comes to both international air travel and budget accommodation. Building on this foundation, the Kenyan tourism industry has experience in taking budget travelers into the heart of some of Africa’s premier wildlife areas. Choosing a budget safari in Kenya will not limit your options to view the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) or other African animals. While per-day national park fees are expensive, budget operators are adept at ensuring costs are kept to a minimum. Budget accommodation is almost always possible within or just beyond park boundaries.”


What is included in a budget Kenya trip?

“There is a range of possibilities. All-inclusive safaris should include all accommodation, three meals a day, transport and game drives. Other safari operators may build in more flexibility – breakfast and dinner may be included but not lunches. If your safari includes a camping component, you might be expected to help with the setting up of camp, the preparation of meals and cleaning up afterwards. But the biggest variable is the standard of the accommodation. There is everything from simple two-person tents to basic rooms in lodges or large safari-style tents in tented camps. Clearly the more you pay, the higher the levels of comfort. Exactly what is included is a question that you should always ask any operator when planning your safari. Don’t necessarily go for the cheapest option. Extras added later to your overall costs may cancel out the appeal of a low (but perhaps misleading) upfront price.”


How do I avoid the crowds in the parks?

“You can avoid the worst of these crowds if you’re flexible with dates. Kenya is one of the busiest safari destinations in Africa, so expect to share safari trails with plenty of other travelers. The busiest times are usually around Christmas, Easter and July and August, when international travelers choose to spend their holiday time in Kenya. The migration of wildebeest and zebra between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara is surely one of the greatest spectacles on the African calendar. However, the sheer number of travelers who visit at this time can spoil the experience for many. It’s also the most expensive time to visit and a cheap Kenya safari at this time is more difficult to find. The only way to increase your chances of finding a cheap safari during this period is to take your time looking at all of the available options. Last-minute deals are sometimes possible but waiting for one to appear can be a risk. Wildlife is abundant in most parks year-round, and if you’d prefer a thrilling encounter without waiting in queues of safari vehicles, you may choose to avoid the migration. Predicting when the migration occurs is an inexact science. The herds usually cross into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti from July to August and remain in Kenya until November when they return to Tanzania. But any of these events can happen earlier, later or not at all. That being the case, May and June, or September and October can be ideal to avoid the crowds.”


Can you describe a typical day on a Kenya budget safari?

“A typical day on a Kenya budget safari revolves around wildlife viewing and early morning and late-afternoon game drives, which are a near-constant of life on any budget safari. These are the times when wildlife is most active and easiest to see. If your budget safari has you staying in a simple tented camp or budget lodge, your time in between wildlife viewing and meals will largely be your own. You can either arrange excursions such as village visits or have some downtime to relax. One of the ways that operators keep costs down is by reducing the number of staff who accompany you on safari. What this means in a practical sense is that you’re expected to play a role in keeping camp life running. On a camping budget safari, you’ll participate in setting up camp, packing up each campsite and generally contributing to the smooth running of camp. This may mean helping out with the preparation of meals, and then cleaning up afterwards, as well as putting up and dismantling tents. On a camping safari, if you’re moving on to the next campsite, you’ll return to camp after the morning game drive, prepare breakfast, clean up, pack up camp, and then set off to the new location, usually with some wildlife viewing en route. Lunch is often a relatively quick affair, sometimes in the form of a picnic at a well-chosen spot along the way. On arrival at the new camp, you’ll join the communal effort to set everything up. After dinner in the evening, expect to spend time around the campfire.”


What type of accommodation can I expect?

“Most budget safari packages in Kenya offer a varied range of accommodation options, perhaps more so than any other major safari destination. At the cheaper end of the scale, simple canvas tents of the two-person variety provide you with overnight shelter. These will usually travel with you from one campground to the next. Also cheap are the budget lodges, usually offering a basic bed in a shared room. These are at their best out on the fringes of the major national parks. In the south, particularly around the Masai Mara and Amboseli, homestays in Maasai compounds are an atmospheric and rewarding option. More comfortable and roomy safari tents or simple lodges of varying levels of comfort are all also possible, although they do cost more.”


How much will this safari cost?

“As a starting point, count on per-person per-day prices that begin at US$110. This figure is usually based on a twin-share package, and solo travelers can expect prices to begin closer to US$140 to US$165 per day. Finding the right balance between a small group size and reasonable levels of comfort with a low price is the key to planning a budget safari. Prices vary greatly from one safari to the next, costs depend upon a whole range of variables, and the range of tours is extensive. The per-person rate can vary according to group size, accommodation standards, the amount of travel required between parks and so on.”


Kenya Reviews

4.6/5 1319 Reviews
Alan Murphy  –  
Australia AU

Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.

A Safari Behemoth

In some ways, Kenya rates as the best country for safaris in Africa. That is a contentious statement and many would argue that Tanzania should be given that title. Whichever way you go, Kenya is undeniably a destination which will fulfill...

Full Review

Nana Luckham  –  
United Kingdom UK

Nana is a travel writer and author of multiple guidebooks, including the Lonely Planet guides to Africa, Zambia & Malawi and South Africa.

From game-packed hotspots to little known wilderness

Kenya’s stunning landscapes include rainforest, beaches, deserts and mountains, but it’s the first class wildlife watching that keeps so many visitors flocking back. Not only is it one of the best places in Africa to see the Big Five,...

Full Review

Mara  –  
Spain ES
Reviewed: Feb 25, 2024
Beautiful nature and wildlife

We did a 4-day safari tour and it was incredible! We visited Amboseli and Tsavo East and West. We absolutely loved Amboseli and in hindsight would prefer to spend 2 days instead of 1. We booked with Explorer Kenya and we can only...

Full Review

Momchil Iskrenov  –  
Bulgaria BG
Reviewed: Feb 25, 2024
Amazing place with kind people

Masai Mara is magnificent place, where you can feel atmosphere like nowhere else. Masai people are hospitable with philosophy of life as example to the world. Ukunda and Diani beach is paradise of the world, one of the most beautiful place...

Full Review

Flore  –  
Netherlands NL
Reviewed: Feb 25, 2024
Beautiful wildlife in an amazing environment

We loved doing the Safari tour, everything was arranged so good so you didn’t have to think about anything. It was nice to do the early tours so you had the late afternoon and evening off. The Amboseli national park was very big with a...

Full Review

Ingrid Webster  –  
South Africa ZA
Reviewed: Feb 22, 2024
Vibrant, diverse and beautiful, a land of sun and smiles that you have to visit.

What an awesome experience!!! I was travelling on a budget and this tour was everything i could have hoped for. They made it so easy for me - everything was included (besides the things they tell you about, and SOME activities if they are...

Full Review