How much does a trip to Africa cost? When people think of traveling to the continent Africa, they don’t really associate the words “budget-friendly travel” with it. part of why it is so expensive, is first off, the cost to fly there, but also, many parts of this continent are not easy to travel on your own like you would (cheaply) in other countries.
Most people who travel to this part of the world opt for a tour or safari that can take them to all the places they want to see. This can come with a hefty price tag, but like with any destination, you can always do it cheaper, or more expensive, depending on your budget, and level of comfort you are looking for.
In Africa, there are so many luxury safari tours or private tours you can book, these, naturally, will be more expensive. I think I traveled to the eastern part of Africa the cheapest way I could do safely and with a reputable company, but note that I did camp every single night in a tent, we pitched in with helping our chef cook our meals, and clean dishes, etc. Although there were options along the way to upgrade to hotel rooms, this was not a luxury safari tour by any means.
A few important things to note:
– All costs below are in USD
– These costs are for one person
– I traveled to Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya on my trip
– My trip duration was about 2.5 weeks
We had layovers in Europe as there are no direct flights that can take you from Toronto straight to Nairobi.
I decided to travel with Intrepid Travel on their Gorillas & Game Parks tour. Going to trek with the gorillas is incredibly expensive on its own (like over $1K USD), so when looking at the most cost efficient tour, this seemed to be it for me. Plus, Intrepid is well known and I trusted it.
Note: The tour I did has gone up slightly in price as they’ve changed this to a Lonely Planet tour since I did it. Learn more on the tour and prices for different dates here.
Vaccinations & Visas:
The cost of this probably differs based off your health insurance, and which country you live in. However, this is how much it cost me to get all the vaccinations ($343) I needed to travel to East Africa, my visitor visa ($150), and medication like malaria meds and emergency antibiotics ($25).
This probably seems low for 2.5 weeks in any country, however, since I did do a tour, most of my transportation was done on our bus that was included in the tour. The above cost only includes one additional taxi fee I had to go from Uganda to Rwanda, and the two shuttles I took to and from the airport in Nairobi.
Note: Uber does exist in Nairobi, and can be an less expensive way to travel around the city.
Again, since I was on a tour while in East Africa, all my accommodations were included, and in a tent which they provided. However, at the end of our trip we had one additional day in Nairobi and we had to pay for an extra night at the hotel that our tour ended at. It’s important to keep in mind that accommodations, or really anything in these countries are not as cheap as you think they would be.
We had a chef with us on our tour that we helped prepare amazing meals with made with local produce. Because of this, we did not have many opportunities to spend money on food. The above cost is only from before/after we joined our tour, and the odd snack, or beer here and there.
Excursions & Add-Ons:
This is definitely where you’ll likely spend the bulk of your budget when on a tour. Most tour companies do not include all the optional activities in the cost of the tour. Naturally, when you are traveling, you’re going to want to do some excursions, etc. so this is always where I budget the most because I never want to have to say “no”. It’s also important to budget tips as well for all your tour guides you’ll have along the way. DO NOT be cheap, and make sure you tip acceptably. Here is a good guide for tipping in Africa.
Note: I did treat myself to a spa day when I returned back in Nairobi which cost $162 of this total, and the most expensive excursion I did was to the giraffe sanctuary and elephant orphanage in Nairobi which can easily be done on your own.
I love to bring home souvenirs, and although there weren’t very many opportunities to shop on my trip, I took advantage when there were. East Africa has some amazing art pieces, wood carvings, and more. I think it’s important to note here though that I SUCK at bartering. On top of that, I just felt bad for the people of the shops I visited who make next to nothing in comparison to us, so I didn’t feel bad spending a little more to make someone’s day. You of course could easily spend a lot less in this category.
Total: $5,288 USD
Overall this wasn’t a cheap trip. I really saved up for it to be able to do this. However, I do strongly believe if you really want to make a dream destination and trip happen, you can. I compiled some money saving tricks for travel here for you to help.
*Note this cost is approximate and various factors come into play when choosing and planning a trip through East Africa
Other Content to Read from my Trip to East Africa:
- Traveling with Intrepid in Africa
- What to Pack for an Overland Camping Trip in Africa
- Highlights from East Africa