Guest Post by David Elliott.
South Africa is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination, especially since it hosted the World Cup, and cities like Johannesburg are experiencing a real boom.
As well as the vibrant urban life, visitors on safari can get close and personal with some of the world’s most fascinating animals in their natural habitat, and the rich and varied landscape is ideal for a range of outdoor activities.
Get a few insurance quotes before heading out and you’re guaranteed a fabulous time in one of the most exciting countries in the world. There are some great deals on offer, and a little forethought and planning will ensure also that you make your money stretch farther once you’ve arrived.
It’s always cheaper to travel outside the peak season of August to September, which is the dry season in the Madikwe and Kruger safari areas, when viewing game is easier because of the scarcity of water. May to August is the best time to come for cheaper rates in the game lodges.
As a side note, if you’re planning on visiting the Okavango Delta region (Botswana) be aware that in June and July the prices all shoot up pretty dramatically, but if you go there in May or early June this is classed as the ‘low season’ and rates drop, although there is still plenty of game around because of the good floodwaters at the various lodges.
You can also save money by going as a group, and this works out well in safari lodges as well as in city apartments, where there are frequently ‘four for the price of three’ offers, especially in the low season here.
If you decide to spend more time in just the one area you can save a tidy sum. South Africa is such a vast country, and if you visit many different parts during the one trip you’ll be facing higher flight costs as well as additional transfers between airports and hotels.
Stopovers in places you don’t care about will rack up your expenses unnecessarily, and the time spent in them will only detract from what you have at your disposal.
If you spend a little time weighing up the relative interests of each of the areas, and factor in the costs of getting to them, you can reduce costs dramatically. If you’re here on safari this will also be the best strategy for viewing the most animals.
If your budget isn’t up to staying in a particular location, such as a top notch safari camp, you can always try mixing them. Splash out a bit on just a few nights there and add in a few more at lower cost accommodation such as a rustic camping site.
When you stay with the same lodge group or hotel you’ll also probably be able to take advantage of their special ‘long stay’ room rates, rather than if you just dropped in for a night or two before flitting off elsewhere.
Some of them also have sister camps or hotels where you can get better rates for staying in the family. As most such deals are not advertised on the internet it’s best to ask your operator about them.
David Elliott is a freelance writer who loves to travel, especially in Europe and Turkey. He’s spent most of his adult life in a state of restless excitement but recently decided to settle in North London. He gets away whenever he can to immerse himself in foreign cultures and lap up the history of great cities.