The Cost Of Bike Touring: Africa

How much will an independent bike tour cost?

Costs can be surprisingly high in Africa. It’s definitely not as cheap as Southeast Asia, for example, but careful travellers might get by on $10-20 U.S. a day, depending on which country you’re touring in.

Scroll down to read about bike tourists who’ve recently been there, and their experiences.


The Cyclist & The Trip: Peter set out to cycle from England to South Africa in August 2009. His slow pace of travel meant that he was nearly (but not quite) in South Africa by early 2012. He’s a fairly low budget traveller but will pay a bit more for a certain level of comfort.

Peter Gostelow

The Cost: About $10 U.S. per person, per day but with a big variation between countries. “Some days can be $5 U.S. or less if I’m camping in villages and self-catering. Others can easily be over $20 U.S. a day.”

I’m somewhere between an ultra low-budget traveller and a medium budget one. On previous trips, I’d have checked out of a $4-5 U.S. room to stay in a $3 U.S. place. Now I can’t be bothered.

Tips: “Wherever there are backpacker places in Africa, expect the food to be sometimes twice the price of what it would cost on the street or market. Budget eating is not to be found in places that market themselves as budget accommodation options. If you know the place you are going to camp is some kilometres from the market, make sure you stock up rather than having to pay $5-10 U.S. for a meal that might still leave you hungry. Also, food (particularly fruit and vegetables) sold by the roadside in villages is far cheaper than what you will find in a market in a large town or city.”


The Cyclist & The Trip: Shane began cycling the length of Africa in late 2011. He shared costs related to the first part of his trip through South Africa. During this section of the journey, he cooked almost all his own food but his budget was inflated by accommodation costs. Shane spent about 30% of his nights in hotels or hostels and another 40% of nights in paid campsites.

Shane Little

The Cost: About $40 U.S. per person, per day. (Shane has more tips and info on costs in South Africa on his blog).

This included bits and bobs I still needed to buy in Cape Town (not a lot), one day in the bus, two new inner tubes and lots of food and beer. I’m hopeful that the amount of hotels versus camping will lean more to the camping side as the trip carries on, allowing me to lower my budget.

Tips: “I saved a lot of time in internet cafes by using my mobile with a local SIM card. The cost of internet data was dirt cheap so could use it to check social media networks and answer emails. I only went to internet cafes for blog updates and longer emails.”


Can You Help?
Keeping these sections up-to-date and adding new sections relies on the community. That’s you!

If you’ve recently been on tour and can tell us about your daily budget, please Get In Touch and share your answers to these 3 basic questions:

1. What did you spend per person, per day on average? This is for daily expenses like food, hotels, public transport within a country but not exceptional extras like bike repair, flights to/from the country.

2. Can you briefly describe your style of travel? Are you ultra low budget (e.g. a devoted wild camper, cook all your own food) or more medium budget (e.g. will occasionally splash out on a hotel, meal in restaurant)?

3. Any tips you want to share related to costs in this region? Was something particularly cheap or expensive? How would you recommend others save money?

We’ll add your answers to the relevant page, along with a photo of you on tour and a link to your bike touring blog (if you have one). Thanks!


  1. Andrea
    28th February 2012 at 1:50 am #

    This looks very helpful. Thanks to all the contributors.

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