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Tanzania Safari Cost – Budgeting for an Epic Trip

Alison Macallister

In a nutshell, Tanzanian safari costs can be split into three tiers:

Other important factors that will impact your safari cost are time of year, group size, accommodation, and extra activities during your travels.

But you don't need to grab a calculator just yet. I've done all three safari types through Tanzania before and I'm here to give you my best insights on how much your ideal Tanzanian safari will cost - from the tour itself, down to how much you should tip your favourite porter.  

Let's begin. 

Tanzania-safari-cost

Tanzania Safari Costs FAQs

How can I save money on a Tanzanian safari?

Here are a few ways you can save money on a Tanzanian safari:

  • Travel in the low or shoulder season.
  • Look out for specials and deals for free nights and activities.
  • Split costs of the vehicle, guide and chefs by travelling in a group.
  • Visit a single country to avoid spending money on additional flights and visas.
  • Drive rather than fly between lodges.
  • Pack the right safari gear to avoid expensive clothing prices at park and hotel shops.

Travelling to East Africa may look expensive but a lot of options make it possible to plan the trip of a lifetime and stay within your budget.

Read on for a breakdown of how much a Tanzania safari costs and how to enjoy an affordable or luxurious holiday.

How long should I go on a Tanzanian safari for? 

I recommend that you go on a Tanzanian safari for a minimum of 4 days and a maximum of 7 days. If you have lots of spending money, you can even go on a safari for up to 14 days and explore other scenic landscapes like Zanzibar or Kilimanjaro.   

Remember, the longer you spend in Tanzania, the more expensive your trip will be. More transfer flights also quickly add to the price. For example, it will work out cheaper and make for a more leisurely holiday to stay 3-4 days in two camps rather than spend 1-2 nights in four camps.

Tanzania Safari and Beach

What's the best and most affordable location for a Tanzanian safari? 

The best and most affordable location for a Tanzanian safari is the Northern Circuit by far. All these national parks are close together, which makes travelling there by car or airplane much easier in comparison with other national parks in the country.

Here's a quick comparison of the Northern vs. Southern Safari Routes:

Northern vs Southern Safari Routes

Northern Safari Routes usually start in Arusha, Kilimanjaro International Airport and include Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti national parks.

Southern safari routes start at Dar es Salaam and include the Selous and Ruaha national parksThis safari circuit is generally more expensive as it’s more off-the-beaten-track and fewer flights go to Julius Nyerere International Airport.  

For more info, check out our user-friendly Safari Map of Tanzania for the best safari locations.  

When's the best season to go on a safari in Tanzania?  

The best season to go on a Tanzanian safari is the dry season by far. This is because travelling is easier (the roads aren't flooded like in the wet season) and you can view more wildlife and flora. 

See more on the best times to visit Tanzania

Below is a helpful spreadsheet with info on each Tanzanian season and price ranges: 

Seasons

Timeline

Description

Price Range

June-October

December (Christmas holidays)

Best time for viewing wildlife overall. 

Minimum stay periods for accommodation due to high tourist volumes. 


Prices are highest.

Most properties have fixed surcharges from 24 Dec - 1 Jan.

Mid Season / Shoulder Season

January-February

June

A great time to view wildebeests and other baby animals during the calving season. 

Prices are lower (about 20% less) than during the peak season

Low Season

March-May

November

Parks and reserves are less busy during these months because of the intense rainfall. 

A great time to view migratory birds during the wet season. 

Some lodges and tour operators drop their prices by 30-50%. 

Micato Safaris

Plan your Safari experience

Get a quote from our recommended local safari operator

Who can plan my Tanzanian safari - me or a booking agency?

Either you or a booking agency can plan a Tanzanian safari.

Here some pros and cons for planning your own safari vs. booking a safari through an agency or safari company

Safari Type

Pros

Cons

Planning your own Safari

Complete control over travel arrangements.

Can choose any activities.  

Saves money on third-party fees. 

Requires lots of time and personal research.

DIY bookings may contain unforeseen costs. 

Booking with an Agent or Safari Company

Takes care of booking and all travel arrangements. 

Customises safari according to your preferences with a special itinerary. 

Airfare and other expenses often included in overall booking price. 

Sometimes offer special safari deals and add-ons. 

Booking agents often take a commission of about 20%. 


What kind of safaris can I go on? 

You can go on a range of safaris - from group safaris to private safaris. 

Whether you are thinking of planning your own trip or are just interested in why a safari is so expensive, the following is a breakdown of various safari expenses.

Please note: The guideline prices further down in the article are mostly based on the peak season (July to October) for the Northern Circuit Parks. Most group or private safari package prices include park fees but may exclude international flights.

How much does a group safari cost? 

On average, group safaris cost $200-$700 per person per day. 

Group safaris are the cheapest option and a chance to meet new people as you will travel with a group. These tours have a set itinerary and departure dates and there is limited flexibility for your own preferences, so book in advance.

Below is a helpful spreadsheet with more info on group safaris and their costs: 

Group Safari Type

Description

Number of People

Price

Small Group Camping Safari

Safari team sets up and disassembles camp as you move around between campsites in national parks and private reserves.

Includes all meals, camping equipment, 4×4 vehicle, driver, guide and chef. 

National park campsites are unfenced with chances of animals strolling right through camp. 

2-7

$250 per person per day

Group Lodge Safari

Exclusively for Tanzania national parks, but sometimes includes Masai Mara in Kenya. 

Accommodation in mid-range hotels, guest houses, lodges or even tented camps.

Includes a pop-up roof safari vehicle, perfect for game viewing and sightseeing, with a driver and guide.

Choice of longer or shorter trips.

4-12

$350-$625 per person per day

Overland Tours

Transported in a large truck adapted with bus seats. 

Some routes include Kenya and many go to Tanzania’s most popular national parks. 

Includes camping or basic dormitory-style accommodation, all meals, vehicle, driver, guide and activities as stated on the itinerary.  

Usually lasts for 6-9 days. 

Extra activities / upgrades are sometimes available at an extra cost.

22-30

$200-$280 per person per day

How much does a private safari cost? 

On average, private safaris cost $250-$1000 per person per day. 

The appeal of a private safari is that you have much more input on your trip. You decide your accommodation type and itinerary preferences.

Some luxury safari packages are all-inclusive of basic drinks such as cooldrink, house wines and spirits and may even include extra activities.

Below is a helpful spreadsheet with more info on private safaris and their costs: 

Private Safari Type

Description

Number of People

Price

Private Camping Safari

Includes camping equipment, a vehicle and driver, an English guide and chef, who is sometimes one multi-talented person there to assist you.

2-7

$250 per person per day for family and friends


$500 per person per day for couples

Private Safari (Mobile Camps and Lodges)

Includes accommodation in mobile camps, glamping tented camps, lodges and hotels. 

2-7

7 or more

$500 per person per day for family and friends


$1,000 per person per day for couples

What is a Special Interest safari and what can I do on this type of safari? 

A special interest safari is a safari where you can do specialised activities beyond a typical safari itinerary. If you have a particular passion or are looking for a more specific trip, specialised safaris include expert guides that focus on your key interest. You can do a special interest safari by yourself or in a group. 

Specialised Group Safaris

Join a group of travellers who share your passion for birds, photography, hiking or a combination of all three! These safaris can also be arranged as private at a greater expense.

Below is a handy spreadsheet with more info on specialist safaris and daily costs per person: 

Specialised Safaris

Description

Number of Days

Price

Walking Safari

Specialised hiking trails and footpaths through Kilimanjaro National Park. 

1-2

$275-$500 per person per day

Birdwatching Safari

Viewing and tracking indigenous birds like pink flamingos in Lake Manyara Park. 

1-2

570-$700 per person per day

Photographic Safari

Specialised game drives to view and track migrating wildebeest and predators through Serengeti National Park. 

3-4

$700- $1,200 per person per day

Chimpanzee Trekking Safari

Viewing and tracking chimpanzee troops in Gombe National Park.

3-4

$820-$1,300 per person per day

How much do national park or game reserve entrance fees costs? Are they included in safari packages? 

Most national parks and game reserves in Tanzania cost $50 and more for adults. Entrance fees are often included in safari packages, but only ones that last for more than a day. If you're only planning on spending a few hours or a whole day at a national park, you only need to pay for the entrance fee. 

Park fees are used to fund the conservation management of national parks. Tanzania park fees are some of the most expensive in Africa, so be sure they are factored into your safari package price if you're travelling for more than one day.

Entrance fees are as follows for the major parks in Tanzania:

Age Range

Price

Adults

$60-$80 per person

Children (5-15 years old)

$10-$20 per person

Children (5 years old and younger)

Free

How much does safari accommodation cost?

Safari accommodation costs anywhere from $50-$2000 per person per day and ranges from sleeping in basic tents to sleeping in a 5-star hotel. 

See more on prices and amenities for hotels in Tanzania

Please note: Concession fees ($25-$50/day) are usually added to your accommodation bill when staying within a national park. Also, be aware that Ngorongoro Crater has a hefty vehicle fee of $295 for game drives.

Below is a handy spreadsheet outlining the average price per person per night for different accommodation types:

Accommodation

Facilities

Price

Camping

Campsites

You often bring your own camping equipment and prepare your own meals. 

$50 per person per day

Hostels

B&Bs

Communal sleeping areas, bathrooms, and dining areas for hostels. 

Mostly private rooms with a mix of communal or private bathrooms and dining areas for B&Bs. 

$75-$300 per person per day

Lodges (3-4 stars)

Mobile Camps

Private sleeping, bathroom and dining areas for individuals and groups with access to free WiFi in lodges. 

Mid-range tented pavilions for sleeping and dining with all meals included in mobile camps. 

$350-$500 per person per day

Luxury Tented Camps

Luxurious and private tented pavilions for sleeping, and containing bathroom and dining areas for individuals and groups. 

Often have access to free WiFi. 

Access to a private chef and guide for tours and safaris. 

$600-$1,400 per person per day

Hotels (5 stars)

Lodges (5 stars)

Luxury Camps (5 stars)

Private hotel rooms and luxury suites with own bathrooms, dining area and regular access to free WiFi.

Fine dining and specialised tours and safaris with a private vehicle, driver and porters.

Access to high-quality amenities like swimming pools, spas,  and business centres. 

$1,000-$2,000 per person per day

Please Note: When available, laundry services at lodges usually come at an additional cost per item.

Nasikia-Tented-Camps

Nasikia Tented Camps in the Tarangire

How much does hiring vehicles and drivers for safaris cost?

Hiring vehicles and drivers for safaris costs about $100-$200 per day. These driving safari costs depend on whether you travel alone or with a guide. 

Travelling in an off-road vehicle over dirt tracks is part of the authentic safari experience. Daily rates for hiring a standard 4×4 required to enter the parks are divided into the following rates:  

  • self-drive - $120
  • with a driver - $150 
  • with driver and fuel - $180
Yellow-Zebra-Safaris

How much do food and drinks cost on a safari?

If food and drinks are not included in your safari package, it will cost you between $10-$20 a day depending on the establishment. However, most food and drinks are included in safari packages and you'll only pay extra for alcohol or Western-styled meals ($50 and upwards). 

How much do optional safari activities cost? 

The cheapest optional safari activities cost about $25 while optional luxurious activities cost more than $500. 

There is lots to do and see in Tanzania. Various tours and activities give you a break from game drives and let you experience different aspects of this vibrant country.

Here are some of these amazing activities and their costs (per person) from the cheapest to the most expensive:

  • Guided walking safari - $25
  • Masai Village tours - $30-$40 
  • Coffee farm visits around Ngorongoro - $50
  • Night Safaris - $175
  • Full-day hiking and kayaking trip to Lake Chala - $250
  • Hot air ballooning - $500-$600
Serengeti Balloon Safari

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How much money should I take on a safari?

You should take up to $1000 in spending cash after you've made all your bookings in advance. If you go on safari for a week, you'll likely be spending roughly $80-$100 per day. 

Although most establishments accept cards, It is good to take along some cash for buying souvenirs, tips and making smaller payments as a signal for card machines is notoriously unreliable. 

While most high-end establishments do accept USD, I recommend that you still exchange your money for Tanzanian Shillings before and during your stay. 

Should I give tips to porters and guides during my safari? 

Absolutely. It is customary in Tanzania to tip staff members who go above and beyond during your safari. However, it is at your discretion, and the figures below offer a helpful guideline on tipping porters:

  • Porters - $10 (once-off)
  • Hotel / Lodge Staff - $10 (once-off)
  • Drivers and camp cooks - $15 per group per day 
  • Safari guides - $20 per day

How much do Tanzanian visas cost for a safari? 

Tanzanian visas typically cost between $50-$100 and you can apply for them online or on arrival at a local airport.

Please note: Tanzanian visas are also valid for Zanzibar but you will need a separate visa for Kenya.

How much does travel insurance cost for safaris?  

Safari travel insurance is included with most safari packages and costs around $80 for two weeks. Good travel insurance is essential. Your policy should not only cover medical issues like injury and illness but also insure against flight cancellations and theft. 

Conclusion

I threw a lot of figures at you, but you did marvellously! Now, you have all the information you need to plan the best and most affordable Tanzanian safari. 

Better safe than sorry... I highly recommend travel insurance for Tanzania. Use the quote calculator from our partner, World Nomads. World Nomads provide comprehensive travel cover as well as specific coverage for hiking up to 6000m, which is perfect for Kilimanjaro.

Alison Macallister

With a degree in Nature Conservation and experience working with wildlife including the Big 5, Alison works as a guide for a 5-star reserve. She enjoys sharing her passion for all things nature-related. She enjoys hiking, horseriding, 4x4 driving and kayaking.

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