Cape Town-based tour operator, Craig Lucke, recently asked Tourism Update readers: “Why is Africa so expensive when Africans are the lowest paid workers on earth?”
East Africa Manager at Expert Africa in London, Richard Trillo, said:
“Safari camps can appear incredibly expensive, lodges often less so. It's about location, infrastructure and supply issues, and the fact that they are often highly seasonal, and very often small (fewer than 20 guests).
“Camps that have to be accessed by air require a permanent fleet of safari vehicles and a team of driver-guides. Guests staying on a game-package basis generally find that absolutely everything is included – all meals, all drinks, all activities, plus park or conservation fees that can range well above $100 per person per day.”
Deborah Smook, owner of Elgin Africa & Travel, agreed with Trillo, noting: “You get what you pay for, which is a LOT more than a bed night when it comes to a safari. But South Africa, and Southern Africa actually, has amazing budget options. We have some of the best backpacker lodges (or hostels) in the world at incredible prices.
“If you look at Garden Route tours like Earthstompers and Hotspots2C, the prices and the offering are super reasonable and both rate very highly on TripAdvisor. Even overland tours in East Africa are affordable. If you are willing to stay in self-catering places, you can do it even cheaper.
“There are also some really affordable tours of Kruger if you don't have the budget for exclusive luxury. Food at restaurants is of a very high standard, is super cheap by international standards. Even the price of wine (and other booze) is a joke to most internationals.”