Top Budget-Friendly Travel Ideas in South Africa

Top Budget-Friendly Travel Ideas in South Africa

Friends sitting between 2 tents at night looking at the beautiful night sky

Often referred to as Januworry, with budgets stretched to breaking point after the December festive season,while the idea of a weekend away or much-needed change of scenery may seem improbable, South Africa is blessed with several cost-effective travel options.

Compounded by inevitably crowded beaches, shopping malls and, indeed, travel routes, while many South Africans choose the extended end-of-year school holiday period and draw of family-focused festive season cheer to travel over December, there’s also something to be said for waiting until these revellers return to class- and boardrooms in their respective hometowns before setting out for your own rest-and-recovery period.

Highlighted once more whilst the world was toiling with respective Covid-19 lockdown regulations, South Africans are generally spoiled for choice when it comes to playing tourist in their own country. Golf tours and luxury seaside accommodation aside, the appeal of many of this country’s travel destinations is that they don’t require an exorbitant cash outlay before being enjoyed. These options include:



Whether waking to a fresh sea breeze or the tantalizing aroma of Fynbos and wilderness, South Africa is home to a world-renowned selection of camping sites. From Vic Bay on the Garden Route to the Cederberg, the Wild Coast, the Orange River, Addo, Augrabies, the Drakensberg and, of course, Kruger National Park, dependent on both your budget and willingness to rough-it, the options for a week’s worth of camping range from a bare piece of land to a designated site with various amenities, including electricity and a braai spot.

The increasing popularity of so-called glamping options has seen many of these sites establishing lengthy respective waiting lists. If you’re hoping to sell the idea of a camping weekend away to a travel partner used to the finer comfort in life, it’s best to book well in advance for one of these destinations.



Scenery aside, South Africa’s generally favourable climate makes it a popular hiking destination for travellers arriving from all corners of the world. From a day trip up Table Mountain to week-long ambles around the Garden Route, the options when it comes to exploring the splendour of SA’s great outdoors are as plentiful as they are varied.

Popular routes include the Fish River Canyon on the South Africa/Namibia border, the Otter Trail that follows the coastline to the north of Plettenburg Bay, various Kruger National Park routes, the dramatic scenery of the Drakensburg Mountains and the lushness of the Tsitsikamma region.

Established in 2011, one of the more extreme hiking experiences currently on offer in South Africa is the Tankwa Camino. Covering more than 250-kilometres, the idea of this guided walk was born out of a willingness to expose visitors – both local and international – to the harsh yet stunning scenery of the Tankwa Karoo.

Completed over the course of 10-days, the family-operated Tankwa Camino takes intrepid travellers from Calvinia to Ceres, camping under the stars along the way.


Walk your city

When last did you take a different route to visit your family or discover a new neighbourhood in your home city? Ask any Capetonian who’s taken the time to jump aboard one of the popular, red-painted, open-top busses that circumnavigates The Mother City daily, and you’ll find astonishment at seeing their own city from a different perspective.

From walking township tours to the rediscovery of previously prosperous CBDs around our beautifully diverse country, the appeal of seeing another side of the city that you live in is that it hopefully encourages a heightened sense of community, empathy, comradery and, indeed, pride.


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