Serengeti National Park is one of the oldest and arguably the greatest wildlife conservation areas in the world.
Many tourists planning to visit enquire how much a Serengeti Safari costs. Well, there are many factors that determine the total cost of your safari tour. Some of these factors include the type of accommodation, number of people travelling, preferred mode of transport ( by road or by air), duration of your trip, the time of the year and inclusion of additional activities.
For instance, full package prices vary considerably from USD 450 per person for a budget 3 day tour (with a group of 6 persons in a vehicle) staying in a budget camp, upto USD 1700 per person for luxury accommodation for a similar Serengeti safari. Below we will discuss each of these factors in detail.
Your choice of accommodation has the biggest influence on your Serengeti safari cost. The park offers an extensive range of accommodation options that cater for every budget. The different categories of accommodation range from adventure budget camping to mid-range tented camps to uber luxurious safari lodges. Apart from the type of accommodation you choose, your accommodation price is also determined by the number of days you plan on staying and the time of the year you visiting ( during the peak season from July to October the prices are higher).
A luxurious Tented Camp such as And Beyond Klein's Camp or Nawiri Plains will cost roughly US$ 300+ per person/night during low season and US$ 600+ per person per night during the peak season.
A mid-range luxury safari lodge such as Serengeti Serena Lodge will cost roughly US$ 150 per person per night during low season and US$ 300 per person per night during peak season.
There are also budget tented camps that you can find for US$ 100 or less per person per night. You may also opt for camping in tents which is way cheaper still but then this is a basic camp site with your own tents and very basic facilities.
Typical tent interior at Luxurious Camp, Serengeti
Typical tent interior at Budget Camp, Serengeti
The other factor that greatly influences your Serengeti Safari cost is the mode of transport to the reserve. Flying to Serengeti from Arusha is more expensive compared to travelling by road, but also more convenient and quicker especially for shorter safaris such as an overnight or two night trip. For solo travellers flying to Serengeti works out cheaper than driving there unless one manages to join a group on a road safari which lowers the pricing.
There are several reliable local airlines that offer daily scheduled flights to Serengeti from Arusha Airport, including Auric Air, Coastal Aviation among others.
The flying time from Arusha to Serengeti is usually one hour though the actual time depends on how many interim stops the flight will make, ( known as ''hops'') as they land to drop or pick up passengers from various airstrips. A one way flight ranges from US$ 200 - 250 per person while a return flight will cost anything from US$ 300- 450 per person including taxes, depending on the season and availability.
For road transport, 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser Jeep are the most common mode of transport for safari tourists in Tanzania.These are often Toyota Landcruiser Jeeps converted into Safari vehicles with the addition of pop up game viewing roofs [ front and main], safari customization, and addition og UHF radio calls and suitable seating. Some vehicles also come with air conditioning and electric cooler boxes. Safari Jeeps are more capable off road and marginally more comfortable as well over rougher sections of road.
Note that the price is based on the full occupancy of the vehicle. A Landcruiser safari vehicle costs anything from US$ 250 to 275 per vehicle/day depending on the season and availability.
Note:Transport on your safari is priced per vehicle and not per person. The drive from Arusha to Serengeti takes approximately 5-6 hours. The road from Arusha upto the main gate is now paved / tarred all the way.
Landcruiser Jeep 4x4 vehicle
Open Sided 4x4 Land Cruiser Safari vehicle
As a general rule, the larger the group travelling the cheaper it is for everyone, as you get to share the costs compared to when one or two persons are travelling. Also for family travel, the ages of children affects the cost of your safari as children under the age of 12 years pay a reduced price while children under 3 years of age are allowed for free in almost all lodges and camps in Serengeti.
The cost of your Serengeti safari is also dependent on the number of days you plan to be on safari. It is therefore advisable for clients on limited budget to spend the minimum recommended time of 3 days in the reserve. Low season ( April to early June ) will probably allow you to spend less for a longer safari as accommodation prices are significantly lower and the park as well is less crowded with tourists as compared to peak season. Keep in mind that the wildebeest migration takes place from July to September and this is peak season. Budget permitting, we recommend a minimum of 4 days ( 03 nights ) in Serengeti to allow you to full explore the park. This will include enough safari game drives to see plenty of wildlife at a relaxed pace and give you enough time for leisure time at your camp. Traveling ''Slow'' really does have its advantages in the African wilderness.
Your Safari cost is also dependent on your travel dates. Prices tend to be higher during the Peak season which is normally when the Great wildebeest migration happens as this attracts large numbers of visitors to Serengeti making it more expensive to secure rooms due to the high demand. The Peak season runs from July to October. Clients on a limited budget are advised to avoid the peak season and plan on visiting during the low or the shoulder season ( Jan to March ) when the prices are lower and rooms are readily available.
To enter Serengeti National Park, one is required to pay an Entry Fee at the gate. The Park Entry Fees is determined by the residency status of the tourist visiting the park ie Citizen, Resident and Non-resident.
Citizens of Tanzania have to show proof of status such as a valid National ID / Passport. Residents refer to persons residing in Tanzania with valid documentation from the Tanzanian government while non-residents refer mainly to overseas tourists. Please note that proof of identification is required before entering into the park.
The Park Entry Fees to Serengeti National Park for Non-Residents ( Foreign Tourists) is USD 70 per adult per 24 hours during Peak season (16th May - 14th March) and USD 60 per adult per 24 hours during Low season (15th March - 15th May). Children ages 5 years upto 15 years pay USD 20 per 24 hours during Peak or Low season. Please note these rates are subject to 18% VAT.
Apart from the Park Fees there is also Concession Fees which is applicable for tourists staying at any Camp, Lodge or Hotel located inside Serengeti National Park. During Peak season ( July to September), the hotel concession fee for foreign tourists staying in Serengeti is USD 60 per adult per 24 hours and USD 10 per child ( 5 years to 15 years) per 24 hours. During Low season ( October to June ), the hotel concession fee for foreign tourists staying in Serengeti is USD 50 per adult per 24 hours and remains USD 10 per child ( 5 years to 15 years) per 24 hours. 18% VAT is applicable on all of these rates above.
Apart from the standard Serengeti Safari package which usually includes transport from and back to Arusha, safari game excursions, accommodation and meals as well as the park entry fees, some clients opt to include other activities which may include a Maasai Village Visit, Hot Air Balloon Flight, Night Gamedrives (if staying outside the main reserve), Bush breakfast and dinners, Nature Walks and Guided Safari Walks as well as Horse Riding. These activities are quite exciting and enhance your tour but come at an added cost.
Hot Air Balloon ride price ranges from US$ 559 to US$ 599 per person depending on which camp or lodge you will fly from in Serengeti.
Maasai Village Visit price ranges from US$ 30 to US$ 50 per person and the cost is inclusive of return transfers from your overnight Safari Lodge or Camp, Services of an English speaking Driver-guide and Village Contribution Fees.
Hot Air Balloon Ride, Serengeti
Maasai Village Visit, Serengeti
Apart from the above listed factors, there are other factors to consider when costing for your Serengeti Safari such as Travel Visa, Insurance, International Flight Tickets, Tips, Laundry, Souvenirs, drinks and beverages.
In conclusion, with some basic planning in line with the above factors, we can customize your Serengeti Safari costs to meet your budget while still ensuring you have unforgettable experience whether you are a solo traveller or a part of a group.