How much does it cost to travel in Southern Africa for 10 weeks (plus some sweet islands in the Indian Ocean)?

August 17, 2017 Sterling Laudon No comments exist

In total, Sarah and I spent $7,556.35 USD and 160,000 airline points. This was our total spending for two people, including flights to and from Africa.

Prior to our 2017 Southern Africa trip, we received several nervous questions about “what is this going to cost?” To answer that question, we meticulously tracked each Rand, Rupee, Euro and Ariary. We hope this will be useful information for others visiting these countries or planning any type of long-term travel.

You can download this spreadsheet for more in-depth information.

Our 10-week route

How much does it cost to travel to Southern Africa for 10 weeks (plus some sweet islands in the Indian Ocean)?Our trip included six flights (not including transfers)

How much will you spend compared to us?

Sarah and I tried to be cost-conscious during our Africa adventure. We camped, slept in our rental car a couple times, and did self-drive safaris. That said, we did not skate by on a shoe string. We ate at restaurants to sample local food, joined a couple organized tours, and did a small amount of shopping for gifts and souvenirs. Depending on how you like to travel, you can adjust your budget accordingly.

This is how much we spent per day in each country and what we spent it on. This total is for two people:

South Africa*

Namibia

Mauritius

Reunion

Madagascar

Accommodation

$27.99

$23.48

$51.50

$0.00

$7.51

Transportation

$25.64

$45.93

$14.99

$33.45

$14.20

Activity

$18.74

$7.19

$3.19

$0.00

$12.08

Restaurant

$11.39

$15.43

$2.73

$21.06

$13.39

Grocery

$9.94

$8.73

$16.33

$13.80

$3.24

Other

$3.33

$1.74

$0.00

$4.52

$6.33

Total

$97.03

$102.49

$88.75

$72.83

$56.74

*includes two nights in Swaziland and two nights in Lesotho

How much does it cost to travel to Southern Africa for 10 weeks (plus some sweet islands in the Indian Ocean)?

South Africa ($97/day)

In South Africa, we rented a vehicle and drove 5000km, starting in Johannesburg and ending in Capetown. Along the way, we spent two days in Swaziland and two days in Lesotho. For simplicity, we lumped these into South Africa.

While South Africa appears to be one of the more expensive countries we visited, we also crammed in the most activities. Averaging 179km/day in the car, we covered a ton of ground. South Africa contains spectacular geography (Blyde River Canyon, the Drakensberg Mountains, Table Mountain) and a well-organized national park system where you can self-drive safari instead of paying for an expensive tour.

How much does it cost to travel to Southern Africa for 10 weeks (plus some sweet islands in the Indian Ocean)?Car camping outside Royal Natal National Park

Namibia ($102/day)

Viewing Namibia requires crossing a huge amount of empty desert with long drives and gravel roads. Knowing this, Namibian rental car companies charge steep prices. We rented an economy car for $47/day (compared to $12/day in South Africa). To get our money’s worth, we drove over 2000km in one week, frantically trying to see everything.

Despite camping every night in Namibia, it was still the most expensive place we visited.

How much does it cost to travel to Southern Africa for 10 weeks (plus some sweet islands in the Indian Ocean)?The dusty road to Spitzkoppe

Mauritius ($89/day)

Seeking to escape the car, we spent six days in Mauritius at an Airbnb  in a small beach town. We cooked our own food and spent most days at the beach or on our deck overlooking Flic en Flac. If you are interested in using Airbnb to travel, you can sign up with our link to save $20 off your first stay!

Accommodations in Mauritius are relatively expensive and our Airbnb accounted for more than half what we spent there. Our daily spending was low since going to the beach is free, but would have been higher had we spent more time sightseeing.

How much does it cost to travel to Southern Africa for 10 weeks (plus some sweet islands in the Indian Ocean)?Overlooking Flic en Flac

Reunion ($73/day)

A local told us Reunion Island is 20 percent more expensive than mainland France. That might be true, but you can keep your costs down by sleeping on the beach every night. For $21/day, we rented a car and drove all over the active and dormant volcanoes that comprise Reunion Island. Camping is allowed anywhere in public parks and exploring the volcanoes and craters is free.

As you might expect, the French food is fantastic, but a good way to blow your budget. Given the cost of reaching this far-flung island (10 thousand miles from Montana), calling it an economy destination is a stretch. However, once you arrive, the cost is reasonable and you can be one of the few non-French to find it.

How much does it cost to travel to Southern Africa for 10 weeks (plus some sweet islands in the Indian Ocean)?Hiking and camping is free

Madagascar ($57/day)

One of the poorest countries in the world, many things in Madagascar are dirt cheap. Meals outside the main tourist zones cost a dollar or less. However, travel will take twice as long as you think. Madagascar is 38 percent larger than California and other than a few main roads, traveling by vehicle means potholes, gravel, and possibly rivers. Many tourist sites can only be reached by 4×4 vehicle (with a hired driver, since it is not advisable to drive yourself) or expensive flights.

We did not include the cost of a stolen wallet and phone. Madagascar suffers from a high theft rate and we lost items in separate instances.

How much does it cost to travel to Southern Africa for 10 weeks (plus some sweet islands in the Indian Ocean)?Hoping we don’t sink in the river

Flights

As you might expect, flights were one of our biggest expenses. To offset these expenses, we spent the prior year signing up for as many airline credit cards as possible to collect sign-up bonuses.

Airline

Depart

Arrive

Cost $

Airline points

Delta

Missoula

Johannesburg

$11.20

80000

South African

Cape Town

Walvis Bay

$155.13

South African

Windhoek

Mauritius

$687.98

Air Mauritius

Mauritius

Reunion

$296.89

Air Madagascar

Reunion

Tamatave

$235.49

United

Antananarivo

Vancouver

$202.36

80000

Total

$1,589.05

160000

Flights cost for two

Caveats

Forgotten items: The amounts listed in this article should serve as a guide, not an exact record. We tried to keep track of everything, but we missed things, especially when we did not receive a receipt (small tips and basically everywhere in Madagascar).

Exchange rates: We converted everything into US Dollars, approximating the exchange rate at the time of our travel (1 USD~13.5 Rand~34.75 Rupees~0.89 Euro~3179 Ariary).

Categories: Expenses frequently could fall under more than one category, so we made judgment calls. Does a bakery count as groceries or a restaurant? Does a scenic road toll count as an activity or transportation? Is alcohol a grocery or activity? We attached a more detailed spreadsheet if anyone wants to dig into the data.

Exclusions

Vaccinations: Madagascar suffers from occasional outbreaks of the plague. While you probably don’t need to worry about the plague, several vaccinations are recommended and they can be expensive if you don’t have them already.

Luggage: Prior to our trip, we acquired several items, including a lightweight tent, sleeping bag stuff sacks, and Permethrin.

Travel insurance: Sarah and I bought a yearlong plan for medical emergencies, but we didn’t attempt to prorate the cost.

As always, let us know what questions you have in the comments!

Like this post? Pin it for later!
How much does it cost to travel in Southern Africa for 10 weeks (plus some sweet islands in the Indian Ocean)?


Note that this guide contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something through the links, you are supporting us in the costs of running Two Fish Traveling. All the products that we discuss are ones that we use and love—like bug proofing our clothes with Permethrin. We earn a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to the purchaser. We will never link to products that we do not wholeheartedly recommend to our readers and have found useful ourselves.


 

The following two tabs change content below.
I am Sterling, one of the Two Fish Traveling. I grew up in Montana, worked in DC, and left to see the whole world.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar
wpDiscuz