Cost of Zambian Safari: How Much Is An African Safari?

An African safari is a lifetime dream for many adventure seekers and wildlife enthusiasts around the world. The enticement of witnessing magnificent landscapes and encountering exotic wildlife remains unmatched. However, one common concern that arises when planning is the exact cost of African safaris.


The cost of an African safari can vary depending on several factors, including the destination, duration of the trip, level of luxury, the package inclusions/exclusions and the time of year. Understanding these factors is essential to plan your safari budget effectively.


This article will delve into the cost of an African safari, with a primary focus on Zambia, while also providing a brief comparison to other countries in Southern Africa.

Sunset House interior lounge

Cost of Safari Per Day

When considering the cost of an African safari, it is helpful to break it down by the number of days.


On average, the cost of a Zambian safari can range between $150 to $1,500 per person per day. This price includes accommodation, meals, park fees, game drives, and other activities. The wide range in prices is due to the diversity of accommodations available, ranging from budget-friendly campsites to luxurious lodges, as well as the method of transportation used to move around.


For example, a self-drive/self-guided camping safari in Zambia can cost around $150 per person per day, while mid-range safaris can cost between $300 and $700 per day, while luxury safaris will cost a lot more, up to $1500 per person per day.

Factors Affecting Safari Cost

Several factors contribute to the overall cost of an African safari. Understanding these factors will help you plan and budget accordingly.

International Flights

Flights to Africa can be a significant portion of the overall cost. The price of flights varies depending on your departure location, the time of year, and the airline you choose. It is advisable to book your flights well in advance and consider flexible travel dates to secure the best deals. Additionally, choosing a safari destination that is closer to your departure location can help reduce travel expenses.


The cost of flights to Africa can range from $250 to $2,000 per person per day, depending on where you’re flying from.

Domestic Transport

National parks and other safari reserves are rarely located in the big international hubs! Most of the time, you will have to go to a more remote area, and this can be done in different ways depending on the destination. Some countries are adequate for self-drives, others you will have to fly to the reserve using a domestic airline, or in some cases, you will have to charter a specific aircraft. Obviously, this will greatly affect the cost of the safari.


In Zambia for example, you are most likely to fly to Lusaka, the capital. Then you would use a domestic airline to fly to one of the renowned national parks. Driving is not usually recommended as it is slow and uncomfortable and will take up more days out of your itinerary.

Lodge Style and Inclusions

Accommodation plays a crucial role in the cost of a safari. Zambia offers a range of options, from camping grounds to rustic bush camps to luxurious lodges. The more luxurious the lodge, the higher the price. However, your budget will range between $150 and $1500 per person per day.


It’s worth noting that some lodges offer all-inclusive packages that include meals, activities, and park fees, while others may charge separately for these services. Researching different lodges and comparing their offerings and prices can help you find the best option that fits your budget.


Also, check if park fees are included or not, as they will add up to your daily budget. Make sure always to compare apples with apples! See our rates here.

Duration and Combinations of Parks/Lodges

Obviously, the longer your safari, the higher the overall cost will be. But sometimes it makes sense to spend more time in one national park and move from one lodge to another one rather than hop around to 3 different national parks to cover more grounds at the expense of pricey domestic flights.


However, Lodges often offer incentives for longer stays, such as a reduced rate or a complimentary night. At Kafunta Safaris, we offer a discounted rate when staying five nights or more between our properties.


Visa requirements and fees vary depending on your nationality and the country you are visiting. It is essential to research the visa requirements for Zambia or any other countries you plan to visit during your safari and factor in the associated costs. Some countries offer visa-free entry or visa-on-arrival options, while others require obtaining a visa in advance. Zambia has recently waived its visa fee for many nationalities.


Tipping is customary in Africa, and it is recommended to budget for gratuities. The amount varies depending on the level of service and your satisfaction, but a general guideline is around $10 – $20 per day. It is advisable to carry small bills in the local currency to facilitate smooth tipping. 


Before embarking on an African safari, it is crucial to consult with a travel health professional to ensure you have the necessary vaccinations and medications. This cost should be factored into your overall safari budget. Common vaccinations for travellers to Africa include those for yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis A and B, and tetanus.


It is important to check the specific vaccination requirements for the countries you plan to visit.


Additionally, consider if you need anti-malaria medicine for the chosen destination. This will have a cost as well.


Travel insurance is highly recommended for any safari trip. It provides coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen events. The cost of insurance will vary depending on the level of coverage and the duration of your trip. Carefully review the policy to understand what is covered and any exclusions or limitations.


Proper gear is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable safari experience. This includes clothing suitable for different weather conditions, sturdy footwear, insect repellent, and a good camera for capturing unforgettable moments.


The cost of gear will depend on your personal preferences and the quality of the items you choose. It is advisable to invest in high-quality gear that will last and perform well in the African wilderness.

Additional Activities

While game drives and walking safaris are the highlights of any safari, there may be additional activities that you would like to include in your itinerary, such as motor boat activities, bungee jumping, gorge swinging, or visits to local communities. These activities may come at an additional cost, and it is important to consider them when planning your budget.

Zambia vs Other Southern African Countries

Compared to other countries in Southern Africa, such as Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, Zambia generally falls within the mid-range in terms of safari costs. Botswana is known for its high-end luxury safaris, which can cost upwards of $2,000 per person per day. South Africa and Namibia offer a broader range of options, often by self-drives with budget-friendly safaris starting at around $200 per person per day. Zimbabwe falls somewhere in between, with prices similar to Zambia.

How to Save on an African Safari

To save money on your African safari, consider the following tips:


Travel during the off-peak season: Travelling during the low season can result in lower prices for accommodations and activities.


Choose budget-friendly accommodations: Opting for budget-friendly accommodations, such as camp sites or mid-range lodges, can help reduce the overall cost of your safari.


Book a group tour or consider self-drive options: Travelling as part of a group or choosing a self-drive option can result in cost savings, as these options often have lower prices than private tours.


Be flexible with your travel dates: Flexibility in your travel dates can help you find better deals on accommodations and activities.


Research and compare prices: Researching and comparing prices across different safari packages and providers can help you find the best value for your money.


Planning an African safari, including one in Zambia, requires careful consideration of various factors that contribute to the overall cost. Understanding the cost breakdown by day, comparing prices with other countries regarding flights, accommodation, visas, tips, vaccinations, insurance, gear, and additional activities will help you create an accurate budget for your dream safari.


Remember to research and compare options, seek advice from experienced travel guides or tour operators, and plan well in advance to secure the best deals – check out our detailed Safari Packing List and Zambia Safari Travel Guide for some additional resources.


We can help you plan and budget for your unforgettable African safari with Kafunta Safaris.


Contact the Kafunta team today to start crafting your dream Zambian safari escape while taking advantage of seasonal special offers and promotions!

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