Budgeting for Africa

This the third in our three part budget outline. See Part 1 – South America and Part 2 – Southeast Asia.

We’re currently planning on spending approximately three months working our way down the east coast of Africa, from Ethiopia south to South Africa.  This leg of the trip has been the most difficult to nail down a budget for.  There’s a couple of reasons for this. First, our sole experience in Africa has come from our amazing trip to Egypt in 2006. We found Egypt to be fantastically easy to navigate and very cheap, characteristics that do not seem to fit the rest of the east coast as well. The second is also entirely our fault, because it is the part of the trip furthest away. Therefore we’ve done the least planning for it, so we really don’t have a great idea of our must see places and our must do activities (more specific than … go on safari, and … see Victoria Falls, etc).

Among things that are not our fault, Africa has a less developed tourism infrastructure that well known backpacking destinations like Southeast Asia do. Overall, there seem to be two poles of tourism service, the “very low” and the “over the top”, but little of the happy medium for budget minded travelers like ourselves. This makes it difficult to predict how much we will spend on average. And finally, it seems there’s more variance between the countries we’ll be visiting than Southeast Asia or South America. But I won’t back down! We’ll give this a go.

Every Day Expenses

Food seems like it will be quite cheap on the whole, I think we’ll be quite comfortable assuming $10 a day. Accommodation seems as though it will vary quite a bit depending on what is available in a given area. I think $40 a day should be a comfortable number, we’ll be well under that enough that it will make up for the times we’ll pay substantially more. Transportation will be somewhat the same way, since while buses are cheap, they may not exist in some places we want to go and private transport or airplane is not cheap. I think we’ll be safe and budget $20 a day. For our daily activities then this comes to $70 a day.


This is also a very uncertainly defined area at the moment, there are a number of things we want to do, but they can also vary wildly in cost.

Gorilla Trekking $1000

Safari $2000

Climb Kilamanjaro $1500

Any number of other adventure outings requiring guides $priceless

Put this all together and we expect the costs for Africa to be quite substantial. 90 days at $70 a day comes out to $6300 and you add it our additional activities and the total balloons to ~$12000.

Now, as evident throughout this post, this part of our trip is thusf ar the most poorly planned and the most poorly researched. So there are bound to be inaccuracies in this, and we would love to have you correct them. Any experience in Africa? What were your expenses? How easily were you able to get around?


So to summarize our entire budget and come to one big number, our entire budget comes to $32000 for two people. This presumes our RTW flights are covered with frequent flier miles and is based off of daily projected costs in each area with costs for the additional activities we hope to do factored in as well. This number does not include pre-trip costs such as insurance, immunizations, moving, storage, gear, etc. We’ll address these issues and their costs as they come up.