This is a big question in planning any holiday and we pride ourselves in being great at using your money wisely, no matter what the budget, to maximize your experience.

Safari prices range widely and in general, African Safaris are extremely expensive. This is partially a result of the fully inclusive nature of safaris where not only your accommodation is included in your trip cost but most of your meals, activities, the services of a high quality guide and park entrance fees. Many safari camps add all of your drinks and laundry to create a 'never pick up your wallet' environment that is extremely enjoyable.

Within this spectrum of options, there are major quality differences in guiding, exclusivity, accommodation, service, food and transportation. The major elements that affect the cost of a trip are: luxury, length of time, exclusivity, season, airfare and activities.

Luxury

A big factor in planning your safari. There are some mind blowing options available for travelers to consider. It is more difficult but equally important for us to find value oriented gems for our clients.

The ranges are wide. They start with the basic necessities: starting at setting up your own tent to flushing toilets and running water. The luxury level keeps climbing to brand name bath products, 500 count Egyptian cotton sheets, wine cellars, plunge pools in your villa and helicopter transfers all the way to private villa properties with their own staffs. The prices can range from $250 to $2,500 per person per day.

Having been to all of the places and properties that we will recommend to you, Mango Safaris is able to give you real answers in terms of what to expect. We have impressive pricing agreements with all ground handlers, camps and hotels so you can rest assured that you are getting the best value for your money at whatever level of luxury.

We have rated each of our sample itineraries based on how luxurious they are on a scale of 1 to 5 to give you a sense of what they offer. We consider all of our samples to be fantastic examples of fun and diverse safari experiences. Do not hesitate to inquire about any of them since these properties and itineraries would not be on our website at all if we did not think that they were interesting experiences to consider.

Length of time

Traveling to Africa from the United States is a commitment in and of itself. Travelers are wise to take their time to have a look around. Obviously, the longer you travel, the more expensive it gets. Sometimes having a little more time means you can take advantage of less expensive transfer options which can help with the overall price.

Exclusivity

Small properties, in our opinion, are the way to experience Africa's magic. Enjoy home cooked meals around a family style table each evening. Relax with the camp managers or guides at the camp fire. Smaller properties by design have fewer people and cars headed out every morning and afternoon to see what is going on in the bush. Your African guides will wow you with their skills tracking predators for miles using their tracks and other animal's warning calls. To contrast, there is nothing mystical about 'spotting' 6 vehicles stopped in the distance and driving over because you know there must be something good to see. This is the unfortunate reality of using huge lodges and mass tourism options. Mango Safaris strives to keep you away from crowds as much as possible.

Generally speaking, the more remote you are, the more pristine the surrounding environment. Some of our favorite experiences get expensive because of the sheer cost of traveling to these remote areas and enjoying even simple services.

Seasons

Prices in high season can literally double in certain areas. The most expensive times of the year are typically during the holiday period from mid- December until the first week to ten days of January.

If your budget is tight but your schedule is flexible, traveling during the green seasons could save you quite a bit.

As we have priced sample itineraries, we have priced them in the high season for that location, but not the prime or festive season over the holidays. As you are looking at what itineraries cost, please keep this in mind as the price might go up or down from our sample depending on the time of year you wish to travel. For those looking to stretch their budget, it's a great idea to look at traveling during the off seasons or green seasons in each area. Mango Safaris is well versed in all the differences these seasons offer in terms of experience since we have traveled the continent extensively throughout all seasons.

Airfare

Flight packages can vary greatly depending on how many countries you add to your trip. In general terms, the airfare package for a trip visiting one African region will range between $1,800-2,400 in coach class and $6,600-7,500 for business class.

Your flight package typically has 2 components: international flights - the transatlantic flights that get you from the US in and out of an African gateway and regional flights - flights between regions or countries within your itinerary.

Using frequent flyer miles for free tickets to Africa can be a great use of miles and a way to extend your budget. We are happy to work with you to make these arrangements. It is a time consuming process and we currently charge $125 per ticket for this service. Please keep in mind a couple of important details. First, the international flights between the United States and Africa will be included in your mileage ticket but you may have to purchase some regional flights to complete your itinerary. Second, if you want to fly business class or first class using your miles, we cannot stress enough how planning in advance is crucial to getting the flights you want.

In general, airlines only release a few seats to be used for free mileage tickets. The majority of these seats are in economy class. The business class and first class options go fast. Frequent flyer seats generally become available for booking 11 months or 331 days in advance. Mango Safaris is available to help you at every step of this process.

Activities

The wildlife safari segment of your itinerary will be the most expensive but also the most inclusive. Safaris of all levels generally include the cost of the accommodations, all meals, guides, game activities, and park entrance fees. More luxurious properties add drinks and laundry to this list.

Your time in cities, towns and beach resorts is typically less expensive by nature since they are less remote and less inclusive. Most meals, drinks, laundry and activities will be an additional charge. You can typically stretch your budget over a longer period of time by adding a few days at the beach, with a self-driving tour along South Africa's Garden Route or in Victoria Falls.