There are a lot of misconceptions in the world of tourism. The price of safaris is one of them. For many people, these adventures may seem like a dream but out of reach because of their hefty price tag or inaccessibility. Today we're excited to prove to you that there are ways in which you can really cross that item off your bucket list and experience a safari in South Africa without breaking the bank! Keep scrolling for our top Pirate tips.
Planning the Trip
The golden rule for a safari that fits into your travel budget? Organize it yourself!
For Travel Plans: Your best friend will be on the site South African National Parks, for gathering information about the access to parks, the rules to follow, the activities to do on site, and even accommodation within the parks.
For Flights: The TravelPirates team scans the internet every day for good deals. When flights are on sale at a great price, we will share them with you, similar to this article for example, which will be updated when travel restrictions to South Africa are lifted.
For Rental Cars: The rental car can be booked through our price comparison. Note that it is very easy to get around the country, and it takes just a few minutes to get used to driving on the left.
Visiting the National Parks
You should know that it is quite possible to drive around in the national parks of South Africa, and to observe wild animals from your own vehicle, at your own pace.
Animals are absolutely everywhere in the park, and with a little patience and a lot of respect for their natural environment, you will be able to observe them easily.
Inside the park, you need to respect the speed limits, which are very low to make sure you don't frighten the animals. This is also your best chance to spot them. With a good pair of binoculars too!
Obviously, some animals are more capricious than others, or live at a shifted pace — like lions and other predators for example. To put the odds on your side, we suggest you book an excursion very early in the morning with the accommodation of the park. Accompanied by an experienced ranger you will have more of a chance at seeing them. A good alternative to avoid the expensive safaris of specialized agencies while benefiting from the experience of locals and professionals .
These activities can be booked spontaneously with the camps when you arrive, or in advance online.
Booking an Accommodation
The Booking.com site is a real gold mine for booking accommodations outside of national parks. Our favorites have by far been Off Beat Safaris Bush Lodge ($50 per night), a camp that is not easily accessible but very quiet in the heart of nature.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary ($74 per night), with its typical accommodation in the heart of Swaziland.
Lebo's Soweto Backpackers ($34 per night), very good alternative to discover the history of the country in the suburbs of Johannesburg.
For the nights you want to spend in the park, remember to book them in advance on the park's official website. For Kruger Park, we recommend reserving various overnight stays on this page.
Cabin, tent, bungalow, chalet, there is something for all tastes and budgets. It is possible to book easily by paying directly online.
The advantage of these main camps is that they are equipped with electricity, a rescue center, shops, restaurants, and generally a gas station. In addition, they are all very well organized, you will find there every day a map of animals spotted by other travelers, to help you organize the rest of your safari.
There are of course other types of camps, bush camps for example are much smaller and less equipped, when instead the lodges bush are more intimate and luxurious. It's up to you to choose from this list according to your desires and your budget.