Planning to backpack South Africa? Here’s a rundown of all your main costs – from bus passes and hostels to safaris, food and day trips…
Planning to backpack South Africa? Well I don’t blame you – this stunning country is packed full of incredible things to see and do!There are very few places in the world that you can travel that are so diverse and offer up such a variety of cultures, activities and landscapes. Whether you want to get back to nature with a safari in one of the famed national parks, surf in South Africa or discover the best things to do in Cape Town you’re spoilt for choice!
But as with planning any trip how much to budget for a trip to South Africa is going to be the toughest thing to figure out.
Luckily I’m here to help – and here’s a breakdown of all the major costs you’ll encounter when planning to backpack South Africa, so you can quickly figure out what you’re looking at spending…
Backpack South Africa – How Much To Budget
Top Thing To Do In South Africa
There are so many epic things to see and do when you backpack South Africa, so be prepared to have a solid budget to fit in the top things to do in South Africa and obviously the amount you spend is going to vary a lot depending on the length of your stay, location, what you want to get up to and of course the structure of your South Africa itinerary.
Of course things like hiking Table Mountain or going on safari should already be on your bucket list, but here are a few extras to add in as well!
To help you plan though here are some of the costs of the top things to do in South Africa;
- Shark cage dive – 2600ZAR (£147)
- Snorkelling with seals – 900ZAR (£50)
- Table mountain cable car – 200ZAR one way (£11)
- Skydive – from 2400ZAR (£135)
- Boulders Beach – 152ZAR (£8.60)
- Surf lesson – from 60ZAR at Coffee Shack in Coffee Bay (£3)
- Bloukrans Bungy jump – 1350ZAR (£76)
- Paragliding – 1300ZAR in Cape Town (£73)
- Day trip (via hostel – scenic walk etc) – 100ZAR (£6)
- Shark scuba dive (Durban) – 1600ZAR (£90)
- Winery tour (Stellenbosch inc pickup from Cape Town) – around 950ZAR (£53)
Cost of Safari In South Africa
You can’t really come to South Africa without going on safari and for many this is going to be the biggest splurge in the budget – or even the main reason to backpack South Africa!
There are a huge range of options, from budget camping trips to luxury safari lodges, day trips and multiple park options to choose from.
But to keep things simple and to give you a basis for your planning here are the costs of a couple main ones I checked out;
- Overnight Safari (4 Days Camping in Kruger from J’Burg with Intrepid) – from 7410ZAR (£419)
- Day safari (Kruger) – from 1490ZAR (£84)
- Day safari (Hluhluwe Umfolozi from Durban) – from 1250ZAR (£70)
Also make sure you wear the right gear for your safari too – with comfortable and well wearing being the main aim of the game. You don’t want to be cruising around worried about getting dirty!
Cost of accommodation in South Africa
As with budgeting for any country one of the biggest costs is going to be accommodation. If you‘re looking to backpack South Africa you’ll be stoked to hear that there is actually a pretty solid rage of accommodation to choose from!
- Average accom (hostel dorm) – 200ZAR (£11)
- Average accom (hostel double) – 600-700ZAR (£30-35)
- Air B n B – huge range of prices depending on accommodation and location! (click here for $39 AirBnB credit!)
Some awesome South Africa hostels to hit up;
- African Soul Surfer (200/750ZAR) – Cape Town
- Stoked Backpackers (200/800ZAR)- Cape Town
- Island Vibes (180/750ZAR) – Jeffreys Bay
- Bucaneers Backpackers (230/700ZAR) – Cintsa
- Albergo for Backpackers (190/600ZAR) – Plettenberg Bay
- Coffee Shack Backpackers (170/480ZAR)- Coffee Bay
(Above prices are for dorm rooms/doubles)
Cost of Food and Drink
Alongside accommodation the other major costs associated with anywhere is going to be food and drink.
So here’s a basic run down of food costs…
- Hostel meal – 50-100ZAR (£2.80 – £5.60)
- Meal in a restaurant – 50-200ZAR (£2.80-£11) (depending on the meal and restaurant!)
- Cooking for yourself – you can rustle up cheap meals like pasta for as little as 30ZAR (£1.60)
- Beer in off licence – around 10ZAR (£0.52)
- Beer in a bar – around 20ZAR (£1)
- Bottle of wine in off license – from 50ZAR (£2.80)
Honestly during my time in South Africa I found that many hostels offered cooked meals at a really reasonable price, in fact if you’re bouncing around quite a bit this works out much more convenient and cheaper than shopping for yourself.
If you do want to hit the shops for snacks or cooking supplies Chequers, Spar and Pick n Pay all offer a wide range of food and drink though.
How to travel around South Africa
There are 3 main ways to travel around South Africa safely depending on your time frame, style of travel and budget – The Baz Bus, car hire and of course full blown organised tour. Which one you choose is entirely down to you and they all have their pros and cons – but lets focus on the costs which may help you decide pretty quickly, so lets run through them…
Transport – Baz bus
This hop on, hop off bus service is a great option for solo travellers or those not wanting to go the driving route. Much like the Greyhound in Australia or Kiwi Experience in New Zealand you can by a pass and hop on and off as you choose.
They have teamed up with some of the best hostels in South Africa too with a pickup/drop off service direct to the door.
- J’Burg < > Cape Town one way pass – 7020ZAR (£397)
- J’Burg < > Cape Town return pass – 10530ZAR (£596)
- Cape Town < > Durban one way pass – 5810ZAR (£329)
Transport – Car Hire
Another popular option with couples or small groups heading off to backpack South Africa is the self drive option and I met a lot of people doing this, especially on the Garden Route section of the coast.
- From around 140ZAR per day (£8)
This obviously varies a bit depending on pickup/drop off location, vehicle type and hire duration so have a hunt around a few suppliers for the best deal.
South Africa is a pretty big place and if you’re short on time or simply don’t fancy covering some chunks of it internal flights are easy to book and relatively cheap too.
Two of the most popular internal flights you might want to look at are as follows;
- Internal flight (J’Burg > Cape Town) – 2000ZAR (£113)
- Internal flight (J’Burg > Durban) – 1400ZAR (£79)
National carrier South Africa Airlines and low cost carrier Mango are both worth checking out with multiple daily departures and routes all over the country.
South Africa Tours
Now if you’re feeling nervous about travelling South Africa, want to sit back and let someone else organise everything and have a solid budget then there are plenty of epic South Africa tours to choose from with a whole range of itineraries.
Check out companies like Intrepid and G Adventures (both of whom are highly recommended) for some awesome options.
And if you want to get stuck into the waves and jump on a South Africa Surf Adventure like I did then Ticket To Ride offer a truly incredible 10 week surf trip from Cape Town to Durban which includes 8 stops, surf coaching throughout and heaps of awesome activities and community projects.
Found this post helpful? Check out my other How Much To Budget Posts!
- How Much To Budget For A Month In Thailand
- How Much To Budget For A Month In New Zealand
- How Much To Budget For A Month In Bali & Indonesia
- How Much To Budget For A Month In The Philippines
- How Much To Budget For A Month In Cambodia
- How To Travel The Maldives On A Budget
- Backpack South Africa – How Much To Budget
Are you heading off to backpack South Africa?
Any other costs you’d like added to the list?