South Africa Budget & Trip Report

Our itinerary, lodging info and budget from our road trip through South Africa from September 2-30, 2014.

Tracking the Expenses

All of the following information comes as a result of tracking our expenses with the superb mobile app MoneyControl. I had paid for the full version of both the mobile and desktop apps, but have found that the mobile app is really all you need, as you can generate reports right on your phone and export them in a variety of ways. Trail Wallet and other apps have been recommended to us (and I’ve tried them all) but have found that I prefer the ease of use, interface and reports of MoneyControl. The one advantage that Trail Wallet has, in my opinion, is the ability to deal with a variety of currencies and conversions, but the functionality is currently limited. For Lori and I, everything eventually gets converted back into USD anyways, given that that is what we’re generally paid in and what our bank accounts reflect, so I find it easiest to convert the amount to USD before entering it into the app. A huge advantage of this is that it gives you an immediate sense of how much your actually spending, as £4 (British Pounds) can seem appropriate for a grande gourmet coffee (until you realize that’s US$6.40!), and so on.


Itinerary & Lodging

We spent 29 days total in South Africa, the first five of which were spent in Cape Town getting around by public bus and taxi, and the remaining 24 getting around via rental car (Cape Town to Nelspruit). On the final day, we left the rental car in Nelspruit and took the InterCape bus to Maputo.

We stayed in 14 different guesthouses, lodges and backpackers in South Africa. Average cost of accommodation per night for two people was $40 USD, with our most expensive lodging being $56 in Cape Town and $50 in Pretoria, and our cheapest being $25 in Graskop and $28 in Port Elizabeth. Signal Hill Lodge and White Clay Lodge were our overall favorites, while Ikaya Backpackers and King’s Beach were our least favorite.

02-07 Sep Cape Town Signal Hill Lodge 5 nights US$56 AC double / en suite
07-08 Sep Stellenbosch Ikaya Backpackers 1 night US$32 double / shared bath
08-09 Sep Franschoek Otter’s Bend Lodge 1 night US$39 double cabin / en suite
09-10 Sep L’Agulhas Cape Agulhas Backpackers 1 night US$33 double / shared bath
10-12 Sep Wilderness Wilderness Beach House Backpackers 2 nights US$42 double / en suite
12-13 Sep Nature’s Valley Wild Spirit Backpackers 1 night US$35 double / en suite
13-15 Sep Port Elizabeth King’s Beach Backpackers 2 nights US$28 double / shared bath
15-17 Sep Cintsa Buccaneer’s Backpackers 2 nights US$31 double / shared bath
17-19 Sep Coffee Bay White Clay Lodge 2 nights US$42 double / en suite
19-22 Sep S.Drakensberg Sani Lodge 3 nights US$33 double / shared bath
22-23 Sep N.Drakensberg Amphitheatre Backpackers 1 night US$36 double / en suite
23-24 Sep Soweto/Jo’burg Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers 1 night US$35 double / shared bath
24-27 Sep Pretoria Pretoria Backpackers 3 nights US$50 double / en suite
27-30 Sep Graskop Valley View Backpackers 3 nights US$25 dbl cabin / shared bath



The following is an overview of our costs (for TWO travelers — a husband/wife couple) in each location we visited. The table does not include transport or communication costs or incidentals such as water, toilet paper, etc. — but should hopefully give you some idea of what it might cost to travel through these parts of South Africa on a month-long road trip in shoulder season. One thing definitely worth noting regarding the “Food” column is that Lori and I are not big people and often get by sharing one appetizer and one main (or sometimes just a main), so that’s something worth keeping in mind — though Lori knows full and well that if we order hamburgers of any size, she’s going to have to get her own.

For more on our rental car costs and stats, read our post: Return to Mozambique.

Table: Average spent per day (for two people), categorized by DAY, FOOD, LODGING, and SIGHTSEEING:

Cape Town US $104 /day US $35 /day US $56 /day US $13 /day*
Cape Winelands & Whale Coast $74 $32 $35 $7
Garden Route $81 $29 $35 $17
Wild Coast $62 $25 $37 $0
Drakensberg $86 $24 $34 $28
Gauteng (Jo’burg/Pretoria) $71 $18 $46 $7
Blyde River Canyon $51 $22 $25 $4
OVERALL AVERAGES $71 /day $26 /day $40 /day $5 /day

*Lori opted to go alone on the Robben Island tour as I had done it in 2006 and it’s not a cheap ticket to do.


Keep Reading

Share this Post

Leave a Comment