Most Cost Effective Destinations for Wildlife Enthusiasts

Wildlife safaris and nature trips create incredible memories that last for a lifetime, but they usually come with a hefty price tag. The task of finding an economical holiday in the jungle is therefore quite a daunting task. That said, there are some amazing destinations in the wild which you can still visit at a fraction of the cost and without having to compromise on the quality of your trip.

Uganda, Murchison Falls

giraffe in Africa

Tour cost:$543 per person

This three day exciting safari can be experienced with tour companies such as Naturetrek for a hands off experience. It will take you to the mighty Murchison Falls and an opportunity to have great sightings of Africa’s iconic Big 5. Your trip includes a number of enthralling activities and as you navigate through the dense greenery you may spot elephants, giraffe and hartebeest.

The top attractions on this trip will include:

  • Boat ride to the base of Murchison Falls.
  • Game drives in the Murchison Falls National Park.
  • Birdwatching.
  • Rhino safari in the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary
  • Hiking to the top of Murchison Falls.

The trip is of moderate difficulty and suitable for children and adults alike.

San Juan Islands

Tour cost: $950 per person

For as little as $950 per person, visitors will have a unique opportunity to stay at remote campsites on some of the most stunning islands on a kayaking trip to the San Juan Islands. This incredible adventure lasts for five whole days and includes the best kayaking equipment, delicious meals and professional guides who know the area like the back of their hands.

You will be exploring nearly twenty five islands and admire towering views of Mt. Baker from the sea. On this unforgettable trip you are most likely to have encounters with orca whales, humpback whales, sea lions, harbor seals, river otters and bald eagles to name just a few.

Note – The trip, however, demands a high level of fitness as it involves prolonged paddling in the high seas.

Guatemala, Turtle Conservation

Tour cost: $610 per person

Being an animal lover you know wildlife trips are expensive as a part of the money goes into conservation. So if you want to give something back to nature, becoming a volunteer for protection of sea turtles is an affordable way for fulfilling safari dream and experiencing local culture at the same time.Your duty will involve beach patrols, hatchling surveys, releasing hatchlings and beach reforestation, apart from enjoying the stunning Guatemala coastline.

This program lasts for two weeks. Volunteers stay in local homestays and are provided airport transfers, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24×7 in-country support. Tour add-ons include volcano treks, tour to a coffee plantation and  multi-day sightseeing tours. Suitable for those with a passion for Wildlife and willing to work hard and show initiative for its conservation.

Ranthambore Wildlife Tour, India

Tour cost: $450


This three day/ two night tour ex-New Delhi, India takes you to Ranthambore National Park in the state of Rajasthan in India for an exclusive safari to one of the leading tiger habitats. This guided trip includes accommodation, all meals, jungle safaris with a trained naturalist and much more. Incidentally, Ranthambore, once a popular hunting ground of the state rulers, is today a UNESCO World Heritage site.

If you find Ranthambore crowded, head to the neighbouring Kachida Valley on the outskirts of the park.This area is home to a sizable population of leopards, who left Ranthambore to avoid conflict with the tigers. A  Kachida Valley jeep safari is perfect for those wanting a jungle experience in privacy.The large beehives here attract sloth bears in large numbers. Additionally, the surrounding valley areas are beautiful and offer ample opportunities for wildlife photography.

Oudtshoorn Game Reserve, South Africa

africa safari trip

Tour cost: $265

Safaris don’t come cheap in South Africa, or for that matter anywhere in the world, but if you research well you can be rewarded with this two day all inclusive wildlife tour to Oudtshoorn that will hardly put a dent in your pocket. Your trip from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn will provide plenty of chances to view big game and track wildlife on foot in company of rangers.

This is what to expect:

  • Drive along Route 62(Garden Route), one of the most scenic and famous drives in South Africa.
  • Get up close to the Big 5 in Botlierskop private game reserve with a knowledgeable guide.
  • Enjoy a tranquil bush walk and learn about the diversity of the bush.
  • Full day game drive at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge looking for big game in their natural habitat, with the Swartberg Mountains forming a stunning backdrop.
  • Visit the ostrich capital of the world and enjoy local delicacies and get a taste of authentic South African culture.

Amazon animal welfare, Ecuador

Tour cost: $679

This is a fabulous program for those who wish to see the exotic wildlife of the Amazon rainforests in Pastaza Province and help in their conservation as well. This rescue center, deep in the jungles is run with the active participation of the local Quichian community. Like most wildlife projects, funding is scarce, so volunteers are necessary to ensure the smooth running of the project.

This two week program allows nature lovers to stay at this 60 hectares sanctuary where the animals like birds, primates and reptiles are free to roam. Volunteers will be expected to assist in the following tasks:

  • Assist in working with animals.
  • Teach children.
  • To rescue the amazing wildlife of the Amazon jungle.
  • Give medical assistance to animals to ensure their well-being.

Tour cost will include airport transfers from Quito international airport, accommodation in shared cabanas, all meals, free WiFi, comfortable seating area to relax. Program arrival day Sunday: Departure day: Saturday.

Masai Mara, Kenya

wildebeest migration

Tour cost: $360

Africa is known for its iconic wildlife, and Kenya heads the list. Home to the legendary Masai Mara Game Reserve, which literally teems with wild animals, a safari to this animal haven can now be undertaken on a budget. This journey to Masai Mara will leave a lasting impression on the visitor. Your three day safari will include:

  • Surface transport to and fro from Nairobi in a seven seater safari van.
  • Stay in mid-range lodges.
  • Game viewing, nature walks, birdwatching and photography.
  • Airport transfers both ways.
  • All park entrance fees.
  • All meals
  • Unlimited bottled drinking water during the safari.

A safari is usually a once-in-a-lifetime trip for most nature lovers, especially if you are headed to a far off country. While accommodation can vary with facilities, wildlife viewing is the same for everyone. Of course, different countries have different price tags, so being down to earth can also be inspiring. Once you have found the hidden gems in lesser known places, you will discover that viewing animals need not come at a big cost.

So this was our handpicked list of cost effective wildlife safari destinations. Did we miss anything? Share in comments below.


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