RTW Budget Update: Africa

We’ve shared our RTW budget along with an update for Europe, but now it’s time to take a look at where our money went in Africa. Can you guess how we did? Can you guess? I bet you have your suspicions.

Part 1: Major Transportation

  • Estimated Expense: $1,000
  • Actual Expense: $1,615
  • Variance (+Better / -Worse): -$615

Transportation in Africa is difficult to plan, sometimes dangerous, and uncomfortable. Outside our interesting train ride, we found ourselves hiring private transportation on many occasions rather than the public transportation options that the locals choose to partake in. If you’ve ever seen a dala dala in Zanzibar, you’ll understand why.

So the taxis, 1st class bus tickets, and private shuttle on our safari from Livingstone to Joburg cost quite a bit of cash. Throw in another $625 to rent a car and pay for gas all around South Africa and we’ve got one major budget issue. So next time (when we’re pricing out the cost of renting a 4×4 for our very own self-drive safari), we’ll have to keep in mind spending a little more money in the transportation department will be worth it.

A dala dala in Zanzibar

Part 2: In-Country Costs

  • Estimated Expense: $4,200 (35 days at $60 / day / person)
  • Actual Expense: $5,218
  • Variance (+Better / -Worse): -$1,018

But just like before, we have to account for the fact that our budget was based on a different time period spent in Africa. We spent a day less in Africa than originally planned and we should fudge the numbers to account for that.

  • Adjusted Estimated Expense: $4,080 (34 days at $60 / day / person)
  • Actual Expense: $5,218
  • Adjusted Variance (+Better / -Worse): -$1,138

We had to change our way of thinking a little bit in Africa. Across Europe, it’s easy to spend your days strolling through city streets, observing the architecture or people watching. You could do this in Africa if you’d like as well, but you’ll miss out on the whole point of traveling to Africa. Everything is activity-based. And all of those activities have western-style pricing. With some even explicitly priced in US dollars or Euros instead of the local currency. So in order for us to go on game drives, a river cruise, swim at the top of Victoria Falls, take a surf lesson, or ride an ostrich we had to spend the money to do so. So key point on money while traveling through Africa: research your must do activities long beforehand to include in your budget. Our mistake was we just showed up and figured it out as we went.

True Cost for Eastern / Southern Africa: $77 / day / person

A zebra and her foal at the Khama Rhino Sancturary
A zebra and her foal at the Khama Rhino Sancturary

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