Awe-inspiring wildlife moments, snow capped mountains rising high above the savanna and sumptuous safari lodges that appear to have jumped straight out of the pages of a novel…your trip will be life-changing, but how much does a Kenya safari cost?
The experts at Extraordinary Journeys are here to help you plan an exceptional safari experience—and to clear up some of the opacity that surrounds Kenya safari prices, too.
The average cost of a Kenya safari
So, what is the average cost of a luxury Kenya safari?
As a baseline or starting point, you should plan to spend $1,000 per day, per person, based on two people sharing. This includes your accommodation, shared game drives, gourmet meals, drinks, various activities, park permits, those all-important sundowners, and ground or air transfers within Kenya. Budget additionally for international flights, visas, tips, exclusive upgrades and add-on activities.
Of course, Kenya safari prices fluctuate with seasonality and the exclusivity of the accommodation you choose. If you’re working within a finite budget, we recommend that you bring an open mind to the initial planning phase. This is when you will first chat to your Extraordinary Journeys’ regional travel specialist. Flexibility gives us some leeway to mix-and-match accommodation styles (described below) so we can make suggestions that reflect the very best value based on your wants and needs. You’ll then be in a position to gauge how much you want to spend on those incredible safari extras, like dreamy hot air balloon rides, heli-tours or a wilderness spa day.
Factors influencing Kenya safari prices
Many elements influence your Kenya safari cost, from seasonality to the booking window to accommodation type.
Save yourself the hours of research and work with a specialist from the get-go. Working with an expert who can custom design your safari will ensure you have the experience of your dreams while sticking to budget.
The time of year
Kenya is a year-round safari destination, but when it comes to how much a Kenya safari costs, your timing is consequential.
The calendar that travelers tend to plan around includes:
- The Great Migration: July, August and September coincide with the greatest volume of migrating wildlife in Kenya. This is the busiest time of year, so expect to pay more.
- Festive season: Rates rise as demand from folks and families traveling during winter break increases; December 20 through January 5.
- Off-peak season: Going on safari during “secret season” often means enjoying perks and upgrades at no extra cost, if not softening Kenya safari prices outright thanks to promotional pricing. (Example: stay four nights, pay for three.)
For a month-by-month breakdown, consult The Best Time to Visit Kenya
Fly-in versus drive-in
Traveling by road between regions in Kenya is possible, but we don’t advise it. We love a good road trip but Kenya’s busy highways offer little in terms of charm. Conditions or obstacles can often turn a simple journey into an uncomfortably long experience. Our advice is to fly. After all, sometimes it’s not about saving dollars—it’s about maximizing your experience.
Where you lay your head at night has an impact on the average cost of a luxury Kenya safari. Your options are differentiated by:
- Safari camps: Tented properties that vary from ultra-luxe to vintage, original-style camps. Higher-end properties may have a swimming or plunge pool, plumbing, Wi-Fi, interconnecting boardwalks and freestanding bathtubs. Minimalist camps may have bucket showers or long drop toilets.
- Safari lodges: Fixed structures ranging from the rustic to the uber-glam. Expect creature comforts, refined amenities (spas, libraries, pools) and superb dining options.
- Private conservancies: Reserve and national park accommodations tend to cater to larger hotels and mass market tourism. Alternatively, private conservancies restrict the number of guests and vehicles, and camps are typically boutique. In a conservancy, you’re paying for exclusivity—but you’ll avoid the crowds and get perks not offered in national parks, like night drives and walking safaris.
The ideal safari booking window
More importantly, if you’re keeping a close eye on Kenya safari prices, consider booking early. Demand can be intense, especially in The Mara, so we suggest booking 12-to-18 months in advance. When inventory is lean and choices are limited, you may be forced to spend more than you initially anticipated.
Once you’ve factored $1,000 a day for your Kenya safari cost, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to spend on the fun à la carte activities:
Tips for saving on a Kenya safari
If you want to bring down the average cost of a Kenya safari, these are our best tips:
- Book early: Book 12-to-18 months in advance to consider the best selection of accommodations.
- Be flexible: Allow your Extraordinary Journeys’ specialist to find the best lodges and camps for you. (We really know our camps down to the details—like which have hairdryers or not!)
- Travel outside of peak and festive season: There are some great deals and perks to be had during the quieter seasons.
- Portfolio options: Stay in camps that belong to the same portfolio collection where you may benefit from multi-booking incentives or long-stay discounts.
Sample Kenya safari itineraries for all budgets
- 9-Day Fly-in Safari in Kenya – $6,000 – $8,100 per person
- Kenya: Culture & Adventure Across the Plains – $9,100 – $11,300 per person
- Safari in Style – $11,600 – $16,800 per person
- 10-Day Barefoot Luxury Safari in Kenya – $13,600 – $16,900 per person
- People and Plains: a Tale of East Africa – $16,200 – $23,000 per person*
FAQ about Kenya safari costs
How much does a safari cost per day?
You will find itineraries being sold for as low as $300 per person, per night—but that price represents the floor of the market and includes a lot of driving. We do not recommend or sell these trips.
For a custom-created luxury safari, budget $1,000 per person, per night as a starting point. This will ensure an exceptional experience. We will plan all of the details, logistics, transfers and reservations, so you can travel worry-free. We also offer 24-hour in-destination support that’s always just a call or DM away. Travel can be unpredictable (that’s part of the beauty of it), but we’re here to ensure you’re taken care of no matter what.
How much money should I take on safari?
Your budget of $1,000 a day will cover game drives, lodgings, park permits, meals, drinks and various activities. This means that your safari will be a more or less cashless experience, so you’ll just need to bring money for tips. If spending time in Nairobi, it’s helpful to know that credit cards are widely accepted in shops, galleries and restaurants. You may only need a little cash for local markets.
Should I bring cash on safari?
Yes, you need to bring cash (US dollars) on safari for tipping.
The Extraordinary Journeys pre-departure team will supply you with a tipping chart but typically, we recommend $30 to $50 per day, per person. Be mindful of the condition of your currency; avoid crumpled or torn bills.
Are safaris worth it?
We feel Kenyan safaris offer fantastic value, especially when compared to the cost of a luxury trip in Europe or North America. It’s also worth taking the value of sustainable travel into account. Many of our camps and lodges are located in conservancies—adding environmental and social-economic clout to every dollar you spend there. The conservancies help to fund re-wilding, conservation and community uplift—efforts that are definitely worth supporting with your wallet.
Book your custom Kenya safari with us
If you want to know more about how much a Kenya safari is, talk to a regional travel specialist at Extraordinary Journeys. Ultimately, we’ll work with your budget to build the perfect safari itinerary just for you.