5 cheapest travel destinations in Africa

Although the continent of Africa is vast and makes up over 20% of Earth’s landmass, the main destinations that people know and identify are often touristy and expensive and require months or more of saving to be able to afford a trip of a lifetime.

In this post, you are about to discover 5 of the cheapest travel destinations in Africa. These destinations are not cheap by value, as each of the destinations comes with a lot of amazing and attractive things you could ever find.  The purpose of this post is to educate you on how to travel on a budget to any of the listed destinations. Each destination also came with a fact file to properly equip you with the basic knowledge of each of the countries.

Tours & Packages to Africa - Friendly Planet Travel

EGYPT: Africa’s cheapest country with a rich ancient history

Although the pyramids, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, is definitely worth a visit, there are cheaper ways to see the breathtaking sights than by booking a tourist excursion or guided tours.

Egypt’s fact file

Currency: Egyptian Pound
Accommodation: The average room in the center of Cairo will cost around $12. If you choose to go to a quieter town or stay in the outskirts nearer Giza this price can go down even more.
Meals: $7.30 A 3-course meal in a mid-range restaurant can cost up to $9 per person, but if you’d prefer to eat in an inexpensive local restaurant, you can expect to pay around $3.50 per meal.
Drinks: As with Morocco, alcohol in Egypt is not overly common. Restaurants run by local Christians are more likely to sell alcohol, where you can expect to pay around $1-2 for a bottle of beer. A large bottle of water or a can of coke will be around $0.30 and coffee will be around $1.50.
Attractions: As mentioned above, the entry fee for the pyramids ranges from $5-30. A cinema ticket will cost around $4.
Transportation: You can expect to spend a total of around $3.50 a day on public transportation to get around places like Cairo.
Getting there by air: Egypt has many airlines which fly to and around the country. These include AlMasria Universal Airlines, EgyptAir (the national airline of Egypt), and Nile Air.


How to visit the Pyramids of Giza on a budget:

As mentioned, guided tours can be quite expensive, so why not venture out on your own or with a small group of friends and try out the local metro and mini-buses to save some cash. From the center at Tahrir Square to the pyramids, the combined travel cost can be under $2 per person. Presenting a Student ID card at ticket booths can get you a hefty discount of often 50%. Although the Great Pyramid is only $18 for a full-price ticket, you can visit some of the smaller attractions such as the Menkaure Pyramid or Mers Ankh Tomb for only $2.

However, there is so much more to Egypt than just the pyramids. Towns and cities further south can provide a much cheaper alternative to Cairo. Luxor, although still fairly well-known to tourists as the Valley of the Kings, is a great alternative to the pyramids, whilst still getting a taste of Ancient Egypt. Even quieter and authentic is Aswan, with must-visits being Ancient Egyptian tombs and temples which provide a great view over the River Nile, and the impressive man-made structure: the Aswan Dam. Egypt is also known for being a great destination for cheap diving. Instead of the popular and over-touristy Hurghada, head to Marsa Alam or Safaga for some of the cheapest diving along the Red Sea.


Malawi: Africa’s cheapest country with the best wildlife scenery

Malawi’s fact life

Currency: Malawian kwacha
Accommodation: For a budget bed in a dorm room, you will find they cost around $10.
Meals: A meal in a high-end restaurant will cost around $11, but a budget version will cost half that at $5.40.
Drinks: A branded beer will cost you around $1, a coffee around $2, and a bottle of water about $0.35.
Attractions: A guided wildlife walk will cost about $20. A casual diving activity in Lake Malawi will cost about $50.
Transportation: Buses around cities, although sometimes unreliable, are very cheap at only $0.30 for a one-way ticket.
Getting there by air: You can fly to the international airport of Malawi’s capital Lilongwe; Kamuzu International Airport (LLW) with several different airways such as Malawian AirlinesProflight Zambia, Ethiopian Airlines, and Ulendo Airlink.


Malawi is known as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’, which couldn’t be more true thanks to the kind, friendly and welcoming locals. The country is gradually developing its tourism industry, meaning there are more opportunities for responsible and sustainable travel for visitors. The country is also improving its perception as being a safe, peaceful, and stable country for its inhabitants and visitors.

This small country found in Southeast Africa is landlocked by its neighbors Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania, but make no mistake, this doesn’t mean it lacks beaches. The famous Lake Malawi provides clear blue waters with golden sand shores and the fresh water in the lake provides for an abundance of wildlife, with the opportunity to see many species of birds, hippos, baboons, warthogs, and elephants. Speaking of elephants, did you know Malawi offers affordable options to see the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, cape buffalo, and of course the elephant) within its national parks? Prices for safaris in Malawi, although not uber-cheap, are quite affordable and well worth the money due to the unspoiled nature due to lack of mass tourism, especially compared to other top safari destinations in Africa.

If you’d prefer to be in on the action rather than watching from the side, Lake Malawi is known for its great opportunities for scuba diving at impressively cheap prices. There are also facilities for other water sport activities such as sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling.


Ethiopia: Africa’s cheapest travel destination with one of the best foods

Ethiopia’s fact file

Currency: Ethiopian Birr
Accommodation: Even in the capital Addis Ababa, a private room will only cost around $7, or a two-star hotel can be found for around $10 per room.
Meals: Although there aren’t many street food vendors, local restaurants are super cheap, where the main meal and beer will only cost around $1.50. Even at a fancier restaurant, an expensive meal will only cost around $5.
Drinks: A traditional Ethiopian coffee will cost approximately $0.40, a breakfast fruit smoothie $0.50, and a beer $1.
Attractions: Attractions such as the castle in Gondar will cost under $5 for entry. A trip to the cinema will cost about $3.
Transportation: In rural parts of Ethiopia, it may be cheaper to fly domestically as there is better infrastructure for air travel than roads. Traveling around cities such as Addis Ababa by bus will only cost around $0.40 per day.
Getting there by air: Ethiopian Airlines is the flag carrier of Ethiopia, and one of the best airlines in the whole of Africa. Other airlines which fly into Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) include Saudia, Kenya Airways, and Emirates.


Ethiopia is not the cheapest country to travel to on this list, but once there and the accommodation is paid for, then food, drink, and local transport are both super affordable and of great quality. Although entrance fees to many parks and attractions are low, they’re accompanied by rules which mean that you have to have a travel guide with you, join an official tour, or pay ‘tourist tax’, which significantly increases the price. However, you can make the most of the places where a guide isn’t required to keep the costs down.

Nonetheless, Ethiopia’s rich history and breathtaking landscapes still come at a relatively cheap price, especially when compared to other regions of the world. Gondar, a city in the north of Ethiopia, features a 17th-century castle of Portuguese and Indian influence hidden in the shelter of the surrounding hills and trees. This castle often called the ‘Camelot of Africa’ is a must-see, and is relatively cheap to enter at only $4.50. If you want to see all that the country has to offer, catching a domestic flight to hop between the top sites might be for you.

Not only is Ethiopia’s food super cheap, but it’s one of the tastiest and exciting cuisines in the world. On Wednesdays and Fridays every week, Orthodox Ethiopians will fast from meat and animal products, essentially eating only vegan food. This is good news for vegans and vegetarians, as it means there’s a wide selection of amazing vegan food available. Some vegan must-tries are Shiro wat (a smooth and thick paste made from chickpeas, onions, and garlic), misir wat (lentils with berbere spice), timatim Salata (tomato salad), and the famous Ethiopian Injera (a sourdough flatbread made from teff). Meat options are still available, especially on the non-fasting days. Be sure to try lamb or beef tibs, or Kifto (a beef tartare) for some authentic Ethiopian meat dishes. Whilst on the subject of taste buds, you can’t mention Ethiopia without mentioning its amazing fresh coffee. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and many families or restaurants will conduct coffee ceremonies to enhance their enjoyment of it. However, if you’d prefer something alcoholic, yet still authentic Ethiopian, then why not try Tej, an alcoholic drink made of honey.


South Africa: Africa’s cheapest country for impressive landscapes

South Africa’s fact file

Currency: South African rand
Accommodation: A bed in a hostel will cost as low as $10, or for a mid-range hotel you can find prices from $25.
Meals: Budget meals can be found from $5, or $15 for a fancier, 3-course meal. Drinks: A local beer or coffee will often cost under $2, and water will cost $0.70.
Attractions: You can find some great museums in cities where the entrance is free! Bigger attractions such as the Table Mountain cable car are more expensive but certainly still affordable at $22.
Transportation: The cost to hire a car is super cheap, at only $10 per day. Tickets on local transportation, however, will only cost you around $1.
Getting there by air: South African Airways is the national flag carrier of South Africa, which flies to Europe, Asia, and America from its hub at O.R. Tambo Airport (JNB) (one of the best airports for shopping). United also flies directly from North America to Cape Town. Domestic flights around the country are well-served by one of the cheapest airlines in the world; Mango. Once you arrive, catch a domestic flight or two with airlines including Airlink to discover all of the hidden gems throughout the country.

South Africa

Although South Africa has a reputation for being expensive, a lesser-known secret is that the country itself is not that expensive; it’s the flights getting there that make up the bulk of the cost. This is due to the fact it’s the country furthest south in Africa, so when coming from somewhere like Asia, Europe or America, it’s a long and therefore expensive flight.

However, here at Alternative Airlines, we can help you with this obstacle. Not only do we provide competitive prices for our flights, but we also provide a wide choice of payment options you can choose from to pay for your flights. We have many options for paying for your flights on finance, by either paying in monthly installments or delaying the payment for a later date. Using one of these options could make your flights to South Africa a lot more affordable and manageable, meaning you have less to worry about for your trip as there are no huge payments.

Once in South Africa, you may be surprised at the cheap prices, especially when traveling away from the major cities. However, Cape Town isn’t to be overlooked. South Africa’s oldest city is home to the impressive Table Mountain, which is much cheaper to reach than other well-known African landmarks such as Mount Kilimanjaro which takes months of expensive training and preparation. For such a popular tourist destination, it is only $22 for a cable car return trip, or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can hike to the top for free. Cheaper activities in the Cape Town area are enjoying the many free gardens such as Company’s Garden or enjoy the impressive landscapes of the Cape Floral Region. The cost to hire a car is cheap, for around $10 a day including insurance. This means you can venture elsewhere in South Africa, or stay close by and take a drive around the Cape Winelands for great views, or down to the Cape Peninsula to Boulder Beach to see the penguins.


Ghana: Africa’s cheapest country for coastal delights

Ghana’s fact life

Currency: Ghana cedi
Accommodation: This varies greatly depending on where you are staying. For example, a budget hotel can cost as little as $3 per person per night, but a more comfortable hotel may cost closer to $20 per night.
Meals: A standard meal will cost you around $3.50, or a higher-standard 3-course meal may cost around $13.
Drinks: Alcoholic drinks can be found relatively cheap in the bars of Accra, at around $1 for a beer. A regular coffee may cost you $2, and a bottle of water $0.50.
Attractions: Touristy attractions such as the canopy walk at Kakum will cost around $11, and a cinema trip $5.
Transportation: A bus ticket in the city will cost you around $0.60.
Getting there by air: There is no national carrier of Ghana, but many airlines fly into the main international airport of the country; Kotoka International Airport (ACC). Airlines include RwandAirASKY Airlines, and Africa World Airlines.


Ghana, dubbed ‘Africa for beginners, is a country located in West Africa. Generally, Ghana is a very safe country, and its friendly people make you feel warm and welcome as soon as you enter. Although the Coastal Plains of Ghana make up only a fraction of the whole country, there’s so much to do and see here, including the capital city of Accra. This coastal city is small but vibrant, with much to do for free! From Skybar in Accra’s tallest tower overlooking the laid-back coastline, a wander around the beating Makola Market, or the bars contributing to its great nightlife scene, Accra has something for everyone. The beaches of Bojo and Labadi provide a beautiful place for relaxing on the sand, or for the more adventurous, there are some great waves to surf. There are also several memorials and monuments in Accra, such as the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, the Independence Arch, and the Osu Castle. The fishing community of Jamestown is a must-visit for a cultural experience dating back to the 17th century, complete with colonial architecture, vibrant local street art, and a quaint lighthouse.

If you plan to explore more than just Accra, be sure to visit the well-preserved Cape Coast Castle from the 17th century for an important reminder of the country’s past from the slave trade. Slightly further inland from the Cape Coast is Kakum National Park, a rich rainforest complete with all types of flora and fauna and even a canopy walk – a rope bridge built to walk above the trees! For quick and easy travel, jump on a domestic flight within Ghana, and travel between the country’s top spots in no time.


If traveling the world always seemed like an impossible dream, now is your time to go. Whether you’ve wanted to visit South Africa or Malawi since you were twelve or you just know that you need to take a vacation somewhere, everyone deserves to travel every now and then, no matter your budget. And trust us, it can be done for less money than you’d expect, especially if you follow our tips.

Take your time and shop around for a good deal; they may not always be easy to find, but they’re out there waiting for you. Once you’re sitting on that plane, all the hard work and planning will be completely worth it. Happy vacationing!


Source: alternative airlines