The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have led to changes in budgets and economies. In light of this situation, travel lovers can still plan a low budget but fun filled trip for 2020 and 2021! As I write this, Tanzania has announced its borders are opening in June 2020, and we will see more countries easing their travel restrictions. So, think about what a good idea it is to visit East Africa, which is home to some of the most stunning locations in the world, and offers a range of extraordinary experiences that every traveller must witness at least once in their lives!
One of the most important tips for budget travel is to agree upon prices ahead of time. Tourists can easily avail discounts and reduced prices if they make bookings in advance. Online bookings are cheaper, and allow travellers to avoid inconveniences and emergency situations.
Before getting a taxi, hiring a guide, or signing up for a tour, it is essential that one must know what they will eventually be paying. Negotiation should be done before the services are used.
It is a good idea to find out the prices for important things beforehand, in order to avoid getting ripped off.
Bringing cash is a good idea, as it saves ATM and bank fees.
Malls and supermarkets in East Africa offer many imported goods, so tourists should buy cheaper alternatives from local stores. Instead of spending at international food chains, try street food, which costs less, provides a more authentic experience, and supports the local economy.
Where To Go
It is expected that in the post COVID-19 world, people would still like to avoid bigger gatherings. To stay away from crowds, and avert raised prices, one should visit remote areas instead of big and famous parks.
In Kenya, the lesser known but stunning Shaba National Reserve allows visitors to escape the crowds. The Ewaso Nyiro River, lush vegetation, vivid landscapes, surrounding mountains, and Doum palms provide a beautiful and scenic view.
Kenya is remote so visitors can avoid other tourists, but have meaningful interactions with the local Samburu people.
Saadani National Park borders the sea in Tanzania. This sanctuary is home to flamingos, crocodiles, giraffes, dolphins, hippopotamus, monkeys, elephants, zebras, turtles, whales, and waterbucks.
Use taxi apps, which specify a set price. Uber, Bolt, and Taxify are popular in East Africa, as they provide affordable travel opportunities.
International flights are cheaper for the big cities, such as Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. Once tourists have arrived in the country, they can use less expensive public transport such as bus, ferry or train to get around.
In smaller and less crowded areas, walking is a free and environmentally friendly idea. Visitors may opt for cycling, but this can not be done on main roads and national parks. Mountain bikes can also be rented. Wayo Africa, Arusha Bicycle Centre, and Nungwi Cycling Adventures provide cheap and exciting cycling tours in Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Minibuses or dala dalas are also a cheap option in Tanzania.
For accommodation, one should try to stay at the same place for a longer duration, so they can negotiate for discounts. Local lodges tend to be cheaper than international hotels.
Camping is cheaper than staying at retreats during safari experiences. Bringing your own tent might help in getting discounts from hostels.
A low budget travel method is backpacking. Zanzibar caters to the needs of backpackers as it offers cheap bars, affordable local lodges. Other top backpacker friendly locations are the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Mount Kilimanjaro, where visitors can see exotic flora and fauna, and scenic views, and enjoy affordable tours and activities. Solo travel might be an ideal option in 2020-21 after the coronavirus crisis, as it allows tourists to practice some degree of social distancing.
Safaris are expensive so solo travellers can team up into groups so they can negotiate and share prices. In Nairobi, Kenya, Milimani Backpackers is a comfortable hostel that can assemble people into groups, and allows tourists to avail budget prices for tours such as the Maasai Mara safari.
After the coronavirus pandemic ends, travel can resume. Many businesses are expected to provide discounts to attract visitors, so the tourism industry can get back on track after such a prolonged lockdown period. We hope that the situation improves soon, and these tips can be helpful in planning an exciting, unforgettable, and enriching vacation on a low budget.