Botswana is one of Africa’s most expensive safari locations. In some ways, it may be the most costly, alongside Tanzania, because there are only a few budget levels of camps and lodges.
Due to the sensitive and pristine ecology of its wildlife areas, the Botswana government has established a tourism concept that is “low-impact, low-density, and high-value.” Tight land management and the number of “beds” allowed in particular places, combined with limited access via light aircraft, makes Botswana expensive.
The camps and lodges in the Okavango Delta, the Linyanti area, the Central Kalahari, and the Makgadikgadi Pans all have their own unique features, and it is their location and season that typically influence a large portion of their pricing.
Camps and lodges in private concessions are typically more expensive than those in game reserves or public accessible regions, where game-viewing is shared between lodges, camps, self-drive tourists and mobile safari operators.
When guests ask for an “affordable Botswana safari” and want to travel in peak season, when game-viewing is best; we take a breath and ask if they are happy to do adventure camping?
Botswana is expensive and the time of year you want to go on safari influences costs immensely.
Botswana has 3 game-viewing seasons.
- Green Season – December to March (excluding the Festive season)
- Shoulder Season – April to June (sometimes only May) and November (and sometimes December)
- Peak Season – July to October
Botswana safari costs
The costs shown below are an estimate (based on 2023 pricing) of typical Botswana safari prices per night. If you gasp when you look at the chart, you may need to go back to the drawing board. Other safari destinations may be more suitable for you. Depending on the time of year, you might want to consider Kenya or South Africa where safaris are typically more affordable.
Below is an attempt to answer the question of how much a safari in Botswana costs. This is a typical per-night costing for a 9-day Botswana Fly-in Safari, such as our 9-day Botswana Discoverer Safari.
The below average per person sharing, per night cost includes intercamp, flights, park fees, game drives, all meals and drinks, and game-viewing activities (boating, walking, mokoro trips, fishing, etc).
|Budget Camps||Standard Camps||Superior Camps||Deluxe Camps|
|Green Season||+/- US$ 500||+/- US$ 550||+/- US$ 700||+/- US$ 850|
|Shoulder Season||+/-US$ 600||+/- US$ 750||+/- US$ 875||+/- US$ 1,100|
|Peak Season||+/-US$ 750||+/- US$ 950||+/- US$ 1,100||+/- US$ 1,900|
More affordable safari options would be small group adventure (participatory) safaris, that are 100% road based. But even these are around US$ 200 per person per night, sharing and you are assisting with all camp chores. One advantage of budget small group safaris is they typically do not have seasonal pricing. This is because you are staying in dome tents in allocated camping areas.
What factors influence costs of a Botswana safari?
- Time of year
- If you use a Safari Circuit
- Type of Safari
- Length of Stay
1) How does the time of year affect the cost of your Botswana safari?
Most safari destinations charge different rates depending on the season. For Botswana, Peak Season pricing can be anywhere from 50% to 100% more than Green Season.
2) Book a “Botswana Safari Circuit” to reduce costs
Using camps that are all under one safari company can reduce the nightly rate. Often there is good savings when using two or three camps as a circuit. Of course, we also like to mix and match camps, as they are all in very different locations.
3) Type of safari
Types of safari range from adventure mobile camping (where you help erect your own tents, to fully assisted mobile safari with en-suite bathroom (where you do not need to lift a finger) to a fly-in safari.
4) Longer stays reduce per-night safari costs.
The longer you stay at a camp, the lower the average nightly rate. This is because the cost of the light aircraft flight proportionately becomes a smaller part of total cost. If you only have three to six nights, try to spend more time at one or two camps. Thus you can save money on travel while also enjoying a more leisurely, less “on the go” safari.
How to Save Money on a Botswana Safari
It is challenging to save a significant amount of money on a Botswana safari. However, if your the safari price quoted to you is beyond your budget, you might want to consider the following:
- Are you able to travel in shoulder season? Then you can benefit from the lower prices.
- Would you be interested in a mobile camping safari?
- Include fewer camps, and stay longer at each camp.
- Join a group safari which are typically more economical