How Budget Camping Safaris Work
At Nyange Adventures, we offer safari tours in Tanzania’s northern parks, including budget camping options.
In these basic camping safaris, you’ll have a driver-guide, a cook, and camping gear provided.
Each day during your safari, after your game drives, you’ll be taken to a campsite, which can be inside or outside the park. Your tent will be set up for you, equipped with a foam mattress, sleeping bags, pillows, chairs, and a small table.
Your cook will prepare dinner each evening, and toilet facilities will be shared.
If you choose to stay at a campsite inside the park, be prepared for wildlife encounters, as there are no fences around these sites. Animals may explore the area, including around your tent at night.
Campsites outside the park are located in villages and do not have the same wildlife proximity.
Here are the specific campsite locations we typically use for different destinations:
- Central Serengeti: A public campsite in Seronera, in the middle of Central Serengeti.
- Ngorongoro Crater: Simba campsite on the Ngorongoro crater rim (public).
- Lake Manyara: A private campsite about 5 minutes outside the park. Campsites inside the park are available at an extra cost.
- Tarangire: A private campsite located outside the park. Campsites inside the park are available at an extra cost.
- Ndutu: Simba campsite on the Ngorongoro crater rim (1.2 hours from Ndutu), the nearest public campsite to Ndutu.
- North Serengeti: Lobo public campsite, about 1.5 hours from Kogatende/Mara River, the only public campsite in North Serengeti.
Meals are provided by your cook, with three meals a day and 2 liters of drinking water per client per day. You can request additional drinking water in advance, and you have the option to bring snacks and alcoholic beverages from grocery stores.
Breakfast and dinner are served at the campsite, either in an open area or a dining room if available. Lunch is typically packed and served at picnic spots within the park. Guides and cooks ensure food scraps are properly disposed of to avoid attracting animals.
While tented camps and lodges offer a wider variety and higher quality of food due to their larger kitchens and chef teams, basic camping safaris still receive good ratings for food quality.
What’s Included in the Price
Included in a basic camping safari are the vehicle and guide fees, park fees, concession fees, and other required safari fees. You also have a cook with cooking equipment, 2-person dome tents shared by 2 clients, sleeping bags, foam mattresses, pillows, tables, and chairs.
Other Useful Info
Campsite facilities include basic washrooms, although they may not be as clean as private lodge bathrooms. Using shared washrooms at night is discouraged due to nearby wildlife, so it’s not recommended for families with young children.
For charging devices like phones and cameras, safari vehicles have charging ports to ensure you don’t run out of battery.
The wilderness experience largely depends on the location of your stay, with some basic camping sites offering a close-to-nature experience similar to ensuite accommodations.
When it rains, budget camping can be less comfortable, as campgrounds can become muddy and tents may not be entirely waterproof. It’s not recommended during heavy downpours, typically from March to May, when tented camps/lodges often offer discounts.
Budget camping safaris are generally 10-20% cheaper than similar tours with low-end ensuite accommodations. However, for shorter itineraries that don’t visit the Serengeti, camping safaris can be similarly priced or even more expensive than budget lodges.
Mixing basic camping with tented camps/lodges can be less convenient and may not significantly reduce costs, as you’ll still be charged for camping equipment rental.
In conclusion, budget camping safaris have pros like lower costs for tours to the Serengeti but also several cons. They may not be suitable if you require more spacious accommodations, proper beds, and private bathrooms. However, they can be a good option for budget-conscious backpackers and young travelers looking to save around 10-20% on their safari budget.