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How Much Money Should I Take On Holiday To South Africa?

How Much Money Should I Take On Holiday To South Africa?

South Africa is one of the prime African countries to explore, particularly because it’s vast and has a very rich culture & history.

It is, however, not the cheapest to tour compared to other African nations because it is developed and has embraced the western culture more than the rest.

Some of the amazing tourist destinations in South Africa include Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, and Cape Town.

How much money should I take on holiday to South Africa?

Well, you can bring up to £7500 to South Africa without any documentation but if you need more than that, then you will have to acquire the necessary clearance at the airport or use the ATM.

The amount you need depends on the duration of your stay and the kind of lifestyle you will be having during your stay.

If you will be backpacking, then you will survive with £80 per day and if you will be living large, then you will need a budget of between £450 and £500 per day. A midrange lifestyle in South Africa will cost you between £150 and £200.


Your accommodation options in South Africa include backpacking, midrange, self-catering, and luxurious accommodation. The average accommodation cost is £60 to £150 per day, per person, but if you will be visiting as a group, you can camp in a wildlife lodge for about £200-£350 per night.

The lodges range from simple safari tents with only a fireplace and a few guards to keep you safe, to luxurious private lodges with swimming pools, private gym, and spa services. Camping in a caravan park is another good option for you if your budget allows because you will get high standard amenities for between £80 and £100 per day.

With a smaller budget of 100 to £150, you will get a stylish 3-bedroom cottage with a fully-equipped kitchen, a swimming pool, and beautiful sceneries. This accommodation helps you to save on your food budget because you can cook your own meals and as you will realise later, foodstuffs are very cheap in South Africa.

Midrange hotel rooms are amazingly good and cheap in Dublin, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. Accommodation prices are generally high during the peak months of November through March but if you visit in any other time of the year, you can get a 5-star hotel room at £55 to £70 and a 2-star room at £30 to £35. Hostel accommodation, on the other hand, goes for £10 to £15 per night.

If you choose to stay in a private room, you will pay between £21 and £25 during the off-season and about £70 to £80 during high seasons. Cape Town also boasts of some of the best Airbnb apartments so if you are a member, you will definitely enjoy your stay in the coastal city.

South Africans categorise guesthouses as “bed and breakfast” accommodation. Such accommodation is common in the countryside and costs between £10 and £12 per night. As the term suggests, you will get a private room with a simple bed, a bathroom, and a simple breakfast every day.

Most guest-rooms are traditional round huts with thatched roofs and are usually located in tranquil and peaceful neighbourhoods.

Home-made Food

If you will be staying in a fully-furnished cottage, then you can always cook your own food. You will find a variety of foodstuffs in local supermarkets and open-air markets, all of which are fresh and cheap. On average, a kilo of fruits will cost you from £1 to £2 depending on the fruit type, a kilo of red meat costs about £3, and a kilo of chicken breast costs about £5.

Tap water in most South African cities and towns is drinkable so you don’t need a budget for that. Tomatoes, onions, and potatoes go for about £1 per kilo. A 500g of fresh white bread costs about £0.7 while a liter of fresh cow milk will cost you about £0.6. You will also get a dozen regular eggs for £1.5 and a kilo of local cheese for £6

Restaurant Food

If you will be eating out, you can choose to eat at a midrange or an upscale restaurant. The common breakfast options in South Africa include nut milk, quinoa porridge, organic matcha pancakes, pumpkin pie flapjacks, poached eggs with potato latkes, egg & bacon dishes, freshly squeezed juices, artisanal bread, and buttery croissants.

You can enjoy any of those delicacies and more for between £3 and £5 in a basic restaurant and between £7 and £12 in a luxurious restaurant.

For your lunch and dinner, South African restaurants offer almost identical menus to those you find back home. You can eat Wood-fired pizzas and salads for £4, mushroom quiche or Gorgonzola gnocchi for £5, or Portuguese delicacies at £8-£10 per meal. Asian foods- e.g. chicken teppanyaki- cost from £6 to £10 per meal. On average, western and Asian meals will cost you from £4 to £15 per meal.

If you like experimenting with new cuisines, South Africa has many traditional meals for you to try. They range from bobotie (baked meat), kota (bread sandwich), ugali (prepared with maize flour) with greens, chakalaka (beans and cabbages), to umngqusho (beans and spices), all of which are uniquely prepared by Zulu and Xhosa chefs and spiced with Indian and local flavors. You can enjoy a nice traditional meal in a street food joint in major cities for between £2 and £5.


As aforementioned, tap water is safe for human consumption but if you insist on bottled water, a 300ml water bottle will cost you about £0.5. A one-liter bottle of Coke/Pepsi goes for £2 to £2.5 in most restaurants and £1.5 in local soda kiosks. If you will be taking wine/beer in midrange restaurants in Durban or Johannesburg, you will need £2, £5, and £7 for a bottle of domestic beer, imported beer, and wine respectively.

One cocktail drink in downtown club costs £4 while cappuccino in expat areas go for about £2. It’s worth noting that drinks cost more as you approach Cape Town. You will add an extra £2 or £3 to your drinks budget when visiting the city.


For a luxurious excursion around the country, you can hire a 4 X 4 vehicle for around £15 to £25 per day. That includes unlimited kilometers and a driver, but you will have to fuel the car at about £7 per 100kms. When travelling from Cape Town to Johannesburg, you can take a flight for about £50 one-way. Another option will be to take a train and pay, for example, £12 from Pretoria to Cape Town.

If you are travelling on a budget, the hop-on-hop-off buses that charge £5 to £7 one-way from Cape Town to Johannesburg will do. Better still, you can take the tourist trains that charge, for example, £35 to £38 from Johannesburg to Cape Town. For your regular rounds within Cape Town, you can use a minibus for £1 per 10 kilometers, Uber for £5 per 3 kilometers, or a MyCiti bus for about 80 cents per 10 kilometers. If you stick to public transport only, you will need £15 per day on average.

Attraction Sites and Activities Prices

Some attraction places in South Africa, e.g. museums and public beaches, do not charge a dime so you will need to inquire from the locals about where to and not to pay. If you are planning to visit Robben Islands- the historic apartheid prison- you will pay an entrance fee of about £8 to £10. That’s the entrance charge in nearly all attraction sites across South Africa.

Activities such as exploring the Cape of Good Hope, climbing the Table Mountain, Kayaking in Tsitsikamma, riding ostriches in the Tsitsikamma National Park, exploring the Cango Caves, etc. will cost you between £2 and £5 per activity. There are many interesting activities to partake in South Africa so you will need an activities budget of about £50 per day.

Additional Shopping and Tips

If the need arises, you can buy clothes for about £40/dress, £42/jeans trouser, and £50 for a good leather shoe in high street stores. If you don’t mind shopping in downtown stores, you can buy clothes there for as low as £5 to £10. Personal care products- deodorants, medicine, shampoo, etc.- ranges from £2 to £10.

South Africans expect tips for almost all services they offer to a tourist. The tip mostly ranges between 20-30% of the service charge. A daily budget of £10 will serve the purpose.


Your trip to South Africa will definitely stand out as your best ever trip if you spend your money well. You are guaranteed good accommodation, quality meals, and the most convenient means of transport. Just remember to tip generously in order to get the best services.

Holiday ClassEstimated Amount Needed Per Day (Per Person)
Budget£80 Per Day
Mid-range£200 Per Day
High-end£500 Per Day
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