Why do safaris seem so expensive?

Why do safaris seem so expensive?

For many people, a safari is the trip of a lifetime. The experience often comes with a hefty price tag and if you haven’t experienced it first-hand it could be tricky for travellers to justify the price.

Why makes a luxury safari so expensive? The honest answer is Safaris are expensive for several reasons. It is the incredible value that these trips hold.

EXCLUSIVITY

Londolozi Leopard Sighting
Leopard sighting in a private game reserve


During a self-drive safari, it can at times be difficult for the untrained eye to spot a leopard amid its surroundings, you need to keep your eyes on the road making it harder to take in the scenery. By staying at one of the lodges in a private reserve or concession you are ensured of an exclusive, uncrowded safari experience. Privately owned lodges only allow overnight guests to enter.

The guiding standards in properties like this deserve their own special mention.  Consider the value of the many hours of daily, professionally guided activities. These guides have extensive training and experience under their belts resulting in the best game viewing experiences for clients. It is not as simple as just spotting a leopard, your guide is likely to know its age, gender, family history and name.

 

ACCOMMODATION AND ALL INCLUSIVE EXPERIENCES

The Kingston at Lion Sands is a luxury treehouse in the Sabi Sand

To plan an inexpensive safari you can visit a national park with plenty of lodges and camps. However, don’t expect any special treatment or extras – meals are not included and you may share a bathroom or kitchen with other guests. When you book a luxury safari, you can expect to have a far more comfortable experience.

Rooms often include high-end linen, spa products, patios, and even a private plunge pool or outside shower or bath with wildlife as your view. Most times, rates include your game drives, all meals, high tea, drinks, and other activities. Some even include your alcoholic beverages. There is something to be said for the ease of booking a luxury lodge and not having to plan a thing.

 

SUPERB SERVICE

Sunset drinks luxury safari style

Staff-to-guest ratios at many lodges and camps can run at 3-to-1 or even higher. Often the service you receive at a luxury safari lodge match that of the top hotels and resorts from around the world. It is also important to remember that many of the staff live at the lodge itself. This means all meals, laundry, accommodation, transport etc. is taken care of by the lodge.

What is more, many camps like to offer specialised services like babysitters, private guides and birding experts. High-end camps ensure their guides are well-trained, they’ll be able to provide you with an enhanced experience. The rangers can normally go off road to get up close to sightings, which isn’t possible in the national park. At the end of your evening drive, your guide will usually set up sunset drinks and snacks in the bush.

 

CONSERVATION AND OTHER EXPENSES

Many luxury lodges aim for a “light footprint” and have programs to conserve water and energy.

Finally, lodges look to maintain a “light footprint” and have programs to conserve water, energy and overall impact on the surrounding environment. Many operators use a portion of the fee to fund essential animal and nature conservation projects. Anti-poaching units are also required and come at a hefty fee. Other expenses that hike up the price are generators, fresh water and plumbing, vehicle maintenance, grading roads, repairing damage from weather and elephants destroying roads as they feed.

 

Yes, it may seem expensive compared to a self-catering, self-drive safari but once you experience it first-hand I trust you will feel that the safari sticker price is well-matched to the experience.

Lastly, we work directly with the lodges and their office staff when we book your safari, so we are not re-selling someone else’s package. We can honestly say that the money you spend on your trip is going toward your experience on the ground.

Inspired to book your next holiday? Visit our SA RESIDENTS PAGE for some incredible travel deals on offer or speak to one of our Safari Experts who can help find a trip best suited for your travel type and budget.