Africa is one of the most popular destinations for travelers. The continent is on nearly everyone’s bucket list, unsurprisingly since it includes some of the most wondrous sights in the world and is home to some stunning wildlife. That said, there are 54 recognized countries in Africa, making your decisions about traveling even harder.
If you want to see Africa on a budget, you might despair at the apparent high costs. However, there are good reasons for this. For instance, if you’re looking to go on a safari then visiting the remote landscapes come with their own costs in terms of accommodation, supplies and conservation efforts. Equally, you’re likely flying longer distances than you might usually, and these will be to airports that don’t have as many flights going into them – that cuts down on your options. There are some ways to be smart about your African adventure though.
- Choose a Good Connecting Airport
The key to finding cheap flights is to book early and to choose layovers that have a good selection of options for onward travel. Remember, when you get to the African country of your choice (especially if you’re on a tight schedule), getting from one area to another via train or other ground transport can be tricky and eat into your time and budget. Look at your potential destinations in relation to how cheaply you can get there and that should narrow down your options too.
- Don’t Limit Yourself to Safaris
Sure, one of the main reasons you might be visiting Africa is to see some exotic animals in their natural habitat. However, safaris and the associated costs can burn up your budget really quickly, so consider interspersing your animal adventures with visits to some of the continent’s most spectacular cities. While some areas are more expensive than others (Nairobi and Johannesburg, for example), there are definitely cities where you can get accommodation relatively cheaply and experience some delicious local food and culture.
- Examine Group Tour Costs Carefully
You might think that a group tour safari is the way to go as the costs will be dispersed across the group. This can be true in certain cases, but it’s also true that you may end up paying more thanks to the overheads associated with large tour companies. It might work out better on your wallet if you choose local guides for personalized tours rather than the big names for group tours. Another benefit of this is that you’ll also have more opportunity to tailor your itinerary.
- Agree Prices in Advance
This one may test your politeness, but it’s crucial to know what you’re paying for before you get the bill. Whether it’s something as simple as getting in a taxi across town, settle the price before you set off, otherwise you’re at the mercy of systems that don’t always benefit the tourist. In many cases, you hold the cards because you can remove your business from one taxi driver and taking it to another. Similarly, for tours and accommodation, get something in writing before you get started or agree to a room. Your wallet will thank you when you get home.