How to make your Zambia safari more affordable
The cost of an African safari can be daunting. But if you’re looking for a safari on a budget, don’t panic – our 5 step guide will help you save money on your trip.
Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park offers some fantastic affordable safari options, so keep reading to find out how you can create your very own great value African safari.
Save on travel
One of the most expensive aspects of any safari can be getting to and from your safari destination.
In Zambia, safari parks tend to be in remote areas, with fewer transport links. Of course this is good for the wildlife, but doesn’t leave many options for visitors!
If you’re looking for a safari on a budget, one way to save is to combine different forms of transport.
For example, many visitors to South Luangwa National Park choose to catch a bus from Lusaka to Mfuwe, which takes around 10 hours, and then fly back, which takes around 1 hour. So this saves on an internal airfare, but doesn’t eat into too much of your trip time.
If you can travel in a group, another good value option is to hire a private minibus to drive you to and from Zambia’s safari parks. A private driver may charge a flat rate, which is cheapest when shared between a group, or a per person rate, which you may be able to negotiate if there are several travellers in your group.
A private minibus will be more expensive than a public bus, but will probably be more comfortable and offer more flexibility. So you should have more scope to stop and explore along the journey, and to be picked up and dropped off where you choose.
Visit in the low season
We all know that holiday destinations have high and low seasons, and Zambia is no exception.
Zambia’s peak season in the South Luangwa National Park is generally considered July-October. This is when game viewing is at its best: the bush is drying out and the wildlife is gathering around water holes and the river. So lots of action that’s easy to see!
But if you visit in May or June, you can make significant savings. During this time you will find safari camps offering Green Season or Shoulder Season rates. At Nkonzi Camp for example, June is our early season, and we offer reduced rate safaris at this time.
As a visitor, you should be aware that game viewing is slightly more difficult in the early season. This is because the vegetation is thicker and wildlife is more spread out. But you’re still very likely to see zebra, elephant, hippo, warthog, giraffe, antelope and probably lion and leopard, along with spectacular birdlife.
And if you get rained on, well, it’s all just part of the African experience!
Choose your safari destination, then your safari camp
The South Luangwa National Park regularly features in Top 10 Safari Destinations in Africa lists – it really is that good. And it’s worth remembering that whichever camp you choose to stay at, you will do your game viewing activities in the same amazing park.
So if you’re looking for an affordable safari, do spend time researching budget safari options. TripAdvisor is a great place to start.
Budget safari lodges and camps often offer fantastic value for money because they provide simpler accommodation and have smaller management teams.
At Nkonzi Bush Camp for example, we can’t offer private whirlpools or fluffy robes, but we do offer simple, comfortable tented accommodation and a really remote safari experience.
Other camps around South Luangwa National Park gate also offer great budget and mid-range options.
So if you can forego the luxury, you can find great value. Or why not combine an affordable safari option with a few days at a gorgeous high-end camp for a bit of pampering before heading home?!
Look for deals
Most safari lodges in Zambia’s South Luangwa offer longer-stay deals. So if you can stay more than three or four nights, you may be able to save up to 20% overall. For example, our safari packages at Nkonzi Camp offer the best value for money because we can consolidate costs and pass these savings on to guests as a reduced nightly rate.
Alternatively, look for safari packages that combine two or more safari camps. Safari companies often team up to create safari tours that offer reductions on their per person per night rates.
If lodges don’t advertise long-stay deals or safari packages on their websites, it’s worth asking when you enquire.
Find out what’s included
Different safari camps have different ways of structuring their prices. Many rates will include accommodation, activities and meals, but they might not cover park fees, airport transfers, taxes, or credit card fees.
So when enquiring, find out which costs are covered in the camp’s rates, and which will be charged separately.
That way you can compare like-for-like prices much more easily. And you won’t be faced with unexpected costs at the end of your stay that are outside your budget.
Whatever your budget and your safari dreams, Zambia is a great destination. Safe, friendly, and with some of the best wildlife parks in Africa, it really is a hidden gem.
Wherever you go, wherever you stay and whatever you pay, we wish you a fantastic time in Zambia.