My 5 Week Kenya and Tanzania Budget

I get a lot of emails asking about my Africa travel budget, so it’s probably about time I did one!

I think a lot of people are put off travelling in Africa because they think it’s expensive. It can be a really cheap place to travel, but when you start booking things like safaris, white water rafting or a trek up Kilimanjaro that the costs rise pretty quickly!

On my last big African adventure I went to Kenya and Tanzania for 5 weeks. This was mostly independent travel, although I did squeeze in a couple of safari tours.

I spent the first 3 weeks backpacking on my own, and the last 2 with my other half. I moved around a lot, starting and ending in Dar es Salaam, so I’ll give you the costs for everything, and you can get an idea. Travelling this way is can be more expensive than an overland trip, where you are pretty much looked after the whole time, but it allows more freedom and I got to visit places the overland trucks don’t go.

Nairobi Giraffe Centre

I could have travelled through Kenya and Tanzania on a much tighter budget if I’d stayed in hostels, taken all public transport, hadn’t done as many safaris, eaten street food more or taken an overland tour for the whole trip.

However, I’m 35 now, I work full-time and travel mostly in my holidays (I took all my hols together plus a few days unpaid leave), so I mixed it up a bit, adding in a little bit of luxury along the way. But I am still a backpacker at heart, I often use public transport, I do sometimes stay in a dorm, but then I’ll also treat myself when I feel like it. The safaris I took were at the cheaper end of the scale.

My 5-Week Africa Travel Budget

Africa Travel Budget: 5 Weeks in Kenya and Tanzania

Pre-trip Costs: £598

I won’t include these costs in my overall budget at the bottom, as these will depend on where in the world you are coming from, but here they are.

  • Flights: I found a return ticket from Manchester, UK to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Skyscanner with Emirates with stops in Dubai for £525.
  • Vaccinations: On this trip, I was up to date with all of my vaccinations from my earlier travels, but I paid £120 the first time I went. I managed to get Hep B, Hepatitis A/Typhoid, Diptheria/Tetanus/Polio all free from the doctor. I then got a prescription for Meningitis (£12), and the doctor gave me the jab for free. I paid for Rabies (£50) and Yellow Fever (£58).
  • Anti-malarials: I took mefloquine (Lariam) for my malarials, which is the cheapest option and is only 1 tablet per week. I ended up stopping taking them as I didn’t think they were doing me any good (weird dreams etc), and in future I would opt for Malarone, which is a lot more expensive but I prefer it. I’ve never tried Doxycycline. Malaria tablets are a personal choice, but I prefer to take them when I travel to high risk areas. I spent £35 (but expect to pay around £115 for Malarone/£35 for Doxycycline).
  • Insurance: Some bank accounts and credit cards provide travel insurance, so check before you buy! Whatever you do, check that whatever insurance you do get covers all of the activities you want to do (including safari).

READ MORE: How to Get Travel Insurance for High Risk Destinations & Activities

Mount Suswa Kenya

Visas: £65

I paid $50 for Tanzania and $50 for Kenya – $100 (£65) in total. My Tanzania visa allowed me to re-enter the country after I’d been to Kenya within a certain time frame so I didn’t have to pay twice. A Tanzania visa for Americans is currently $100.

Hotels: £745.50

My accommodation budget was a bit all over the place. The cheapest I paid for a room was £6 per night for a dorm and the most expensive was £90 for a double room. Bit of a difference hey? I tended to go more budget when I was alone, but more upmarket when I wasn’t. I will tell you what I/we paid in total and state where I was sharing a room with my husband, but when I add it up at the top, I will just give you what I spent (not including his half) and you can use it as a guide!

Some of the nights were included in the safaris I took, so I’ll list those in the Safari section.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar es Salaam

I spent 4 nights in Dar es Salaam altogether, on 4 different occasions, staying at 3 hotels. There are a couple of backpacker type places in the city, but not many. The best ones tend to be out of the city by the beach. I needed to be by the ferry and bus terminals for my onward travel, so for ease, I stayed hotels, rather than the real budget places.

  • Rainbow Hotel: This was my least favourite, the staff were nice and all, and the room was clean but it was a bit old and scruffy compared to the other hotels I stayed in. But it was only a 5 minute walk from the ferry terminal, so it was really convenient (£32 for 1 night).
  • ABC Travellers Hotel: This was a nice hotel, right near to Kariakoo Market so relatively easy to find on a dala dala mini bus from the small Mwenge bus station (where the dala dalas from Bagamoyo come and go from). It was about 20 minutes from here by bus to the main bus station (Ubungo) to catch a bus to Arusha (£31 for 1 night).
  • Tanzanite Executive Suites: This was by far the best hotel, really clean, modern, good food (good pizza), good wifi. Near(ish) to ferry (£100 for 2 nights – shared cost).

If you are looking for more budget options try: Econo Lodge and The Slow Leopard (central) or Mikadi Beach and (out of the city).

Emerson Spice Hotel

Stone Town, Zanzibar

  • Emerson Spice: This boutique hotel is normally rated the best hotel in Stone Town on Tripadvisor, so it isn’t cheap. But it is gorgeous so if you can afford, stay there! (£180 for 2 nights – shared cost).

Contact Me

Kendwa, Zanzibar

  • Kendwa Rocks Room 1: Nice room, with own bathroom. Kendwa Rocks is where the party is at on a Saturday night in Zanzibar and as a result they put the prices up a little. They don’t advertise it widely, and I don’t think you can book online, but they do have dorms for around £10 a night (£93 for 3 nights).
  • Kendwa Rocks Room 2: Really nice room (£129 for 2 nights – shared cost).

New Teddy's Zanzibar

Paje, Zanzibar

  • New Teddy’s, Zanzibar: This is a nice little place, but I thought the room was expensive for what we got. We had a banda with no bathroom. But the breakfast is nice and the bar staff are cool (£58 for 1 night – shared cost).


  • Moyo Mmoja Guesthouse (£52 for 4 nights): This is a very basic guesthouse, no bar, no hot water, a basic kitchen and you get your water from the kiosk round the corner. It was a lovely little place though and I really enjoyed my time there.



  • Arusha Backpackers (£6 for 1 night): Arusha has a few hostels, so I was happy to save me some cash. The hostel is ok, nice bar/restaurant, very basic rooms and showers. The only thing about this place, is that it’s right in town and the dala dalas start honking their horns at about 5am, so if you’re a light sleeper – bring ear plugs.

We also stayed at Masai Camp for 2 nights as part of our Absolute Africa safari. But we were camping, so I’ll include that in the safari costs as the overland companies will have a different rate. It is A LOT quieter than Arusha Backpackers, although they do have parties sometimes, so it could get loud if there are lots of overlanders.

Wildebeest Eco Camp Nairobi


  • Milimani Backpackers (£25 for 3 nights): I love this hostel. Randomly they moved location when I was there and it’s now located in the suberb of Karen, near to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Giraffe Centre. It’s on the right side of town to get out towards the Masai Mara, avoiding the awful Nairobi traffic.
  • Wildebeest Eco Camp Room 1 (£135 for 2 nights): This was Matt’s first night so we splashed out on a fancy static tent on the first night, and a less fancy (but still pretty awesome) room the second time we were there after Masai Mara. This is a lovely place to stay. Shared cost.

READ NEXT: My Favourite Africa Travel Resources

Mara Explorers Camp

Masai Mara

  • Mara Explorers Camp Room 1 (£150 for 5 nights – all meals included): One of my absolute favourite places. This was a dorm tent with a shared seperate bathroom. All meals are included in the price, so the room works out really cheap!
  • Mara Explorers Camp Room 2 (£111 for 2 nights – all meals included): This was an en-suite tent and we were full board, so 3 meals per day. Shared cost.

READ MORE: 25 Awesome Things To Do in Nairobi


Transport: £187.50

There were a few big transport costs, then a few little miscellaneous ones. Local mini busses are super cheap. Literally a couple of dollars for a journey that lasts approx 1.5 hours.

  • Zanzibar Ferry: Return ferry to Stone Town from Dar es Salaam is $35 each way for a non-resident (approx £45 or $70 return).
  • Taxi to Masai Mara from Nairobi: Return taxi to Masai Mara from Nairobi was approx $100, arranged by Mara Explorers Camp (approx £64). I shared this with Matt so I paid £32. You can get a local mini bus from Nairobi – Narok, then Narok – Sekenani for much cheaper (but perhaps not as safe or comfortable).
  • Coach to Arusha from Dar es Salaam: Bus between Dar es Salaam and Arusha 30,000 TSH each way so I paid approx £20 for the return. This journey is pretty crappy – I’d fly next time.
  • Shuttle Bus to Nairobi from Arusha: $20 (approx £12).
  • Taxi to The Rock: Return taxi from New Teddy’s in Paje to The Rock: $30 return. Shared so I paid approx £10.
  • Taxi Stone Town to Paje then Paje to Kendwa: $70 (approx £45). Shared so I paid £22.50. We used the same guy so he gave us a deal. Share taxis are cheaper.
  • Share taxi from Kendwa to Stone Town: $10 one way (approx £6).
  • Other: Small taxi journeys in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Arusha, airport transfers, busses in Dar es Salaam, piki pikis (motorbikes) or bajajis (mini tuk tuks) in Bagamoyo – approx £40 altogether. Quite a few of my transport costs were covered by the safaris.

The Zanzibar Ferry

Safaris: £893

Ambsoseli National Park

Karibu Safaris in Kenya (£258 for 2 nights, 3 days): These guys were my saviour when my original company cancelled on me the day before I was supposed to go and Amboseli is one of the more difficult safaris to go on, especially if you are on your own and want a budget safari. But it is one of the most beautiful, lying at the base of Kilimanjaro, so I was desperate to go.

This safari was at the very cheapest end of the scale. This included all my meals (not drinks), and an afternoon safari, and a full day safari. We stayed at Kimana Tented Camp which was pretty basic. To stay somewhere nicer, the price tends to jump up a bit. There were 3 of us on this tour, but had there been more, we could have got it cheaper.

Amboseli National Park

Masai Mara

Mara Explorers Camp (£80 x 1 day): I was already staying at the camp full-board, and they took us out on a Masai Mara safari in the Landcruiser for the day. This is a really great budget option, especially if there’s a few of you! I shared this cost with Matt so I just paid £40. My accommodation and transport costs are already captured above.

Best few days ever!

Masai Mara Safari

The Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater

Absolute Africa (£595 pp for 4 nights, 5 days): Safaris are never super cheap but the Absolute Africa one of the cheaper ones I’ve found, plus I like the company and have used them before. This starts and ends in Nairobi, although we just hopped off at Arusha and missed the last drive day. It’s usually part of a longer tour and you join for part of it. Breakfast and dinner is included, and lunch is included when you are in Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. On the drive days, you buy your own. We saw so many lions!

For reference, a high end safari quoted me over $3500 for 4 nights for 1 person  – yikes.



Activities: £98

There are tons of activities you could  do on this trip (other than safaris) –  snorkelling/diving in Zanzibar etc, so you could spend a lot more, but these are the ones I did.

  • David Sheldrick Wildlife, Giraffe Centre and Kazuri Bead Factory tour in Nairobi: £20.
  • Walk with George the Maasai at Mara Explorers Camp: £6.50 ($10).
  • Maasai village tour in the Serengeti: £6.50 ($10).
  • Stone Town tour with Farid in Zanzibar: We only had 2 days in Stone Town, and I wanted to learn as much as possible. This tour was great! £10 (shared cost £20/$30 for two of us).
  • Sunset cruise (alcohol included) in Kendwa: £20 ($30).
  • Mount Suswa: I also spent a couple of nights camping up Mount Suswa with friends, but they provided all the equipment etc, I just paid for my entry and camping fees and a little bit of food – about £35 altogether.


READ MORE: My Perfect Kenya & Tanzania Itinerary

Masai Mara (9)

Food and Drink: £340

Food in Africa can be as cheap or as expensive as you like. Some of my food was covered by the safari companies and I was full board at Mara Explorers Camp, so those costs are covered and I won’t include them. However, here’s an indication of what I spent elsewhere.

If you eat local foods from street vendors or cafes (ugali, rice and beans, chips mayai, massala chips, chapati or samosa, nyama choma, Zanzibar pizza etc) you could spend as little as £3 a day. But if you go to restaurants, then you could spend up to £40.

Drinks follow the same pattern. International branded spirits, wines and cocktails are more expensive options than local beer (Tusker, Kilimanjaro, Serengeti), sodas, water and local spirits like Konyagi.

You’ll know how much you eat/drink, but I reckon I averaged around £10 – £15 a day on the days I didn’t have food included in my safaris. Just don’t do what I did and accidentally order a £50 bottle of wine at Carnivore in Nairobi. I won’t put that in the budget, because that is just plain stupid. Oops.

Maasai Necklaces

Miscellaneous: £135

  • Internet: Some places have free WIFI, other you have to pay around 3000 TSH for 30 mins. I spent approx £10.
  • Souvenirs: There’s no shortage of Maasai bracelets, kanga bags, paintings, wooden carvings and other African trinkets you can bargain for, I spent approx £50.
  • Tips: Tipping is not mandatory, but is very appreciated. Budget a bit, especially for your safari guides/cooks and perhaps in some restaurants, I spent approx £70.
  • Phone: I bought SIM cards in Tanzania and Kenya for about £0.70 – £1 and as I was only texting, no using data, I spent around £5 in total the whole time.

Total for 5 weeks in Kenya and Tanzania = £2,464

I hope this helps with your Africa budgeting! Seems expensive compared to Asia for instance, but I did 3 safaris and stayed in nice places (most of the time). Kenya and Tanzania can be as budget or high end as you like. I’ll also do a budget for my longer 6 month trip (volunteering, overland, Kilimanjaro and independent travel) soon so you can compare. If you have any more questions, write them in the comments and I’ll get back to you asap!

If you want to read about my 6 month Africa travel budget, click here!

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About Author

I'm a travel blogger and tour operator with a passion for Africa travel. I love the great outdoors, going on epic trips around the world and helping others travel!


  • whitney
    May 20, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Hi Helen,
    I’ve just come across your site and it’s great! Thank you very much for sharing your travels, I’m addicted!
    I’m a single female traveler and really want to go to Tanzania and Kenya, but have heard safety is an issue, have you had any negative experiences in that regard? Also, I’m interested in the safaris and the beaches, I am equally interested in seeing/spending some time in real, local and/or rural villages, I want to experience for lack of better terms “real Africa” and African Tribes. I’ve only got about 2 weeks, where and what would you recommend?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Helen
      May 20, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      Hi there Whitney! Glad you like the blog!

      Africa is not a ‘safe’ destination but then I don’t think anywhere is. It’s as safe as most places I’ve ever been. I’ve written a couple of posts on travelling and safety in Africa – have a look at these and see if they put your mind at rest. and – basically, if you are sensible then you should have little problems.

      I’ve written about my favourite places in Africa – have a look for some ideas! To experience the real Africa, and real rural villages, the best way is to stay in one spot for a while. I volunteered with The Book Bus – Zambia, Soft Power Education – Uganda and The Baobab Home – Tanzania, and each one gave me a good perspective on what African daily life is really like in those places. And I tell you, it will surprise you. Very different from what’s on TV. To actually stay in a rural village is kind of difficult, as there aren’t hotels. 🙂 But if you did any of the project I talk about above, you would 100% get to visit some rural communities often. If not live in them. You’d be based in smallish towns (Livingstone, Bujagali Village near Jinja Town and Bagamoyo), so best of both worlds.

      Doing it this way, you will gain more insight than if you just go on tours, but they are still great and I loved the ones I’ve done!

      If you want to meet with tribes, there is plenty of opportunity. But if you want to actually get beneath the surface, living in the local community is the best way. It’s something that is better when you are not a tour group passing through. The best tribal experiences I’ve ever had were whilst I was staying at Mara Explorers Camp, when I hung out with George the Maasai. Not the ones where I visited a village for an hour as part of a tour. They are very cool in terms of the photos, but in real life, kind of suck when you think about it after!

      For Tanzania and Kenya, I would recommend – Zanzibar, Bagamoyo, Moshi or Arusha,Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater, Masai Mara, Nairobi, Mombasa.

      Hope that helps!! 🙂

      • elias kazi
        December 16, 2016 at 9:10 pm

        hi hellen,

        came across your website and actually the costs associated with travelling to Tanzania national parks, hotels and camping sites can be very low if you find a reasonable tour company. example for the from 5 day safari you did for Serengeti and ngorongoro you would have paid $750 a day. if you will be interested in knowing more please don’t hesitate to enquire. my email is [email protected]

        • Helen
          December 18, 2016 at 10:24 pm

          Hi Elias,

          I actually paid a lot less than $750 a day.

    • Lacey
      December 4, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      I want to thank you so very much for all this helpful information! My husband and I are going to Tanzania in January for 5 weeks. We appreciate your attention to detail and price break down. We will be sure to check out some of the places on your trip.

  • Arianwen
    May 20, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    I love your photos, especially the first one! Just went Pin crazy! Also missing Tanzania now and feeling like I need to go back sometime!

    • Helen
      May 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks Ari!! Aw, thanks for Pinning! 🙂 I know, I’d love to go back again soon!

      Are you going to Blogstock? x

  • Hanna
    June 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    This is very useful post, thanks, Helen! I’m not going to Africa yet, but when I do, I’ll use it for inspiration! 🙂 At least I know now how much money I need to collect before going there! :):)

    • Helen
      June 8, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      You’re welcome Hann! Glad it’s useful! I have another one coming soon! 🙂 The next one will have even more detail! 🙂

  • Mustafa
    July 5, 2015 at 2:24 am

    I’ve just come across your site and it’s great..For those who want to visit tanzania feel free to get in touch for any kind of advice. +255769111222. Tx

  • Nikita yadav
    July 31, 2015 at 5:11 am

    I love your photos, especially the first one! Just went Pin crazy! Also missing Tanzania now and feeling like I need to go back sometime!

    • Helen
      August 9, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      Thanks Nikita! I often get that feeling and want to go back all the time!!!!

  • gsutiger
    October 5, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Do you have any recommendations for overland Kenya/Tanzania tours that are cultural and landscape focused? We do not want any safaris or camping.

    • Helen
      October 5, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Hi Gsutiger,

      I don’t know any that only focus on landscapes and culture I’m afraid, however, I will look around for you! 🙂 Can you give me some more info so I can best help? How long do you want to go for?? What is the aim of your trip? Photography? To spend time with people? Have you been on safari before? What particularly do you want to do/see in these countries?

      Almost all overland tours are camping tours (but you can sometimes upgrade to a room if there’s the option) and I’d say most group tours of Kenya and Tanzania will have a safari element to them – although, not always camping. Many of the beautiful landscapes within Kenya and Tanzania will be found in the Masai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. But there are lots of other gorgeous places too; the coastal towns like Mombasa and Bagamoyo. Then there’s the mountains – Mount Meru, Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya. Then there’s the Great Rift Valley.

      To get a non-safari tour you may have to organise a tailor made tour. They can be expensive, but it depends what you are looking for and what your budget is and who you go with! The prices vary wildly in Africa. From a few hundred to thousands. I know a couple of companies that do organise bespoke tours, and a lot of local companies would be happy to sort you out with transportation, accommodation and a guide for you. Then you could do what you want!

      You could also drive independently, this would make it really easy to do what you wanted. Or get local transport. Local transport is not always that comfortable, but it it is pretty good in East Africa. I’ve never not been able to get wherever I needed to go. Then you can base yourself somewhere and you can always use a local taxi driver to get to anywhere you wanted to go for a price.

      To get an insight into the culture, if you spend time in any place, you’ll get that. Going on day trips though with only get you so far. Going to the local markets, eating in the local restaurants, chatting to local people on a walk round the village – that’s where you’ll get the most out of it. Wish I was coming with you – I could take you to all the best places! 🙂

      Other places you might want to consider if you want the landscapes and culture, without the safaris, are Zanzibar, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi or Mozambique. If you want really incredible landscape, then Namibia is pretty spectacular.

      Hope I can help some more!


  • John
    October 18, 2015 at 12:49 am

    Hi, Helen:
    Great post. Just what I was looking for in terms of some vague idea of prices for things.
    I’m so excited for your adventures and love to hear your enthusiasm in your posts.

    I’m in the beginning of planning a trip to Africa (Tanzania likely) in February, 2017.
    We’ll have 15 days or so is all.
    We’re four 40-50-something active people and are looking to maximize our experience.

    Everything I see online seem to be high-end packaged all-inclusive safaris that cost a whole lot.
    I’m interested in seeing what I can do to mitigate the expense.
    I’m WILLING to spend the money if it’s necessary to have the best experience I can, but I don’t want to spend money on being pampered and having silk sheets. I’d rather spend that money on experienced guides taking me places where I can see wildlife and experience the area.

    We don’t need stellar accommodations, but relatively clean and safe are good. We’d rather experience the local culture than stay in a hotel that feels like a USA hotel.
    Our primary attraction is, of course, wildlife and scenery.

    Can you recommend any book/ web site/ source of information for someone like me who is trying to put this together?
    Since we’re relatively short on time, can you tell me what your favorite places were/are?

    I don’t think I even know the right questions to ask!
    Can you tell me what questions I should be asking?

    Thank you very much!

    • Helen
      January 10, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Hi John,

      I am so sorry for the late reply, I will email you!



      • Jessica
        February 9, 2016 at 7:38 am

        Hi Helen,

        Your post was exactly the type of post I was looking for amidst my research for my upcoming Africa trip in Nov.

        I am on the same boat as John as far as the type of experience, cost and accommodations. I will be traveling with 2 other people, we are all in our early 30’s and have about 3 weeks in Africa. We are thinking of doing a safari in Kenya and Tanzania, visiting Zanzibar and Cape Town. Do you have any other recommendations for locations we can squeeze in in 3 weeks? Also, what’s the ideal amount of days for safaris? Can you recommend booking and resource sites?

        • Helen
          February 13, 2016 at 8:39 pm

          Hi Jessica,

          I’d say in 3 weeks, what you have there is enough – you don’t want to squeeze too much in! How will you get between East Africa and South Africa, fly? Or go overland? That will really determine what you can get done in that time. If you can give me a bit more info I can suggest a few things! 🙂 Do you know where you’re flying into and out of?

          For safaris I’d say 3 days per safari is enough, maybe going on a couple of game drives in each location.


          • Jessica
            February 13, 2016 at 9:28 pm

            Hi Helen,

            Thanks for the response. We will fly from East Africa to South Africa.

            We will either fly into Nairobi or Kilimanjaro. After the safaris we will fly to Zanzibar then From there fly to Cape Town then home.

            How did you plan your safaris? Is it more cost effective to book them out separately?

          • Helen
            February 14, 2016 at 4:06 pm

            Hi Jessica,

            To be honest it varies whether it’s cost effective to book separately or not. The annoying thing is that most safari companies don’t have any prices on their websites! This is because the final price will depend on numbers. So probably the best thing to do is contact them and get quotes.

            To plan my safaris, I’ve used various different methods, on this trip I went with companies I already knew, so for Masai Mara I organised through my friends at Mara Explorers Camp – they run an awesome, campsite, kind of backpacking/glamping – proper beds! I’d HIGHLY recommend them, probably a cost effective way if there are 3 of you! Tell them I say hi if you contact them! They do other stuff, other than just Masai Mara and then can help sort other bookings to for Tanzania and they also run some really cool activities I don’t think you’d get on other safaris! Then for the Serengeti I used Absolute Africa and overlanded, sleeping in tents on the floor.

            Another option, like I did in South Luangwa, I just went into a local safari company and booked – I stayed in a static tent with proper beds – was really nice. But if you are holiday, might be nicer to have it sorted before you go! For all the other safaris I’ve been on, these were with my first overland tour with Absolute Africa a few years ago.

            To compare, I use a website called – they have loads on there!

            If you get stuck, I have a travel planning service, and can help you build your itinerary and find some good companies.

            Helen x

    • EMILY
      March 18, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      Hi John. Just seen this and hopefully you will have just been. I’d love to know what you did and costs?

  • Alistair
    October 28, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Thank you for this! My wife and I are planning a Christmas trip to Tanzania and your blog has been a great resource.

    • Helen
      October 29, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      Wow, a Christmas trip will be amazing! Let me know if you have any questions and I will try to answer them!

      Have a great trip!!

  • Aylin
    November 30, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Hello Helen,
    It`s really helpfull thank you for that..Next June we would like to spend our honeymoon in Zanzibar and then go to Masai Mara but could not find cheap transportation from Tanzania to Masai Mara. Do you have any recommendation for us?

    • Helen
      November 30, 2015 at 9:14 pm

      Hi Aylin,

      Where in Tanzania are you coming from? I’ll assume Dar es Salaam for now!

      Any private transfers will be quite expensive. The cheapest way is public transport or shuttle.

      This is the way I got from Dar es Salaam to Masai Mara cheaply – (30,000TSH/£15)bus from Dar es Salaam to Arusha, stay over night and then get the shuttle bus to Nairobi ($20/£12) and then go to the Masai Mara from there, I took a private taxi arranged by the place I was staying – Mara Explorers Camp. The taxi cost $100/£64 which I split with my other half, so it cost me £59 altogether. Which is pretty good for such a long trip. If you get a matatu from Nairobi to Sekanani in the Mara it’s a lot cheaper, but not very comfortable!

      The only thing I would say, is that the bus from Dar es Salaam is 12 hours and can be really uncomfortable. Try and sit in a seat for 2, not on the back row like me.

      The quickest and most efficient way would be to fly Dar es Salaam to Nairobi.

      Another option, why are you going to th Masai Mara? Would you not go to the Serengeti? You probably still need to go to Arusha, but you’d cut out the days travelling from Arusha to Nairobi, then Nairobi to the Mara.

      Let me know if you need more help!


  • Janine
    December 8, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Hi I loved your blog- I am thinking of going to East Africa for my 50 th with hubby n kids ( 19-16 yr olds) it will be their first trip and my 3 rd but have not been in donkeys years – I want to do a mixture some semi luxury and the rest just wing it. When I travelled 39 yr ago we didn’t have mobile phones and. Nothing was books in advance and I kind of want to create this. Again in some respect for the kids to see how to go ‘pole pole’ !!! Is it going to do my head in or can things be organised fairly easily a day or 2 in advance on the ground. We have 6 weeks to fluff about

    • Helen
      December 13, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      Hi Janine, glad you liked it! 🙂

      You can organise things fairly easily on the ground, sometimes it’s better not to be too organised. You’ll have a great time! Enjoy your trip!!

  • Kenneth
    December 20, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Hi. Your blog is helpful. I will be going to Kenya in the first week of January 2016 and have been wondering what the cost of traveling and staying for about four week will be like. I have searched the net but the other infos relating to this are all obsolete but yours is so resent. thank you so so much.

    • Helen
      December 26, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks Kenneth, glad you like it!!

  • Mark
    January 11, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Hi Helen, great read!
    I wondering what your experience has been with corruption among authorities in general? I’ve heard from co-workers that this was a general problem in especially Kenya. Currently planning a trip to Tanzania, and I was wondering if 3 weeks would be too much time to spend in Tanzania, also considering our budget is not limitless. Thank you in advance, Mark

    • Helen
      January 11, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks Mark!

      Corruption is rife in Africa. I saw it more from working there, less as a tourist. But it does happen. I wouldn’t say it’s a problem for the average traveller though!

      I could easily spend 3 weeks in Tanzania :), but the main tourist destinations (Serengeti, Zanzibar), can be expensive, but that’s like a most African tourist places. If you get off the beaten track, you can save costs. Accommodation isn’t as cheap as Asia, but there are a lot of cheap places. It’s the tourist activities that cost a lot.

      You could also add in Kenya or Malawi!

      To be honest it really depends on your budget and what stuff you want to do. I did a mix of local and touristy stuff, so I’d use this as a general guide on costs. As I said, you could spend less than me if you ate more local, didn’t stay in hotels. Africa can be as cheap or expensive as you want really.

      Hope that helps!

  • SHELBY Kitt
    January 17, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    I’m planning a 2-month trip to Africa this year. I’m planning on doing a month in South Africa for a marine conservation volunteer project, then a month of travel. I’m open to different places but Tanzania is definitely ‘up there’ on my list!
    I want to do all of the adventures that I can (shark cage diving, SCUBA and snorkeling, safari) but I’m nervous about the extra costs of travelling alone. I’m picturing it being a lot more difficult to find people to travel/split expenses with for things like safaris and hotels, than say, more ‘touristy’ countries like Thailand.
    What you think in terms of finding other like-minded travellers? Am I likely adding a significant cost onto my trip by doing it alone?

    • Helen
      January 18, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      Hi Shelby,

      Don’t worry!! Travelling on your own needn’t be super expensive. You can always join group trips for safaris or shark diving etc, these are easily organised from hostels in SA!

      You’ll most likely meet some cool people on your project or in your hostel who will want to travel with you and share a car – I honestly don’t think that would be a problem. Failing that you can get Baz Bus round South Africa. Driving to Tanzania on your own could be expensive and a little overwhelming, but public buses should be fine to get – if a little bumpy and uncomfortable.

      Failing that, there’s always overland tours!! I really recommend these and you’ll have loads of mates then, plus they’re pretty economical!

      Don’t be nervous! Sounds like you have an amazing trip ahead! Take me with you! I’ll be your road trip buddy! Or I would if I had the time off! 🙂


  • Right Travel
    January 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Great blog! Very interesting and informative. Thank you Helen 🙂

    • Helen
      January 24, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  • haika
    January 26, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    hello thanks for your post. am a female from Africa and would like to ask you, in making such tours is it a must that u have a great company? Am single and would like to travel to a place where I will go alone . will I have fun or should I seek for other peoples company? thank u.

    • Helen
      January 28, 2016 at 12:21 am

      Hi Haika,

      It’s fine to travel most places alone. I did! 🙂 You will meet people along the way, but if you are worried you could always join a tour!

      Don’t worry, you’ll have a great time whatever you decide!


  • taylor
    March 9, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I just read your blog and it sounds amazing! I’m currently stationed in Rwanda on a Service Corps year and my friend and I are looking to travel down through Tanzania over 4-5 nights to make our way to Zanzibar to dive. I’d love some recommendations of places to stop in Tanzania that could lead us down to Dar in about 5 days. Also, we are on an insane budget so the cheaper the better! Any suggestions?

    • Helen
      March 9, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      Hey Taylor! I’m guessing that you’d want to go straight from Rwanda to Tanzania South of Lake Victoria, rather than north of the lake through Uganda and Kenya?

  • nalin patel
    April 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Great post. Too Helpful.

    • Helen
      April 3, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Thanks Nalin!

  • Amy
    April 16, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Helen!

    Thank you so much for your blog- it has been an amazing resource in my travel planning through Eastern Africa. I’m currently staying in Moshi and I’m planning on travelling to Nairobi by bus (these go via Arusha and should be the same you took). I’m planning on staying in Milimani backpackers as well, but I was wondering how you organised transport there. Did you take a taxi after arriving at the bus stop? What would you recommend. And I was also wondering if you were able to use the local matundas easily from that hostel since my minimal budget means that’s the main way I’m getting around! And also (sorry for a barrage of questions!) would 2 full days in Nairobi be enough or do you recommend more or less?

    Thank you so much for your help, I so enjoy your blog!


    • Helen
      April 17, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for reading! Glad it’s been a help! 🙂

      Yeah I got the shuttle from Moshi before too and they usually do an Arusha pick up too!. I just got a taxi from the place where the shuttle bus drops you (usually at the office). You can get a matatu mini bus, but a taxi is probably easier. The hotel is near a main road so yeah, it’s easy to get matatus around no problem! Maybe just don’t get them after dark! 2 full days is Nairobi is ok, there’s lots to do so you could spend more time, but in two days you should be able to get around a lot!

      Enjoy Africa! Wish I was there right now!!

      • Amy
        April 17, 2016 at 5:10 pm

        Hi Helen!

        Thanks so much for that! I was wondering if you happened to remember roughly how much it cost for the taxi (on a bit of a tight budget!)?

        It’s just so wonderful- enjoying being here so much!

        Thanks again


  • Maria
    April 25, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Hello Helen this is Maria from Greece..i’m planning a trip to Tanzania with my husband in November for a little more than two weeks. we are travelling on a budget and everything like safaris and activities seem so expencive . we want to visit the Serengeti and some coffee farms because we are coffee specialist and it would be perfect for us. I’m very confused and trying to sort things out on how much it is gonna cost and what to do in these days we have. Your article is perfect. any recommendetions would be perfect.thanks in advance

  • Stephanie
    April 26, 2016 at 4:44 am

    Hi Helen,

    Thank you so much for posting your travel details aboutTanzania.

    I am keen to stay at Emerson Spice Hotel in Stone Town; however, I am having difficulties in reserving a room. I tried to reserve a room through their website but I don’t this feature is working. I also tried calling them but reception is terrible. Also, I can’t seem to find a legitimate website to book a room. I was wondering whether you can share how to managed to secure a room at the Emerson Spice.


  • Marcos
    April 30, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Hello Hellen, some friends and me are planning to go on a 6 week trip Volunteering South Africa the first 2 weeks and then 2 weeks volunteering in Kenya and then we want to spend our last two weeks doing a kind of a road trip around Kenya and Tanzania, we want Safaris and some places for young people, we are 20 year olds…

    What do you recommend for the last two weeks?

  • Livia
    June 12, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Helen, first of all, thank you so much for your wonderful posts, they answered many of my questions.
    A friend and I are planning a ‘last minute trip’ to Kenia & Tanzania and we’re wondering if having 8 full days and 2 half-days would be enough/worth to do the Serengeti safari + see the Kilimanjaro + have a couple of days in Zanzibar relaxing by the see? We are flying into Nairobi or Kilimanjaro and returning from Zanzibar. Many thanks, Livia

    • Helen
      June 12, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Yes, I think that’s enough to maybe spend a couple days in Nairobi, then head to Arusha/Moshi, from there into Serengeti and then to Zanzibar, To save time, I would fly between Nairobi and Arusha (think it’s about a 6/7 hour drive) and then between Arusha and Zanzibar (otherwise it’s a 12 hour bus + a 3 hour ferry and you’d have to stay overnight in Dar es Salaam).

      Although unless you really want to experience Nairobi, I’d fly into Kili, and then you’ll have time to also explore Stone Town in Zanzibar too.

      Enjoy your trip!!

  • Rachel
    June 13, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Hi Helen,

    That looks wonderful. What is the cheapest way to get from Nairobi to Kilamanjaro please? Flights I hear cost 200GBP even though the journey is only one hour long!!! This sounds quite dear. Please advise. Also, is it worth only being in Nairobi (and doing the safari) or going to Mombassa also? Also, can you see all the safari animals in Nairobi/Nairobi Safari (eg. lions, tigers, panthers[!?!], hippos, rhinos, giraffes, elephants etc?) How much is the safari? Are there cool village/towns outside of Nairobi that are worth seeing?

    Please advise.

    • Helen
      June 13, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      Hi Rachel,

      The cheapest way is by public bus/matatu but you may have to change at the border, however more comfortable and still cheap would be a shuttle bus approx $20/£12. You should take the shuttle to either Arusha or Moshi. Moshi is closer to Kilimanjaro and you can see the mountain from there (when it’s not cloudy).

      I’d say it’s good to go on both safari and go to the coast. They are quite different, both in activities and in culture.

      You’ll see lots of animals on any safari in Kenya (no tigers or panthers though :)) and there are lots of different parks to choose from. Masai Mara, Samburu, Amboseli, Tsavo etc…. Tsavo and Amboseli are on the way to Mombasa. But the Masai Mara is my favourite. I’ve written posts on a few of the parks:

      The price of your safari can vary wildly, from budget camping to luxury lodges. They usually start at a minimum of around £250+ for 2-3 days for a budget camping safari up to thousands for a few days! The budget safari prices vary depending on how many in your group. If you are on your own, to save money you can ask around for a joining safari. But you’ll need to just email lots of comapnies to ask. Or you could join an overland tour like I did.

      Good companies to try are Mara Explorers or Absolute Africa or there’s this fab new company called Helen in Wonderust Tours! 🙂

      There’s lots of things outside of Nairobi worth seeing, but depends on your route really!

      Hope that helps.

      • Rachel
        June 14, 2016 at 4:08 am

        Thanks, Helen and how long would that shuttle take from Nairobi to Kili, please? Is it best to stop off in the middle?
        Are there cool places outside of Mount Kili worth visiting also or not really?

        As far as Zanzibar goes, what’s so special about the island that’s nowhere else in Tanzania that makes it unique? Is it worth a visit or could you bypass it if not enough time?

        Kind thanks,

        • Helen
          June 14, 2016 at 11:07 am

          Hi Rachel, it’s about 6 hours. I would just do it direct rather than stopping anywhere.

          Around Kilimanjaro the main towns are Moshi and Arusha. I like them both. Then there’s also Kilimanjaro National Park, but I’d say that wasn’t as popular as some of the other parks. To get the best views of Kili, Amboseli National Park in Kenya is the best. I’ve linked to that post in my previous comment.

          Zanzibar is one of my favourite places in the world and personally, I wouldn’t bypass it. I’ve written about it extensively here so that should answer your question:

          What I haven’t written about are the Zanzibar beaches, which are also fab. I’ve mentioned them in this post though:

          Hope that helps!

      • Rachel
        June 14, 2016 at 6:23 am


        Is one safari better than the other for seeing the Big Five (plus zebras, elephants, hippos) or are they all about the same, please?



        • Helen
          June 14, 2016 at 11:09 am

          Hi Rachel,,

          The safaris are all different. Amboseli and Tsavo are great for elephants, hippo, giraffe, zebra – whilst Masai Mara and Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater are good all-rounder parks.

          I’ve written about some of the safaris I’ve been on here:

          • Rachel
            June 14, 2016 at 11:29 am

            Thank you.
            What is the cheapest/quickest way of getting from Mount Kilik to Zanzibar town, please? Is Kili airport the best to fly into to do Mount Kili or is another closer/better? How much does it cost (if at all) to do the Mountain?

            Kind thanks for all your replies,

          • Helen
            June 14, 2016 at 6:59 pm

            Hi Rachel,

            The easiest way is to fly Kilimanjaro Airport to Zanzibar (1hr 20mins). You can fly or take a bus to Dar (12 hours)then take the ferry or another plane but it’s a bit of a faff and if you bus it then go by ferry, you’ll need to stay overnight in Dar as the ferries stop at around 15.30 I think.

            Kilimanjaro Airport is the nearest airport to Mount Kilimanjaro. This is an international airport. There is also an airport at Arusha, which is domestic flights only. You could look at flights from both, but Kilimanjaro is the busier one.

            The costs to climb Kilimanjaro vary depending on the operator you use. But it is expensive. You need to have a guide, equipment, pay the park fees and it’s a 5 – 8 day trek depending on the routes you choose. The climb cost me £1,348. Details are here:

            All of my Kilimanjaro posts are here:

          • Rachel
            June 15, 2016 at 4:10 am

            Thanks, Helen. What are the best type of clothes/shoes to wear on a safari? Trainers or hiking boots? (Obs I know it depends on the season you go in also!) Thanks for all your replies and answers.


          • Helen
            June 15, 2016 at 9:18 am

            Hi Rachel,

            You can wear any shoes on safari really. Probably trainers are best for around campsite esp at night, but I do sometimes wear flip flops in the day. For clothes, anything cool and breathable and easily washable is good. Avoid dark blue and black as they can attract tsetse flies. Please read this post for more info:

            This is overlanding but many things apply.

  • Jedidah
    July 27, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Great post Helen, glad to see posts about traveling to Kenya. I hope to make my first trip out of Kenya to Tanzania soon. :)I will definitely try check out the accommodation you listed.

    • Helen
      July 31, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      Hey Jedidah! That’s cool! I guess you are living in Kenya? Have fun in Tanzania! 🙂

  • Finnian
    August 31, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Hi there Helen, had been on Tripadvisor and a lot of replies on there seem to be from tour companies looking to offer you their tours, am planning on flying to Nairobi and returning from Dar Es Salaam, was just wondering best rout to take, I will be there for two weeks. Also just wondering where is best to arrange a safari from.

    • Helen
      September 16, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      Hi Finnian,

      Where to go really depends on your preferences, however I have this post which details my preferred itinerary for Kenya and Tanzania.

      Have a look and see if this is what you are looking for!

      To arrange safari, Nairobi is usually best as a starting point for most safaris in Kenya (Tsavo is closer to Mombasa) and Arusha is the best place for Serengeti. It’s easy to get between Nairobi and Arusha by bus or plane. It’s a long drive between Arusha and Dar es Salaam so it’s easier to fly!

      To book a safari in advance, you could compare prices on I also recommend for Kenya Safaris.

      Good luck with your trip!!

    November 22, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Dear Helen,
    Thank you so much for the work you are doing, you are more than a guide to East African Safaris especially Kenya and Tanzania. Really you are giving real life experience and exact prices or costs on all activities accurately.
    Please, I request you to refer people to Uganda “The Pearl of Africa”. They should contact us of free quotations both on-road trips and fly-in trips to all destinations in Uganda, we can also plan all other safaris to East Africa.
    Quality Escape Services
    Thank you all

    Best Regards

  • safia
    November 23, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I have 2 weeks in Tanzania
    I will be flying into Dar es salaam
    did you get your visa in the uk or when you arrived at the airport?
    I’m doing a solo trip so i think i will probably have problems with the safari bit since its cheaper and easier in a group right ?

    • Helen
      November 27, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      Hi Safia,

      I just got a visa at the airport with my British passports, but some nationalities have to apply in advance.

      Safaris are cheaper if you can share with people generally, but if you email a few companies, you can ask them if they can put you with with other people or you could arrange in country once you’ve made some friends! 🙂

  • Brittany
    December 13, 2016 at 4:38 am

    Hey, Helen
    Thank you so much for the informative blog. I went to Ghana, West Africa last year and had a blast volunteering and doing outdoor activities (Slave Trade, Canopy Bridge, Wili Waterfall, ect). That trip gave me the travel bug, so now I’m planning to go to Tanzania to work with the same volunteer organization (cross cultural solutions) for one year. Your blogs are so helpful and I love the pictures!

    • Helen
      December 18, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks so much Brittany! Hope you have an amazing time in Tanzania!!!! x

  • Bella
    December 15, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Great insight about Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda awaits you. Any interests about backpacking and camping in the wilderness of Uganda, i will be delighted to help.

  • Taryn
    December 27, 2016 at 3:42 am

    Hi Helen,

    Thank you for taking the time to detail your expenses. It was so useful to me after scouring the internet for anything to help me write up a budget for my upcoming Egypt and Sudan trip. I know we’re looking at different countries but my travelling style is much like yours in that I have my fair share of splurges (2 day desert safari in Egypt/Sudanese pyramids stay in luxe tent hotel/all hotels with Mediterranean sea/Nile river/Pyramids/city views/hired drivers/overnight ‘deluxe’ sleeper single cabin to Luxor and a historical hotel stay on the Corniche in Alexandria on my birthday) but evened those out with where I could accept lesser comforts to make room for those experiences. My trip budget came above yours, by a little over AUD 500.00 so I’m confident that I am taking enough to cover and some. One day, I hope to cover more of this beautiful and diverse continent and visit and do much of what you have!

  • Rheia Edgar-Nemec
    December 28, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Helen,

    Your site is so great! Thanks so much for all your useful information. I am 19 years old and going to volunteer on a community outreach programme in Kenya for 1 month in Feb. Afterwards, I have two weeks to travel around. How safe is it for a 19-year-old girl to backpack by myself? Also, do you have any ideas of where I should head off to first? E.g a small itinerary?



  • Wouter Classens
    January 8, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Helen,

    Love reading your blog, very detailled and lots of information about travelling in Kenya/Tanzania. I am trying to figure out a five week traveling in July/August in Kenya/Tanzania and Zanzibar. For the Maasai Mara area I was looking into Mara Explorers which sounds very good. Now I noticed when I was looking at the rates for tents that these exclude the entry fees ($80) per day for the Maasai Mara natural park. Does this mean that Mara Explorers lies within the park so you have to pay $80 extra per day or does it mean that when you go on safari you have to pay this fee (and then it is included in the safari prices I guess). Another question is about booking safari’s. We are with two of us, is it better to book a safari in advance or just booking when ariving in Nairobi/ Das es salaam or at Mara Experience? We plan to visit Maasai Mara around july so then it is maybe busy due to the Wildebeest Migration, what do you think is the best/and cheapest way to arrange a safari.

    Kind regards, and keep up the good work:)

    • Helen
      January 8, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Wouter,

      Thanks for reading! Mara Explorers is outside the park gate, so the day(s) you go into the park, you pay an $80 entrance fee. If you are staying inside the park, you would pay this per day I think, but if you are staying outside, you only have to pay for the days you go into the park.

      For Mara Explorers, it is probably best to book in advance, as they get busy as they are the cheapest and definitely best value for money. Mara Explorers have joining safaris which is a cheap way to do it, as you share the costs with others!

      Not sure if it is of interest, but I am organising a 2 week Kenya trip in late July/early August (staying at Mara Explorers). Details will be on the blog tomorrow.

      But you can book safaris whilst in the country at a local travel agent. For Tanzania, it is best to go on safari starting in Arusha, rather than Dar es Salaam. There are lots of safari operators in Arusha, and you might be able to join a group tour. Most hotel/hostels can arrange these for you. Or, I usually use a website called to find good safaris. You will just need to get quotes from the operators.

      The best way to get a cheap price is to ask to be placed with other people, to share the staff and transport costs and camping is a lot cheaper than lodges.

      Hope that helps. Give me a shout if you have more questions!


      • Wouter Classens
        January 22, 2017 at 2:18 pm

        Hi Helen,

        Sorry for the late answering, I was quite busy 🙁 Thanks for the helpfull response. We will definitely look into the options of the Mara Explorers camp. Still browsing around to see which trip suits best this year, and Kenya/Tanzania/Zanzibar is a good option:)
        For now I have only one question left and that is the individual traveling in Tanzania and Kenya. I try to be as budget as possible as I’m still a student so I always try to travel with local transport. Now I read that the local busses (dalla-dallas) are very cheap but can also be dangerous (The traffic itself and the crowdedness in the bus so you really have to keep an eye on your stuff). Is this really the case? Is there also a good network of express busses that can be booked? And can these busses be booked in advance?

        Last year I was in Asia and it is very easy there to arrange things cheap when I was travelling. I am curious if I can also arrange a lot of things (Transportation, accomodation, Tours (already asked and answered:))) on site or i need to plan the whole trip in advance and make reservations?

        I will also look into your Kenya trip late july as it sounds very interesting with the local touch.

        Thanks in advance! Wouter

    • Helen
      January 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Here’s my tours page if you are interested!

  • The Cost to Travel Everywhere in the World
    February 1, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    […] in the thousands as well. The visa for Tanzania is also expensive, at $100 for US citizens. It gets cheaper when it comes to local busses, which are just a few dollars for long distances, food can run just a […]

  • Fernanda
    February 19, 2017 at 6:01 am

    Hii I really like your blog Helen, very inspirational. I have been so stressed about travelling alone in africa as a 28year old female,
    i’m voluntering in Uganda for 5 weeks next september and then I will have like 12 days to travel alone (end of October). I am not sure if I should go to Kenya, Tanzania or Rwanda. Maybe go to 2 of those, but I´m not sure that if 12 days it’s enough to do Rwanda-Tanzania or Kenya-Tanzania or just do one country. As many other I’m on a tight. What would you recommend for 12 days? Return flight will be adjusted to my last stop

    Thank you

    • Helen
      February 19, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Hi Fernanda,

      I’d stay stick to 2 countries max!

      I’d maybe do Kenya and Tanzania. You could do Rwanda/Tanzania and go the other way round Lake Victoria, but I’ve not been that way, so not sure what it’s like. The other alternative is to maybe spend some time in Rwanda, then fly to Arusha or Nairobi.

      But, depending where you are volunteering in Uganda, you could visit Rwanda on weekends?

  • nabil
    March 18, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Just want to say that you are incredible. I’m very happy for you. It was an amazing and inspiring read. Very informative too.

    I’m in Addis now and will go to Tanzania for three weeks in April. Am looking to not spend a lot yet still enjoy it just as much.

    Have fun traveling the world. Maybe our paths will one day cross.


    • Helen
      March 24, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Aw, thanks so much! You can definitely have a great time, even if on a limited budget! Enjoy yourself and let me know how you get on! How is Ethiopia?? I have never been!!! And yes, give me a shout if you see we are in the same area!

  • Laurent & Aurelia
    May 16, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Hey Helen!
    What a great and useful blog you created! We were quite dubitative about the best way to travel to Africa and finding your blog could help us answer most of our questions! Awesome!
    Actually, we come back from nearly a year backpacking in Asia and Oceania and loved this way of travelling on our own: we felt closer to the people, to the wildlife and very flexible. Ideally, that’s the way we would like travelling in Africa (planning to land in Nairobi and take off from Dar Es Salaam). However, we don’t mind taking tours for safaris or so, as long as the additional money we pay is for learning from the guide experience! Places we have in mind are: Amboseli, Masai Mara (to see wildebeest migration), Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, climbing the Kilimanjaro, and finally Zanzibar (kitesurfing!). All that in 4 weeks, 12th of July to 9th of August 2017.
    What do you think is the best way of seeing all those places? Shall we book in advance (hotels, safaris, kili, ..)? Do you have any recommendation?
    Do you have any plans for walking safaris, and would you recommend them?
    We would be pleased to read back from your great experience! Feel free to contact us directly by email!
    Thanks and lot and wish you all the best for your next tours in Africa which look really amazing but unfortunately don’t match with our schedule…!
    Laurent & Aurelia

    • Helen
      May 16, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      Hi Laurent and Aurelia,

      Thanks for your message!

      That’s a lot to cover in 4 weeks!

      Here are my recommended timings for each place – as you have a lot of ground to cover, you may want to miss some places out or add more days to your trip. I would go Nairobi (2 days) – Masai Mara safari (4 days) – Nairobi (1 day) – Amboseli (3 days) – Arusha (1 day) – Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater safari (4 days) – Moshi (1 day) – Kilimanjaro (7 days) – then fly to Zanzibar from Kilimanjaro Airport – Zanzibar (5 days).

      You can fly between places to save a bit of time.

      As you are going in the high season, I would advise to book hotels in advance especially in Zanzibar and Nairobi. Especially if there’s anywhere in particular you want to stay. I know a lot of places are getting booked up already for that time.

      You can easily get between cities by public transport and use them as your base in between safaris.

      In the safari parks, I would definitely use guides, as the parks can be difficult to navigate.

      For the Masai Mara, I Mara Explorers Camp, they can arrange safaris. Here’s all the info: They can also organise safaris to Amboseli. Their static tents get booked up (I’m actually there at the beginning of August so I may see you), so I would book this in advance.

      For the Tanzania national parks, I like Shemeji Safari and Tours. They can organise tours from Arusha to fit your budget.

      Or you can book whilst there, if you are not too fussy about where you stay or happy to do a camping safari.

      You can book Kilimanjaro whilst you are there! Or in advance. Try Team Kilimanjaro!

      I’m not sure you can do walking safaris in any of these parks, but in the Mara you can go on hikes outside the park.

      Zanzibar it is fine to go it is fine to travel independently.

      You can find a lot of the companies and hotels I like here:

      You may also find this post helpful:

      Hope this helps!!!!!

      • Laurent & Aurelia
        May 20, 2017 at 1:26 pm

        Oh great! Nice suggestions and recommendations! 🙂 We contacted Mara Explorers and Shemeji, their service and offer looks super exciting! Thanks for the tips!
        We have quite some exciting work to do now, booking all these activities! We already feel like we will need to come back, as 4 weeks is definitely not enough….. 😉

        • Helen
          May 20, 2017 at 2:51 pm

          Great that you contacted them! I hope you have an amazing time!

          And yes, 4 weeks is never enough! 🙂

  • Rosie
    August 14, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Hello! Me and my boyfriend are travelling to Kenya in September and we’ve found your blog so useful for planning our trip! We are going to book a few hostels before we go/plan a rough itinerary, but do you think we can get away with booking things like safaris and travel last minute while we are in Kenya? Thanks! Rosie

    • Helen
      August 25, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      You can book some stuff as you go for sure! Some things have to be booked in advance, like some buses, or the Nairobi Mombasa train which needs to be booked 3 days in advance (you can’t book before and it gets busy), but you’ll usually find a safari company that can take you last minute. Some hostels book up though, so if there’s anywhere specie you want to stay, check availability in advance.

  • Cheryl hill
    October 5, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Hi Helen.
    I’m looking for advice. Budget travel early 2018. Head out in new years eve. 2 weeks in Zanzibar then safari stuff.
    Any advice appreciated.

    • Helen
      October 11, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      Hi Cheryl,

      Have a read through my Tanzania posts as they have a lot of the general advice and then let me know your basic plan and the specific questions you have! 🙂

  • Adam
    October 15, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Your travel stories in Kenya and Tanzania are amazing and I really enjoy reading this, thanks for sharing your experience and valuable information that you are sharing. After traveling to Kenya and Tanzania, you can continue your journey to Bali and join the best surf school in Bali this

  • Denise
    October 29, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Oh this is such a nice blog post! I really loved my visit to Kenya! It was so much fun. I only stayed 11 days though which is I think way too little. We spent so much money just going on Safari but I guess you can also save a lot of money with it if you know where to book.
    I still want to go to Tanzania because I have heard so many good things about it. Which country did you like better?

    • Helen
      November 3, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Hey! I love both Kenya and Tanzania equally in different ways!

  • Milly
    November 21, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Hi Helen,
    Thank you so much for such a great post! It has been a really interesting read and I have shared it with my parents. I am currently living and volunteering in Nairobi and my parents want to join me for a couple of weeks in March to do a couple of safaris and explore Tanzania. Did you overland it from Arusha to Dar or fly? I noticed that you said that you did a safari from Nairobi to Ngorogoro and just jumped off at Arusha. How long was the drive from Nairobi?
    Thanks again,

    • Helen
      November 21, 2017 at 9:15 am

      Oh, how lovely they are coming to join you!

      I have done both overlanding from Dar to Arusha and flown. Flying is MUCH more comfortable. The bus is long (like 12 hours).

      I did a camping safari with Absolute Africa for the Serengeti once. It was going Nairobi – Arusha – Serengeti – Ngorongoro – Arusha – Nairobi. I was going down to Dar after, so I jumped off at Arusha and then made my own way down to Dar.

      The drive between Nairobi and Dar takes about 6 hours, and then add on time for the border crossing, so maybe like 7 hours!

  • Zach and Hanna
    December 24, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Hi Helen,
    Really great a detailed post! My wife and I are in Kenya at the moment and we’ll be heading to Tanzania (via Uganda and Rwanda) over the next couple of months. It’s great to get a bit of a feel for how much things will cost when we get there. We travel on a tight budget, so it was nice to read about the cheaper places you found. Totally agree that Africa can be a cheap place to travel, but when you add the Safari’s and activities the price escalates pretty quickly!
    Thanks for the great post

  • Ben
    May 30, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Great article, really appreciate the info.

    It looks like the 5-day Serengeti & Ngoronogno Crater tour by Absolute Africa is more like £900 now. Sigh.

    Do you find Overland operator prices are negotioable to some extent, if they’re struggling to make up the numbers?


    • Helen
      May 30, 2018 at 9:31 am

      You can try but I’m not sure to be honest. They outsource the safaris to another company, so I guess it depends on the other company. The prices in Africa have risen at a crazy rate.

      You could just try and book a normal safari, starting and ending in Arusha. If you join a group one, it should be a bit cheaper than that.

  • Aelita Nalbandian
    October 28, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I felt certain Africa is too much expensive for ordinary traveler… You sold me, I’m packing!
    P.S. I just know how to point a camera and nothing else, but I dream to take pictures as gorgeous as you do.

  • Laura
    March 18, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Hi dear Helen,

    I’m planning my dreamed Kenyan trip with my boyfriend.

    Our itinerary will be: 1) Nairobi, hells gate, lake naivasha, masai mara, amboselli, tavo ouest, mombasa .
    My most important question is: Do you think it’s douable to book only the hotels and during the trip look for the safaris and transportation ?? We have 10 days only.

    Thanks for your reply

    Laura and Christian

  • Ana Katrina Lopez
    May 26, 2019 at 8:56 am

    This was a lovely read! It seems you had lots and lots of fun during your travels in both countries. I hear they’re both equally amazing places to visit for an African adventure. And reading yours has me convinced that it definitely is. Which country did you prefer though? Or do you equally like both? I just wanted to know which would be better. Anyway, looking forward to reading more of your travel posts. Happy travels!

  • Stephen
    July 8, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Hi Helen,

    I am planning a 3 week stay in Malawi next year and have found your Malawi Itinerary which is great,but have you got a budget page for Malawi which could help me better plan activities and such? Myself and partner are travelling over for a wedding in Nkhotkota so would be travelling from there, hopefully trying to visit Victoria falls in the trip too. Any help would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    • Helen
      July 8, 2019 at 1:34 pm

      Hi Stephen,

      I don’t sorry! But I’ll let you know if I ever write one! You can have a look at my tours:

      They may give you an idea of what to do!



  • Snigs
    August 23, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Hi Helen,what a lovely post and really enjoyed the attention to detail and expressions. We are 3 people travelling through Zambia to Tanzania for 7 nights. Could you suggest if 3 night 4 day safari in Serengeti and Ngorogoro and then 3 nights in Zanzibar are a good division? And the camping safari is costing me about $770 per person for the 3 nights. Do I need a tour for Zan or can I just AirBnB in Stone town and wing it . Many Thanks Snigs

  • Chris
    November 30, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Helen!

    I’m planning a one-month trip to Tanzania and Kenia. I found many useful information on your blog, which is great I have one specific question I was unable to find the answer. You write on one of your’s posts:

    “My Tanzania visa allowed me to re-enter the country after I’d been to Kenya within a certain time frame so I didn’t have to pay twice.”

    Did you have to make any special request for Visa that allowed you to go to Kenia and go back to Tanzania? This is the thing I’m planning to do and, obviously, I would like to avoid paying for visas twice


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