Saving for an Adventure in Africa

Saving for an Adventure in Africa

Saving for an  Adventure in Africa

My annual vacation planning is happening soon, so I asked Frans what the top of his bucket list is, he said Africa. I always thought of Africa as a “someday” adventure. Well that “someday” is here! We are planning to travel East Africa for 4-5 weeks between September and early November 2018. So exciting! Now I just have to wait for a whole year…

When we decided that Africa was at the top of our bucket list, I knew it would be an expensive trip between flights, safaris and many other activities. We will definitely be making the most of this trip because who knows when we would be back with so many other places to go!

Planning for a trip so far ahead of time, and saving for it, is new for me. I did a little research to figure out how much we will likely need, starting with the biggest ticket items: flights, a safari and climbing Kilimanjaro. Since I wasn’t doing any actual planning, I was just looking for a variety of prices so I could determine an average cost.

 1. Flights

Since it is too far away to search for flight prices of autumn next year, I checked prices for autumn this year. I do not have exact dates for my vacation span yet, so I checked for flights departing Vancouver in early September all the way through early October and then flights returning to Vancouver mid-late October and early November.

We are planning to spend most of our time focusing on Tanzania, so I searched for flights into/out of the following cities: Dar Es Salaam, Arusha and Nairobi in Kenya.

The cheapest flights I could find were about $1500. However that was with 3+ stops and 30+ hours of travel. We will likely to find something with max 2 stops and slightly shorter travel time, so will add a little more to my estimate for a buffer.

I am estimating the price of flights to be ~$2000 each.


 2. Safari

Again, because I wasn’t doing any actual planning, I checked out the travel companies I know: Intrepid, Geckos and G Adventures for rough pricing estimates. We will likely go on a safari to the typical destinations, including Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation area. We also don’t need anything fancy and will likely book a budget safari, besides I like the authenticity of sleeping in tents on the plains. 5-7 days length would be a sufficient amount of time.

On average it would cost $2000 each for a basic 7 day safari. 


 3. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

I googled “climbing Kilimanjaro” and found a few companies who guide tours. Most of these tour groups include a guide and porter, tent and meals. There are 5-6 different routes to take up Kilimanjaro, all which vary in length and difficulty. Obviously the longer your trek, the more expensive. That being said, I read about success rates of reaching the summit and many sources stating the more time you take to climb up, acclimatizing to the altitude, the more likely you will reach the summit. I can’t imagine only making it part way because I chose to save a few hundred dollars. So I figure we will take a 6 or 7 day trip.

On average it would cost $2000 each for a basic 7 day journey up the more common routes.


4. Everything Else

One of my favourite travel planning websites is budgetyourtrip.com. The site has collected data from multiple sources and averages out prices for food, transportation, accommodation at budget, mid-range and luxury levels. It also averages how much you need per day. You can look at it in the local currency or in your own currency. According to Budget Your Trip, traveling Tanzania at mid-range averages $75 per day. I always plan for mid-range expenses to have a buffer, better to have more money and not spend it, than not have enough. The safari and Kilimanjaro each take 1 week, the price includes accommodation, food and travel. So we are left with 2-3 weeks on our own, spending approximately $75 a day each. This equals $1050 for 2 weeks and $1575 for 3 weeks.

The other part of everything else are the costs of a visa, vaccines and medication and travel insurance. A visa to Tanzania for a Canadian citizen is $50, based of info on Travel Advice from Government of Canada. Travel insurance to Tanzania for 1 month is about $200. I have most of my necessary vaccines already, but a clinic consult is $45, malaria pills about $60 per week, I would likely take them for the entirety of the trip and Diamox for altitude sickness is about $50 for a weeks worth. For details on vaccinations needed check out: Travel Vaccines from Government of Canada,


The Math

Flights = $2000

Safari = $2000

Kilimanjaro = $2000

Everything Else = $1650 – $2200

Meaning that we would need about $7650-$8200 each for 4-5 weeks in Tanzania.

Lets say that I have no savings (which is partially true – too much wanderlust), so I need to save $7650 over the next year. My pay cheques are biweekly, so that’s a minimum of 28 (52 weeks divided by 2) pay cheques from now (mid-September) to our earliest date of departure (mid-September). $7650 divided by 28 = $275 per pay cheque to savings, minimum.

I also have a monthly budget spreadsheet on excel for everything else in my life (income minus rent, bills, groceries, et cetera). I am able to put away $250 per month, which equals $7000 over the next year. The $7650 estimate was based off of easy to find information and a mid-range budget. We could tighten up and travel more budget style if we needed to, and who knows maybe we will find an awesome flight deal!


That’s my plan! If you have any suggestions or questions, please comment below!


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