Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Keeping your costs low when travelling in South Africa

South Africa is a vast country packed with fabulously beautiful landscapes and having exquisite sandy coastlines on both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Like most other countries it has its pockets of affluence in areas like Cape Town and Johannesburg where insurance quotes and property prices tend to rocket, but if you’re travelling around on a budget there are plenty of ways to keep the costs down as you explore this most fascinating and beautiful of countries.

The best way of getting around here as a budget traveller is by taking the popular and cheap Baz bus, which is a hop-on-hop-off shuttle connecting the major towns and cities, or by renting your own car through one of the many rental companies. You could also try overland trucking to explore not only South Africa but across the borders as well, as there are many reputable companies offering affordable excursions to most of the attractions and you can get off wherever you like to delve deeper into a region.

A great accommodation option is the many hostels that are to be found in all the big tourist destinations as well as in a lot of the smaller towns. Each of them has its own unique atmosphere and travellers can get cheap shared accommodation or pay a bit more for privacy and their own kitchen and sleeping quarters. Even the best hostels cost far less than the average hotel.

For those who prefer to avoid all the hassle of arranging complex itineraries as independent travellers, open-vehicle safaris are an alternative way of seeing the country in an organised group. This will be a little more expensive on the surface but in the long run you have to factor in the savings you’ll make on things like travel and accommodation and see whether this would work out cheaper. It has the advantage of taking in the best bungee jumping, abseiling and shark cage diving opportunities as part of the package, where you’d pay more by arranging these activities independently.

There are quite a few volunteer programs for those who want to make a contribution to South Africa in addition to simply enjoying its natural wonders. There’s a wide range of these to choose from, focusing on everything from education and childcare to conservation and community work. By enrolling on one of these programs you not only get to make a meaningful contribution but will be fed and looked after whilst you do so. The Face of Africa, ASSEX (Ambassadors of Study & Skills Exchange) and Ama Africa Experiences all run a series of programs that involve volunteers in working with local communities across the country.

If you’re up for a challenge and enjoy exploring unfamiliar ways of life and landscapes, travelling around South Africa doesn’t have to drain your bank account. Try thinking outside the box and you’ll quickly find that there’s more than one way to see the best South Africa has to offer at a fraction of the cost you’d imagined.       

David Elliott is a freelance writer who loves to travel, especially in Europe and Turkey. He’s spent most of his adult life in a state of restless excitement but recently decided to settle in North London. He gets away whenever he can to immerse himself in foreign cultures and lap up the history of great cities.   

This is a guest post but of course, I am super passionate about travelling in my beautiful country!

Who of you, my blog friends, will be visiting me next? :) 


  1. I wish! I'd love to visit another country. Did I ever tell you Aaron was deployed to Djibouti twice now?

  2. Hehehe...probably me, but you're just up the road now. ;-)


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