Africa is somewhat of a controversial continent to visit. Many of the countries in Africa have troubled histories, corruption and crime which can make Africa seem intimidating to tourists. Especially solo travellers and backpackers who feel it is better to go with others and on pricey organised tours to keep safe.
Even though Africa is mostly in the 3rd world and the cost of living for locals is very low, to travel there in a safe, comfortable and economic way is a different story. It isn’t ‘cheap’ - they simply don’t have the level of infrastructure for tourism like South East Asia.
However, the good news is there are still plenty of countries you can safely visit on a budget in Africa, even if you are travelling solo. All you need to do is research your destinations and pick your places carefully. You may even like to turn to solo travel communities on Facebook to connect with other solo travellers you could team up with to keep travel costs down and safety high!
The top 5 cheap countries to visit in Africa are:
When coming up with this list, we took into account prices but also safety, infrastructure and also the ability to see the bucket list of African items. Many places in Africa unfortunately still experience a lot of unrest. You must check and follow official travel safety advice before planning any travel to Africa.
Continue reading to learn more about each country, average daily budget and things to do.
1. Ethiopia: For the food, culture and the seed of humanity
The first cheap country to travel to in Africa in 2023 is Ethiopia. Ethiopia is one of the most budget-friendly destinations in Africa and it is also the best place in Africa for foodies. With dorm rooms starting from £8 and a cheap restaurant meal will only set you back £4
Ethiopia is one of the largest countries in Africa, with a population of more than 100 million. Ethiopia has a low cost of living and a variety of budget-friendly options for tourists when it comes to food and accommodation. The capital city, Addis Ababa is Africa’s fourth largest home with incredible food and museums.
Ethiopia has a rich ancient history, just waiting to be explored. This unique destination is full of monuments, archaeological sites, and nature reserves. The most famous site is called the Cradle of Mankind. This is where the oldest hominoid fossils were found. By going back to Ethiopia you can trace yourself back to your most ancient roots - how fascinating.
If you are a vegan traveller then Ethiopia is the African destination for you. Many of their traditional dishes are prepared plant-based without meat, dairy and eggs, meaning you can chow down on their incredibly flavourful (ad healthy) local food without a problem.
Other things to see in Ethiopia include the Simien Mountains, the Danakil Depression, the ancient cities of Gondor and Axum, see the churches of Lalibela, explore Lake Tana, visit the Omo Valley tribes, experience the coffee culture in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee and attend the Timkat Festival.
Average daily budget: £25 - £40
2. Egypt: For the ancient sites
Our second cheap African country to visit in 2023 is none other than Egypt! This is actually one of the cheapest countries in Africa and the world for travellers. Yes, you can see THE most famous archaeological site in the world on a shoestring.
Egypt is also a relatively safe country to visit for solo travellers and has plenty of touristic infrastructure to make your stay comfortable and easy.
There are plenty of options for food, accommodation and transport that are budget-friendly. Being in North Africa, it is close to Europe and the UK making getting there easier than other African countries. You can find accommodation for as little as £1.50 a night (yes you read that right!) in Egypt. Meals out can cost less than £4.
You can’t go to Egypt without seeing things like the Pyramids of Giza, the Valley of Kings and the Nile River. All of these activities can be done affordably. The entrance fee into the pyramids starts at a measly £5 and you can get your own guide for just £20.
Long-distance trains between major cities like Cairo and Luxor are less than £15 for first-class tickets. You can find really cheap Nile River cruises and go scuba diving for around £20 a trip.
Average daily budget: £20 - £40
3. Kenya: For wildlife
Kenya in East Africa is the first cheap African destination on our list where you can explore the iconic wildlife and nature in Africa. If you ever fell in love with the Lion King, this experience is bound to be a bucket list item for you!
While Safari adventures can be the most expensive element of a trip to Africa, Kenya is one of the most affordable places to do it. An all-inclusive budget 3-day safari will set you back around £330. Search for the best safari deals in Amboseli National Park, Nakuru National Park and the world-famous Masai Mara. Note that Safaris are cheaper when you aren’t travelling solo and the single supplement fee can push prices up.
Nature in Kenya is the biggest drawcard with abundant hiking trails, national parks, wildlife and beaches. Nairobi has a lot to explore with delicious food, history and culture to be found and is a great place to base yourself.
There is also budget-friendly accommodation, food and transportation to be found in the country. You can find accommodation for as little as £5 per night and a meal out will set you back as little as £3.
Average daily budget: £35 - £50 (budget more for a Safari)
4. Tanzania & Zanzibar: For safety, safaris and tropical islands
Tanzania is another popular East African destination, just below Kenya. It is one of the top tourist destinations in Africa and is suitable for budget travellers and solo travellers.
There are just so many iconic African delights in Tanzania to explore! This is known as one of the safest countries in Africa to explore and it is one of the best places to go on a safari. You can find safari deals from around £300 for 2 days or do a self-drive tour for even less.
While exploring some of these iconic places such as Mt Kilimanjaro and the great Serengeti will push the prices up, you can make up for it by staying in budget-friendly accommodation and eating cheap local food the rest of the time.
A cheap meal out will send you back as little as £2 and you can find dorms in Tanzania for as little as £3. Thanks to its relatively established tourism industry, you can find modern amenities in Tanzania to make your stay comfy.
Zanzibar is a tropical island off the coast of Tanzania. This is the place to have your tropical island fix without forking out the big bucks like on a trip to Tahiti or the Maldives. You can experience white sand beaches and clear blue water while only spending as little as £6 a night on accommodation! Snorkelling, diving, relaxing on the beach and exploring the culture of this beautiful island are some of the top things to do.
Average daily budget: £22 - £45 (plus more for safaris)
5. Uganda: To see gorillas for less
Coming in at number 5 on our list of cheapest countries in Africa is Uganda. Uganda is another country in Africa, landlocked between Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Rwanda and the Congo.
Uganda is the safest place to see Gorillas in the wild, while this isn’t cheap, it is worth saving up for and making up for the extra cost with cheap food and accommodation. Prices for food, accommodation and transport are similar to Kenya.
A 2-day Gorilla trekking tour starts from around £750pp online. If you have some flexibility you can wait until you arrive in Uganda before booking a tour you can score even better deals.
If it’s in your budget you can also go to Jinja. This is the place to go for extreme sports enthusiasts. here you can go rafting, horse riding and quad biking. This will increase the cost of your trip but doing these activities in Uganda is cheaper than in other parts of the world.
Other things to do in Uganda include seeing the source of the Nile, going to the Murchison Falls, visiting Lake Victoria, hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains, exploring the capital Kampala and learning about Ugandan culture.
Read up on and follow travel safety advice before heading to Uganda.
Average daily budget: £35 - £55 (budget more for Gorilla trekking)
6. Mozambique: For the coastline
Mozambique is a relatively lesser-known destination when it comes to tourism in Africa. The country and economy were devastated by the civil war between 1977 and 1992 and as such their tourism industry is still developing.
Avoid Cabo Delgado province and stick to the tourist route and follow official advice in Mozambique (and all other countries in Africa) to stay safe.
However, it is one of the most beautiful and affordable places to visit, especially for adventure seekers and ocean lovers. It is located in South Eastern Africa between South Africa and Tanzania.
With such a long coastline, Mozambique has beautiful beaches and water activities to explore such as diving with dolphins and snorkelling with whale sharks for very little money. They have a great local transport system which can save you a lot getting around.
Other things to do include going on a safari, relaxing on the beaches, going on a boat tour on the Zambezi river and enjoying the local cuisine and culture.
There are plenty of cheap places to eat and stay, meaning you’ll have more money to spend on activities. Dorm rooms start at around £10 per night and a cheap meal out shouldn’t cost much more than £10.
Average daily budget: £20 - £42
Other cheap countries to consider visiting in Africa in 2023:
- South Africa