Kenya Safari Cost Guide 2024

Looking to find out about the cost of safari in Africa particularly in Kenya in 2024?

Having arranged several safari packages for our clients and having gone on safari expeditions in Kenya ourselves covering key destinations such as Masai Mara and Amboseli, I have a good understanding of the cost involved. I will be sharing this knowledge with you.

On average budget safari packages such as those we provide here at Kambu Campers range from $250 per day for comfort-level experience with accommodation in a tented camp. Cheaper options utilizing public transport means during off-peak seasons can bring the daily rate down to $150 but regular safari experiences you’ll find quoted by most tour operators are 4-star comfort packages. These packages start from $400 per day and are about $100 cheaper than Tanzania packages.

Cost of Kenya Safari Packages: Considerations

Several factors affect the cost of a safari package in Kenya. These include:

  • Time of year
  • Duration of safari
  • Type of Accommodation
  • Number of people on safari
  • Inclusions and exclusions from the package
  • Specific destinations to be visited

Time of Year

The cost of a safari package in Kenya varies between peak and off-peak seasons. Peak season runs from July to October when the Great Wildebeest Migration occurs in Masai Mara National Reserve. During this time, prices are typically higher due to high demand. The off-peak season runs from April to June and November to December, with prices being lower for the same safari package.

Duration of Safari

The duration of your safari will also have an impact on the overall cost. Longer safaris will obviously cost more than shorter ones as they include additional days in accommodation, park fees and transportation costs.

Type of Accommodation

Accommodation options range from budget camping to luxury lodges. The type of accommodation you choose will greatly affect the overall cost of your safari package. Budget camping options are more affordable, while luxury lodges can significantly increase the cost.

Number of People on Safari

The number of people on your safari can also impact the cost. Larger groups tend to receive discounts from tour operators, making it a more cost-effective option for families or groups of friends.

Inclusions and Exclusions

Some safari packages may include extras such as flights, park fees, and transport within the package cost. It is important to carefully read through what is included in your package to understand the overall cost. Additionally, some packages may have exclusions, such as alcoholic drinks or additional activities, which may incur additional costs.

Destination:

The destination of your safari can also affect the cost. Popular national parks and reserves such as Masai Mara, Amboseli, and Tsavo are more expensive due to their popularity and abundance of wildlife. On the other hand, lesser-known parks and reserves may offer a more affordable option for those on a budget.

Time of Booking

Booking your safari in advance can also help save on costs. Last-minute bookings tend to be more expensive as tour operators have less time to secure affordable accommodation and transport options for their clients. It is recommended to book at least 6-12 months in advance to secure the best deals.

Key Cost Items That Make Up Your Safari Cost:

Flight Cost:

This includes the cost of your flight to Kenya and any domestic flights within the country. A roundtrip nonstop ticket with Kenya Airways from New York’s JFK to Nairobi costs $950 to $1200 but can find cheaper such as Turkish Airlines, Air France, or KLM going for less than $1000 if you book at least 3 months in advance. If you opt for a flying safari within Kenya, it can cost you about $300 – $450 for a roundtrip ticket from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport(WIL) to Masai Mara(MRE) and about $380 from Masai Mara to Amboseli(ASV).

While you can avoid domestic flights and opt for cheaper public transport means by road, you have to cater for the international flight to get to Kenya. That alone is over $1000 if you’re flying from Europe, the Americas, or from Asia. Our Masai Mara Flying Safari packages start from $900/day during off-peak season to $1400/day during peak season.

Visa Fee:

Kenya replaced its visa system with a new Electronic Travel Authorization(ETA) system where tourists visiting Kenya pay $34 for both adults and children. The new ETA is valid for 90 days. You can apply for it here. The $34 fee is slightly lower than the Visa fee which was $50 for a single-entry permit.

Vaccinations:

Before visiting Kenya, it is recommended that you get vaccinated against certain diseases such as yellow fever and malaria. The cost of these vaccinations varies depending on the country you are coming from. It is best to consult your doctor for more information on the specific vaccinations required for travel to Kenya.

Accommodation:

The type and location of accommodation you choose will greatly impact your safari cost. In Kenya, you can find a variety of accommodations ranging from budget-friendly to luxurious options. A basic hotel room in Nairobi can cost anywhere between $30 to $50 per night while a luxury lodge in Masai Mara will cost around $300 to $500 per night. For those looking for a more authentic experience, camping sites are available for as low as $10 per night. It is recommended to book accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons.

Tips:

Tipping is expected in high-end accommodation options although tipping in Kenya isn’t as normalized as in the West. It is customary to tip around 10% of the total bill for good service. For activities such as game drives, tipping is not mandatory but is appreciated by the guides and drivers.

Travel Insurance:

It is always advised to purchase travel insurance before embarking on any trip, especially when going on a safari. Travel insurance can cover costs such as medical emergencies, canceled flights, or lost luggage. The cost of travel insurance will vary depending on your age, length of stay, and type of coverage you choose.

Transportation:

Transportation costs within Kenya will depend on the mode of transportation you choose. Domestic flights are available from Nairobi to most safari destinations and can cost between $100 to $300 one-way, depending on the season. If you prefer road travel, private car hires with knowledgeable drivers are also available for hire at affordable rates.

Park fees:

In order to enter any of Kenya’s national parks and reserves, visitors must pay park fees. These fees vary depending on the park and the duration of stay. For example, a 12-hour pass to Masai Mara National Reserve costs $100 for non-residents and $10 for residents. It is recommended to check with your safari operator or directly with the park for up-to-date fee information.

What’s the Cost of a Kenyan Safari?

According to data from safari packages compiled by safaribookings.com, the cost of a Kenyan safari varies. For group safari tours, the lowest cost is $175 per day, while private tours can start as low as $200 per day with budget camping accommodations. Opting for mid-range accommodations increases the daily rate to $300, and luxury comfort options range from $550 to over $1000 per day. See the table below for a summary of the costs:

Comfort LevelPrivate (per day)Group (per day)
Camping iconBudget Camping$200$175
Budget iconBudget Accommodation$200$175
Midrange iconMid Range Accommodation$300$300
Luxury iconLuxury Accommodation$550$475
Luxuryplus iconLuxury Plus Accommodation$1,000n/a

Key Takeaways on Cost of Safaris in Kenya:

  • Exclusivity can come at a fee: Luxury lodges and private safari experiences may significantly increase the cost of your safari. If you choose to hire a private driver and opt for non-group safari experiences in exclusive accommodations such as those in conservancies, it can significantly increase the overall cost.
  • Consider a self-drive safari: Renting a vehicle and planning your own safari can be a more budget-friendly option. However, it is important to research and understand the road conditions and safety precautions before embarking on a self-drive safari in Kenya.
  • Be mindful of peak season prices: Peak season for safaris in Kenya typically runs from July to September. During this time, prices for accommodations and tours tend to be higher due to the influx of tourists. Consider traveling during the shoulder season (March-May) or low season (October-November) for more affordable options.
  • Self-planning may not be cheaper: While self-planning may seem like a cost-effective option, it is important to remember that tour operators have existing relationships with accommodations and transport providers. This allows them to secure better deals for their clients compared to individual bookings.
  • Package deals aren’t always the best option: While package deals may seem convenient, it is important to carefully review the details and compare prices with individual bookings. Sometimes, booking accommodations and tours separately can result in a more cost-effective experience.
  • While South Africa is significantly cheaper compared to Kenya and Tanzania, the experiences you’ll get in East Africa are unmatched. This is due to the diverse landscapes and abundance of wildlife in Kenya, making it a prime safari destination. So while the cost may be higher, it is worth considering for the unique experiences you’ll encounter.
  • Be aware of hidden costs: It’s important to read the fine print when booking a safari package. Some accommodations and tours may charge additional fees for activities, park fees, or taxes. Make sure to inquire about any potential hidden costs before finalizing your booking.
  • Consider a group safari: Traveling with a group can often result in lower costs per person. In addition, many tour operators offer discounted rates for group bookings. This can be an excellent option for solo travelers or those on a tight budget.
  • Compare tour operators: When planning your safari, it is important to shop around and compare prices from different tour operators. Some may offer all-inclusive packages while others may have a more flexible approach. By comparing prices and services, you can find the best deal that fits your budget and travel preferences.
  • Consider resident packages if you are in Kenya: If you are a citizen, resident of Kenya or have a work permit, there are often discounted safari packages available exclusively for residents. These can provide significant savings without compromising on the overall experience.
  • Off-season discounts: Safari season in Kenya typically runs from June to October and January to March. Traveling during these peak times may result in higher costs. However, if you are flexible with your travel dates, consider going during the off-season. Tour operators may offer discounts during this time to attract more visitors.
  • DIY Safari: For more experienced and budget-conscious travelers, it is possible to plan and execute a safari on your own. This involves booking accommodations such as campgrounds, transportation, and arranging for park permits yourself. While this option may require more planning and research, it can result in significant cost savings.
  • Consider alternative accommodations: While traditional safari lodges and camps can be quite expensive, there are alternative accommodations available that offer a more budget-friendly option. These include tented camps, guesthouses, and camping sites within or near national parks. They may not have the same level of luxury as traditional lodges but can still provide an authentic safari experience at a lower cost.

FAQs

  1. What's Masai Mara Safari Cost?

    The cost of a Masai Mara Safari can vary depending on factors such as accommodation, transportation, and included activities. During off-peak months, a budget group safari with basic camping accommodation can cost around $200 per day, but this can spike to over $400 per day during peak season months. A significant contributor to the overall cost is the entry fee to the Masai Mara Reserve. For non-residents, the cost is $100 per 12-hour period from January to June 2024, increasing to $200 per 12-hour period from July to September 2024. Additionally, Landcruiser hire with drivers typically range from $200 to $300 per day, while vans can cost up to $200 per day. Therefore, the total cost of a safari in Masai Mara can quickly add up. Private safaris in Masai Mara can easily exceed $500 per day if individual transport is used and tented camp accommodations are chosen.

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