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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 SepCape TownSignal Hill Lodge5 nightsUS$56AC double / en suite
07-08 SepStellenboschIkaya Backpackers1 nightUS$32double / shared bath
08-09 SepFranschoekOtter’s Bend Lodge1 nightUS$39double cabin / en suite
09-10 SepL’AgulhasCape Agulhas Backpackers1 nightUS$33double / shared bath
10-12 SepWildernessWilderness Beach House Backpackers2 nightsUS$42double / en suite
12-13 SepNature’s ValleyWild Spirit Backpackers1 nightUS$35double / en suite
13-15 SepPort ElizabethKing’s Beach Backpackers2 nightsUS$28double / shared bath
15-17 SepCintsaBuccaneer’s Backpackers2 nightsUS$31double / shared bath
17-19 SepCoffee BayWhite Clay Lodge2 nightsUS$42double / en suite
19-22 SepS.DrakensbergSani Lodge3 nightsUS$33double / shared bath
22-23 SepN.DrakensbergAmphitheatre Backpackers1 nightUS$36double / en suite
23-24 SepSoweto/Jo’burgLebo’s Soweto Backpackers1 nightUS$35double / shared bath
24-27 SepPretoriaPretoria Backpackers3 nightsUS$50double / en suite
27-30 SepGraskopValley View Backpackers3 nightsUS$25dbl 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 TownUS $104 /dayUS $35 /dayUS $56 /dayUS $13 /day*
Cape Winelands & Whale Coast$74$32$35$7
Garden Route$81$29$35$17
Wild Coast$62$25$37$0
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.

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