Okay I just started another thread but this question has been on my mind for some time.
I really REALLY want to go on a safari .. like a genuine one, not some cheap tourist attraction. I know of the dangers but it's something I WANT to do with my husband.
My questions are ...
1. Which African country would be best for a Safari? I heard Kenya .. but I'd like some suggestions.
2. Cost. How much would this cost?
3. Time. How long do these last?
I did a 5 day safari in Tanzania in 2005, and the following is based on that experience.
I've heard Kenya is nice. It's, I think, a little cheaper than Tanzania where I did my safari. I think Safaris are pretty common in most of the Eastern African countries.
For time, you can have as long or as short a safari as you want. When I was looking into taking a safari, I did some research and asked a lot of questions of people who have been on multiple safaris. Based on their information, advice and suggestions, I choose to do a 5 day safari. This would give you enough time to ensure that you see a lot of interesting stuff, but wouldn't be so long that you get sick of spending your days cruising around bumpy roads in a car.
There are a couple other decisions you will have to make that will impact your cost. The first is if you want to do a group safari or if you want to go alone (just you and your husband). The second is if you want to do a camping safari or you want to stay at lodges.
A group safari is a safari where you go with other people that you don’t know. A private safari is where just you (and your private group go). Booking a group safari can save anywhere from $200 to $300 US to thousands of dollars (depending on the iternary). However, often companies will book a safari with promises of other travellers, but the other travellers aren’t real. In the worst case, this means delaying the safari until real travelers can be found, which can be an issue. A private safari is where you pay the entire cost of the safari, but then you have to pay more.
Camping safaris are where you stay in tents in camp grounds. Lodges are hotels or tent camps that are nicer, and usually have better immentities, but cost more. In Tanzania, lodges would add about $US 150 a night onto your cost for the cheapest places (which were still pretty nice), and could cost upwards of $US 600 for really nice places.
For costs, in 2005 I paid $US 478 for a 5 day, 4 night camping safari, including guide, car, cook, three meals a day, park fees, campsites, tents, sleeping bags and mats, Maasai village visit, Olduvai Gorge fee and tips. A couple who pre-booked from home paid about $50 more than I did booking in Arusha. Prices have risen since then, as park fees have gone up.
If you go to Tanzania, check out the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators to find a company. You will save some money for sure by dealing with a local company and not having to go through a middle-man in your local country.
More Safari Advice.
There are lots of countries which have some fantastic safari options. I think the ones most talked about are Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana and South. It seems that you are rather intimidated by how dangerous it could be. I don't know if you mean the crime or the animals, but I take it is the crime. I wouldn't seriously worry about that aspect, just avoid the known areas of danger, and travel with a tour operator and you will be fine. All the countries I have mentioned are sfae. Cost wise, it can be anything between $100 and $1000 a day. Tanzania, Kenya and Botswana, are all relatively expensive with the market dominated by private land lodges. Namibia and South Africa are cheaper options while SOuth Africa has good infrastructure and great Safari options with the obvious being that of the Kruger National Park. Ultimatly, you decide how long you want to go on Safari, I would suggest doing a 1 week stint at least, but not more than 2 weeks as you will probably get bored after a while. Remeber though that all these countries I mentioned have so much more to offer than just safari options and it would be wise to look into what they can offer you outside of just Safari as well.
I can suggest 2 South African safari operators, Strider Expeditions - www.striderexpeditions.co.za (who I am affiliated to) and Africa Unlimited - www.africaunltd.co.za. Both companies are very good and have excellent reputations.
Otherwise if you want some more in depth information please don't hesitate to PM me.
Try leopardtours in Tanzania, I think they are great. Good skilled guides, vehicles and a great experience.