Blow the budget
With many safaris costing well over £2000 per person, it’s understandable that they are often viewed as a once in a lifetime trip rather than any old holiday. But you don’t necessarily have to re-mortgage your home to get up close to the ‘big five’. If you’re willing to travel off-season, join a group rather than go it alone and stay in more basic accommodation than a luxury lodge, prices can drop substantially. The Adventure Company’s Serengeti Explorer trips, for example, are small group holidays that take in Tanzania’s Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater national parks and Olduvai Gorge during action-packed ten-day itineraries. Prices start from £1199 per person, which includes flights from London, transport, tented accommodation, game viewing and most meals (0845 450 5312; www.adventurecompany.co.uk).
On a shoestring
The sun rising over grassy plains, the sound of galloping wildebeest … this must be, er, Kent. Livingstone Safari Lodge at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park purports to be the only place in Europe that runs African-style overnight safaris and prices start at a reasonable £150 per person per night. Guests receive a welcome drink before heading out for an afternoon game drive (animals include zebra, wildebeest, rhino, giraffe, ostrich and more). Then it’s over to your luxury tent to enjoy a sundowner on the veranda before tucking into an African dinner and talks by park rangers. At dawn, there’s time for another game drive before breakfast – and a significantly shorter journey home than you would have from the Serengeti. It doesn’t open until June but book now to beat the stampede (01303 234190; www.totallywild.net).