Everything You Need To Know About Backpacking In South Africa

South Africa is an exciting country that offers tourists a wide range of adventures and attractions. It’s a fantastic travel destination with lots of national parks and wildlife experiences, safaris, mountains, beautiful cities, delicious food, rich cultural history, and friendly people. But before travelling to this fabulous country, ensure that you effectively plan your travel days. How long do you intend to stay in SA?

The best way to explore South Africa is while travelling light. If you plan to spend a week or two in SA, my advice is to be a backpacker. It is cost-effective and gives you the opportunity of exploring. While you are in South Africa, these are some of the backpacking tips you should know about;

Backpacker hostel

Every city and town in South Africa has at least one backpacker hostel, and if you want to enjoy your holiday in SA, these are among one of the best places to stay. You have lots of options to choose from ranging from top class hostels to rustic ones. These backpacker hostels are usually very fun and exciting to live in that even the locals come in to have an exciting time. South Africans are extremely friendly and social people; they won’t hesitate to tell you about their town.

Utilise you travel days

This country is a pretty big one, so you need to effectively plan every day you wish to spend in this country. Decide the exact places you need to see. Most tourists opt for the bigger cities, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and much more, but there are other exciting places to visit, such as:

  • Wild Coast

Though a remote region, it has beautiful scenery—the coffee bay, for instance, surrounded by green hills and subtropical bush. The wild coast has a small village in it with some lodges scattered around for backpackers. It’s a fantastic place for surfing, hiking and swimming. You can also learn a thing or two about the Xhosa people here.

  • Kruger National Park

This is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and covers about 20000 km2. This park has over 150 mammals, 500 bird species, 100 reptiles, different archaeological sites and other beautiful sites to behold. There are enough places to put up while visiting the park. Depending on your budget, you could choose an accommodation from the Sanparks (South African National Park) board. Their accommodation includes rest camps, bush lodge, satellite camps and overnight hides. Or you could opt for private-owned hostels. Whichever camp or lodge you decide to stay don’t miss out on seeing the different animals in this park.


Keep your valuables (passport, pieces of jewellery and so on) safe whether you step out of your room or not. Keep your backpack or handbags close to you when sipping your coffee in a shop or restaurant. Be cautious of your surroundings.  Another thing to note as a backpacker is that the wildlife animals aren’t tamed. So don’t get too close.


Be rest assured that you can’t go hungry in South Africa. This country presents you amazing dishes from traditional dishes such as ‘walkie talkies,’ ‘smileys’ and some others to world-class steaks and cuisines. You could eat at some of SA’s beautiful restaurant or the casual eateries and markets.

Social life and making friends

South African locals are amicable and peaceful people. They are readily available to answer your questions or point out directions to travellers. If you are backpacking alone, hitch your ride with other tour groups where you’d meet exciting like-minded people. Don’t forget to hang out in the on-site bars in the evening if you stay at the backpackers’ lodge

Plan your budget well

South Africa’s monetary unit is the Rand. They, however, accept the use of cards. You don’t have to withdraw all your cash for a backpacking trip. Everything is relatively well-priced, from accommodation to groceries. An important tip to note is that the people here expect tips from you as a visitor, do ensure you have some loose change to tip the waitress that served you a meal or the car guards that helped you find a spot to park your car. If you are going to shark dive or bungee jump every day, make sure you have enough money on you.

Places to visit

See some fascinating sites in South Africa, places like:

  • Cape Town

There are lots of things to do and places to see while you are at Cape Town. Hiking up the Mountain or getting a cable car ride gives you a great view of Table Mountain and the city. Your trip to Cape Town isn’t complete without reaching Table Mountain.

  • Durban

This city is well recognised for its beaches which are warm all year round. Apart from surfing, diving and fishing, you could visit the uShaka marine world. It has the fifth largest aquarium in the world.  Also, pay a visit to the Gateway shopping mall. This mall is recognised as one of the 50 largest in the world. It has 18 movie theatres, a theme and water park, over 400 stores, and an arcade.

If you’re going to journey across such a country, however, you should first take out a travel insurance policy to ensure that you are protected should you unexpectedly fall ill or have to cancel your trip. 

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