How to Travel Cheap in Africa

I must confess that a topic like how to travel cheap in Africa comes with some real challenges. First off all, because, despite all the 3rd world countries and the high inflation, Africa is not a cheap place to travel. The main cause behind this is represented by the great distances and the absence of low cost operators. Also, the most common way of traveling for people on a low budget – which is backpacking – becomes more difficult on a continent with vast wilderness areas and where the political and military situation is not always pink. So let’s take a look at each of the following topics and see what are the best ways to lower the costs:

Transportation

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Plane tickets towards Africa are generally quite pricy, not to mention that here you will hardly find airport in the smaller cities so you must include transfers as well. If you decide to travel in North Africa you might be able to take your car as there are ferries operating across the Mediterranean. However, the best solution would be to rent a car – it’s not pricier than in Europe but you must take into account the condition of the roads as well. The problem of transportation can easily be solved in the eventuality in which you book a guided tour (especially when it is a safari tour).

Sightseeing

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Sightseeing is not generally expensive in most African countries, but the paradox of this continent is that the wildest the area to visit, the more expensive to get there. Hence, the most adventurous tour and safaris are usually a luxury: they can add up to several thousand dollars. There are, however, several agencies offering budget or discounted safaris. As an alternative, you can book a shorter tour or pick a reservation where you can drive yourself through, as Kruger in South Africa.

Accommodation

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Accommodation will probably be your smallest problem when traveling in Africa. Lodges and hotels will always be present near the main attractions, but there a some low budget hotels and hostels as well. When it comes to camping, it’s best to pick a campsite to stay for the night, as prices are not at all big and you will usually get toilets and showers.

Food

Food in Africa is not expensive, especially when cooked by yourself or eaten in markets or on the street. If you don’t fell comfortable with eating from street sellers, you can probably find some cheap restaurant (try going where the locals do, and don’t follow the crowd of tourists.)

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