The Best Value for Money Luxury Safari Lodges in Africa

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We're here to tell you that, not only do affordable safari options exist, but they are top notch value for money. “Value for Money” doesn’t mean budget or cheap, it means getting the most for your money in terms of experiences, wildlife, and properties. Our safari experts know all the tips and secrets to guide our travelers on when to splurge and when to save. We've put together a list of Africa's best value for money luxury safari lodges to inspire your next vacation.

Best Value for Money Luxury Safari Lodges

1. Royal Chundu River Lodge

royal chundu deck and bed overlooking river best value lodge

Location: Livingstone, ZambiaRoom types: 10 Riverfront SuitesLodge facilities: Restaurant, outdoor boma, swimming pool, kid's club, wine cellar and cocktail bar, tv room, library, complimentary WiFi, helicopter pad, and spa treatments.Rate inclusions: Accommodation, all meals, teas & coffees, return airport transfers, local branded beverages, and scheduled activities.Experiences: River cruises, birding safaris, fishing, canoeing, Victoria Falls tours, and village tours are included during your stay at River Lodge but Victoria Falls also boasts a number of other exciting activities such as scenic helicopter flights, high-wire activities, and white water rafting (seasonal). It is also possible to arrange a day safari in the renowned Chobe National Park or combine the two destinations. Why stay here? Royal Chundu nestles on the banks of the Zambezi River which is an important water source for animals living in this region. The lodge’s position offers complete tranquility and incredible wildlife viewing. There are very few places in this region that can offer the best of both worlds - visits to the iconic falls and safaris on the water with the Matetsi Private Game Reserve on the other side of the lodge. With every detail of your stay taken care of and the opulent accommodation with its breathtaking river views, Royal Chundu offers incredible value for money.

2. Lion Sands River Lodge

fire pit at lion sands river lodge best value

Location: Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa Room types: 12 Luxury Rooms, 6 Superior Luxury Suites, and 2 River Suites.Lodge facilities: Dining area, safari lounge and bar; barista’s station with artisanal coffees, art gallery, boutique, spa, gym, and two swimming pools. Rate inclusions: Luxury accommodation, all meals, Skukuza airport road transfers, local branded beverages, and safari activities.Experiences: Morning and afternoon game drives, guided walking safaris, hippo tours, bird watching, astronomy, local school visits, wildlife lectures, and sleep-outs in the bush.Why stay here?Lion Sands River Lodge is a luxurious game lodge with a ‘home away from home’ ambiance and boasts incredible river views from the main guest areas and rooms. The lodge is unique because of its position within the only South African reserve to offer a safari in both the Sabie and Sand River ecosystems. It is also one of the very few lodges in this region to offer treehouse sleep-out experiences in the bush which are a must on a safari in Africa. The combination of open-sided safari vehicles, off-road driving, night drives, big five game viewing, and a team of experienced rangers and trackers; makes Lion Sands River Lodge a top safari destination.

3. Kariega Settlers Drift

kariega river lodge deck best value

Location: Kariega Private Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South AfricaRoom types: 9 Tents.Lodge facilities: Restaurant, bar, wine cellar, spacious decks, pool, boma, curio shop, library and spa treatments. Rate inclusions: Accommodation, all meals, selected beverages, and safari activities. Experiences: Morning and afternoon game drives, river cruises, guided bush walks, photographic safaris, fishing, and canoeing.Why stay here?Kariega Settlers Drift offers a unique safari experience, exploring various habitats that highlight five different ecosystems - valley bushveld, savannah grasslands, fynbos, riverine forests and acacia woodland. The 10 000 hectare Kariega Private Game Reserve is great for families with no malaria threats present and is located within easy reach of Kenton-on-Sea and Port Elizabeth, affording travelers the opportunity of combining their big five safari with some time on one of the golden beaches.

4. Madikwe Safari Lodge

lounge at madikwe safari lodge best value

Location: Madikwe Game Reserve, North West Province, South AfricaRoom types: 20 Suites.Lodge facilities: Wellness spa, relaxation area’s, Wi-Fi access, outdoor dining area’s, swimming pools, and private viewing decks.Rate inclusions: Luxury accommodation with a private plunge pool, all meals, teas & coffees, selected local brand beverages, twice daily game drives, refreshments and snacks on game drives, and transfers to and from Madikwe airstrip.Experiences: Morning and evening game drives in open safari vehicles, bush walks, bird watching, astronomy, ecology house and local community village tour, bush dining, and spa treatments.Why stay here? Madikwe Game Reserve is one of South Africa’s largest wildlife sanctuaries, covering 76 000 hectares. Madikwe Safari Lodge boasts three unique lodges that are positioned in a vast area of the reserve and each is designed to cater to families, couples and solo travelers. The safari experience offered at Madikwe Safari Lodge is of the highest standard with qualified guides, open-safari vehicles, and sightings of the big five, African wild dog, and 60 other mammal species. Madikwe Safari Lodge is a great option to pair with Sun City.

5. Sanctuary Baines Camp

sanctuary baines camp hot tub best value

Location: Private concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, BotswanaRoom types: 5 Suites.Lodge facilities: Dining area, lounge, bar, laundry service, swimming pool with open pavilions, and an expansive viewing deck.Rate inclusions: Airstrip transfers, all meals, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages (with the exception of premium brands and Champagne), and all game viewing activities.Experiences: Game drives, motorized boating excursions (water-level permitting), walking safaris, mokoro safaris, living with elephants activity.Why stay here? Sanctuary Baines Camp nestles in one of Africa’s prime safari destinations, offering world-class accommodation, an impeccable personalized service, and an unforgettable safari experience with both land and water based activities available to guests. Please add something here along these lines: Botswana is known for being an expensive safari destination for many reasons including the logistics involved. Baines Camp offers travelers a great value for money base to experience the ultimate safari destination.

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6. Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

plunge pool and kwandwe ecca lodge best value

Location: Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa Room types: 6 Suites.Lodge facilities: Various lounging and dining areas, bar, wooden viewing decks, a rim-flow lap pool, interactive kitchen, and a play center.Rate inclusions: Accommodation, all meals, local brand beverages, teas & coffees, twice daily game drives, nature walks, big game walking safari, laundry, emergency medical evacuation insurance, transfers to & from the reserve’s airstrip, and complementary child-minding.Experiences: Morning and afternoon game drives, big game walking safaris, interpretive bush walks, fishing and spa treatments. Why stay here?Kwandwe Ecca Lodge is a luxurious lodge situated in a private reserve within easy reach of the seaside town of Port Elizabeth. This big five game reserve is malaria free which is ideal for families and is easily combined with a tour of the garden route or a stay at one of Port Elizabeth's beachside hotels.

7. Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp

Location: Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South AfricaRoom types: 6 Luxury Suites.Lodge facilities: Lounge, bar, boma, boutique, Wi-Fi access, and a swimming pool.Rate inclusions: Accommodation, all meals, twice daily game drives, walking safaris, a house selection of beverages, WiFi, and transfers from our Sabi Sabi Airstrip.Experiences: Morning and afternoon/evening game drives, guided bush walks, bird watching, and bush dining.Why stay here?Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp offers an intimate five-star safari experience suited to families and small groups. The combination of well-appointed suites, personalized service, open safari vehicles, off-road driving, night drives, and big five game viewing; makes Sabi Sabi Game Reserve one of the world’s leading safari destinations. What makes the price tag that comes with a stay at Little Bush value for money is how they put your experience at the center of their operations.

8. Phinda Forest Lodge

phinda forest lodge room in the forest

Location: andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal, South AfricaRoom types: 16 Suites.Lodge facilities: Lounge, dining area, bar, rim-flow swimming pool, interactive kitchen, safari shop, outdoor boma, and Wi-Fi access.Rate inclusions: Accommodation, all meals, local brand beverages, teas and coffees, refreshments on game drives, laundry, and scheduled safari activities.Experiences: Morning and afternoon/evening game drives, guided bush walks, Zulu village tours, night turtle drives (seasonal), scuba and ocean safaris, black rhino tracking on foot, and participative conservation experiences. Specialist Safaris are also on offer which includes birding, photographic, rhino notching, tracking, walking, family and private safaris.Why stay here?Phinda Forest Lodge is one of the world’s first eco-designed lodges and is set within a rare and beautiful sand forest. The glass walls of the suites at Phinda Forest Lodge invite the forest in, and game drives explore two habitats that offer incredible big five game viewing and sightings of other unique species.

9. Mala Mala Main Camp

river suite at mala mala main camp best value lodge

Location: Mala Mala Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa Room types: 10 Luxury Suites, 8 Luxury Rooms, and 1 Single Room.Lodge facilities: Lounge, indoor dining room, historic bar, library with satellite television, complimentary internet connectivity, and a large wooden safari deck.Rate inclusions: Accommodation, all meals, local brand beverages, snacks, limited laundry service, twice daily game drives, nature walks, and transfers to and from the MalaMala airstrip.Experiences: Game drives, guided bush walks, bird watching, and bush dining.Why stay here?Mala Mala Main Camp nestles in one of South Africa’s most pristine private game reserves which boasts 39 536 acres of unfenced wilderness. Bordering the world-renowned Kruger National Park, wildlife moves freely between the Kruger and the Sabi Sands, making for unforgettable big five game viewing. Incredible wildlife viewing is also offered from the lodge’s viewing deck that overlooks the Sabi Sand River which is an important source of water for wildlife living in this region.

10. Matetsi River Lodge

river view and loungers at best value lodge matetsi river lodge

Location: Matetsi Private Game Reserve, between Zimbabwe and ZambiaRoom types: River Lodge comprises of two intimate river-facing camps. Each camp includes 8 Suites and 1 Family Suite.Lodge facilities: Indoor and outdoor dining spaces, outdoor boma, Alfresco lounge areas, 20-meter lap pool, fitness studio, massage sala, library and boardroom, private wine cellar, shopping boutique, iPads for guest use, complimentary laundry service, and complimentary Wi-Fi access.Rate inclusions: Accommodation, all meals, local brand beverages, refreshments on game drives, laundry, safari activities, and emergency medical evacuation insurance.Experiences: Zambezi River boat cruises, Zambezi canoeing, morning and evening game drives, night game drives, full day game drives, bird watching, walking safaris, and fishing. Other activities in offer around the Victoria Falls region included guided tours of the Falls, scenic helicopter flights, and a range of high-wire activities. Why stay here?Matetsi River Lodge is a luxury lodge offering opulent accommodation, exceptional service, and a well-rounded safari experience, with land and river-based activities on offer. The lodge is also within easy reach of the magnificent UNESCO world heritage site - classified as the largest waterfall in the world.

11. Vumbura Plains Camp

vumbura plains camp suite and sunken lounge best value

Location: Okavango Delta, BotswanaRoom types: 14 Tents split between two camps. Lodge facilities: Lounge, dining and bar area, and an expansive viewing deck with a fire pit.Rate inclusions: Luxury accommodation, all meals, local brand beverages, twice daily scheduled camp activities, laundry and park fees.Experiences: Morning and afternoon game drives, night game drives, mokoro (dugout canoe) excursions, boating safaris, guided nature walks, catch-and-release fishing, bird watching, and hot air balloon safaris (April to mid-October).Why stay here?Vumbura Plains Camp offers guests the opportunity of experiencing authentic tented accommodation and a selection of land and water-based activities, including unforgettable hot air balloon safaris. With the arrival of the annual floods, the plains surrounding Vumbura Plains become flooded and attract an abundance of wildlife, offering incredible game viewing opportunities.

12. Ulusaba Safari Lodge

main four post bed in suite at ulusaba safari lodge

Location: Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South AfricaRoom types: 10 Rooms and 1 Suite.Lodge facilities: Reception area, lounge area, dining area, swimming pool, bush observatory, two tennis courts, gym with a running machine, bike, multifunctional weight station and free weights, spa treatment room, outdoor boma, wine cellar, and a gift shop.Rate inclusions: Accommodation, all meals, beverages including top quality wine and fine champagne, twice daily game drives and walking safaris, informative talks, and laundry service.Experiences: Morning and late afternoon open vehicle game drives, Panorama tours, helicopter flights over the bush, and an authentic Shangaan experience with a visit to the local villages.Why stay here?Ulusaba Safari Lodge nestles in the private Sabi Sands Game Reserve, offering some of the world’s best sightings of the elusive leopard, and up-close encounters with the famous big five. With its state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, Ulusaba Safari Lodge is one of South Africa’s most luxurious lodges.

13. Zarafa Camp

elephant eats from a tree outside of suite at zarafa camp

Location: Selinda Game Reserve, BotswanaRoom types: 4 Tents.Lodge facilities: Lounge area, dining area, library, curio shop, and in-room massage treatments.Rate inclusions: Luxury accommodation, all meals, beverages excluding champagne, daily laundry, return airstrip road transfers, and scheduled safari activities.Experiences: Game drives, guided bush walks, boat cruises, and bird watching.Why stay here?Zarafa Camp nestles in a prime wildlife viewing area, linking the world-renowned Okavango Delta, Chobe and Savute corridors. Guests to Zarafa Camp can look forward to an exclusive safari experience with fewer lodges on the reserve, a selection of land and water based activities, and luxurious tented accommodation. Thus offering exceptional value.There are many ways to measure the value of a safari lodge, but if the overall experience of a luxury African safari is what you are after the team of Safari Experts at is able to tailor-make an African adventure that will fit your budget and exceed all of your expectations.

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