As I sit here looking out over a green mountain that rolls into the sea, the music at the bar plays Milky Chance and I have a Savannah cider (that I paid $1 for) in my hand – I can’t believe how lucky I am. My fellow travelers here are from all over the world Germany, Israel, Denmark, Argentina, Norway – we are swapping stories of skydiving, discussing politics and the best places to eat eggs benedict.
I never knew a morning in Africa that I woke up and was not happy – Ernest Hemingway
I’m sure this isn’t what my friends at home think I’m doing. I’m not exactly sweating in a mud hut and fighting off crocodiles. In fact, I’ve happened upon a backpackers freaking paradise – adventure, affordability, culture, music, parties and jaw-dropping natural beauty.
As much as I would like to keep Southern Africa a secret all for myself – I can’t. It must be shared. It must be discovered as the next backpacking and adventure haven that it undeniably is. So, as much as it pains me to share my secret adventure paradise…here are 7 reasons why you should revamp your travel plans and ditch the castles for the dark continent!
1. Unparalleled Adventure
Adventure is really Southern Africa’s true claim to fame. As far as tourism goes – the market is teeming with opportunities. Shark cage diving, the world’s highest bungee jump, mountaineering, skydiving, rock climbing, world class surf… this isn’t exclusive for resorts either. There are affordable opportunities for young people and backpackers that cater to adventurers of all shapes and sizes.
Everyone knows of Mt. Kilimanjaro but don’t miss other high altitude alternatives like Mt. Mulanje in Malawi and the entire mountain nation of Lesotho.
Traditionally Southern Africa has been known for the luxury safari traveling. Depending on your level of comfort, this is still the item that may cost some extra dough. But depending on where you go, most national parks allow self-drive options.
Otherwise, there are backpacker hostels that cater to budget travelers just outside of the parks. South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, and Namibia all offer affordable housing and wildlife viewing opportunities for the “safari” experience.
South Africa being the most developed nation in the region is truly a backpackers paradise. In fact, there is even a specific bus that will drop you off door-to-door at each hostel! If you prefer more flexibility renting a car is only $15-$30 USD a day! Split this cost between other travelers you meet in the backpacker’s hostel and you’ve got a pretty sweet deal.A night in Cape Town will run you about $20 with quality lodges in smaller cities and countries about $8 USD per night.
A night in Cape Town will run you about $20, with quality lodges in smaller cities and countries about $8 USD per night.
In terms of food, a proper surf’n’turf dinner in Cape Town will set you back about 150 ZAR – the current equivalent of $10USD. Other parts of Africa may be more expensive for western style food as most items are imported. However, with some willingness to try the local cuisine the cost of food should be no hindrance to affordable travels throughout the region.