The Cost of Travel: South Africa

A common question – how much did it cost? My previous post, Proof in the Numbers, seemed to drum up a lot of interest in the specifics of how much I spent on my 27 month journey around the world so I’ve decided to begin a series of expense-related content to help anyone planning extended travel to really get to the meat of their own budget. I plan to post about each country I visited, in no particular order, so if you’d like me to write about a specific country right away, please follow me via Facebook, Instagram, or email updates on this page and tell me what country you want to hear about in the comments section. However, please keep in mind I can only write about countries I visited on this journey, which you can find in the link above.

First off, it’s South Africa! With its abundant wildlife, craggy sea cliffs, world-class trekking, surfing beaches, and plenitude of adventure sports, there is rarely a dull moment in the Rainbow Nation.

Actual amount spent per day = $61/day**


Out of 51 days, I stayed in hostels for 45 nights, 2 nights in a hotel, and 4 camping. The hotels and camping were part of a tour so I’ll discuss that separately in another post, but an average night for a dorm bed in a hostel in South Africa is listed below.

Cape Town – $20/night (including a full breakfast) / 280R/night

Garden Route – $13/night / 170R/night

Eastern Cape – $13/night / 170R/night

Durban – $14/night / 185R/night

Kwazulu-Natal – $14/night / 180R/night

Johannesburg – $15/night / 200R/night

Food & Drink

Large bottle of water – $1.50 / 20R

Large bottle of beer – $2 / 30R

Cup of coffee – $1 / 15R

Restaurant meal and a drink in Cape Town/Garden Route – $10 / 135R

Restaurant meal and a drink in Eastern Cape – $7 / 95R

American style breakfast and coffee – $4 / 55R

Ground Transport

South Africa is a big fan of Uber and it’s available almost everywhere in the cities and on the Garden Route. I only used it a couple of times so most of my expenditures focus on public or group transportation, but if you’re keen to take a taxi, definitely consider using Uber to get around. When I did use Uber in Johannesburg and Cape Town, the cars were clean and spacious and the drivers were extremely professional.

Bus from airport to Loop Street in Cape Town – $7 / 95R

Baz Bus from Cape Town to Johannesburg (one way, hop on hop off bus with one year validity) – $402 / 5500R

Shuttle from Baz Bus route to Hermanus (one way) – $15 / 200R

Shuttle from Baz Bus route to Outdtshoorn (one way) – $11 / 150R

Shuttle from Baz Bus route to Hogsback (one way) – $14 / 190R

Shuttle from Baz Bus route to Coffee Bay (one way) – $6 / 80R

Shuttle from Baz Bus route to Bulungula (one way) – $9 / 120R


Cable car to the top of Table Mountain – $19 / 255R

Cape Point day tour with lunch – $61 / 850R

Cycling from top of Swartberg Pass – $33 / 445R

Cango Caves visit and tour – $7 / 90R

Ostrich farm tour – $4 / 55R

Wilderness NP entry fee – $9 / 120R

Tsitsikamma NP entry fee – $7 / 97R

One day bike rental – $13 / 180R

One hour kayak rental – $7 / 100R

Robberg Peninsula entrance – $3 / 40R

Zip lining – $28 / 375R

Guided hike and lunch to Hole in the Wall – $6 / 90R

Marine World entrance – $13 / 175R

Tugela Falls guided trek with lunch – $51 / 690R

Lesotho guided tour with lunch – $51 / 690R

Other Stuff

Laundry – $3-$6 for a load / 40-75R

Movie ticket – $5.50 / 75R

Tattoo – $75 / 1000R

Yoga class – $5 / 70R

Large bottle of shampoo – $5 / 66R

One hour massage – $11 / 150R

ATM fee – $3 / 40R

**Amounts current as of Dec 2016/Jan 2017.  All amounts are listed in USD and local currency (Rand) and are only an estimate. Actual costs may vary.

South Africa definitely wasn’t the most budget-conscious destination, but without a doubt, it was worth every penny of stunning views and exhilarating adventure.  Have you been to South Africa?  Let me know your thoughts on my budget in the comments section.

Enjoy and keep traveling!

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