National park entrance fees
Fees for national parks are charged by the day. Some of the smaller parks, like Nairobi National Park (Kenya) at $40 USD per day, or Mikumi (Tanzania) at $30 USD per day, are less expensive options.
Other more famous parks like Maasai Mara (Kenya), Serengeti (Tanzania), or Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania), can cost upwards of $75 USD per day, depending on whether it’s high or low season. If you’re driving your own vehicle, there are separate vehicle charges as well, often at $170–200 USD per day.
The time of year matters
Dry season (June–October) is usually the best time of the year to see wildlife, but it’s also the most expensive and busiest time of year. You need to decide what works best for your schedule and your money. If you can, consider going on a safari just before high season kicks in.
Good guides go a long way
Your safari guide will attempt to show you the East African Big 5: lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, and rhinos. However, there are many other big-ticket animals that are amazing to see, including cheetahs, hyenas, hippos, giraffes, jackals, crocodiles, and scores of antelope and gazelle.
Usually, your driver will double as your guide. It can be hard to find a good guide, but search around for a driver and confirm that he has a cunning eye for spotting wildlife.