South Africa draws many travellers each year due to its scenic landscapes, breathtaking beaches and fascinating historical sites – yet often it can be costly for budget travellers.
Budget travelers looking for affordable travel should visit between February and May or September and November when accommodation and excursion prices are significantly cheaper compared to peak seasons.
1. Cape Town
Cape Town is an alluring natural gem, filled with fun activities, delicious cuisine and breathtaking views from Table Mountain. Additionally, it is one of the most affordable and secure travel destinations in South Africa.
For optimal travel conditions in Melbourne, March to April and November are considered shoulder seasons, when temperatures remain comfortably warm while attractions remain less busy than during high season.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden offers visitors a stunning experience when it comes to seeing wildflowers bloom, especially at Kirstenbosch’s Kirstenbosch Gardens. Here the gardens come alive with red, blue and orange Namaqualand daisies; blye sporrie; and purple suurvy blooming beautifully in bloom.
Be sure to wear sunscreen and pack plenty of sunnies, and consider investing in travel insurance as a precautionary measure should anything arise that requires immediate medical attention, like appendicitis or breaking an ankle while hiking up Table Mountain – having travel insurance could save money in medical bills – it’s an investment worth making!
Johannesburg, the capital city of South Africa, offers visitors a vast array of attractions and activities. For an authentic taste of South Africa, visitors should make time for Johannesburg with its bustling cafe culture, lively nightlife, and delicious restaurant choices.
Johannesburg is also home to the Johannesburg Museum of Contemporary Art, housed in an incredible former market building and offering visitors an interesting perspective on urban South Africa. For those wanting a deeper understanding of South African history, visiting Apartheid Museum should not be missed either.
Madikwe Game Reserve, one of South Africa’s lesser-known game reserves, boasts surprising wildlife abundance – with species such as Big 5, endangered wild dog and desert specialists like brown hyena being plentiful here. Perfect for both families and romantic getaways alike, Madikwe offers exquisite safari lodges and honeymoon suites.
3. The Garden Route
The Garden Route is a 300km coastal road on South Africa’s southwest coast, famous for its natural beauty and home to several nature reserves. Along this stretch of coastal road there are hiking and eco tours, whale watching tours and cave exploring activities available – something suitable for everyone in their free time!
Hermanus is one of the premier destinations on the Garden Route for whale watching, offering gorgeous seaside walks with fantastic seafood restaurants and beaches to visit. In addition, one cannot forget Cango Caves; an underground network accessible on foot.
An additional intriguing stop is the Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary, where visitors can observe wolves in their natural environment. Also be sure to visit Knysna Lagoon for breathtaking scenery and relaxation!
Backpacking the Garden Route can be accomplished without renting a car, though renting is generally recommended to make your journey more comfortable. Driving South African roads can be challenging with its variable speed limits and numerous roadblocks – it would also be wise to purchase travel insurance in case any accidents or medical emergencies arise during your journey.
4. The Northern Cape
The Northern Cape is an unexpectedly beautiful region spanning the Kalahari and Great Karoo deserts, the Orange River and vineyards, Namibia’s sand dunes, Augrabies Falls, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Richtersveld National Park as well as intimately linked with San – South Africa’s first people whose stories can be seen through numerous rock engravings throughout this part of South Africa.
For something less rugged, Cape Town’s beaches provide the perfect respite, from Camps Bay & Clifton beaches in Cape Town to Muizenberg and Boulders’ wilder shores. Water sports such as surfing, snorkeling and diving are also immensely popular here.
South Africans are known for being welcoming, and will invite you over for a braai (barbecue). Staying at a social hostel could lead to making some new friends who will help explore the area with you! They offer discounted activities as well.
5. The Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park stands out among Africa’s other popular safari destinations as an affordable travel choice, being easily reached in five hours from Johannesburg or its nearby Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport near Nelspruit and offering affordable car rental (around $15/day). Entrance fees also tend to be significantly less expensive compared to similar parks nearby.
Kruger National Park can best be experienced via guided tour, which includes lodging, food and game drives. There are various tour operators based nearby that provide affordable packages in this way.
Travel to Kruger during summer when temperatures are warm and rainfall low for optimal wildlife-spotting opportunities, especially the Big 5 animals. It will give you plenty of chances to observe wildlife up close!
This park is home to both black and white rhinos, while its open savannahs offer excellent opportunities to see some of the fastest land animals: cheetahs. In addition, painted dogs – rarely seen outside their own area – may also be found here. Upon departure, always tip your guide – generally 10% is appropriate – since taxis often don’t abide by schedules and may prove unsafe and unreliable.