We had read in the guidebook that there was a nice safari lodge right inside the Tsavo National Park gate which would be a great spot to eat lunch and spot animals. We thought that a good spot to catch up on some work as well as plan how we would tackle a safari in Tsavo on the cheap. Turns out we had to pay the $40 entrance fee to gain access to that lunch option, so our cab driver suggested we try another place outside the gate that had a buffet lunch as well. The lodge was stunning, and gave us an amazing aerial view of Tsavo. The spunky innkeeper and her fluffy white pup showed us the grounds and, offering us a price we really couldn't beat for bed and breakfast, she convinced us to stay the evening. Sunset Safari in Tsavo East National Park. The weather was leaps and bounds better than our day at Nairobi National, and correspondingly, our matatu was a convertible!

The lodge also had a laundry service which quickly showed the difference between guys and girls on the road. The price was steep, but after a dusty and humid few days in the coastal town of Mombasa, I was at the end of my "packing light" rope and 600 schillings (about $10) to wash nearly all of my clothing seemed like a bargain to this gal.

All said and done, as expensive as the lodge and the safari were on LongJaunt's terms, we had to keep reminding ourselves of the absolute bargain basement price we were paying compared to the majority of safari-goers. We passed several people in four wheel drive vehicles who were seeing exactly what we were seeing for what we knew was a much higher price tag. All said and done, discluding laundry, we paid the following (prices per person) for a two day safari including food, lodging, transportation, and "tell me where you want to go and find the cheetahs" freedom:

  • $40 US park entrance fee - One time fee for an access period of 24 hours, so we used it the next morning, too.
  • 11,000 Ksh/3= 3,667 Ksh - For two separate 4-hour matatu safaris in Tsavo, including vehicle and driver entrance fees.
  • 4,500 Ksh/3 = 1,500 Ksh - For a night in one of the top 5 hotels i've ever stayed in, including breakfast.
  • 300 Ksh = Dinner and tea at the lodge.
  • Total per person (in US dollars at 62 Ksh/dollar): $128.17
Not too shabby for two safaris and a three-cheetah sighting.