Private vs Group Safari – Which One is Better Choice?

If you are planning a safari to Africa, you have probably come across the dilemma whether to choose private customised safari or perhaps rather join the group safari offers.

We have done both, had great experience on private safaris in Tanzania as well we have been on a group safari. Which one is better choice?

Depends what you want from your trip of the lifetime. Since safaris in Africa are not on the cheap side, make sure your investment in safari experience will be long lasting pleasant and unforgettable memory.

Pros and Cons of Group Safari

Cut Down Safari Costs

Group safaris are usually slightly cheaper than private safaris and if your budget is limited, then from monetary point of view, better choice than private safari.  Group safaris in Africa are usually preferred choice by volunteers and solo travelers.

Fixed Departures of Group Safaris

Join the group safaris typically have set dates of departure so there is little or no room for any kind of flexibility. Nevertheless some safari operators encourage clients to seek for travel buddies through various travel forums and networks.

Might Happen You Will NOT Get Window Seat on Group Safari

Anything above 2 people is considered a group. When shopping around for group safari, make sure you know the group size. It is huge difference when 4 people sit in the car or having safari stuffed with 6 or more people. With groups with more than 4 travelers in the vehicle, there is huge probability you will not have window seat.

Prepare for Compromises on Everything, Even Toilet Stops!

You will share the safari vehicle with other travelers. You might meet new long lasting friends or in the worst scenario your safari could turn into disappointment.

You may actually not like the other travelers at all.  Be prepared for compromises. Even though the itineraries are fixed, group members have different expectations, interests that might not suit you. 

The group has to come to an agreement about everything, from stops along the game drives, what to focus on, someone will want to see lions hunting, you might want to spend more time at hippo pool, some have seen the animals before and get bored and noisy, some get hungry and want to get back to campsite or lodge as soon as possible towards the end of game drive while you want to wait for sunset and finally shoot that famous African sunset photos.

Lets hope you will like each other and interest gaps are not inevitable.

Also check: What to pack for safari

private or group safari africa tanzania

Pros And Cons of Private Safaris

Obvious downside of private African safari is cost, but a couple of hundred dollars more opens the doors to flexibility and freedom.

Flexibility and Freedom on Private Safari

Along with higher price comes the freedom and flexibility to create the safari of your dreams. You are free to decide on:

Duration of safari and you decide how much time you want to spend in national parks.

Ability to Pick and Choose Camps and Destinations

You are creator of your safari. Everything is possible. You decide where you want to splurge and where you want to save. Pick accommodation comfort level once you know what parks you want to visit,  then you can freely choose from all kinds of tented camps and lodges as long as there is availability.

Add Additional Adventure to Safari

While not possible in group safaris, you can enhance your private safari  in Africa with specific activities within parks and properties.  Go for a night game drive, book as balloon safari in Serengeti or Masai Mara, have a bush breakfast in the wilderness or go for hike to crater rim.

You Have Vehicle all by Yourself

Many people couldn’t think of anything worse than being stuck in a vehicle full of people while on safari.  You can pack more (although not recommended) since there will be more than enough space for your luggage and the camera equipment.   What is more, with all the space in the car you will definitely be able to take amazing photos from all possible angles.

Game drives and stops will be exclusively according to your wishes. Want to follow the lion family from kopjes to kopjes? No problem. Want to stop by in souvenir shop on the way back to hotel? No problem again.

Your Safari Driver is all Yours

Safari drivers  on private safari are your source of information during the tour and full of safari stories.  You will have chance to talk to driver and ask all the questions about wildlife. Tell him what you want to see and together you will spot the animals from your bucket list.