Africa & Middle East - 11 min read

Africa Trip Cost: Pricing for Flights, Food & Accommodation

Amanda Ryan

Amanda Ryan, Updated October 10, 2022

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From the tropical beaches of Zanzibar to the medieval cities of Marrakesh, Africa has over 3000 tribes with different languages, traditions, and cultures. Many people who journey to Africa are often surprised to see more than just wildlife and Safaris. One question people often ask before packing their bags for Africa is, “what does a trip to Africa cost?”

The average cost of a 2-week trip to Africa per person is between $5000-$7500, including your round trip airfares. $560-$2035 will cover accommodation, $350-$1000 for both local and intercity transportation, and $560 for food. It also includes $2407 for Safaris and tours, $60-$100 for visa fees, $500 for vaccinations, and $590 for excursions and add-ons.

Africa is large and expensive, but the beauty is well worth it. The rest of the article will detail each cost and provide tips to save money on your journey.

How Much Money Should You Take for A 2-Week Trip To Africa?

Credit: daves_archive / Flickr

When traveling to Africa, you will be visiting more than one country. The right amount of money to take with you on a 2-week journey to Africa is between $5000-$7500. This budget includes $1337 for flight tickets into Africa and $1000 for flight fares between African cities.

Before going to Africa, you would have to spend $400-$500 on vaccinations and medicines. African countries require visas before entry, costing about $60-$80 per country. There are fewer flights to Africa, and airfares have an average fee of $1337

The lack of sufficient infrastructure in many places increases accommodation and transportation costs. It would be best if you had an average of $560-$2035 to cover accommodation and $250-$350 for transportation for two weeks.

Meal fees, especially if you only eat western food, are also on the high side at $560 for two weeks. The tours and attractions that make Africa a tourist delight are costly. The average safari tour and parks cost $2407 per day; however, this fee also covers food and accommodation. Independent excursions and add-ons cost an average of $571.

Traveling To Africa On A Tight Budget

Credit: Laura / Flickr

The majority of people living on the continent survive on a few dollars per day. Hence it will not be challenging to travel to Africa on a tight budget, provided you make some adjustments. This budget is especially useful for those that will be traveling independently.

Some months are cheaper than others when it comes to flight fares. The cheapest month to fly when traveling to Africa is February, with Flight fares averaging $800. Some people have also found flights to Africa for as low as $590.

The average safari cost on a tight budget is $800, with some adjustments. Start by negotiating the price with your guides, choosing a cheaper safari site, and going with a group.

Visa fees are non-negotiable at $50-$100 for one visa. Remember to check the exact costs prior to arrival to avoid scams from the border officials.

Accommodation is expensive in Africa, but you can get hotels for $12 per night outside the city center. Many hotels or parks will allow you to camp and take advantage of their facilities for $10-$15. You can survive on a food budget of $80-$100 per month if you eat local food and cook for yourself.

Popular dishes include rice, beans, potatoes, eggs, chicken, stews, and seafood. Vaccines and medications are non-negotiable and cost between $400-$500, but can last many years.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Tanzania

Basic Expenses On A Vacation To Africa

Before embarking on your journey to Africa, you need a detailed breakdown of the cost considerations. This breakdown will help you make an accurate budget plan for any surprises. Some of the factors contributing to your total budget include:

1. Flight Tickets

Credit: Lorenia / Flickr

KOAirfares to Africa are notoriously expensive and will take a considerable chunk of your budget. Flight Tickets depend on factors such as the number of countries you plan to visit and the time of year. The airfares to Africa are expensive because there are fewer travelers; hence airlines charge more.

The average airfare for a round trip to Africa costs between $1200-$2000. This fee can rise significantly or reduce, depending on your location. Even flight fares between African cities can be expensive, costing between $200-$300.

Most flights to Africa are cheaper from Europe and the Middle East, with an average fare between $500-$1000. However, flights originating outside the EME regions will likely have layovers and cost more. 

2. Visa Fees

Credit: Rachel Strohm / Flickr

Most African countries require a visa, and the cost depends on your nationality. The average visa fees cost between $60-$100 per country. And since you will probably be visiting a few countries on the continent, these visa fees would compound.

The visas are usually available at the border and typically last for 30-90 days for a single entry into one country. However, do your research to know which visas are available at the border and which are not. Most border officials require you to pay in dollars and only accept large currency bills such as 20 or 50-dollar bills.

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Ghana

3. Accommodation

Credit: Francisco Anzola / Flickr

Accommodation in Africa is expensive, and it is not easy to find good quality rooms. Africa has a range of accommodation that caters to different styles, such as backpacker hostels, safari lodges, and hotels.

The prices for each accommodation style depend on the city, length of stay, and the time of visit. Basic hotels in small villages and rural areas cost between $2-$10 per night.

These hotels usually have a small room with a bed, table, and chair. You often have to share a bathroom with other hotel guests without running water.

Standard budget hotels across Africa cost an average of $20-$40 per night. They typically include a private room with a bathroom, bed, hot and cold water, and sometimes a TV. The high-end hotels in larger cities and tourist locations have an average price of $150.

Safari lodges typically offer suitable quality accommodation, but this comes at a higher price. The average cost of Safari lodges across Africa is between $600-$2000 per person per night, and it involves sharing.

Camping in Africa can be expensive, even when traveling with your gear. Some hotels will allow you to camp in their compound and access their facilities from $10-$40. Most campgrounds charge $10-$25, and a Safari lodge will charge you a whooping $100 just to camp.

4. Transportation

Credit: Gary Bembridge / Flickr

Even though the transportation cost varies depending on the African country, it is still relatively expensive. Both local and intercity transportation will eat deep into your pockets. Africa is a large continent, and traveling from one destination takes days.

Public transportation in Africa involves rundown buses that are slow, inconsistent, and crowded. The average cost for a bus ride within a city is $1-$2 and $20-$40 between cities. Buses only move from one designated point to another and will not go to tourist spots or hotel doorsteps.

Shared taxis are also how locals move around, but it is significantly better than public transportation. An average of $0.5-$1.50 for a one-hour taxi ride. Taxis have a fixed route, and you will usually have to move from one cab to another if traveling long distances.

Coaches are the preferred means of transportation for longer journeys because the prices are set, and it’s safer and more comfortable. It costs an average of $1.50-$2 per hour to move around.

Car rental services are available at an average cost of $40-$50 per day, depending on the type of car. You will also have to factor in the average fuel cost of $0.5-$1 per liter.

Others involve $1-$2 trains which travel through limited routes, are unpredictable, and often have maintenance breakdowns. Ubers are popular in cities and have an average cost of $3-$5.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Cape Town

5. Food

Credit: Jen Arrr / Flickr

African meals mostly rely on maize for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it is expensive to get western food. However, many dishes have meat and chicken, and a wide variety involves seafood.

The average breakfast cost is $5-$8 and $7-$12 for lunch and dinner, respectively. However, western meals are more expensive, with an average cost of $15 for spaghetti, pizza, burgers, and fries.

Africa is hot, and you will need to drink a lot of water; however, public water is unsafe. You will need to budget an average of $0.5-$1 for one liter of drinking water. Beer is a popular alcoholic drink and costs $1-$1.50 per bottle.

6. Activities

Credit: Diana Robinson / Flickr

Africa has many attractions, including safaris, parks, mountain climbing, and beach resorts. However, the price is steep, and you will have to budget fees paid for day tours, museums, and sightseeing.

Safaris are a spotting adventure that captures the African experience. The average cost of a Safari is between $400-$1500 per day, and this includes lodging, feeding, and tours. Most travel agencies offer a complete package that covers flight fares.

Parks also offer an affordable wildlife experience compared to Safari. The average park fee is $75-$100, and it can get as low as $8-$25. Or you could visit Africa’s beautiful lakes and falls, such as Victoria’s falls, for $20.

Africa has majestic mountains and dunes for adventure thrill seekers. You can climb some of the largest dunes on earth in Namibia for $300-$400. Or climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, at an average cost of $1400 to $2500.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit South Africa

7. Vaccinations & Medications

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When traveling through Africa, some vaccines are required, and some are recommended. Regular clinics do not stock some of these vaccines, instead visit a travel clinic, preferably the government-owned clinics.

The CDC recommends yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis A&B, Rabies, measles, mumps, rubella, influenza, and malaria medications or vaccines. The average cost ranges from $70 to $350 each vaccine per person.

8. Travel Insurance And Other Miscellaneous Items

Credit: MartinezCodina / Flickr

There are unpredictable travel risks you have to consider when traveling to Africa. Your bus can break down, resulting in a missed flight, or you may fall ill with malaria resulting in hospitalization.

Compare different insurance offers and pick the one that covers all options. Other Miscellaneous items you have to budget include tips, mosquito nets, water purifiers, and camping gear.

Tips To Save Money While Traveling To Africa

Africa is a beautiful destination with its wildlife, nature parks, mountains, and lakes. Your journey to Africa can become a money pit if a considerable effort is not involved. Here are some tips to help you save money while getting the best African experience.

1. Don’t Book in Advance

Credit: C.C. Chapman / Flickr

It may seem counterintuitive compared to other locations, but booking tours or accommodation in advance is not advisable. You can usually get a cheaper deal in person compared to booking online. Do your research and remember that Africans are willing to negotiate prices with you.

Tour guides will approach you at different rates; some will be cheaper than online. Some accommodations do not check online reservations and are rarely filled up; you will get a more affordable deal.

2. Travel in A Group

Credit: Vanessa Smetkowski / Flickr

The best vacations are those you can share the same experiences with friends and family. Traveling with a group will always lower your cost significantly, considering you will be splitting the bills.

Accommodation in Africa is costly, and a group journey will lower the cost significantly. Negotiate lower tour prices as a group or create your tour by hiring cheaper guides and a car.

3. Save Money On Activities & Attractions

Credit: daves_archive1 / Flickr

You will probably be going to different African countries requiring visas. Getting an East Africa visa allows you into Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda instead of individual permits for each country.

It is okay to prioritize some activities over others. Plan your trip so you don’t have to enter a country twice and pay visa fees for each entry. You can save some money by checking out tribal dances for entertainment.

4. Save Money On Flight Tickets

Credit: Warren / Flickr

Flights to Africa are expensive because of the limited number of airlines. You can save money by flying to a European or Middle Eastern country and flying to Africa from there.

For example, take a flight from the United States to London, Paris, Istanbul, or Dubai. You can get a cheaper flight into a major African city such as Johannesburg, Cairo, Dakar, or Addis Ababa to start your journey.

5. Consider Getting Your Vaccines in Africa

Credit: WHO / Flickr

Because Africans usually fall sick from these illnesses, the medications and vaccines are often cheaper. Consider getting your Yellow fever vaccine at a more affordable rate in Africa instead of $150 in the United States.

Remember to research which countries provide vaccinations at the border before traveling. You don’t want to end up putting yourself in a awkward situation when you arrive.

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