Are you short on budget but want to experience a travel to Africa? Well, we are happy to tell you that you can travel on a budget. How? Find the answer on our article “travelling to Africa on a budget.”
Travelling to Africa on a budget: Accommodation
There are numerous budget B&Bs across South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia, as well as some very decent backpacking accommodation. Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi also boast some decent backpacking options. Some cheaper lodges in South Africa and Lesotho are also good budget options.
Budget hotels in Kenya and Tanzania tend to be on the noisy side. There are some excellent budget options in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. There are some excellent Kenyan safari options. There are also an eye catching visits on tropical islands off the Eastern African coast.
All backpackers, budget hotels and lodges across southern Africa have lock-up safes for valuables and laundry services. Backpackers across South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe have self-catering and laundry facilities.
Find the best hotels in Nairobi, Kenya. You can also find top rated quality hotels in Johannesburg, South Africa.
If your first stop happens to be in Cape Town, South Africa, head down to the Tourist Information Centre in the city centre and pick up a copy – it’s free – of the Coast to Coast. The Coast to Coast is a small, scrappy little publication with a wealth of information on backpacking establishments, budget B&Bs, getting around cheaply, cheap car hire, discounts and a travel to Africa on a budget. It has some excellent budget deals on cheap, out of the way places that are not mentioned in the Lonely Planet and Rough Guide. It covers South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia.
All backpackers offer camping facilities and this is often a great way to save money on a tight budget. The best tents for camping in sub-Saharan Africa are water-proof (as opposed to shower-proof), come equipped with mosquito nets and netted windows, and have a bucket door. Be aware that it can be quite cold at night, so a sleeping bag is essential.
All South African and Namibian national parks and game reserves offer excellent camping facilities.
Travelling sub-Saharan Africa on public transport can be fairly easy and hassle-free, provided you set aside plenty of time for each leg of your journey – especially in Malawi and Zimbabwe. Backpackers and budget B&Bs in South Africa and Namibia will often be able to arrange pick-ups from the bus/train station to your accommodation. The Semongkong Lodge in Lesotho arranges pick-ups from Maseru.
The South African Baz Bus is a slightly expensive way to see South Africa, but is a convenient and safe way of travelling. The Baz Bus is a network of minivans linking member backpacking establishments. Book the Baz Bus the day before you want to leave, hop on at the place you are staying the next day, and be dropped off at your accommodation for that night.
If there are two or more in your travelling group, it is often cheaper to hire a car to travel South Africa and Namibia. Check out the Coast to Coast for excellent car hire deals.
Read our guide on finding the best train routes from Tanzania to Zambia.
Transport costs in Zambia and Zimbabwe are prohibitively expensive. In Zambia, it is cheaper, and more usual, for locals to hitch. Drivers expect to pick up hitchers en route to offset the cost of petrol.
Travelling to Africa on a budget: Food
Where possible, cook for yourself instead of eating out. Backpackers in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have kitchens and cooking facilities. Some backpackers offer free breakfast.
Delis at all the South African supermarket chains (Pick ‘n Pay and Shoprite Checkers) offer cheap cooked meals – chips/French fries, fried chicken, salads, breads, etc. These supermarket chains can be found in South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania.
You can teach your self how to cook a South African tea time treats for your breakfast.
Travelling to Africa on a budget: Discounts
Entrance into southern African game reserves operates on a three-tier system. Citizens of the country pay a minimum fee. Citizens of the Southern African Development Community member states (South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe) pay discounted fees. Tourists from all other countries pay maximum fees.
If you have southern African passport, ensure you bring it along for substantial savings on park entrance and camping fees.
Pensioners, on producing proof of age, often get substantial discounts on entrance fees at tourist sights in South Africa.
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