African Safaris on a budget- it’s possible
Well, I love travelling and knowing that there are so many places in my country Kenya that offer an amazing experience, I really wanted the adventure. My pocket and cash flow, on the other hand, said otherwise.
Didn’t know how to achieve my travelling goal as I always thought that travelling is a luxury. While I was exploring social media, I came across an offer for African safaris on a budget. To my surprise, some of the packages were being offered right here in my country Kenya.
It was an incredible discovery unlocking many opportunities for me to travel as I so desired in my budget. Well, a safari is not complete if it does not involve seeing the wild animals in their natural habitat, experiencing nature at its best in the game parks and conservancies.
The wildlife experience in Kenya
There are many parks and conservancies in Kenya, most of the parks are managed by the government hence have a standard entrance fee. There is a park even in the city, one can take a day safari even when on a short stay in Kenya or take a safari walk.
If you have enough time to go out of the city, we have hotels and game lodges that can offer various pocket-friendly packages and still have the same experience, the difference in the package will be the sleeping area and food.
If you love adventure, you can opt for tented camp most of which are semi-permanent and still have a modern interior set up.
Packages are normally all-inclusive but park fees are paid separately to the park attendants. It is always good to confirm with your tour guide or travel agent that they actually paid the park fees to avoid getting in the wrong hands of the law.
An all-inclusive package
Its always good to confirm what travel package you have just bought, it’s not just enough to meet your budget. Most budget safaris have some essentials omitted and end up being your hindrance to having a good time.
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My first time on such a safari I ignored the fact that we were advised to carry our own water. I thought its courtesy to give people something basic like water on a long journey (5 hours by road). Well had to find a place to buy water on the way.
The other thing about budget safari is the kind of food the package offers, most here in Kenya will offer our normal traditional food which includes, chicken, goat meat, cow meat, ugali, chapati and lots of veggies for vegetarian. They do incorporate some pasta and rice because of the diverse people who visit. However, if you are not able to handle this, you can opt to carry extra money and have the chef prepare you a meal of choice.
It is also advisable to carry enough snacks as game drives can be long and the scheduled meal times might delay. Opt for a travel agent who gives you an itinerary showing well what is included in the package and what is omitted.
Also, good to note that most packages are normally per person sharing a room. If doing solo travel, it would be good to first inquire and if one does not wish to share a room with a stranger, one can negotiate to pay extra by a small amount and have a room by themselves.
Some packages are also offered on condition that you book the holiday as a group to get a cheap price and
always have a minimum number of people per travel. If going for a game drive on budget travel, one may end up sharing a van with other travellers who opted for the same package. Most game-drive vans take 7 passengers though depending on the provider, it may not be necessary to fill all seats. But if doing solo travel, be ready to share with other holidaymakers.
How to control my spending
When going to a new place, your main aim is to create memories and in line with this, you may also want to get some souvenir. Well in most safaris there are always things to buy from the locals, from local jewellery to artefacts plus so much more.
The intention here is to work within your budget. If not familiar with the local currency and the value of these souvenirs, there are chances of being sold to at an exorbitant price. My advice would be to get a good travel guide from the community or you can create a good rapport with your tour driver so that they can help you shop for what you need at a good reasonable price.
You can also shop for the snacks you need or water from the local supermarket, you just need to confirm how the local currency is trading against your own currency. Kindly confirm with your travel agent how you can exchange to get the local currency just have enough to buy the essentials you need, remember you are travelling on a budget.
Hey, I prefer the beach!
I have talked about game drives and the wild on the part of the package, what about the beach? Yes, you can have the same experience.
One way to have a good time is instead of going for a hotel which is expensive, a budget package can include you living in a villa along the coastal strip. This implies that you only pay for your daily stay in the villa, you can opt to cook for yourself or hire a cook from the locals at a very reasonable price.
Then you can schedule activities to do during the day or just go to the beach. Some activities could be snorkelling, dhow cruise or visit to villages. In the evening, wind up your day at a beach hotel for dinner and drink before going back to your villa. As earlier advised, always opt to get all the details clear with your travel agent or tour guide.
Build up the confidence, take the holiday
You will never discover your potential until you take the first step. A safari is an experience of discovering the other side of life. While you go through your day to day life a lot of things happen during the day but it can’t beat a once in a lifetime experience in a place you have never travelled before.
Well, what are you waiting for, take up the journey?