How Much Does a Safari Cost?


How much does a Safari cost? 

This is probably the most common question we get, and also the most loaded question. What we like to tell people is these trips are completely custom, so you are in control of the budget. 98% of the Safaris in Tanzania are private, you are not sharing a vehicle with another group. Ideally, this is what you would want for a Safari, as you may not have common interests as the other Safari goers. (You may want to see lions & leopards whereas another couple may have their heart set on birds).

Time of Year can have a huge effect on your cost for safari. When planning a Safari to witness The Great Migration, there is:

  • Peak season: June / July-October
  • Shoulder: January & February / November & December
  • Rainy season: March – May

The cost of accommodations will reflect the time of year you travel; Peak season will be full price whereas the rainy seasons will be discounted however not all of the camps/lodges are open during these months.


National Park fees are inevitable and are a bit costly, but for good reasons. National park fees tend to take up about 30% of your overall safari cost. The National park fees go towards maintaining the national parks, conservation & wildlife protection projects (including anti-poaching programs) & maintaining the grounds for all to enjoy.

How you travel between Safari National Parks can also play a role in your overall cost. If you are on a time constraint and/or want to make the best use of your time to witness all the wildlife you can, you may choose to do a fly-in safari. This would consist of adding an additional bush plane flight to skip the long journey to & from the national parks.

Additional Excursions can also effect the overall cost. You can add on a cultural tour to visit the Maasai tribe for as low as $40 per vehicle, to a hot air balloon ride for $600 per person, to a personal photographer for TBD based on the length of your trip. There are tons of additional excursions you can add on to sweeten your trip which can be arranged added on prior to your arrival.

Accommodations plays one of the biggest roles in the overall cost of your Safari. You will find that accommodations in Tanzania tend to charge PER PERSON PER NIGHT, rather than per room. This is partly because they typically are all full board (meals & drinks) in the overall costs. Accommodations can be as low as $40 to as high as $9,000 per person, to illustrate the wide range of accommodation costs.  Camps/lodges within the national parks tend to cost more due to operational costs being much higher. We do use plenty of lodges/camps outside of the national parks to help offset costs, but once you are in the Serengeti, you are far from any lodging outside of the park. (Due to the size of the Serengeti, it is not practical/cost efficient to come & go for multiple days).

We personally inspected all of the camps & lodges within the parks and outside of the parks, so when we are working with our clients, we hand select the lodges/camps to offer them based on what we feel their level of comfort will be.  A lot of our guests tend to do a mix of midrange & luxury, as a treat towards the end of their journey. For most, this type of trip is a once in a lifetime, bucket list trip; We want to make sure their expectations are surpassed. Born to Dream Tours offers payment programs, to make your trip of a lifetime perfect & feasible.

There are 3 different categories for Safari Accommodations: Budget, mid range & luxury++

Budget: This is going to be the basic type of accommodations where you can either stay in a budget lodge or tented camp.  Campsites will be at one of the National Parks campsites, where you will be helping pitch your tent. Some campsites will have public bathrooms for you to use. Budget safari tends to be a group setting, to help split of fees/cost. For budget lodges, think of a backpackers hostel setting for the accommodations, where you may have a private room with the bare necessities but with a shared bathroom.

Midrange/Semi Luxury: Most of our clients shoot for midrange accommodations, as this will meet their budget & level of comfort. This tends to be the best value for your money when planning a safari. Midrange gives you the widest range of camps/lodges to choose from to meet your level of comfort. Midrange also can range in price, so we have plenty to choose from to meet our clients’ budgets. With midrange, you will have your own private tent/room with your room private bathroom & have restaurants & lounges.

What is the difference between camps and lodges? 

  • Lodges are full service brick & mortar rooms or cottages with a central restaurant/lounge. Some lodges even offer swimming pools and spa services. Lodges in the national parks I would suggest for anyone who is very nervous about staying in a tent/camp. Lodges tend to have more rooms & a lot more guests. Some offer entertainment in the lounge area & may have a wide range of food to choose from.
  • Camps or “glamping” are permanent or semi-permanent camps generally in excellent locations for wildlife viewing. These camps will provide you with all comforts of a lodge, but within the confines of canvas walls. You’ll have your own private tent, bathroom, electricity, wifi. They will have delicious meals & drinks for you and will cater to dietary restrictions. Camps in the parks are the most popular, as they tend to give the comforts of home but also emerge you into nature, where you get to listen to the lions and hyenas sing you to sleep. A majority of these camps only have 7-12 tents so the service is very intimate & usually surpasses anyones expectations.

Luxury/Luxury ++: These camps/lodges are going to be the best the National Parks have to offer. From decadent dining, extravagant accommodations that typically have indoor & outdoor showers in the ensuite bath, private verandas for you to sit out on & enjoy the local wildlife, private bush dinners catered specially to you, to your own personal butler to cater to your every need. Some even have your own private plunge pool to cool off the day and/or a large tub for you to enjoy a hot bubble bath while you look out on the plains of the Serengeti. Luxury accommodations in the National Parks are so decadent, it almost makes it hard to even leave the facilities to go out on game drives! 

Given all of this information of what goes into the cost of your trip of a lifetime, we have put together a range for you to have a better understanding of overall costs for an all inclusive trip in 2023 per person cost for a 6 day safari:

These are general average costs which include:

  • park fees / concession fees
  • lodging (average cost range)
  • safari guide
  • airport transfer
  • all ground transportation
  • food / drinks / some alcohol included
  • 4×4 private safari vehicle
  • game drives
  • average excursions added on

Budget : $2100 – $3000

Midrange / Semiluxury: $3000-$6000

Luxury/Luxury++: $5000 ++ 

When planning a safari, we work with our clients to best fit their needs. We want to share our love for this country and continent with all those who wish to experience it, so we do all we can to help design their dream trip & surpass all of their expectations. We would rather see our clients plan it to their exact wants rather than rush & settle for less than what they dream of. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us to start planning your trip of a lifetime!

The Great Migration: When to Go

When planning an African Safari, it can be overwhelming/intimidating. Africa is a rather large continent with so many countries to choose from, sometimes people get very overwhelmed which country is best. Within your research, I’m sure you will come across the Serengeti National Park, located in Tanzania, East Africa. The Serengeti ranks as Africa’s top safari destinations. With the majority of us being familiar with the world famous national park, and being the home to The Great Migration, it really is no wonder why it continues to rank as Africa’s leading Safari National Park!

The Great Migration is a constant, ever-moving circular migration made up of millions of wildebeests, zebras, antelope & other herbivores in search for fresh food & water across the Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem. It is one of the most sought-after experiences in the world for wildlife & nature enthusiasts. Travelers, photographers travel from all over the globe to witness one of the most fascinating, exhilarating wildlife events.

When does the Great Migration happen? 

The great migration is a continual movement, however we like to break it into 2 peaks to make it easy to understand when to plan your trip!


January-March is calving season. The herds of the migration are in in the southern plains of the Serengeti where you actually enter the National Park. The herds of wildebeests & zebras are giving birth in the these plains; The beginning of the circle of life! Nearly 80% of the wildebeests give birth in these southern plains due to the vast, open plains of short grasses giving them better visibility to see if a predator is in the area. Nearly 8,000 wildebeests & zebras are born a day. (Yes, you read this correctly!)Nearly 500,000 are born during this season. The calves are quick to their feet, walking/running with the herds within minutes of entering the world (now how cool is that?! Survival of the fittest!)

You may be able to witness one of the antelope, zebra or wildebeest giving birth or you may see a plethora of babies in the plains; But please bare in mind the predators in the surrounding territories know this is the birthing place. Babies = easy targets.

During the calving season, the grasslands are extremely green & vibrant, everything is in bloom. The landscapes alone are incredibly breathtaking this time of year. You may have a quick, very quick passing shower, but it tends to cool off the lands & the animals tend to become active after a passing shower. So if there is a passing shower in the Serengeti, don’t pack it up and head back to camp just yet! Stick it out, I’m sure you’ll witness some big cats emerge from their hiding spots to enjoy the coolness the shower provided!

Not only will you enjoy plethora of baby antelope, wildebeests, zebras but also plenty of baby predators too! Predators such a lions, cheetah, hyena, leopards, jackals have coincided their mating/birthing times to that of their prey. They understand that their cubs have the highest chance of survival when there is an abundance of food available. It also gives them an excellent chance to learn hunting skills from their elders and to practice themselves on the calves so one day, they can fend for themselves.

Safaris happening during the calving season can really see quite a bit in just a 4-5 day safari. The reason being is that the herds are very far south, so the safari-goers do not have to travel deep into the Serengeti to find the action. This time of year we recommend staying in Ndutu or central Serengeti. you will have the most selections of camps/lodges to choose from, meeting all budgets. From mobile camps, to luxury permanent camps to lodges; you will have no issue finding a place to best fit your needs! We are always watching the paths of the migration and make our best suggestions for our clients where to stay based on the experts predictions.

June/July-October is the Mara River Crossing season, considered to be the main Peak season of the Great Migration. This is when the herds have reached the northern part of the Serengeti on the Kenya border. The herds have to brave the strong currents of the crocodile infested waters of the Mara river, to reach the other side in search for fresh grass; only to be faced with the predators of the Maasai Mara who have long been waiting their arrival. (Lions, leopards, cheetah, hyena, etc). The Mara river crossings are considered to be the highlight of the Great Migration and extremely incredible/special to witness. July-October will be your best chances of witnessing a crossing, however timing it to catch a glimpse of a crossing can be tricky, as they are not guaranteed. There are slight changes every year to the course of the migration based on the rainfall, which does impact the timing of the infamous Mara river crossings. It is crucially important to have a knowledgable guide of the Mara river points and how to navigate the terrain. This part of the Serengeti is far less traveled, in fact, some of the crocodiles in the Mara only eat this one time of year. The paths/terrain are very difficult compared to central Serengeti where you will find resident wildlife all year long.

Due to this section of the Serengeti being less-trafficked/very seasonal, there are very limited camps to choose from. You will find your selection will be from mobile camps (camps that move location from the southern plains to the north) and permanent camps. The permanent camps here tend to be be super luxury.

For most safari tours that include a Mara river crossing; the tour’s last few evenings will be in the Northern plains so some guests will choose to splurge and stay at one of the really luxurious camps for their last 2 nights of safari. Most of our safari tours that include a Mara river crossing, we strongly recommend a 6+ day safari. While you can see plenty in central Serengeti during these months, if a guest wants to try to get a glimpse of a Mara river crossing, we tend to recommend a 2 nights’ stay in the northern plains to increase your chances of witnessing a crossing.

Some company’s may dangle a carrot out in front of you, giving you hope you could go see the Mara one afternoon, however this is not very feasible. The crossings tend to happen very early morning hours before the African sun becomes to hot to bare for the herds. To reach the northern part of the Serengeti where the Mara is located, it is nearly a 3+ hour drive from central Serengeti that entails exiting/entering different gates with strict operational hours. It is best for the safari goer to have accommodations in the north to have the best chance of seeing a crossing and exploring this section of the Serengeti.

June-October are the peak months to experience the Serengeti, not only for the Mara river crossings, but also for the visibility of the animals. Being the dry season, the grass is gone & not many spots for the animals to hide, the visibility is excellent. The herds of the great migration have moved on, although there are still plenty of residential animals. The predators (lions, hyenas, cheetah, leopards) are very territorial and do not follow the herds. They begin to become more desperate for a food source, so it is very common to witness them hunting during the daylight hours. If someone was only interested in seeing predators, these months would be ideal for them.  Some guests may choose not to go to the Mara, but to just stay in central Serengeti and there still will be plenty of action.


America to East Africa: The Adjustments

We get a lot of questions from friends & family about our adjustments to life here in Zanzibar. Coming from America, we knew we would be facing a lot of adjustments to our lifestyle! Here’s a taste of some of the adjustments we have been making! 

The Slow Lifestyle. One thing I can say is back home in America, some days/weeks, I felt like I would blink and the day/week would be over. Life moves slower here, which has 2 sides to it: Ordering at a restaurant or trying to accomplish what seems to be a simple task takes much longer, however you also have time to enjoy your surroundings/environment. You have time to sit and chat with people. Small talk feels like it goes on forever compared to America. It’s very common for locals to exchange greetings for 5 minutes before they get to business, but they are sincere & genuine in this exchange. You will constantly hear “pole-pole” (slowly-slowly) or “there is no hurry in Africa”; these are very true statements! From our previous travels here, we had a small taste of it, but now it is just part of our “norm”.  Everyday we walk thru the village & the locals that have taken to us always come out to say hello and the exchange is always longer than the typical American exchange. We walked by one of our friends Osmand, but we didn’t see him, he actually ran after us to say hello – back home the mindset would have been “ah, ill just see them tomorrow”. It’s very welcoming for us.

Since there is no hurry here, reliability is another huge adjustment. If you hire someone to do something, they may tell you “I am on my way.” And show up 2 days later. (Not a joke). This goes with the pole-pole island life. We are very fortunate that we met our developer who is building our home; He deals with all of the fundis (technicians), we do not. The finalizations of our home being built have been delayed, but we expected this!

Mtende Beach, Zanzibar. The quiet beaches are a reminder to slow down & enjoy life!

Conveniency is something I knew I would miss, but I did not know to what extreme. One-stop shopping is gone. To prep to make a dish, on average we make about 5 stops through the market. However, the freshness of everything is incredible. No processed loafs of bread, we have a bakery that makes fresh bread everyday. There is not much consistency with what is available when it comes to fruits and vegetables, they sell what is being harvested, as agriculture is huge here on the island. (Zanzibar is known as “Spice Island”). 

We did just purchase a Vespa, so it gives us a bit more freedom/range here on the island to venture & check out different markets! 

The New Hog.

The Food. The cuisine here is another big adjustment. (I will have a whole separate blog on this in the future). No quick meals, no drive thrus, no starbucks. There are a ton of beautiful resorts here on the island, beachside, where they welcome anyone to dine with them. A lot of them will have themed nights (Seafood night, African BBQ night, italian night, etc). These types of meals will be a little less than what you would pay for in the states, but will also give you the comfort of your home cuisine. Then there are the local spots, street vendors & night markets where you can get a little more adventurous and eat the local cuisine. Most of the time, these spots are serving African BBQ, Grilled Octopus & other Seafood options, chips mayai (basically a French fry omelet), vitumbua (this sweet delicious rice pancake-muffin made with cocnutmilk, it is to die for!), Zanzibar pizza (which is more like a Crepe filled with different options from beef or chicken to a mango & snickers bar), etc. Swahili food is delicious and here on Zanzibar island, the cuisine has an Indian influence to it. I wish to encourage anyone traveling to Tanzania/Zanzibar to try the cuisine, it is so full of flavors some people may have never experienced before & not to mention the price. You’ll pay around $5 for a massive meal for 2 including dessert! For those traveling to Tanzania/Zanzibar, I would highly suggest Lukmaan restaurant. It is in Stonetown, a very popular & casual spot with over 5k reviews online where you can try the local cuisine & smoothies for a very reasonable price. Lots of tourists & locals dine here. The menu is huge and has options for vegan/vegetarians also! (the smoothies & juices are out of this world!)

One of the excursions here on the island is Mamas of Zanzibar, where you get to go learn to cook the local cuisine! Another resort offers a dark chocolate making course, where you get to make dark chocolate from the raw cacao plant, now how cool is that!?

Lukmaan in Stonetown. Delicious Swahili/Indian cuisine!

Street Vendors / Night Markets

Dinner at one of the MANY beach resorts!

Shopping. I feel like we have a continuous list of things we are looking for: household items, ingredients, personal items, etc) When you find it, you have to jump on it! There is no Amazon shopping, so patience is a must. In fact, there is no postal service here on the island. People ask for our address so they can send us things, but there literally are no addresses here – So it’s nearly impossible to send things here. (Yes, you can find a company such as DHL to send packages that will go to their business for you to pick up, but it is VERY expensive and subject to potential issues with customs). When we are looking for a certain shop or someones place, we simply get the coordinates sent to us and we use google maps to help guide us (and hopefully we don’t lose service!). Most of the shops in the village all sell the same touristy souvenirs so when you are looking for something more practical or household items, we need to plan it on a trip to Stonetown or to the mainland. In between shopping trips, we adapt & just learn to make do with what we have.  You can barter in certain shops, in fact, a lot of them want you to, as this Is their common practice. Bartering Is also an excellent way to learn Swahili too! 

The bakery, one of the many stops we make

Power outages. Back home, we may have lost power 1-2 a year, at most. Here the power source is a major struggle. It is very common to lose power. Sometimes just for a minute, sometimes for 8-10 hours. Our new home does have a generator, so this is a huge help for us while we are running a business. Although power outages can be frustrating, we have learned to just adapt & focus on the positive: Look at the power outages as a gift to soak up the surroundings, our new environment, take a break from working. 

Muslim community. The mainland of Tanzania is predominantly Christian, whereas Zanzibar is 98% Muslim. It is VERY different than the mainland! Paje Beach where we are living, is heavily a touristy beach spot with lots of expats from all over the world. They have become a bit more accepting of the tourists style here, where other parts of the island may not appreciate women coming off the beach in tiny bikinis. It’s very easy to throw a coverup on when leaving the beach, so it isn’t that big of a deal. The Mosques here have prayer 5x a day, on the loud speaker. If you are in a spot like Paje, you will more than likely hear the Mosque, but it is actually beautiful to hear. If you are at an all-inclusive at the northern part of the island, you may not hear the Mosque at all. 

Paje Beach Village

Expat life. One of the reasons we chose Paje is because of its fast growing development. It is much more built up than some of the other beach villages, which gives us more to do and options-for everything. Lots of expats have settled in Paje & Jambiani so we get to meet people from literally all over the world. At our gym, we are beginning to make friends & getting invited out to local get togethers. A few of them are business owners, starting up boutique resorts where they may host a happy hour for the locals expats and some may even host a dinner  for a reasonable cost at their boutique resort. The other night we went to one gathering and sat at a table with people from Poland, France, South Africa, Austria, UK & Germany. We enjoyed a delicious meal some local chefs came to prepare (this is very common to hire chefs to cook), and literally talked for hours! We have come to realize we are one of very few American expats! 

Being an expat, you have the understanding you are signing up to be the minority. Between being American in a foreign land & having 2 small dogs that look NOTHING like the local strays or guard dogs, we have realized we stand out quite a bit. The majority of the locals have never seen dogs that look like ours before; we feel like we have aliens on a leash at times. Lots of stares or locals taking photos. The Maasai (local tribal men) love the dogs, they get a kick out of playing fetch with them on the beach. The locals seem to be fascinated by the dogs, but are so used to strays they are afraid of them a bit.We get lots of stops from the locals, Maasai & children about the dogs, so again, it’s a great way for us to practice our Swahili.

Wondering the Village, Paje Beach.

Some of the local children waiting for us & our dogs outside of the store for us.