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South Africa | Itinerary | Travel Tips

South Africa Travel Budget: Our 30-Day Expense Report

How much does it cost to travel South Africa? Check out our detailed South Africa travel budget with lodging, food, transport and more!

South Africa can be a surprisingly affordable place to travel, once you get here. If you have the time and a sense of adventure, the dramatic landscape, good infrastructure, and unique destinations also make for one epic road trip. Here is our 30 day South Africa travel budget report covering food, lodging, sightseeing, and transport for the two of us to inform your own unforgettable trip!

South Africa travel budget colorful houses

Tracking Our South Africa Travel Expenses

All of the following information comes as a result of tracking our expenses with the superb mobile app MoneyControl.

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.

Apps make tracking expenses for South Africa travel budget easy, but you can just as easily track your own expenses using a spreadsheet as I did for a number of years.

South Africa travel budget houses along coastline

Our One-Month South Africa Itinerary

We spent 29 days total in South Africa, staying in 14 different guesthouses, lodges, and backpacker hostels from Cape Town to Nelspruit.

Our average cost of accommodation per night for two people was $40 USD. Our most expensive lodging cost US $56 in Cape Town and US $50 in Pretoria. Our cheapest stays set us back US $25 in Graskop and US $28 in Port Elizabeth.

Cape Town’s Signal Hill Lodge and Coffee Bay’s White Clay Resort (read all about our stay) were our overall favorites, while Ikaya Backpackers (Stellenbosch) and King’s Beach (Port Elizabeth) were our least favorite.

South Africa Lodging by Location

2-7 SepCape TownSignal Hill Lodge5 nightsUS$56AC double / en suite
7-8 SepStellenboschIkaya Backpackers1 nightUS$32double / shared bath
8-9 SepFranschoekOtter’s Bend Lodge1 nightUS$39double cabin / en suite
9-10 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

penguins on beach South Africa travel budget

South Africa Expenses by Location

The following is an overview of our costs (for TWO travelers — a husband/wife couple) in each location we visited in South Africa.

The table below does not include transport (see later) or communication costs, or incidentals such as water, toilet paper, etc. — but may give you some idea of what your own South Africa travel budget might look like as an independent traveler.

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.

South Africa rondavel at sunset

Average Expenses per Day by Location

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.


The first five days of our trip were spent in Cape Town getting around by public bus and taxi.

The remaining 24 days, we got around by rental car (Cape Town to Nelspruit). For more on our rental car costs and stats, read our post, Return to Mozambique.

On the final day, we left the rental car in Nelspruit and took the InterCape bus to Maputo.

Have you traveled to South Africa?

Let us know how your own South Africa Travel Budget Report compares with ours in the comments below!

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