Budget travel in South Africa

Budget travel in South Africa

Travelling in South Africa inspires my soul – our magnificent landscapes, diverse cultures, fabulous food and amazing people are just magic!  I’m lucky that the nature of my work allows me to travel Mzansi a lot. I’ve been to a lot of places, but everywhere is on my list .Travel isn’t cheap though. It’s something that needs to be budgeted for. Your holiday budget can go a long way if you’re smart about it. Here are my top tips for travelling locally on a budget:

Plan, plan, plan

Planning is key for travelling on a budget. Low cost airlines such as Mango, Kulula and Fly SafAir often have flash sales valid for a few hours or a day where you can pick up super cheap airfares. Sign up for airline newsletters to get the low down on the latest deals and flash sales.   If you can’t plan in advance look out for cheap last minute fares.

Consider packages

Packages deals can be a great money saver. Our local low cost airlines have some super affordable packages that include car rental, airfare and accommodation that end up being cheaper than booking individually.  Fire your soul with a local weekend getaway!

Travel off season

Travelling in school holidays and long weekends will always cost you more. If you can afford to travel outside peak season, you can take advantage of lower rates and have more to spend on the fun stuff like activities.


Eating out all the time will take its toll on your budget. Self-catering apartments, holiday homes, or backpackers with a kitchen will allow you to cook your own chow and save moola. Save your money for a nice restaurant rather than eating crappy takeaways.

Getting around

Road trips are my favorite way to travel and they are easy on the pocket.  The freedom of the open road fires my soul.  I love exploring country roads and stopping spontaneously when at a cool padstal or a stunning look out point. Besides being an affordable way to travel, road trips allow you to explore more budget friendly off the beaten track destinations.  

Where to stay

One of the biggest costs when you travel is accommodation.  I prefer spending less on accommodation so that I have more to spend on food, drinks and activities.

Backpacker Hostels

South African’s haven’t really caught on to the hostel trend. Backpacker travel is not just for gap year students from Europe & the US, South Africans should take advantage of the budget options available. We have so many excellent backpacker hostels in SA from city poshtels (more like boutique hotels) to local community backpackers in rural villages. You don’t have to share a dorm room, most hostels have private rooms with en suite facilities. 

Backpacker hostels offer a social vibe, perfect for youthful and solo travellers. You get to make friends, stay within your budget and get to spend your money on the fun stuff like adventure activities

AirBnb and Vacation Rentals

AirBnb not only offers a local experience, you can really save a lot by using their service, especially if you’re travelling in a group and sharing a house.  They are so much cheaper than hotels, and they provide some interesting options. I’ve even stayed on an Airbnb catamaran in Durban!

National and Provincial parks

SA has an amazing diversity of national and provincial parks, many of which have budget accommodation options. SANParks offers a variety of accommodation options – from hotels to self-catering cottages and huts to camping. In KZN, check out KZN Emvelo Wildlife and Cape Nature. You have to book early during school holidays but you can often find last minute options off-season.  Doing a guided game drive at a national park is super affordable too.


I’m a happy camper! The initial outlays for camping can be a little pricey but it works out much cheaper in the long run. Camping is easy on the budget, and you get to experiences some really wild places.  There’s nothing like camping on a beach campsite with the sound of waves lulling you to sleep

Here’s to more South African travel to #FireYourSoul.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Zappa, but all views and opinions expressed are my own. #FireYourSoul

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