The Average Kenya Safari Cost - Kenya Safari Packages Prices & More

Working out Kenya safari cost - Bush dining in the Masai Mara
Relaxed sundowners in the Masai Mara

Imagining a thrilling adventure through picturesque landscapes, witnessing the majestic wildlife, and experiencing vibrant local cultures can be as exciting as the journey itself. But for some people, this is where their safari stops – that kind of trip can’t be affordable, can it? The cost of safari in Kenya can vary significantly depending on various factors. So yes, it can be as cheap or as expensive as the experiences you desire, time of travel and a host of other things. Let’s dive into the details!

Book Your Safari in Kenya With Us

For luxury to mid-range safari or budget travel, we invite you to contact us via phone or WhatsApp at +254-704-532-105. You can also connect with us via email at safarioffers@kenyaluxurysafari.co.uk or safarioffers@ajkenyasafaris.com.  

Our Senior Consultant, James Gatheru, is available to discuss in detail the determining factors and help you plan your wildlife adventure.

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Understanding Kenya Safari Costs: Key Factors

Working out how much Kenya Safari costs - a lioness stalking a newborn prey
Hey, where are you going? I won’t bite

A safari in Kenya is an amalgamation of enchanting experiences, and several key factors contribute to its overall cost. From cosy safari lodges in Masai Mara National Reserve to adrenaline-filled game drives in Amboseli National Park, every element plays a role in the budget.

Let’s examine these factors further to help you understand your safari budget better.

Accommodation Options and Prices

How much Kenya Safari to Masai Mara costs - Sand River Camp
An evening at the Sand River Camp, Masai Mara

The choice of accommodation is by far the most important choice you can make. Your accommodation option will significantly impact your safari experience and the overall safari budget. A luxury safari lodge or luxury tented camp commands a higher rate compared to a mid-range lodge or budget-friendly campsite.

Accommodation costs per person per night usually include:

  • Park fees
  • Meals
  • Game drives
  • Transfers

Budget Accommodation

Kenya safari packages prices for budget tours - Maji Moto budget camp
Night campfire at Maji Moto Camp

A basic Masai Mara safari could start at around \$200 per person per day. For budget travelers, the overall cost of a budget safari may be as low as \$400. At these basic camps, decent meals are prepared over a camping gas stove (you may have to pay more for meals) and the beds are comfortable. Sharing is a key feature in budget safaris. Not only will you share a basic toilet block with a dozen other people, but also the safari vehicle that will take you around the park.

Nevertheless, your tour to the Mara will be rewarding and you even make new friends. While the main national parks offer camping facilities with small dome tents, you can choose to stay at other budget accommodations. These include the Aruba Mara Camp, Crocodile Camp, Maji Moto Eco Camp, Fisi Camp, and Enchoro Wildlife Camp.

Mid-range Accommodation

How much Kenya Safari for a mid-range safari - staying at Little Governors Camp
Little Governors Camp is plush and ideal for adventures in the wild

If you’re looking for a balance between comfort and cost, mid-range safaris are the way to go. Mid-range safaris offer a fantastic range of experiences at an average cost of US$ 400-550 per person per night. The experiences include staying in comfortable ensuite safari tents or lodges, game drives, guided nature walks, swimming pool facilities, and interacting with local communities.

For the family-friendly accommodations, there are several activities to keep the kids busy and having fun. Mid-level lodges in the Masai Mara include Angama Mara, AA Mara Lodge, Sentrim Mara, Fig Tree Camp, Ashnil Mara Camp, and Richard’s River Camp.

Luxury Accommodation

Luxury Kenya safari cost - the luxury Elsa’s Kopje
Staying at the gorgeous Elsa’s Kopje in Meru National Park

For those seeking the lap of luxury, prices could start from around $600 to $1,000 per person per day, offering an unforgettable and exclusive experience. You’ll stay in quality lodges that offer premier game-viewing opportunities, and enjoy fine amenities, spacious rooms with ensuite bathrooms, and exceptional dining experiences. Here you can enjoy hot air balloon safaris, guided safari walks, horse riding, game drives, spa treatments, swimming pools and infinity pools. Child-friendly activities and minders are also available.

Examples of luxury lodges and camps at the Masai Mara include Sanctuary Olonana, Kicheche Valley Camp, andBeyond Bateleur Camp and Olare Mara Kempinski. Sasaab Lodge in Samburu Game Reserve, Elsa’s Kopje in Meru National Park, Finch Hattons in Tsavo West and Tortilis Camp in Amboseli National Park are fine choices. Tortilis Camp has exceptional views of Mt Kilimanjaro.

Transportation Choices and Expenses

How much Kenya Safari transport cost - a domestic flight plane
Flying into the Masai Mara is convenient

The mode of transportation you opt for is yet another determinant in the Kenya safari cost. Whether you’re soaring above the breathtaking plains on a fly-in safari or navigating rugged trails in a safari vehicle, each choice presents a distinct experience and cost.

A one-way flight to the Mara may start at $200 per person while return flights range between $300-450 per person. It’s a costly option but will see you arrive at your destination faster and enjoy the park sooner. At the airstrip, your tour operator will be waiting to transfer you to your lodge/camp. The prices we’ve shared may fluctuate depending on availability and exclude international flights—these are paid for separately.

A luxury safari Landcruiser may charge $250-350 per day while smaller safari vans ask for $160-200 per day. The latter option is cheaper but keep in mind that the roads are harder to navigate in the rainy season. So if you want to optimise your game viewing opportunities, you’ll be better off on a 4×4 safari Landcruiser.

Budget travelers looking to save money can go for public transport from Nairobi to Narok town which costs $3.50-4.50. From Narok town, they can take a matatu or taxi to Sekenani Gate (one of the gates into the Masai mara) for around \$5.

International visitors may likely be charged more but if you stick to your guns, they will charge the correct price. It’s worth noting that the vehicles don’t leave Narok town until they are full and that might take an hour or longer. At the gate, you will then proceed to one of the nearby campsites. This travel option is cheaper, but you’ve got to ask yourself if it is worth the hassle.

National Park Entry Fees and Conservation Charges

Factoring park fees into your Kenya safari cost - Sekenani Gate in Masai Mara
Park fees allow you to access the park

Your safari will entail the exhilarating exploration of expansive national parks and incredible wildlife conservancies. Park entry fees and conservation fees are charged to help preserve these amazing wildlife havens. For example, the conservation fees a tourist pays at the renowned Lake Nakuru National Park go toward the preservation of endangered rhinos and Rothschild giraffes.

Park entry fees remain valid for 24 hours for those staying inside the park, allowing you to soak in the natural splendour at your own pace. For visitors staying outside the parks, the fees are only valid for 12 hours. So, if you’re on a 3-day budget safari and staying outside the Masai Mara, you’ll need to pay park fees for every day you access the park.

Further, those on a self-drive safari will need to pay extra for the safari vehicle to be allowed into the park. Park entry fees for safari vehicles differ depending on the number of seats. A vehicle with up to 5 seats attracts Kes 400 while a 6-12 seater vehicle will be required to pay Kes 1,000. If your vehicle has 13-24 seats then you’ll pay Kes 3000.

The season you’re travelling also affects the park entry fees. June to Oct is the high season at the Masai Mara because of the wildebeest migration phenomenon. As such, visitors may pay more to access the park as opposed to travelling there in the low season (March-May). You can consider visiting cheaper parks like the Tsavo West National Park, Hells Gate National Park, or Samburu Wildlife Reserve to save money.

Seasonal Price Fluctuations

Factors that affect how much Kenya Safari costs - wildebeest wading across Mara River
Wildebeest crossing the Mara River

Safari prices can vary depending on the time of year you choose to visit Kenya. The high season which falls in the dry season from June to October, typically coincides with higher prices for accommodation, park fees, and safari packages. Further, accommodation bookings are done well in advance to secure a place.

Travelling during the low season, characterized by occasional rainfall and fewer tourists, may offer discounted rates and special offers from safari lodges and tour operators.

Having said that, the best time to go on a Kenya safari is during the peak season which is over Christmas and New Year, and from July to October. It offers ideal wildlife viewing conditions and the temperate weather ensures you stay comfortable.

For budget safaris, the low season, specifically November and March to mid-May, could be an ideal time. During these months, Kenya safari prices are often 30-50% lower than during the high season.

Optional Extras and Hidden Costs: What to Watch Out For

Adding extra activities to Kenya Safari packages prices - air balloon safari over the Masai Mara
Extra activities make your safari more exhilarating

So far we’ve covered the most important aspects of your travel but your Kenya safari cost isn’t limited to just these. There are often hidden costs and extras to consider, which can significantly impact your safari budget. Some potential add-ons to consider include:

  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Additional activities and experiences
  • Tips and gratuities

Awareness of these optional extras and concealed costs can assist in creating a more precise budget for your safari.

International Flights and Visa Expenses

When planning your Kenya safari, keep in mind that safari packages typically exclude international flights and visas. The cost of flights can vary greatly depending on your location, the time of booking, and the season of travel.

Visas are usually required for most nationalities visiting Kenya. The process is straightforward and manageable, with most nationalities only paying \$50 for a single entry visa to Kenya. If you’re planning to visit neighbouring countries in East Africa, there’s an East African tourist visa available for just $100.

Additional Activities and Experiences

How much Kenya Safari activities cost - Fly Camping in Masai Mara
A night under the African Stars - Fly Camping in the Mara

Beyond the basic safari itinerary, some additional activities and experiences may enhance your safari experience. These include:

  • A thrilling hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara National Reserve
  • A cultural visit to a Maasai or Samburu village
  • A guided nature walk with a local expert
  • A night game drive to see nocturnal animals
  • A visit to a local market or craft centre

The cost of these additional activities varies. Hot air balloon rides over the Mara typically cost between $400-650 per adult while cultural visits can range between $10-50 per person.

Tips for Planning a Cost-Effective Kenya Safari

How to manage your Kenya safari cost - night drive in Masai Mara
A thrilling night drive by andBeyond Bateleur Camp

Now that we’ve examined the diverse elements of safari costs in Kenya, let’s move on to some practical advice for planning an economical safari. From choosing the best dates to identifying the right accommodation and deciding between a travel agent and a DIY safari, these tips may help maximise your budget.

Choosing the Right Accommodation

A large chunk of your safari costs can be attributed to accommodation. Choosing the right accommodation based on your budget and preferences is crucial for a cost-effective safari. From luxurious lodges to charming tented camps, Kenya offers a myriad of lodging options, each with its own unique allure and price tag.

Best Time to Visit for Lower Costs

Kenya safari cost for families - children and a Maasai moran
Kid-friendly activities at Governors Camp

As mentioned previously, the timing of your visit can greatly affect your safari costs. The high season usually coincides with the best wildlife viewing conditions and the Great wildebeest migration, resulting in higher rates. However, if you’re flexible with your travel dates, the shoulder seasons, specifically from January to March, can offer lower prices.

During these months, Kenya safari prices may be up to 50% lower than during the peak season. This makes it easier to choose the best safari destinations in Kenya according to your preferences and budget.

Booking Through a Travel Agent vs DIY

Organizing a Kenya safari can be a fascinating endeavour. With a plethora of information available online, some travellers prefer the DIY approach. They create their own itinerary and sample the country at their own pace. However, the experience is not always positive. You’re likely to pay more for accommodation or end up in one that’s not as good as it looked in the photos. Sadly, some transport operators may choose to overcharge you because you simply don’t know better. What may seem like a good deal could be a rip-off.

Booking through a travel agent has its advantages including:

  • Access to exclusive safari packages
  • Affordable packages tailored for groups
  • Expert advice and a dedicated consultant
  • Complete independence in planning your itinerary
  • Advice on the best foreign exchange service providers
  • Hassle-free travel to the African wilderness

So, whether you choose a travel agent or decide to go the DIY route, both options have their unique advantages.

Summary

Safari costs in Kenya may vary depending on a range of factors, from accommodation choices and seasonal fluctuations to itinerary complexity and park fees. But the experience of exploring Kenya’s wildlife-rich landscapes is truly priceless. Now that you have a solid grip on a safari cost, you can have a feel for your budget and the experiences you would like to enjoy. Talk to us today, and let’s plan the trip of a lifetime in the wild lands of Kenya.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does Safari Cost Kenya?

Safaris in Kenya can range from budget adventures to highly exclusive experiences. Budget safaris start from as low as $100 per person per night, mid-level safaris go for at least $300 per person per night while luxury safaris cost over $1000 per person per night.

How Much Money Should I Take on Kenya Safari?

You should budget at least $300 per person per day for a Kenya safari, including food and accommodation. It’s important to plan for extra expenses to cater for unplanned situations or activities.

Is Kenya Expensive To Visit?

While Kenya is not generally considered expensive, its developed tourist industry means prices can be slightly higher than other African countries. Special events like the great wildebeest migration attract tourists from all over the world which may cause the prices to sky-rocket. The Migration phenomenon takes place in the Masai Mara during the high season of July-October.