Thanks for signing up!

Check your inbox each week for our inspirational newsletter and special offers.

Sign up to great deals. Easy peasy.
Please enter a valid email address

Call us today - 10am to 4pm

0203 944 2201
New Zealand
USA Tours
Canada Tours Alaska
Canada Touring Holidays
Africa Africa Safari Holidays
Asia Bali Singapore Hong Kong Philippines
Central America Belize Guatemala
Europe River Cruises Sailing Holidays City Breaks Tours Beach Holidays
Indian Ocean Maldives
North America
South Pacific Fiji Samoa
Thailand Islands
California and the West New Mexico
Deep South
Pacific Northwest
Atlantic Canada Newfoundland and Labrador
Canadian Rockies and the West
Central Canada
Why Travelbag
Sorry, we're currently closed
Our team are available:
9:00am - 7:00pm
9:00am - 7:00pm
9:00am - 7:00pm
9:00am - 5:30pm
9:00am - 5:30pm
9:00am - 5:30pm
10:00am - 4:00pm
Get a quote online
Looking for a more complex holiday? Fill in our enquiry form and we'll be in touch.
Request a quote

Best value ways to do a safari

Get more inspiration

Watch a predator stalk its prey. Witness a vast herd as they graze together. See a mother protect her newborn young...

All this while a glowing sun hovers on the horizon of a spectacular savannah and a sumptuous barbecue meal waits at your luxury lodge.

A wildlife safari is one of our planet’s most captivating, exhilarating, and rewarding travel experiences. Of course, it comes with a price tag, but there are always ways to get the best value. With safari holidays, it’s a simple matter of smart planning.

Thankfully, at Travelbag, that’s what our specialists do every day. To offer you the benefit of our experience, here are the top tips for the best value ways to do a safari.

Book early

If there’s one piece of advice you take regarding holidays of this nature, let it be this: book as soon as you can. Safari lodges are small by nature, and capacity is strictly limited. Many resorts offer generous rates for advanced reservations, and the best-value properties are filled early. In addition, long-haul flights almost always go on sale at their best price and rise as they get closer to departure. Though flash sales and special offers do happen, they are rare. Our recommendation is always to plan and book early.

Choose wisely

Every safari destination offers a variety of accommodations at a range of costs, and the lowest price doesn’t always mean the best value. Rates for most South African lodges include all meals, selected drinks, and two game drives per day. Menus usually blend international choices with South African classics. At some, you will pay extra for alcoholic beverages, while others have a surcharge for premium drinks or outside meals. You won’t be able to pop to a supermarket, so consider what you’ll need when comparing prices relative to inclusions.

You’ll also find most destinations have particular properties at stand-out prices. On a South Africa safari, for example, Kariega and Pumba usually offer leading rates in the Eastern Cape, while Jock Safari and Shiduli are often the best value near Kruger. Our Travel Specialists are always available to advise the best choices for your dates and requirements.

Location matters

Speaking of the Eastern Cape, this malaria-free Big Five destination is an excellent example of why choosing the right location pays off for an African safari holiday. Popular with families, the reserves of South Africa’s Eastern Cape are a great choice, easy to reach and a perfect bookend on the Garden Route, opposite the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town. A short flight will take you to Kruger National Park and the best wildlife viewing in South Africa. Here, a huge range of accommodations is available, from tented camps in the wilderness to luxury lodges in the best safari areas.

The Masai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania offer amazing experiences, especially during migration, but there are many more incredible options in Southern Africa. The Pilanesberg - a malaria-free reserve - is just a few hours from Johannesburg. At the same time, Akagera in Rwanda is ideal for combining your safari with an extraordinary gorilla trekking experience.

For something truly different, the national parks of Yala and Udawalawe in Sri Lanka may not offer the complete Big Five; still, they do have unforgettable safari opportunities of their own.


The classic safari experience comes in two primary forms. One is to stay in a fully inclusive lodge, as is usually found in the holiday packages South Africa has to offer. The other is to book a touring safari where you are taken from camp to camp across the expanse of the reserve, something common in Kenya and Tanzania. While these are both incredible options, some travellers prefer doing things differently.

Self-drive safaris can be enjoyed in both Namibia and South Africa, eliminating the cost of a guide and driver while opening more possibilities for accommodation as you stay at the fringes of the reserves.

Of course, while DIY road trips have their appeal, it’s important not to forget the many benefits of staying at a lodge within the parks. Aside from having all your costs confirmed and covered upfront and all your activities arranged for you, there are also hidden bonuses. Park gates are not open 24 hours a day, so early and late access is restricted to those already inside the reserve. This creates possibilities for more exclusive viewing. In addition, guides and rangers are used by lodges for safety and because they have the knowledge needed to reliably track the animals you wish to see. You might get lucky when navigating a park under your own steam, and no sightings are ever guaranteed, but when you’ve travelled so far to see wildlife, anything that improves your odds of a spectacular encounter adds value to your trip in a way cost saving can’t.

Time it right

Just like everywhere, African safari reserves experience varied weather and changing seasons. You’ll find many tourists are only concerned with visiting when it’s warm and dry, but there’s a lot to be said for the green season, too. These times of year see rainfall and can be a little more humid. You’ll need to be more eagle-eyed to spot the animals among the increased foliage. But you’ll also enjoy the freedom of the parks with fewer vehicles sharing your space, discover a lush and beautiful countryside, and - in many instances - arrive at the perfect time to see newborns.

Most importantly, the rates will be lower during these times. So consider arriving in East Africa during November or April, or celebrate the new year in the best way when you visit South Africa between December and March. Another top tip from our experts is that the ‘Great Migration’ is ongoing throughout the year as various animals move continuously around the parks. While the spectacular crossings of the Mara River might be focused on in July, there are breathtaking events to be found every month.

Ready to walk on the wild side?

Whatever your budget, and whenever you choose to travel, our experts will always know how to find the best value safari experience available. Call our Travel Specialists today or see us at one of our Travelbag Shops.

“Once you've visited Africa, it's guaranteed to get under your skin and entice you back again and again. Experiencing wild animals in their natural environment is the experience of a lifetime, and no two safaris are ever the same. Combine that with epic landscapes, stunning wilderness properties and friendly locals, and you will never want to go anywhere else.” – Susan Horton - Destination Manager - Africa

Looking for more travel inspiration? From iconic wildlife experiences to luxurious hotels and multi-centre adventures, our brand-new Africa brochure has everything you need.

Chat With Our Specialists

With over 40 years in travel and hundreds of experts ready to help you realise your dream holiday.

Follow us on
Still surfing for inspiration?
Sign-up today to get expertly curated holiday deals straight to your inbox.
Please enter a valid email address
Privacy notice
Follow us on:
Call our experts 0203 944 2201
Email NEW
Request a quote
Store NEW
Find a shop
Phone Callback NEW
Call back