Looking to see as much of Africa on a limited budget? Then you can do no wrong in booking a stay at one of these hand-selected bush lodges that cater for the budget traveller

Going on safari is generally regarded as an experience for the more affluent traveller with an unlimited budget. However, there are a number of select safari destinations that offer affordable budget safari experiences for a fraction of what a luxury safari can cost. On a self-drive safari through one of Africa’s national parks, you can drive yourself through the park in your own vehicle, and either camp out or stay in the park’s accommodation. Parks such as Kruger National Park, Hluluwe-Imfolozi, Addo Elephant and Pilanesberg all offer affordable self-drive destinations.

Alternatively, you could spend a little more, and stay in a rustic private game lodge in an excellent Big 5 game reserve. Walking trails, which offer basic, rustic accommodation facilities allow you to be completely in touch with nature. The Safari Index team recommends the following safari experiences which offer great value for money and are ideally suited to the budget traveller:

Africa on Foot, Greater Kruger


Africa on Foot is to be found in the famed 5 Klaserie Private Game Reserve.  Offering both walking and game drive safaris in Big 5 country make this one of the best value safari experiences on offer The camp’s accommodation consists of traditional rondavels (round huts). There is also a raised tree-house which offers views overlooking a waterhole. Guests can enjoy a meal or sleep-out here. South African home-style cooking is offered to guests, while the campfire is great place for guests to relax.

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nDzuti Safari Camp , Greater Kruger


nDzuti Safari Camp is located in the Klaserie Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park. Big cats, elephant and buffalo are all found in the area. The camp consists of 4 en-suite, air-conditioned rooms. Guests can relax at the camp’s pool and garden area. A lookout hide at the camp is a wonderful place from which to view the abundant game found in the reserve.

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NThambo Tree Camp, Greater Kruger


nThambo Tree Camp is an unfenced camp found in the Big 5 Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. It consists of 5 thatched chalets which are raised on stilts providing stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. Each chalet has a private balcony, and the lodge has a bar as well as a pool. Lion, buffalo and elephant can be spotted in the reserve.

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Umkumbe Safari Lodge, Sabi Sand Wildtuin


Umkumbe Safari Lodge is located in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve (famous for its leopards) adjoining the famous Kruger National Park. This luxurious, family-friendly lodge overlooks a river which attracts large amounts of wildlife including the Big 5.  The lodge has an infinity pool, as well as a boma under which dinners are served around a fire. Rooms are air-conditioned and can accommodate families.

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Wildside Tented Camp , Entabeni


Wildside Tented Camp is found in the wilderness of the Waterberg. Many game species, including the “Big Five”, can be seen on guided game drives and bush walks. There are a number of optional activities on offer at Entabeni including helicopter flights which offer a different perspective of the reserve. Bird watching, stargazing, a health spa and a variety of dining options are also offered.

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Mabula Game Lodge, Waterberg


Mabula Game Lodge is found in the ‘Malaria Free’ Waterberg region of Limpopo Province, only two hours from Johannesburg. The reserve is home to the Big 5 as well as a variety of smaller wildlife. The luxury suites are distinctly African in style, and the cuisine is world class. Bush walks and horse trails are also available.

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Kwafubesi Tented Safari Camp, Waterberg


Kwafubesi Tented Safari Camp is found in Mabula Private Game Reserve. It consists of five luxurious en-suite tents. Bush walks and horseback safaris offer the perfect way to enjoy the reserve. Guest can relax at the pool, in their private tents, and enjoy home-cooked dinners after evening game drives and sundowners. The reserve only two hours away from Johannesburg and is free of malaria.

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