How to Have an African Safari on a Budget: Try Self-Drive in Namibia

lioness laying down in Namibia.spotted on self-drive safari

A self-drive safari in Africa is a dream adventure for many, but often the perceived high costs associated with such an expedition can be discouraging. This is true, some safaris are unrealistically expensive, coming to tens of thousands of dollars for a family trip. But as a seasoned travelers, we can tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. We visited over 100 countries combined and caught African virus in the recent years, making us go back every year for weeks at the time. Many friends were wondering how we can afford it. There are many ways to travel on budget, but this is not the topic of this blog. Here we will tell you how to get African safari on budget and safely. There’s a hidden gem in the heart of southern Africa that offers an incredible and affordable safari experience: Namibia. Namibia is a safe country, with a level 1 travel advisory, making it safer than many American locations. So this is perfect destination where you would not have to hire a guide and can do self-driving. By embarking on a self-drive safari in Namibia, you not only get to witness some of the most breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife but also enjoy the freedom and flexibility to plan an unforgettable journey within your budget.

  1. Budget-Friendly Option

Namibia stands out as one of the more budget-friendly safari destinations compared to its neighbors. Park fees to enter the park may be whooping 80-90$ per person per 24-hour period in the park in some destinations as Kenya and Tanzania, but Namibia welcomes you in their parks for about 35$ a day for a couple. This is very significant difference. Many neighboring countries are not as safe, so you either need to hire a guide or you may have to be prepared for some possible stressful situations. Namibia presents an opportunity to tailor your safari according to your budget, by choosing a self-drive safari, you have control over expenses such as accommodation, meals, and transportation, allowing you to explore the country’s rich wildlife and stunning landscapes without breaking the bank. The prices there is about 50% of what you would pay in USA for restaurants, groceries and car rentals. Hotels may be even less expensive, sometimes hotel may be booked for under 50$ a night in good hotel. Lodges cost more money, but still not even close to US prices.

  1. Freedom and Flexibility

The biggest advantage of a self-drive safari in Namibia is the freedom and flexibility it provides. You are the master of your own itinerary, enabling you to explore the country at your own pace and choose the destinations that interest you the most. Unlike guided tours that might rush through popular spots, self-drive safaris let you linger in places that captivate your heart, creating a more personal and profound connection with nature. It is a every day job for safari guides and however good they are at spotting animal and telling facts about them, often they just want to be done and go home. When you are going alone, you can spend hours and multiple safaris a day.

  1. Safe Adventure

Safety is a paramount concern when planning any safari trip, but rest assured that self-driving in Namibia is a safe option. The country has a well-maintained network of roads, and many of the major national parks are accessible by regular vehicles. Additionally, Namibia has a low crime rate compared to some other African nations, making it a safer destination for travelers. Just like with any trip, it is essential to take necessary precautions, be aware of local rules, and always drive carefully. Here is some safety tips for travelers to Namibia.

  1. Diversity of Landscapes and Wildlife

Namibia is a country of unparalleled beauty, boasting a diverse range of landscapes that will leave you awe-struck. From the otherworldly dunes of the Namib Desert in Sossusvlei to the rugged beauty of Damaraland and the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park, each region offers a unique safari experience. Self-drive allows you to experience the best of both worlds – the raw wilderness of national parks and reserves and the charm of quaint towns and local communities. So you may not only go for safaris, but also explore other wonders, making your trip complete.

  1. Camping in Nature’s Embrace

A self-drive safari in Namibia provides the ultimate camping experience, bringing you closer to nature like never before. Many national parks offer camping facilities, allowing you to immerse yourself in the serene sounds of the wilderness under a blanket of stars. Camping not only reduces accommodation costs but also heightens the adventure, giving you the true essence of an African safari. And if you’re going in the spring or fall, the weather will be perfect for camping, cooling down so sleeping will be pleasant. Namibia does have a hot summer, but due to desert landscapes it cools down significantly, down to 70-76 degrees Fahrenheit (20-23 c), so summer camping is an option too. Winter will be fine, as far as warm sleeping bags are supplied; winter temperature drop down below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4-5 c). There is also glamping option, which is the best of both worlds. It is permanent tents (think military tents) with bathroom, solar supplied electricity and often air conditioner.

If you’ve ever dreamt of an authentic African safari without breaking the bank, Namibia is the perfect destination for you. A self-drive safari offers the best of both worlds, combining budget-friendly options with the freedom to explore at your own pace. Namibia’s stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife promise an unforgettable adventure that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Experienced travel agency can help you to navigate the planning process. It takes a lot of time to plan and put together a travel itinerary and people usually spend almost 1 work week worth of hours into planning. If you enjoy planning it is fine, but when it stresses you out, then you can engage a professional. Travel agents work on commission from accommodations and car rentals, so you won’t be paying extra for their services, it is win-win for all.

Pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to be captivated by the wonders of Namibia on your next budget safari!


P.S.  Article’s prices are for 2023 and for reference only.