Backpacking Through South Africa

Backpacking through South Africa is something that a lot of people consider, but many deem to be hard to accomplish. South Africa has a lot to offer backpackers from mountain ranges to wine land to blue flag beaches. If you are considering backpacking through South Africa there is some information that you should consider.

Accommodation

aAccommodation in South Africa can range of very expensive to budget permitting. There are a lot of backpacker lodges and other accommodation geared toward backpackers. This accommodation will offer shared rooms and single rooms. You will also have access to facilities like the kitchen and recreation areas.

There are also budget hotels and B&B’s all over the country to choose from. Of course, these types of accommodation will cost more than the backpacker lodge.

Getting Around

aaSouth Africa is a fairly large country and there are 4 primary methods of getting around that backpackers can enjoy. These are through air flights, car rentals, long-distance buses and long-distance trains. Each of these methods of transport has their benefits.

Major airlines fly into Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban daily. Internal flights are also available and are cheaper if you book them a week in advance. There are no last minute stand-by offers for internal flights.

There are a lot of companies that offer car rentals in the country and many of them have cheap offers. There are some companies that target backpackers with their rentals.

Long-distance bus travel is offered by a number of reputable companies. You can get these buses from most major cities. The companies running the buses include Greyhound, Intercape and Translux.

South Africa and Southern Africa in general does not have the best railroad infrastructure. This means that it is not easy to get long-distance trains as the routes are fairly restricted. However, it is worthwhile considering the Blue Train and the Rovos Rail. These train journeys will generally be more expensive than other forms of transport.

Eating

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There are a lot of restaurants in South Africa from fine-dining to fast food such as McDonalds. Most backpackers do not actually go to restaurants as they usually have the western price tag attached. It is recommended that you buy groceries and use the facilities in the backpacker’s lodge to make meals. The price of groceries is cheaper when compared to more western countries.

The National Parks

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Most people travelling to South Africa want to go to the popular Kruger National Park. This national park offers safaris and a chance to spot the wildlife in the comfort of your own car. However, there are a lot of people at the park almost all year round. If you want to see the wildlife without the people you should consider national parks such as Addo, Umfolozi and the St Lucia Wetlands.

One of the best ways to see South Africa’s national parks is with Ecotraining. Ecotraining offers immersive environmental training courses for field guide and week long courses called “EcoQuests”. They are certified with both FGASA and CATHSETA and guaranteed to give you an unforgettable African experience. 

Destinations

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South Africa has 9 provinces that you can explore and each offers a rich history of all the people who have lived there. Cape Town is often considered to be the crown jewel for tourists as the city hugs the coast and offers views of Table Mountain. There are also markets and nightlife in the city to rival any other urban area.

If you want to try out the wines that the country has to offer then a trip to Stellenbosch and the wine lands is a must. There are a number of wine tours which can be taken.

For those who love the coast then the Wild Coast is a must see. When travelling the Wild Coast be sure to stop and Coffee Bay and Port St John’s.

Backpackers who are interested in history will be able to get their fill anywhere in the country. Kimberly is a good stop for the mining history and further north is rich in archaeological finds.