Price for a safari in Kenya

What is the budget for a safari in Kenya?

You wish to go on safari in Kenya? This undoubtedly unforgettable experience requires a certain amount of organization, and the budget to devote to such a trip is quite substantial. Plane tickets, accommodation, food, entrance to parks and reserves and other expenses... Here are all the elements you'll need to take into account to prepare your trip and estimate a budget for a safari in Kenya!

Safari in Kenya: what expenses should you expect?

price safari kenya

The total cost of a safari in Kenya can vary widely depending on a number of criteria. Whatever the case, there will always be several elements to take into account when estimating your budget.

Plane tickets to Kenya

Of course, as with any trip, the cost of airfares is no small part of a budget. The price of a flight to Kenya will depend on several criteria:

  • The time of year you wish to travel,
  • The period during which you are going to make your reservation,
  • The airline in charge of the flight,
  • The departure and arrival cities (though in the case of Kenya, the choice of airports is quite small).

What is the budget for plane tickets to Kenya?

If you're wondering how to go to Kenya, you'll find round-trip flights from New York City to Nairobi for less than $1,000 on low-cost airlines. The average price is around $1,120, and tickets can even rise to over $2,000 for flights booked at the last minute during the most expensive periods.

Prices are fairly stable throughout the year, except in July and August, when they are on average 30% to 40% more expensive, and in December, when they are on average 20% more expensive.

Whatever the period of your stay in Kenya, if you already know the dates of your trip for sure, then don't hesitate to book your tickets at least 6 months in advance 👍

Accommodation during a safari in Kenya

giraffe manor kenya

Accommodation is the expense point that can have the biggest impact on a budget. In Kenya, you'll find all types of accommodation, from wilderness camping to luxury hotels in the heart of the wilderness.

On top of choosing the type of accommodation, you'll also need to decide on its location. As a general rule, the closer you are to a large park, the higher the price. Lodges located in the heart of the most popular game reserves are therefore also the most expensive.

What is the budget for accommodation in Kenya?

It's quite difficult to give an estimate of the budget to spend on accommodation during a safari in Kenya, as prices will vary from region to region and according to the type of experience on offer.

A room in a 3-star hotel generally costs around $71 per night, while a night in a 4-star lodge will cost around $165. But prices will vary greatly from one safari to another (depending on the kind of accommodation you will choose, its location, as well as the popularity of the safari park).

Transportation in Kenya

go on safari in africa

For local travel, rates will vary according to the type of trip. Here are the different possibilities:

  • On a safari organized by a tour operator or travel agency, you'll usually travel in a group of varying sizes, which means costs are shared and you can therefore save money. Groups rarely consist of more than 8 people, all traveling in the same vehicle. This is the most affordable option, and the entrance price is included in the tour price.

  • You can also travel in a private chauffeur-driven vehicle. The driver will act as your guide on safari. Actually, without a guide, you won't be able to visit most of the nature reserves and national parks. Naturally, this option is more expensive, though it does offer greater comfort. In addition to the cost of the vehicle rental, you'll need to spend a few dozen euros a day to pay your guide.

  • Public transport can also be very useful. The transport network makes it fairly easy to get between the country's different towns, and you can also reach the coast quite easily using them. You'll pay much less for these journeys than if you were to take a private vehicle with your guide/driver. On the other hand, the public transport network doesn't make it easy to reach the different parks and reserves, or even the northern part of the country.

On the other hand, public transport fares are very affordable. For example, a Nairobi-Mombasa bus ticket costs just 11 dollars for a journey of over 310 miles (500 km).

  • You can also rent a car in Kenya. This will give you a great deal of freedom and access to more isolated regions. However, given the driving habits of Kenyan drivers and the presence of animals in the country, driving requires a certain amount of practice. In the end, this solution, which is not much less expensive than hiring a guide, is mainly intended for the more adventurous. In any case, you'll need a guide to get around in many of the country's parks, such as the Masai Mara reserve. To rent a 4x4 (which is essential if you really want to travel freely in Kenya), you'll need to spend between $110 and $220 per day, depending on the size of the vehicle, plus around $11 for insurance.

Domestic flights in Kenya

You may also need to take a domestic flight within Kenya during your stay. There are two main types of flight:

  • To get from the capital Nairobi to the Masai Mara reserve, you'll have to pay around $220. During busy periods, prices can rise to $330. If you're lucky, you may find cheaper tickets for last-minute flights.

  • A flight from Nairobi to Mombasa costs around $110 – which is almost 10 times more than a ticket for the same journey by bus.

The food

Prices in Kenyan restaurants are generally between 50% and 60% lower than in the US, and this difference is also reflected in food prices in stores.

Many safaris are full-board, so food and drink are included in the price. Otherwise, you'll need to budget at least 17 dollars per person per day for meals. Of course, if you wish to have lunch and dinner in more upmarket restaurants, don't hesitate to multiply this budget by three or four.

Entrance fees to Kenya's national parks and nature reserves

hell's gate national park

This is another major item of expenditure on which you can save money – if you're ready to make concessions. As a general rule, you'll have to pay for a 24-hour entry fee per person, and you'll also have to pay for your guide's entry fee.

Generally speaking, the rate is between $55 and $82 per person per day. To this must of course be added the cost of the vehicle rental and the guide's fee.

If you're traveling with 2 people, for example, you'll need to budget around $198 for your tickets and those of your guide, and $165 to $275 for the 4x4 rental and the guide's fee. This comes to around $165 to $220 per person for the tour alone – accommodation, food and other living expenses not included.

Other expenses on a Kenya safari

In addition to all these main expenses, you'll also need to allocate part of your budget to other costs:

  • Mandatory formalities for travel to Kenya. These include the cost of a book passport (for international travels) if you do not already have one (for adults 16 and over: first-time passport book is $165, renewing a passport book is $130. For kids under 16: first-time passport book is $135, renewing it is $100). Independently of your passport situation, you will also need to pay for a Kenya Visa (around $55).

  • Tips, just like in the US, are customary in Kenya to thank guides, drivers and hotel and restaurant staff in particular. Generally speaking, you should leave 10% for a meal in a restaurant. For the rest, you can give a few dollars or more, depending on your level of satisfaction. Employees are paid very little, and tips are often their main source of income.

  • The various activities you might wish to do on your Kenya safari. A visit to a Maasai village, a hot-air balloon flight over a reserve, a visit to a marine park, a tour of Nairobi, a dinner cruise in Mombasa, a hike on Mount Kenya... These activities are numerous, and the budget for them will vary greatly according to your desires.

How to save on the price of a safari in Kenya?

budget safari kenya

Here are a few ways you can save money on your Kenya safari budget:

  • Book your plane ticket as early as possible.

  • Avoid traveling during peak tourist seasons (July, August and December are the most expensive months).

  • Drive your own rental car and use public transport whenever possible.

  • Visit less expensive parks. A good safari in Kenya obviously includes the must-see Maasai Mara reserve and the Amboseli National Park. But other, more affordable parks also offer superb discoveries. For example, access to Tsavo West Park is more than half the price of the Maasai Mara reserve.

  • Opt for a combined safari-and-beach trip in Kenya. More and more travelers are opting to divide their stay in Kenya into two parts: a week dedicated to safaris, for example, and a week for a beach holiday on Kenya's eastern beaches.

What is the total budget for a safari in Kenya?

As we have just seen, there are many expenses to take into account during such a trip, and prices can vary enormously according to individual desires and requirements.

In any case, it will be very difficult to organize a good safari in Kenya for less than $300 to $350 per person per day. To keep within this budget, you'll need to avoid the most expensive periods as well as stay in affordable hotels or go camping.

For a more upmarket tour, including the best of Kenya's national parks and accommodation in lodges, you'll need to budget for $440 per person per day, plus airfares.

For a tailor-made luxury safari, expect to pay at least $660 per person per day.

We've come to the end of this article! I hope you've enjoyed it and that it's helped you work out a budget for a safari in Kenya 😄 And if you're in the process of planning your trip, don't forget to check out my article on what to do in Kenya! 😉

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