How to plan a safari in East Africa – tips for planning a perfect Gorilla, Chimpanzee and wildlife safari in East Africa
How to plan a safari to East Africa – Planning an East African safari can be a daunting task. Even when you use the advice of a good tour agent it is difficult to make certain decisions.
There are several key points to consider to plan your East African safari. You should determine where to go, how long, what to pack, and the budget for your safari. Today, we are going to tell you where to start and how to plan the perfect African safari.
Planning a trip of any kind is very exciting and part of the fun. There are so many amazing places to see and things to do in Africa picking a few is hard. You will most likely go back and forth changing your mind a few times, but that is normal.
If you’ve been on an African safari before, you probably have a pretty good idea of the basics. So in a sense, this guide is aimed at first-time safari-goers who are planning their first East African travel adventure. Let me try and make it a bit easier with a few pointers on how to plan an amazing African safari on a tight budget.
Pick an East African safari country or two
You need to pick a safari destination – or at least have some idea. If you are one of the lucky ones with two months to travel and a sizable budget you can certainly cover a lot of ground and get to all the spots you want to see. Most travelers only have 14 days or 3 weeks, max, which requires more careful planning.
Some people already have their hearts set on a particular area or African country, but others struggle with this essential (first) step. It’s understandable considering the misconception that Africa is a country, when in fact it is a continent with 54 countries of which about 9 of them are known as wildlife safari destinations: South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, and Rwanda.
It’s possible to do a safari on your own, but it’s a lot more work. Here’s how you can organize your safari:
Rent your vehicle
Nearly all game parks allow you to drive your vehicle. This opens up opportunities for saving some money, as well as allowing for more flexibility in doing exactly what you want. You can rent a vehicle and drive yourself or rent a vehicle with a full-time driver included (this usually costs an extra $20–30/day).
A five-seat SUV can be rented for $75–200 per day, depending on the type of vehicle. The company, for safety reasons, needs a specific itinerary that details where you plan on going, the number of passengers, and the length of time you intend to rent the vehicle.
There are many lodges, hotels, and luxury camp options to choose from, depending on the park you choose. Hotel rooms need to be booked a few weeks in advance, especially during peak season. Rates start at USD 80 and go up from there.
If you’re an adventurous traveler who loves to be close to nature and can handle the howls of animals at night, camping is a great budget-friendly option. In Kenya, the main national parks that offer camping options are Hell’s Gate National Park, Tsavo East, Mt. Kenya National Park, Lake Nakuru, Amboseli, and Aberdare National Park.
In Tanzania, campsites are available at select game parks and are best booked in advance. Camping is permitted in Selous Game Reserve at two designated areas: Beho Beho Bridge and Lake Tangalala. Personal camping costs around USD 20 per night per person and must be arranged either in Dar Es Salaam city center before going to the park, or at Matambwe or Mtemere entry stations at the Selous reserve.