10+ of the Cheapest African Countries You Need to Visit

10+ of the Cheapest African Countries to Visit

Travelling around Africa is NOT cheap.

Or is it?

From gorilla trekking in Rwanda to luxury safari lodges in Kruger National Park, a trip to Africa can quickly add up.

But good news everyone!

While Africa is no South East Asia, there are plenty of cheap destinations in Africa.

From Morocco to Egypt and Mozambique, here are 10 of the cheapest African countries to visit!

1. Kigali, Rwanda

gorilla on dian fossey hike

I came across a gorilla by accident during my trip to Rwanda!

Rwanda’s tragic past, rich culture, and incredible wildlife make it one of the most intriguing places to travel to in Africa.

Kigali is the pulse of the country’s cultural attractions. With its genocide memorials and thriving art scene, it’s a must-visit for history buffs and those who love immersing themselves in different cultures.

Kigali is also one of the cheapest African cities to visit. While the backpacking scene is still growing, there are a few hostels to choose from that won’t break your budget.

Avoid fancy restaurants, eat local or cook your own food, and you can easily survive on under R 300.00 per day.

And for those that want to experience the country’s natural beauty, you can use public transport to visit further away destinations like Volcanoes National Park.

It’s the place to go if you want to trek with gorillas or see Dian Fossey’s grave!

How Much Does a Trip to Rwanda cost?

  • Dorm bed: From R200.00 ($13) per person per night
  • Budget double room: From R300.00 ($19) per night
  • Three cheap meals: R 150.00 ($10)+/- per day
  • Local transport: R 20.00 ($1) on a moto-taxi for short trips
  • Average Daily Budget: R 400.00 – R600.00 ($26-39)
  • Visa Requirements for South Africans: Visa on arrival at $30 for 30 days.

Check flights from South Africa (starts at R 3 500.00) | Browse hostels and hotels in Rwanda

Read More: Travel to Rwanda: 15 Useful Things To Know Before You Go You


cairo egypt

Cairo looks like such a dream!

2. Egypt

Budget travel and Egypt might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this northern African country. But it’s one of the cheapest African countries for travellers.

Flights will be your biggest expense, but if you follow these airfare saving tips, you might be able to score return tickets from South Africa between R5200.00-R6000.00!

You can book a bed in a dorm room for as little as R114.00 ($7) per night, a first-class ticket on a train costs R200.00 ($13) and you can feast on local food for less than R50.00 ($3).

The best part?

The activities in Egypt aren’t crazy expensive.

You can visit the ancient pyramids for R100.00 ($6) and tours start at R235.00 ($15). Cruising down the Nile won’t bankrupt you either and scuba diving in the Red Sea starts at R360.00 ($23) per dive.

How Much Does a Trip to Egypt Cost?

  • Dorm bed: From R114.00 ($7) per person per night
  • Budget double room: R400.00 ($26) per night
  • Three cheap meals: R210.00 ($14)
  • Local transport: R34.00 – R50 ($2 – $4) for short taxi rides within the city centre
  • Average Daily Budget: R400.00 – R800.00 ($26 – $52)
  • Visa Requirements for South Africans: You need to apply for a visa in advance, but there is no cost involved unless you go through a service provider.

Check flights from South Africa (starts at R 5 200) | Browse hostel and hotel deals from Egypt

Read More: 16 Unique Experiences You Need To Have in Africa


3. Kenya

giraffe center in nairobi, kenya

Visit the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi and see these adorable endangered Rothschild giraffes!

With incredible national parks, excellent museums and quirky sites – a trip to Nairobi, Kenya won’t disappoint those looking for the cheap Africa holiday destination.

The capital city has a delicious foodie scene and some incredible culinary experiences!

(Just be sure to budget a bit more if your stomach leads your travels).

Nairobi is a stone’s throw from many of Kenya’s top attractions. You can base yourself here and visit the famous Giraffe Manor, go on a safari or fly down to Diani Beach for the weekend for as little as R1600.00 ($104) return!

The most expensive thing you’ll need to pay for is a safari to the Masai Mara. To find the best deal, contact the backpackers near the park and plan a trip with friends.

If you’re travelling to Kenya solo, it’s not easy to find a good deal on safaris as the single supplement fee is quite high.

A 3-day/2-night safari usually costs around R6200.00 ($400) and includes accommodation, safari drives, guides, entrance fees and food.

How Much Does a Trip to Kenya Cost?

  • Dorm bed: From R250.00 ($16) per person per night
  • Budget double room or apartment: From R350.00 ($22)
  • Three cheap meals: R260.00 ($17) per day
  • Local transport: R104.00 – R130.00 for short rides with Uber or R6.00 ($0.40) with a minibus taxi
  • Average Daily Budget: R600.00 – R800.00 ($39 – $52)
  • Visa Requirements for South Africans: Visa not required

Check flights from South Africa (starts at R4200.00) | Browse hostel and hotel deals from Kenya

Read More: How to Travel Kenya on a Budget


4. Zanzibar

beach in zanzibar

Zanzibar’s beaches are LEGENDARY!

If you’re looking for a cheap holiday destination that has gorgeous beaches, look no further than Zanzibar, Tanzania!

With return flights from South Africa starting at R3500.00 ($228.00) – it’s a frugal beach lovers paradise.

Spend your days exploring this island’s past, rich culture, and some of the best beaches in the world.

Zanzibar’s Stone Town and Prison Island are not to be missed if you want to learn more about the island’s dark history in the slave trade and how that created its unique culture.

Or you can hop on over to Pemba Island and go snorkelling and diving!

Want an all-inclusive holiday on a budget in Zanzibar? You can often find package deals that include return flights from South Africa, a week-long all-include stay at a 4-star or 5-star resort for around R20,000.00 ($1,276.00)

How Much Does a Trip to Zanzibar Cost?

  • Dorm bed: From R200.00 ($13) per person per night
  • Budget double room: From R500.00 ($32)
  • Three cheap meals: R180.00 ($12) per day
  • Local transport: R30.00 – R60.00 ($2 -$4) on shared taxis
  • Average Daily Budget: R400.00 – R800.00 ($26 – $52)
  • Visa Requirements for South Africans: Visa not required

Check flights from South Africa (starts at R3500.00) | Browse hostel and hotel deals from Zanzibar


5. Ethiopia

ethiopia

Ethiopia is home to incredible vast landscapes.

Ethiopia is a portal to another world.

It’s the gateway to ancient place mixed in with it’s growing metropolis Addis Ababa. The capital city is now Africa’s fourth-largest and it’s home to some of the country’s best museums and traditional food.

For vegan travellers, Ethiopia is heaven. More often than not, you don’t get to experience much of a country’s authentic dishes when you travel on a plant-based diet, but that’s not the case here.

Traditional dishes are meat and dairy-free, packed with flavour and substance that won’t leave you hungry!

When it comes to what to see in Ethiopia – the country is overflowing with unique adventures you won’t find anywhere else in Africa.

Stay in the Simien Mountains, visit the Danakil Depression, explore Ethiopia’s ancient capital Gondor, see Lalibela and spend an afternoon hanging around the country’s famous Gelada monkeys.

Money-Saving Tips:

  • If you fly into Ethiopia with Ethiopian Airlines you can save as much as 50% off domestic flights!
  • Book your tours on the ground and you can knock as much as $200 off the final price.

How Much Does a Trip to Ethiopia Cost?

  • Dorm bed: From R200.00 ($13) per person per night
  • Budget double room:  From R400.00 ($26)
  • Three cheap meals: R220.00 ($14) per day at an inexpensive restaurant
  • Local transport: R14.00 ($0.92) for a short taxi ride
  • Average Daily Budget: R450.00 – R650.00 ($29 – $42)
  • Visa Requirements for South Africans: Visa on arrival at $52 (R800.00).

Check flights from South Africa (starts at R3900.00) | Browse hostel and hotel deals from Ethiopia


6. Namibia

Namibia coast

Namibia’s isolated Skeleton Coast.

Namibia is the ultimate road trip destination in Africa!

Not only are return flights from South Africa super affordable, but it’s possible to camp your way through the country and see its highlights on a budget.

Due to the country’s vastness, you can’t base yourself in one area and go on day trips to attractions. For example, the capital city Windhoek is three to five hours from attractions like Etosha National Park, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Sossusvlei.

But what you’ll spend on car rental and petrol, you’ll make up with cheap accommodation.

How Much Does a Trip to Namibia Cost?

  • Dorm room: R170.00 ($10) per person per night
  • Budget double room: R400.00 – R600.00 ($25-$38) per night
  • Three cheap meals: R150.00 – R200.00 ($9 – $12) if you cook your own food
  • Local transport: R200.00 ($12) if you need to use local transport for short trips
  • Average Daily Budget: R400.00 – R800.00 ($25 – $50) excluding car rental costs and petrol
  • Visa Requirements for South Africans: Visa not required

Check flights from South Africa (starts at R3300.00) | Browse hostel and  hotel deals for Namibia


7. Livingstone, Zambia

zambia

Victoria Falls is always a good idea!

Livingstone in Zambia is the perfect base for exploring Victoria Falls and adventure lovers.

You’ll be only 11 km away from the mighty Zambezi and in prime position to see the falls from above or wrestle its currents.

It’s also one of the cheapest countries to visit in Africa, especially compared to prices on the Zimbabwean side. It’s Zambia’s backpacking mecca making it possible to splurge on big-ticket items like the Devil’s Pool.

Looking for the ultimate safari destination on a budget? Head to South Luangwa National Park.

You’ll need to hire a car or fly in to get there – but it’s worth it. There are budget accommodation options right outside the park ranging from camping, dorm rooms or budget double rooms.

Entrance to the park is around R630.00 ($40) per person per day – which is steep I know.

BUT

South Luangwa is famous for having the largest leopard population in Africa and it’s the home of the walking safari.

How Much Does a Trip to Zambia Cost?

  • Dorm rooms: R240.00 ($15) per person per night
  • Budget double room: R500.00 ($32) per night
  • Three cheap meals: R200.00 ($12) per day
  • Local transport: Livingstone is small enough that you can walk, but a taxi to Victoria Falls costs R230.00 ($15) each way
  • Average Daily Budget: R440.00 – R700.00 ($28-$44) excluding transport to Vic Falls
  • Visa Requirements for South Africans: Visa not required

Check flights from South Africa (starts at R3300.00) | Browse hostel and hotel deals for Zambia

Read More: A Quick Guide to Victoria Falls: Everything You Need To Know


8. Malawi

mumbo island chalets

Mumbo Island is an uninhabited island inside Lake Malawi.

I visited Malawi for my 29th birthday and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

For 7-days, I called Mumbo Island my home. It’s an uninhabited island in the middle of Lake Malawi and it’s considered one of the top eco-lodges in the world.

You would think that means you’d have to drop some serious $$$ to stay there right?

Wrong.

Mumbo Island has incredible all-inclusive packages which include flights from South Africa and discounts for fellow Africans.

If you’re not looking for something more backpacker-friendly, Malawi delivers.

Go scuba diving for R700.00 ($45) per dive, hike to the summit of Lake Mulanje or attend the iconic Lake of Stars music festival.

While Malawi isn’t a safari destination, you can easily hire a car or join a group tour and hop the border over to Zambia’s world-renowned South Luangwa National Park.

How Much Does a Trip to Malawi Cost?

  • Dorm bed: R200.00 ($12) per person per night
  • Budget double room: From R500.00 ($31.90)
  • Three cheap meals: R300.00 ($19) per day
  • Local transport: R370.00 ($23) for a taxi ride
  • Average Daily Budget: R870.00 – R1170.00 ($55 – $75)
  • Visa Requirements for South Africans: Visa not required

Check flights from South Africa (starts at R 5000) | Browse hostel and hotel deals for Malawi

Read More: What It’s Like Staying on Mumbo Island in Malawi


9. Mozambique

mozambique

Mozambique’s coastline is breathtaking!

Mozambique was the first African country I travelled to way back in 2015. 30+ countries later and it’s still one of my favourite budget destinations.

For adventure travellers, it has so much to offer!

Go diving with dugongs and dolphins for R630.00 ($40) with equipment rental or spend a few hours snorkelling in the ocean with whale sharks for the same price.

Plus, you don’t need to hire a car to explore Mozambique. There are local buses running from Maputo to Tofo for as little as R80.00 ($5) and short tuk-tuk rides cost even less.

You’ll have more than enough room in your budget for all the adventure activities with cheap eats and dorm rooms in abundance.

How Much Does a Trip to Mozambique Cost?

  • Dorm bed: R160.00 ($10) per person per night
  • Budget double room: From R500 ($31) per night
  • Three cheap meals: R100.00 – R300.00 ($6 – $19)
  • Local transport: Three tuk-tuk rides are R80.00 ($5)
  • Average Daily Budget: R400.00 – R800.00 ($25 – $50)
  • Visa Requirements for South Africans: Visa not required

Check flights from South Africa (starts at R2600.00) | Browse hostel and hotel deals for Mozambique

Read More: How to Travel to Mozambique on a Budget From South Africa


10. Morocco

morocco

For those looking to escape to the desert and explore the beautiful architecture that Morocco is known for, head to Marrakech. With Morocco trending as a destination on Instagram, it’s affordability adds to its picture-perfect charm.

Hostels boast rooms starting at R200.00 ($12) a night, and you’ll get to experience Morocco without breaking the bank.

Plus there’s plenty to see without spending a dime. Head to Medina, and stroll around the old buildings and monuments while making pit stops at the Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs and soaking up the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Dine on cheap local food for R30.00 -R50.00 ($2-$3) and book a train ride to far-flung destinations like Fes, Casablanca or the blue city of Chefchaoen.

The things that will drain your budget are activities like camping in the Sahara Desert or climbing the Atlas Mountains.

But if you eat local, use public transportation, keep your accommodation costs as low, and haggle, it’s possible to afford trips to these iconic attractions.

How Much Does a Trip to Morocco Cost?

  • Dorm bed: R200.00 ($12) per person per night
  • Budget double room: From R600.00 ($38)
  • Three cheap meals: R300.00 per day ($20)
  • Local transport: R31.00 ($2) for a short taxi trip around town
  • Average Daily Budget: R560.00 – R1,000.00 ($35 – $63)
  • Visa Requirements for South Africans: A visa is required and obtained at the embassy in Pretoria. It costs R327.00 for a single entry.

Check flights from South Africa (starts at R8000.00) | Browse hostel and hotel deals for Morocco


signal hill in cape town

Signal Hill in Cape Town at sunset

11. South Africa

For locals and international travellers alike, South Africa is an affordable destination to explore with so much to offer!

You can hire a car and make your way from Cape Town to the Garden Route (one of the most scenic road trips in the country), go on safari in Kruger National Park, and camp on top of the highest waterfall in Africa.

Or you can explore the Cape Winelands and sip on award-winning vintages for as little as R80.00 ($5) per tasting.

Want to escape the other tourists? Head up to the Wild Coast and explore gems like Coffee Bay, Port St. Johns and Hogsback.

While Cape Town is the most expensive city to visit, there are plenty of backpackers, budget hotels and things to do for FREE.

How Much Does a Trip to South Africa Cost?

  • Dorm bed: From R200.00 ($12) per person per night
  • Budget double room: From R600.00 ($38)
  • Three cheap meals: R240.00 per day ($15)
  • Local transport: R80 ($5) for a short Uber trip in Cape Town
  • Average Daily Budget: R600.00 – R1,000.00 ($38 – $63)

Check flights to South Africa

Read More: The Ultimate South Africa Bucket List: 40+ Amazing Places to Visit


Hopefully, Africa no longer seems like an expensive destination and you’ve opened up a few more slots on your bucket list.

Did I leave any cheap African countries off this list? 

Want more African travel inspiration? Check out these other posts:

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Want to explore Africa on a budget? Good news, it's possible! Here are the cheapest African countries to visit!

Want to visit Africa on a budget? Here are the 10+ of the cheapest African countries to visit that won\'t break the bank. From South Africa and Namibia\'s epic road trips to affordable all-inclusive holidays in Malawi and Zanzibar as well as epic safari experiences in Zambia and getting off the beaten track in Ethiopia! Here are the best budget destinations in Africa! #africa #africatravel #budgettravel #travel
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8 Comments

  1. Selam
    October 18, 2017 / 10:12 am

    This is an insightful article! I’m looking to travel more in Africa, so this will definitely help me. Thanks Lauren!

    • lauren
      Author
      October 22, 2017 / 12:43 pm

      Thanks Selam! Hope you make some great memories here 🙂

  2. Gabrielle
    March 13, 2018 / 8:57 am

    Very interesting and helpful! I was just wondering what monetary unit you are using in the budgets? Thank you!

    • lauren
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 10:08 am

      South African Rands and US dollars.

  3. Matthew Rooyakkers
    March 18, 2018 / 1:11 am

    One thing I will say about Rwanda is that the gorilla permits are in fact expensive. The most expensive between the three countries to see the Mountain gorillas. Uganda is less and has almost a guarantee of seeing them at Bwindi and Virunga has a pretty good success rate and is even less.

    • lauren
      Author
      March 18, 2018 / 3:39 am

      True. I did the Dian Fossey hike in Rwanda and managed to see three gorillas on the way back down 🙂 But I’d love to go and do gorilla trekking on the Congo side and hike their volcano one day. They are even cheaper than Uganda and there’s a tour company that runs pickups from Kigali International Airport. It’s on my bucket list!

  4. dove
    March 15, 2019 / 1:10 pm

    Excuse me, I really don’t understand the currency used here, can someone help me? is it $ or what? “Dorm bed: R 157.00 per person per night”

    • lauren
      Author
      March 16, 2019 / 10:58 am

      Hey! It’s in South African Rands 🙂

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