So what does a Botswana safari cost?
Botswana is probably the single-most expensive safari destination in Africa. There – I’ve said it. Yes it is an amazing, once in a lifetime destination. But it comes at a cost.
When someone tells us that they want to do an “affordable safari in Botswana” in peak season, we give a little inward sigh. As they’ll either need to look at a participation mobile camping safari. Which is not what we do. Or they’ll need to rethink…
Below I give you an idea (based on 2020 pricing) of typical per night prices for a Botswana safari. If you look at the chart and gasp, then you may need to go back to the drawing board. There are other safari destinations which may work better for you. Think South Africa or Zimbabwe. Don’t try to make Botswana what it is not. The country has a low impact, low density, high value tourism model. So don’t try to fight it!
What factors affect the price of your Botswana safari?
So the main Factors – in descending order of importance – which affect your Botswana safari cost are:
- Time of Year
- Whether you use a Safari Circuit
- Your mode of safari
- Your length of stay
Secondary factors which affect the price
- The specific camps you pick!
1) How Time of Year affects your Botswana safari cost
Most destinations vary its pricing by season to some degree. But Botswana is extreme! Expect to pay DOUBLE per night in Peak Season if not more, compared to the Green Season. See our chart below…
Here are some great Green Season safari offers:
2) Botswana safari prices are lower with a “Safari Circuit”
Botswana is dominated by safari companies with several camps. It pays to try to use 2 or 3 camps as a circuit within one safari group. The the per night costs starts to drop nicely. Of course we like to use independent camps as well. But mixing and matching too much does add to the safari cost. So the trick is to get the balance right…
3) Impact of Your Mode of Safari on the Safari cost
There are two main modes of safari. Mostly we offer fly-in safaris to the various destinations. As this allows us to tailor the safari to your dates and preferences. But you can do a mobile camping safari. These tend to have more modest ‘glamping-style’ tents compared to the permanent lodges. But the average nightly safari cost is lower.
Mobile camping safaris come in all shapes and sizes from modest participation camping (which is not our market), to scheduled upmarket mobile safaris (see below). Finally you have private mobile safaris at the top end, again tailored to you.
Some safari examples:
4) Longer Length of Stays lowers the Per Night Safari Costs
The longer you stay, the lower the average nightly cost tends to be. This is because the high cost of flying between camps starts to be a lower portion of the total price. If you ONLY have 3 to 6 nights, try to spend longer at 1 or 2 camps. So that you reduce travelling costs AND have a more leisurely, less ”on the go” safari.
Tip: You can add on Victoria Falls or the Zambezi National Park at the end which will be less per night.
5) Specific Camps
Of course the specific camp you choose does also impact the safari price. But interestingly far less in Botswana than in – say – South Africa. If you opt to stay in one of the most expensive camps in Botswana, such as Chiefs Camp or Mombo Camp, then the price will rocket. But many safari camps are similar in price range.
Here is our flagship safari which includes Chiefs Island.
Guide to Typical Nightly Safari Costs in Botswana
Now to the brass tacks! Below we give a typical price per night for the whole safari including the cost of in-country flights, park fees, game drives and other game activities (boating, walking, mokoro trips, fishing etc). This is typically ex Maun or from Maun to Kasane.
But these safari prices exclude the international flights, as obviously that depends on where you are travelling from and how you choose to fly…
|Ballpark Price per Night All-Inclusive||Moderate Camps (or Private mobile camping)||Premier Camps||Top-end Camps|
The lower safari price tends to be for the longer safaris (7+ nights). The higher figure is typical of a shorter 3 or 4 night safari.
So if you want to come for 8 nights in Peak Season in a Premier camp, you can assume that you are looking at around $9,000 to $9,500 per person. But a moderate camp for 8 nights in Shoulder Season will cost around $5,500 per person. So a big difference in the safari cost!
Green Season – December to March (sometimes excluding the Festive season)
Shoulder Season – April to June (sometimes only to May) and November (and sometimes December)
Peak Season – July to October * Some very popular camps even have a ‘super-peak’ season in July and August
Always All-inclusive Safaris in Botswana
We’ve noticed that many people ask for an “all-inclusive safari”. The very nature of a Botswana safari is that it is all-inclusive. A safari usually includes all meals, teas & coffees, game activities, park fees and most drinks. So the only extras would be gratuities and curio purchases!
In Botswana most safari activities are included. But there are some optional extras such as helicopter transfers to a camp, or hot air ballooning.
Tips for saving money on your Botswana safari
It is not easy to save a huge amount of money on a Botswana safari. Believe me – we’ve tried! So treat it as a once or twice-in-a-lifetime experience. And cash in on the kids inheritance!
But if the original safari price given to you is really too much, consider the following questions:
- Can you travel just outside peak season (end of June or early November)? Or right at the end of the green season (end of March)? Then you can take advantage of the better pricing.
- Would you consider a mobile camping safari?
- Can you try to stay longer in 1-2 camps so that you have fewer flights?
- If you’ve asked for specific camps by name, ask your safari specialist to quote on camps within one safari group. As it can make a huge difference!
- Give us a budget – see below…
- Does it HAVE to be Botswana? Consider Zambia or Zimbabwe instead!
PLEA from Us – Give a Budget Range!
Given how pricey a Botswana safari is, PLEASE give your safari designer a sense of your safari budget. This article is designed to help you do that. (So now you have no excuse – smile!).
If we don’t have any sense of budget, we can waste your time, and ours, suggesting camps which are not right for you. So tell us what you want to spend!
Either we can help you. And we’’ll offer you the best safari at that price point. Or we’ll gently suggest that you may like to relook at your budget!
A Botswana safari is one of the most magical safari experiences that you are ever likely to have. So don’t let the high price tag scare you away too much.
Useful Links to Other Botswana Safari Blogs:
Five off the beaten track lodges in Botswana
About the Authors
Cedarberg Africa is a specialist tour operator and safari designer for Southern and East Africa. We offer 16 different countries in Africa. We have been around for 25 years. And we are a family-run company. Given our volume of business, we make our money through specially negotiated rates with the safari camps. So you will get both the benefit of an experienced safari company with 1st hand experience. And at a competitive price.
CONTACT US to start planning your safari. Or download our complimentary Insiders Guide to Botswana Safaris above…