Budget Travel: South Africa

budget travel, south africa, road trip, cost of flights, family, travel, how to, camping, backpackers, cape town, durban, graaff reinet, bethlehem, dumami lodge, drive, south africaI must be honest with you…the last thing I feel like doing is driving to Durban. After 9 weeks of driving around the country it’s seriously not fun any more. What you may not know is that I am the only driver in the family. Which means that no matter how crappy I feel and no matter what else I have to deal with, the driving responsibility falls onto my shoulders.

So while we’ve been home, I’ve been looking at alternative options. I looked at plane tickets and, after finding a set for R5k, I looked at adding a rental car and nearly had a heart attack. We want to explore KZN while we are there so flying and not having access to a car is not an option for us. But spending R10k on flights and car rental isn’t an option either. That’s before adding accommodation and food! How do people travel!?

Which means we will be driving to KZN next week, after the car has been serviced. Yay! Funsies.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love travel. But budget travel can be a bit oppressive at times. I’m sure travel is a lot more fun when money isn’t such an issue. The thing is, in today’s economy no one has money. So adjustments need to be made.

We will leave from Cape Town and head to Graaff Reinet as a mid way stop. We would like to stop over for 2 nights before we move on from there. I can’t do the trip on 1 tank of fuel so let’s break it down like this and see where we end up.

Cape Town to Graaff Reinet

Petrol: R650

Accommodation (2 nights): R1500

Food: R250

Then Graaff Reinet is still over 11 hours away from Empangeni which means another stop is in order. Let’s say, Bethlehem. 2 nights is the bare minumum because I don’t want to screech into a place in the dark and then leave in the dark the next morning. We’ve tried that. It’s exhausting!

Graaff Reinet to Bethlehem:

Petrol: R650

Accommodation: R1500

Food: R250

Bethlehem to Dumami Lodge:

Petrol: R650

Accommodation: sponsored

Food: R250

So the total is R6000 and we have access to our own car to explore KZN. Of course this is to just get us to our first stop. And we want to stay there for 2 weeks. Oh help! I must be missing something here. Surely there must be a cheaper way for a family of 4 to travel in South Africa?

I honestly don’t mind saving up for that trip of a lifetime. I’m no scrooge. But after 15 years of marriage and working my butt off, that trip of a lifetime was probably going to happen in someone else’s lifetime, unless I made a few changes. Maybe others feel the same too?

Anyway, in other news…We are so excited to finally be trying our cruise life at the end of the year. And, thanks to a sale at a low cost airline earlier this week, the kids will get to fly in a plane and sail on a ship for the first time in the week they turn 9 and 12 and their parents celebrate their 15 year anniversary. Then we start saving up for thatisland holiday, and helicopter flight, and Hot Air Balloon ride, and maybe a trip to see the Northern Lights.

But in the meantime, can we talk about the cost of plane tickets? How do you manage to travel with your family? Is staying within driving distance of home the only option or do you have a secret that works for you? And speaking of driving, what is your limit? How far are you willing to drive to go on holiday before you buy plane tickets instead? And if you fly, how do you get around and explore? Are rental cars the only way to go?

Let me know in the comments. Maybe we can all help each other out.

About TazzDiscovers 130 Articles
We are a family of four with a passion for our beautiful and diverse South Africa. Because of our passion for Cape Town, we love exploring and taking pictures as we grow and spend time together as a family. Our kids are 13 and 16 respectively and have had access to the most amazing opportunities through our little blog and this is something we are incredibly grateful for. We have seen them grow and mature since we started travelling and has turned them into little connoisseurs of all things wonderful in South Africa. If you would like a family perspective on your business or location, we would love to work with you. Feel free to reach out via email: tazzdiscovers@gmail.com


  1. Wow this is like reading my own life story.
    Well done you have accomplished much in 15 years. Going on a cruise with the children.
    That’s also my next step.
    By the way I love travelling and exploring our beautiful country.
    Must say it does cist an arm and leg but it’s worth every cent.
    We ve been to mist of the big cities like cape town and joh burg, PE . And it was the most precious time I’ve had with my family.
    I’ve promised my daughter a plain ride since she was ten. She is now thirteen. …
    Coming back to your questions
    I would always opt for driving because you get to explore the country. Maybe only for very special occasions flying.
    We’ve also talked about the practicalits and cost of flying and renting cars. Don’t think it’s worth it unless you have loads of money.
    In your case to be the only driver could be an option to cough for a plane ticket and rental!
    Please update when you have more travelling stories esp the cruise and plane ride of da family

    • Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Elizabeth. I love it that you found similarities with our family and I’d love to hear more about your adventures. Thank you for all your advice. If I hadn’t set aside some money for the cruise, it would still be on our bucket list. It’s certainly a pricey experience so I hope the kids will enjoy it. We will definitely do a few posts on our first plane trip and the cruise. Keep an eye on our instagram and twitter around November as we will be sharing as much as we can about the experience. Take care 🙂

      • Thanks for your response
        I’m excited to hear all about your trip do I will definitely look out for the posts.
        Keep well and God bless.
        P’s another thing on my bucket list is a white Christmas in Europe.
        One can dream hey…

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