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10 Amazing Affordable Safaris

<center>10 Amazing Affordable Safaris</center>

Courtesy Remote Safaris Africa

The Strategy: Visit owner-run camps

The Place: Zambia

The Deal: Long before Zambia became a mainstream destination, John and Carol Coppinger were operating safaris from their home in the remote Luangwa Valley in the country's northeast. Famous for their walking safaris, the couple runs a typical seven-night Luangwa safari, including three nights at Tafika (the 12-person riverbank lodge where John and Carol live), followed by two nights each at Crocodile Tree and Chikoko, which are rustic three-room bush camps accessed by foot. At around $3,000 for seven days (including food, drink, and a microlight flight over the river), it comes in $300 cheaper per day than a corporate safari camp.

For More Information: Remote Africa

From the article 10 Amazing Affordable Safaris

The Strategy: Self-drive

The Place: Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa

The Deal: Self-drive safaris are easier than you think and save on costly air transfers. In South Africa, major parks are in easy driving distance of the big cities, so it's possible to pick up a rental car in Johannesburg and simply drive to Kruger National Park, three hours away. In Namibia and Botswana, parks are more remote and the terrain rougher, so it's preferable to book a tailor-made self-drive in a state-of-the-art 4 x 4 vehicle through a company like U.K.-based Safari Drive. A 13-day Botswana itinerary, including nine nights camping and three nights in lodges, costs $3,600 per person for two people. Equipment is provided; fuel, food, and park entrance fees are extra.

For More Information: Safari Drive

From the article 10 Amazing Affordable Safaris

<center>10 Amazing Affordable Safaris</center>

Courtesy of Pro Travel International INC.

The Strategy: Take a guided driving safari

The Place: Tanzania

The Deal: Self-drives are perfect for some travelers, but in an unknown land they can be intimidating. On ProAfrica's (a division of Protravel) 12-day Exceptional Tanzania Safari, you're driven in 4 x 4 vehicles by an experienced driver-guide who knows the animals as well as he knows the roads. You'll visit four of Tanzania's finest reserves: Arusha, Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, and the Serengeti. These parks aren't exactly adjacent, but by driving between them, you save at least $400 on air transfers. And with accommodation in stylish, mid-range, owner-run lodges, you spend less than $500 a day. Total costs, including international flights, start at $7,100 per person.

For More Information: Protravel

From the article 10 Amazing Affordable Safaris

<center>10 Amazing Affordable Safaris</center>

Courtesy of Okonjima

The Strategy: Visit places with weak currencies

The Place: Namibia

The Deal: Namibia, a beautiful country of ancient deserts, rugged coastline, and rolling savanna, pegs its currency to the South African rand, which (hard to believe) is weaker than the U.S. dollar. That means your greenbacks go further than they would at lodges in Botswana, Zambia, or East Africa, which charge a U.S. dollar rate. For a true bargain, Okonjima Main Camp in Namibia's Central Highlands is a laid-back thatched lodge famous for its cheetah, lion, and leopard populations. The 10 rooms (an additional six will be added in August 2008) are a mere $260 per person per night, with food, drinks, and cheetah tracking included. A 10-day Classic Namibia Safari through Poe Travel, including two nights at Okonjima, starts at $5,900 in the low season, including flight transfers from Johannesburg.

For More Information: Okonjima; Poe Travel

From the article 10 Amazing Affordable Safaris

<center>10 Amazing Affordable Safaris</center>

Mike Myers

The Strategy: Visit smaller sibling camps of the big companies

The Place: Botswana

The Deal: Many leading safari companies are developing smaller sister camps close to some of their more pricey flagship properties. If you can't afford $1,350 a night for the sublime luxury of Wilderness Safaris' Vumbura Plains camp, where the 14 white-curtained suites have private plunge pools and indoor-outdoor showers, then nearby Little Vumbura ($570-$850) is a beautiful but more rustic property featuring six tents under a canopy of woodland on an island overlooking the Okavango floodplains.

For More Information: Little Vumbura

From the article 10 Amazing Affordable Safaris

<center>10 Amazing Affordable Safaris</center>

Courtesy of Impala Camp

The Strategy: Visit newer camps

The Place: Tanzania

The Deal: Unlike well-established properties that can charge a premium, new camps still need to attract guests and establish their reputations. The relatively new Selous Impala Camp (which opened in 2004 on the banks of the Rufiji River in Tanzania's vast elephant- and lion-rich Selous Game Reserve) has seven deluxe colonial-style tents set beneath acacia and tamarind trees—for only $445 per person per night. That's a lot less than the per-person rates (starting at $650) at the more famous eight-room 1984-era Sand Rivers nearby, but the accommodations and service are strikingly similar.

For More Information: Impala Camp; Sand Rivers

From the article 10 Amazing Affordable Safaris

<center>10 Amazing Affordable Safaris</center>

Courtesy of F.M. ALLEN

The Strategy: Choose the less obvious reserves

The Place: South Africa, Zambia, and Kenya

The Deal: Think laterally by looking at lesser-known reserves such as Madikwe in South Africa, North Luangwa in Zambia, and Lake Nakuru in Kenya (all bookable through outfitter F. M. Allen). While well-known to locals, they're less visited by international tourists, and their lodges and camps usually offer better deals. In northern Kenya's Samburu National Reserve, Elephant Bedroom (on the banks of Ewaso Ng'iro River) has all the comforts and amenities of a luxury Mara camp: electricity, herbal bath products, skilled rangers, and gourmet meals eaten al fresco under African skies. And it's all a mere $230 per person per day.

For More Information: Elephant Bedroom; F. M. Allen

From the article 10 Amazing Affordable Safaris

<center>10 Amazing Affordable Safaris</center>

Courtesy of South African National Parks

The Strategy: Stay in national park lodges

The Place: South Africa

The Deal: When most Africans go on safari, they stay in campsites and bungalows run by the state-funded national parks that maintain the reserves. Of course, you're not going to get the luxury of a private lodge, but a self-catering, two-bedroom bungalow in, say, Kruger National Park, can cost as little as $70 a night. South Africa National Parks has a detailed network of bungalows, chalets, huts, and campsites. You can also hire national park rangers to take you on organized game drives.

For More Information: South Africa National Parks

From the article 10 Amazing Affordable Safaris

<center>10 Amazing Affordable Safaris</center>

Courtesy of F.M. ALLEN

The Strategy: Get in with the right people

The Place: Kenya

The Deal: Africa specialists who send a high number of clients to the continent are often offered exceptional deals by lodge owners, and Kenya can be a uniquely good deal when booked through the right company. The 10-day Kenya Under Canvas safari from F.M. Allen, for example, combines three owner-operated lodges and tented camps with three Kenyan parks and reserves—Samburu, Lake Nakuru, and Masai Mara—adding up to a comprehensive safari that costs less than $300 per day (excluding flights). The itinerary includes two nights in the stone-and-thatch cottages at Mbweha Camp on the edge of Lake Nakuru National Park and three nights in a deluxe tent at intimate Mara Tipilikwani Camp on the edge of the Masai Mara proper.

For More Information: F. M. Allen

From the article 10 Amazing Affordable Safaris

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