Last Updated on March 27, 2023
South Africa’s currency, the Rand, has seen a steady decline against the US Dollar over the past few years, meaning traveling to South Africa has become much cheaper. If planned in the right way, a trip to South Africa can be an incredible bargain now – even with a safari, which is usually pricey. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your trip to South Africa on a budget.
If you’re worried about paying some of the big ticket items on your South Africa trip, consider exploring your options for vacation loans. Many financial institutions offer programs that are specifically designed to help travelers cover the costs of their trips. However, it’s important to carefully evaluate the terms and interest rates of any loan for vacation financing that you’re considering. First of all, make sure you can comfortably repay the money within the set time frame.
How to visit South Africa on a budget
Hiring a car in South Africa is definitely the best way to get around. Use car rental aggregators such as Autoslash, Expedia or Priceline to compare rental prices. Rent a car right upon arrival at the airport to make things easier for you. A road trip around this beautiful country is inexpensive and the best way to experience South Africa. South Africa’s Garden Route is regarded as one of the most scenic road trips on the entire continent. If you’re traveling alone and don’t want to rent a car, check out BAZ bus, South Africa’s backpackers bus which runs between 40 destinations in the country.
Keep to a food budget
It can be expensive to eat out every day, and it definitely helps to have one meal in your hostel or vacation rental. Groceries are cheap, and you can have a good homemade breakfast each day before you head out. Visiting a grocery store is especially advised before doing a self-drive safari – the restaurants in the National Parks are overpriced, and you’re much better off packing picnic lunches. Then you can indulge in the delights of ice cream, street food and South African wine along the way as a treat.
Choose guided game drives
Of course, during your trip you will want to enjoy an African safari – a bucket list item for many, for both the animals as well as the beautiful landscapes of South Africa. However, if you book all-inclusive packages at the national parks you will pay a premium rate that may not suit your budget. By staying outside Kruger or Addo National Parks and choosing day trips into the park in your own vehicle you will save a massive amount of cash for what will still be an amazing experience. Plan your trip wisely and you will get the most out of your visit for as little the cost. It is also cheaper to book your safari trips when you get to South Africa instead of booking it from the U.S. Check out these useful tips on how to safari in South Africa on a budget.
Pay for the big stuff
Some activities in South Africa come with a big price tag but are worth the money depending on your desires. So, if you are visiting with your heart set on Shark-cage diving in Gansbaai, bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge or taking the cable car to the top of Table Mountain make sure to budget for this. South Africa has plenty of cool activities to offer, and on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, you don’t want to miss out on any of them.
Find budget accommodation
Decide which features you want in your accommodation before you book. There are plenty of options ranging from simple camping, hostels and self-catering apartments to hotels and lodges. Hostels are the cheapest option, but there are also great deals on vacation apartments and hotels – especially now thanks to the favorable exchange rate. If you’re planning to eat in some of your meals, make sure your hostel has a kitchen – or go for an Airbnb.
South Africa has a reputation of being an expensive country – but with these tips, you can travel this fascinating country on a budget, and still feel like you’re not missing out on anything.
Have any tips to add? Feel free to share them in the comments.