Renowned as a luxury safari destination, the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania offers prime game viewing with the incredible Great Migration of millions of wildebeest, stunning scenery and beautiful beaches, reflected in the excellent safari experience visitors have come to expect.
Correspondingly, safari prices tend to be higher here compared to other African nations. Visitors often wonder about the approximate cost of Serengeti and if affordable safari packages are possible.
Below, we have listed the various elements that impact Serengeti safari costs and detailed the price averages for each.
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Elements that influence Serengeti safari tours price
The flight to Tanzania
There is no direct flight between Tanzania and most countries. Therefore a stopover in Cape Town, South Africa may be required before reaching Dar es Salaam, the main Tanzania tourist hub on the east coast.
Due to this stopover, flights to Tanzania tend to be more expensive than other destinations offering direct flights to other African safari destinations.
The prices of flights from the U.K. or U.S. can vary according to the dates of the stay and the chosen airline.
Several transport options are available in Tanzania but not all offer the same experience and speed of connection visitors want when travelling between parks and reserves.
Arriving into Tanzania will typically involve taking a connecting flight from Dubai, Amsterdam or Johannesburg, South Africa, adding to the overall cost of a safari, the cost of which will vary depending on time of year and the flight distance.
International flights into the country also arrive via Dar es Salaam (DAR) airport for visitors wondering how to get to Tanzania. DAR airport is located 18km south of Dar Es Salaam and a Tanzania visa.
Due to this, private charter flights are commonly used to quickly access isolated private reserves and concessions, sometimes the only way to access them.
Others choose to go on self drive safaris and rent their own cars/4×4’s and use the roads of the national parks. This is a more affordable option and offers visitors the comfort of staying as long as they wish in each location.
Flights from Serengeti to Dar es Salaam
Flights can start from USD $300, flying from Dar es Salaam Serengeti (DAR) airport to Seronera (SEU), a distance of approximately 690 km taking 2 hours and 20 minutes.
The quality of accommodation options available in the Serengeti is generally quite high. There are many luxurious lodges available, some of which can only be accessed by plane transfer however, thus adding to the costs.
More budget friendly accommodation options include camping options, of which many parks have at least 1-2 designated areas.
Most lodges will typically have some or all of breakfast, lunch and dinner options included in the overall lodge safari package.
Parks entrance fee
National parks and reserves charge park fees per person including entrance fees for guides, as well as vehicle entry fees. Entrance fees for the Serengeti include:
- Adults $60: USD
- Children (5-16 years): $30 USD
- Children below 5 years of age: Free
The cost of the entrance fee may be included in your lodge or camp overall price.
Many visitors will also be interested in other activities beyond the main safari and wildlife excursions including walking safaris, mountain biking on Ngorongoro or quad biking adventures, all of which add to overall costs. Comparable to Europe, these prices are lower.
A Serengeti balloon flight costs US$599 per person (this includes the Tanapa ballooning fee of US$40).
This rate includes a transfer from your lodge or camp to the departure balloon site, the balloon flight itself, and a champagne breakfast (after landing). The flight will last between 50 and 70 minutes.
Safari trips can result in unfortunate events happening, like contracting an illness from contaminated water or falling ill from a mosquito bite.
Visitors may need medical attention while abroad so it’s important to ensure an adequate travel insurance policy is in place which will cover you in the event of an accident or injury.
Visitors should check to see if they have already through their credit card company and workplace benefits. If not, it is recommended to ensure travel insurance is purchased prior to travel to cover:
- Medical expenses and hospital benefit
- Personal accident and liability
- Cancelling and cutting short your holiday
- Covid-19 specific cover
- Abandoning your trip
- Delayed departures
- Accommodation cover
- Personal belongings and baggage
- Personal money, passport and travel documents
- Legal expenses
Tanzania vaccines are another expense which may need to be taken into consideration prior to the safari trip, especially if visitors are planning to visit the north of Tanzania, an area with an increased risk of malaria.
Visitors are recommended to consult with their local doctor before arrival and consider antimalarial prophylaxis as recommended.
Gasoline, tips, souvenirs can also impact a visitors budget.
Budgeting for a trip to the Serengeti
For a flight to Serengeti from the U.K, it will cost around £800/$1,060 per person, and more from the U.S. Prices can change and are certain to increase during the summer months.
If on a budget, visitors can save two thirds of their daily expenses on transport costs by opting for a car/4×4 rental compared to plane transfers.
Car rental costs start from £90/$115 for a package with basic insurance. Tanzania safari prices increase if visitors book a 4×4 safari vehicle or campervan.
Guests staying at lodges should note the lodges will likely pick up guests and drive them to the lodge, with prices often included in the accommodation.
Accommodation and food
This will vary significantly depending on the type of accommodation selected. Guests can budget £15/$20 a night and upwards for one night camping and can purchase groceries at local supermarkets.
For lodges, nightly rates will cost several hundred dollars, typically with meals included.
Is a cheap Serengeti safari possible?
Safari prices in the Serengeti are expensive in general, especially for accommodation. However, visitors can be smart and take measures to keep their bank balance in check including:
- DIY organize your own safari
- Sleeping in a campervan/van with a rooftop tent
- Drive yourself around the country
- Prepare your meals and limit eating out at restaurants
- Limit your activities other than the main safari excursions
Visitors looking to avail of a cheap Serengeti safari on a lower budget should travel in the low season which is December to March. This time of year however is also unfortunately a period of hot, muggy weather.
April and May (northern circuit parks still get quite a few visitors unlike the southern and western circuit parks, where many lodges close down). June and July are the best months to see the wildebeest migration.
May is still mid-season and will allow for cooler weather at still reasonable rates.
- Visitors planning an 8 night stay during Peak Season (July – Oct) in a premier camp can expect to pay around $9,000 to $10,000 per person
- Visitors planning an 8 night stay during Off-Peak Season (Sep – Dec) in a moderate camp can expect to pay around $5,500 per person
Affordable lodging options
If budget is the primary concern, and visitors don’t mind camping, then there are some overland camping trips (called mobile safaris) available as well as budget Serengeti safari packages.
Excluding international flights and plane transfers:
- Visitors planning a 6 night safari staying at two different tented camps can expect to pay around $3,600 – $4,300 per person
- Visitors planning a similar 6 night mobile camping safari can expect to pay around $2,200 per person, prices can vary
Affordable Serengeti safari packages tend to be for longer safaris (7+ nights) whilst higher cost safaris are typical of a shorter 3 or 4 night safari.
Serengeti safari approximate costs
The cost of a trip to the Serengeti can start from around US$140 per day for an all-inclusive package, including shuttle service to and from the Delta, accommodation, game viewing and meals.
Visitors can spend much more than this with customised trips and add-ons such as trips to Ngorongoro Crater, Selous Game Reserve and neighbouring Kenya.
Note that off season rates from January to March are usually much lower than normal, with both mid and high-end lodges knocking as much as 50% off.
Summary: The average price of a safari in the Serengeti
Estimating the cost of an average safari isn’t straight forward, given the range of factors noted above that can impact prices. However, two examples are provided below to give visitors an idea of average costs to expect.
Affordable Serengeti safari prices
The cost of an affordable safari in Tanzania includes:
- International flights
- 4 × 4 rental with a tent on the roof
- Campsite accommodation
- Parks entry for game drives
Based on the above, we can estimate prices of at least £340/$450 per person based upon a 10 day stay.
Luxury Serengeti safari prices:
The cost of a luxury safari in Tanzania includes
- International flights and transfers
- Transfers by plane and/or private drive
- Lodge accommodation
- Guided game drives
Based on the above, we can estimate costs of at least £940/$1240 per person based upon a 10 day stay.
This trip includes visiting the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Selous Game Reserve during peak season. Prices are indicative only and may vary depending on travel conditions.
The following is a pricing summary of the main costs a safari visitor in the Serengeti can expect:
|Minimum Price per person||Average Price per person|
|Accommodation per day||£20/$27||£230/$300|
|Transport per day||£50/$65||£150/$200|
|Parks per day||£36/$50||£36/$50|
|10-day safari||£186/$250 pp per day||£540/$730 pp per day|
How much does a safari cost in the Serengeti?
The Serengeti is one of the premier African safari destinations with the accompanying price tags, however it is possible to go on a safari budget friendly trip to the Serengeti. Average prices are difficult to calculate given the various elements of the trip to take into account.
Are credit cards and debit cards accepted in the Serengeti?
All major forms of credit card are accepted in East Africa, although it is best to travel with either Mastercard or Visa as these are accepted most widely. Amex can be useful to withdraw dollars from banks in the major cities including Dar es Salaam and Arusha.
When to go on a safari in the Serengeti?
Overall, June to October is the best time to visit the Serengeti during the dry season for a safari trip to any of the national parks.