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If you’re planning on travelling to South Africa, you’re probably wondering how much you need to budget for your trip. While your travel costs will depend on your travel style, generally speaking South Africa is perfect for a budget trip.
Accommodation costs are generally affordable and food and drinks are very cheap. Many of South Africa’s best attractions are very affordable or even free and, while some activities could set you back a fair amount, there’s plenty to do at lower price points too.
A reasonable budget for two for a week in South Africa is around ZAR 17,510.
The above cost is based on staying in good, mid-range accommodation and having a few meals out per week, while preparing some yourself. It makes allowances for a couple of sightseeing activities, but doesn’t take into account expensive activities like adventure sports or private tours.
Generally speaking, the longer you travel, the cheaper it costs per day, while fly-in, fly-out trips can be more expensive.
You can expect to spend between ZAR 800-ZAR 1,800 a night, per couple, on accommodation in South Africa. This will get you a private room with your own bathroom in a 3-4-star hotel or apartment rental.See latest hotel deals in South Africa
Hostels are, of course, cheaper, but a private room with a shared bathroom will still cost around ZAR 450 per night. A bed in a dorm room also averages around ZAR 200 per night, per person, although there are definitely cheaper options out there.See the highest rated hostels in South Africa
Budget to spend around ZAR 4,500 for two for a week in South Africa. This assumes you’re cooking some of the time and drinking some alcohol.
If you enjoy eating out, you can expect to pay around ZAR 532 for a nice dinner for two, including an alcoholic drink. A meal at a pub is likely to be around ZAR 337 for two, with cheaper meals available (especially for lunch) for around ZAR 117 each.
Assuming that you’ll be eating out some of the time, budget at least ZAR 500 a week for groceries. If you enjoy a few drinks, you’ll need to increase this amount – beer costs around ZAR 19 for a 500ml bottle and good bottle of wine is around ZAR 99, from a shop, although there are cheaper options available. Milk typically costs around ZAR 16 for a two-litre bottle and you can expect to pay around ZAR 31 for a cappuccino from a local café.
Getting around South Africa is easiest with a car. Transport costs fluctuate depending how much you travel, but budgeting around ZAR 930 for two per week is a good starting point. This should allow you to hire a cheaper rental car. If you’re planning on doing any tours or using hop-on hop-off buses, you’ll need to up your budget a bit.
A lot of the best things to do in South Africa are free. However, there definitely are some attractions that cost money – entry fees to a museum or an art gallery are usually around ZAR 85 - ZAR 600 per person. If you want to do organised day trips or join smaller tour groups to learn more about some of the sites, budget around ZAR 1,500 per activity per person.
If you're planning to go on safari in South Africa, you'll need to budget a bit extra. The cost of game drives varies depending on which reserve you're going to and the length of your game drive. Accommodation while on safari also ranges greatly in price (think everything from camp sites to luxury lodges), so you can spend as little or as much as you can afford.
South Africa is a beautiful destination to visit and is a great place for a cheap trip. Cooking your own meals, carefully selecting accommodation or limiting meals out will definitely help you to reduce your travel costs. Slow travel is another great way to help your budget to stretch further, while exploring a place in more depth.
Travelling through South Africa is definitely possible on a budget – just pick your priorities and compromise on the rest or consider travelling in the off-season and avoiding school holidays to cut down on costs. And, if you’re on the luxury end of the scale or wanting to treat yourself, the sky’s the limit.
Last Updated 19 July 2022