In my opinion, the second best thing to actually going on a trip is to plan for a trip. And we are starting to plan for a really big trip – an African safari. Okay, I could say a tour of Africa but saying you’re going on an African safari is SO MUCH MORE exciting, right? No for sure ETA, but we’re thinking 2020 at the latest.
I’ve planned and taken some pretty big trips but this one is making everything else look easy. There are so many options from where we go (South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia?) to when to the really big question: how much are we willing to spend? That last one is probably the biggest because in my initial explorations costs are all over the map, from $1200 – $25,000, depending on how luxurious you want to get and how long you want to go. A good, working per diem rate seems to be anywhere from about $310-$450 US/person which would put a 7 to 10 day long trip at around $3500-$4500. There’s a reason they call it the trip of a lifetime! Though we plan on offsetting the cost with our Chase Sapphire travel miles (yes, we did upgrade to the more expensive Reserve card but it’s all about the points which accumulate really fast – and they also give you a $300 credit reimbursement annually that helps offset the higher fee and yes we’ve used the Priority Pass at airport lounges which is also a nice perk AND they really don’t charge you any fees when you use it outside the US).
Then there’s getting there. And that’s no small thing. It’s 20+ hours from LAX to Nairobi so in looking at options I think flying to London or Paris (9-10 hour flight), taking a few days to rest our butts and see the sights then continuing on to Nairobi (8 hour flight) seems super civilized. Again the cost is all over the place, but $800-$1400 US/seat seems to be the average range. Uh-oh! The cost of this trip is already going up and we’re still in the planning stages!
There are many, many tour companies that handle African safaris so the first step is reviewing a bunch of them and determining where we want to go and for how long. We know people who have done 3 week safaris, and others who have done a week. They all had a great time so our tough task is figuring out what works for us.
Current top list of tour companies we’re looking at:
- Sunworld Safaris
- Imprint Tours (recommended by Rick Steves AND they have an add-on to Rwanda to see the gorillas!)
- Karen Blixen Camp
- Odyssey Safaris
So much research and daydreaming awaits!