Vacationing is a great way to de-stress from the usual hustle and bustle of office work, running a business, and even school work. However, it comes with a lot of budgeting and planning, which can sometimes eat deep into one’s savings.
On the other hand, Africa is a lovely tourist destination but with the “tourist’ treatment comes expensive bills and cut-throat charges.
With lots of beautiful scenery, delicious meals, and numerous tourist attractions, one can quickly blow up the budget if not careful.
Thankfully, this post offers actionable tips on how to plan a trip to Africa on a tight budget. Read along to find out.
FAQs On Budget-Friendly Tips to Africa
Planning a trip to Africa? These tips will help you make realistic budgets on how to tour Africa without breaking the bank.
- Is Travelling To Africa Expensive?
The cost of travelling to Africa depends on your plan and budget. It can be cheap or expensive depending on what you want and how you want it. However, if you are planning a budget-friendly trip to Africa, we have tips below to help you get started.
- How Much Does a Trip to Africa Cost?
A trip to an African country will cost anywhere between $10 - $2000 per night - for food and accommodation. Exclusive of flight fares. This also depends on the cost of living and dollar equivalent in the country you're planning to visit.
- How Much is an All-inclusive Trip to Africa?
A 7-days all-inclusive trip (airfare, food, accommodation and tour) in places like Kenya, or South Africa, Zambia can cost anywhere between $1000 - $3500 for solo travellers. This largely depends on your travel package, destination and budget.
- How Can I travel to Africa for Free?
You can travel to Africa for free or almost free by signing up with volunteer organisations in Africa. For example, you can volunteer to teach English in the remote villages, help in community development, work on the farms, etc. The volunteer organization will cover your flight, accommodation and feeding expenses.
- Do I need a Visa to Travel to Africa?
Some African countries allow visitors from America and most parts of Europe to tour the country without a visa, so long as they don't stay longer than 90 days. Other countries might require you to apply for a visa before travelling or get a visa on arrival. You can research about the visa policy of your choice destination to learn more.
- How much is a Visa to Africa?
Tourist visas to Africa cost between $30-45, depending on your duration. Business visas of more than 90 days cost between $100 - $130.
12 Actionable Tips To Tour Africa on a Tight Budget
Whether you plan to visit the safaris or the fun cities in Africa, here are some tips to help you tour Africa on a budget:
1. Use a Budget-Friendly Airline
One way to save money on your trip to Africa is by using a budget airline. Budget airlines offer lower ticket prices by cutting back on some of the amenities usually included in air travel.
While these airlines may not offer the same level of luxury and comfort as more expensive airlines, they can still be an excellent option for those looking to save money. You can check any of the airlines below for cheap flights to Africa.
The Cheapest Airlines to Africa include:
- Green Africa
- FlyDubai, etc
2. Visit Cheaper Countries
Africa is home to 54 countries with diverse cultures and fantastic tourist attractions. However, some countries are known to be highly expensive for expats and tourists. Hence, visiting such countries might dig a hole in your pocket.
You can research and visit countries or cities with very affordable tourist attractions. That way, you get to explore beautiful African cities while saving as much as you want. For starters, the countries below are budget-friendly destinations for tourists across the globe.
Best Countries to Travel in Africa on A Budget
- Pyramids of Egypt
- South Africa
3. Travel Outside Peak Season
If you want to save on your Africa tour, consider travelling during the off-season. Prices for accommodation, transportation, and activities are usually discounted during the low season. You can visit Africa from March to June or late September to November. Just be aware that some attractions may be closed during this time, and certain parts of the continent can be hot and humid.
Make sure to pack outfits to suit the weather during your trip. You could also get cheap clothes at the flea market in your desired location.
4. Pack Light to Avoid Checked Luggage Fees.
You may be tempted to pack a lot of outfits for change, and to take as much pictures as you want. However, remember to pack light when going on a tour - especially if you are on a tight budget. This will help you avoid unnecessary luggage fees at the airport. And also, allow for easy movement should you have to move to different destinations during the tour.
5. Spend Like The Locals
People say, “When in Rome, act like the Romans,” and we couldn’t agree more. Not to sound cliche, but this could be the best advice for travellers and tourists in any country or city worldwide. That said, it’s best to transact in the local currency of the country you are visiting. One way to do this is by using a multicurrency wallet.
Transfy offers a user-friendly multicurrency wallet that helps you send, receive and exchange money in numerous African currencies. With this, you can save costs on transfers and withdrawals when paying for items. Also, it’s advised to carry enough cash as most local stores in Africa prefer cash to money transfers. Alternatively, you can use your debit card in places with ATMs, and POS stands for emergency withdrawals.
6. Stay in Hostels or Guesthouses
When it comes to touring Africa on a tight budget, staying in hostels or guesthouses is a sure bet. Not only will you save money on accommodation, but you'll also have the opportunity to meet locals and learn more about the culture.
Of course, not every destination has affordable hostels or guesthouses, so be sure to do your research in advance. On the other hand, plenty of hotels and resorts offer great deals for budget-minded travellers if you're not comfortable staying in a shared room. And don't forget to take advantage of wanderlust-inspiring deals on sites like Airbnb and Couchsurfing, etc.
7. Cook Your Meals or Eat Street Food
If you stay in an accommodation with a kitchenette, you should cook your own meals or buy street food if you don’t want to cook. Not only is it more affordable, but you'll also get to try a variety of local dishes that you might not have the opportunity to try otherwise.
Although you can’t be sure of the hygienic processes of preparing these street foods, you can always ask the Locals for neat and affordable restaurants around. Just be sure to take precautions against food poisoning by only eating food that's been cooked thoroughly and avoiding anything that looks or smells suspicious.
8. Find Free Activities
One good way to save money on tours is by avoiding tourist traps that may cost you a fortune. Whether you're exploring the vibrant city streets of Cape Town or visiting the Ancient Pyramids in Egypt, you'll be able to find plenty of free and fun places and activities that don't cost a penny.
Some popular free activities include visiting local markets, exploring ancient ruins and museums, hiking through national parks, and swimming in beautiful lakes and rivers. So if you're looking to save a little money on your trip, be sure to take advantage of all the amazing and free activities Africa has to offer.
9. Volunteer for Exchange of Food and Accommodation
Volunteering is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and make friends. Not to mention, it can be a lot of fun! There are many opportunities to volunteer in Africa, and the work can range from teaching English to helping at an orphanage or even working on the local farms - for people who love farming.
If you're interested in volunteering while you're in Africa, do your research in advance and find a program that fits your skills and interests. Reputable organizations like Volunteerfdip, African Impact, etc., offer (almost) free volunteer placements to tour Africa. That way, you can be sure you're making a difference in the community while also exploring the beauty of their city.
10. Cut Down on Souvenirs
Africa is home to some of the most beautiful and unique handicrafts in the world, so it can be hard to resist buying souvenirs for friends and family back home. However, those little trinkets, colourful scarves and leather footwear can add up quickly; before you know it, you've blown your entire budget on souvenirs.
A better idea is to set a budget for yourself and only purchase souvenirs that fall within that budget. You may not get the exact items your friends and family demanded, but you'll be able to afford more souvenirs if you're not spending all your money on one item.
11. Travel in Groups
Travelling to tourist destinations is quite cheaper when you travel in groups than solo. You can find travel groups on social media, or sign up with travel agencies - they usually have several group tours to different destinations scheduled all year round. Another big advantage is that you get to meet other like-minded tourists, split bills, save more, and have more fun. Plus your group will be assigned to a tour guide to help with directions, and haggling prices when necessary.
12. Use Public Transportation
Using a charter cab, or any of the ride hailing services will most likely take a big chunk of your money, because you have to move around the city - a lot. Instead, you can move around with public transportation like the tuk-tuk (Keke-Napep), bike, or buses. This will help you save more, plus, you get to explore more parts of the city that you wouldn't have seen with private rides. However, always tell the driver/rider your destination to avoid getting lost.
Bonus Point: Bus stations, parks and marketplaces in most African countries are a renowned abode for touts. Always make sure to keep your bags in sight and well protected. Also, be mindful of your surroundings and who you ask for directions. To be safe, get acquainted with your google map and share your locations with someone you can trust.
There's no need to break the bank when planning your trip to Africa. With a little planning and these budget-friendly tips, you can have the trip of a lifetime without spending too much.
Finally, remember to stick to your budget while you’re there. It’s one thing to make a budget and another, to go through with it. This will help you to stay in tune with your plans and avoid breaking the bank or running into debt while touring Africa.