Cheap accommodation in South Africa.

¿ Are you looking for cheap accommodation in South Africa

Carry your own tent ... and do camping.  !!!! It´s the cheapest accommodation option!!!!

We visited South Africa during a 3 months roadtrip through southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland), during October - December 2014.

In our trip in South Africa, we stayed in campings (most of the time), dormitories (only twice because of bad weather), rooms (twice, the lodges were empty and they offered us a room for the price of camping!), and even stayed in a bungalow for free. Also, we did couchsurfing many times. Simply amazing !!!

 We enjoyed different kinds of accommodation

So, from our experience, here´s some information about how to save money with accommodation in South Africa.

   General information about South Africa accommodation   

South Africa is a tourist destination and the offer is usually big and can suit every budget. The quality of accommodation is really high.

Backpackers are quite usual and you will find a dormitory in the main tourist destinations of the country.  So it´s quite easy and convenient for the low-cost travellers in Southern Africa.
The backpackers are good, clean, with kitchen, free wifi (usually).
Check Coast to Coast or Alternative Route, the websites and also free guides that you find easily (tourist information, backpackers) with the most famous hostels. 
 Tight budget: you can camp there, most of them allow you to pitch the tent in the garden. Or stay in good campsites, sometimes even cheaper and great.

Average price for accommodation in South Africa:

- For camping: around 75-90 R/pp (around 5-6 €/pp).
- For a dormitory: around 120-150 R/pp (9-11 €/pp). 
- For a room: The prices start around 300-400 R (20-30 €)... and much more...

  Accommodation in South Africa is a bit cheaper than in neighbour countries like Namibia and Botswana and the offer is much bigger.
Without a private car, if using public transport, you will probably have to limit yourself to big cities easy to reach by bus/van and to central accommodation. Use the tourist vans that stop at the backpackers lodges (Bazbus) or try to hitch-hike to get to some places hard to reach by public transport.

If you are planning to use “baz-bus”, it will be easier to reach the backpackers (as they do a “door to door” backpackers service, maybe not the cheapest transport but convenient and easy). 
Or you can always ask other travellers around if they are going in your way... and share the ride... 
In the national parks, big and good offer of accommodation, from camping to luxury rooms (read the National Parks information, at the right sidebar menu).

If you rent a car, it could be interesting to use Airbnb (satying with local people and tourist houses). You can find cheap deals.

   Camping in South Africa, the cheapest accommodation  

It´s the budget option for South Africa. In average, 75-90 R/pp (around 5-6 €/pp). So carrying a tent is really interesting to save money. 

There are many campsites and caravan-parks, most of them very well-equiped and nice (like in Europe, Australia/New Zealand, USA...). 
The National parks usually have campsites too. Check
Also many backpackers have a campsite or allow you to pitch your tent in the garden. 

Around  Cape Town, there are municipal campsites, really cheap outside the high season.
The white South African people, specially Africaners, love camping!

 Expect very good campsites, with clean toilets, hot showers, electricity points, BBQ but ususally no kitchen except at the backpackers.
Some of the backpackers offer free wifi, otherwise quite limited internet.
Most of the places have swimming pools.
Credit cards usually avalaible.

You will find a lot of information surfing the internet. Most of the places have websites.


School holidays: big and crowded holidays are during Christmas-New year´s ewe.
Avoid the big tourist destinations, specially the coast. Many places are fully booked and the prices can be much more expensie! Also in march/april, june and October but easier to find a room.

   Couchsurfing in South Africa  

There´s a big community all over South Africa.
Most of the people are local white people, big travellers. And it´s quite easy to find a host in the main cities and towns. 

We did 26 nights of couchsurfing . Always very nice experiences, “5 stars” couchsurfing hospitality in South Africa!

We also visited remote places or national parks where there´s no CS community and not so many towns... and did camping.

   Volunteering in South Africa  

There´s a quite big community in websites like Helpx or Workaway in South Africa, around 100 hosts in each. You work (usually 4-5 h/day, 6 days a week) in exchange of a room and food.

It can be a good experience while visiting South Africa.
Most of the places are lodges or backpackers, not so many families or farms, people without business. So expect maybe more hours of work. Most of the hosts are white South Africans.
Read well the profiles, the references and don´t hesitate in asking about conditions.

Usually, the conditions are quite fair in South Africa, at least this was our feeling reading the profiles in Helpx and contacting a few people. Finally, short of time, we didn´t try it.

It´s sad, but there are many abuses with volunteer people in Africa, with many volunteers working hard and paying to do it and staying there! Yes!
Just check the internet. Specially programs with wild life, aids, orphanages, women... In many cases, you have to pay 1.000 $ a month and volunteer, work for them! 
Just think about it!

Once in the country, if you want to exchange, help, it won´t be hard to find a place, just asking around... and try to get fair conditions...