Why NOW is the Best Time To Visit South Africa in Decades…. And By the Way, Did I mention I’m Running A Photography Tour Here in May?

South Africa has never been cheaper
I’ve been in South Africa now for about three weeks. I was last here in 2010 and I was rather shocked at how affordable I’m finding it this time. I didn’t remember it being this cheap before.

As it turns out, my suspicions were correct. South Africa has gotten significantly cheaper. During my 2010 visit, the US Dollar (USD) was able to purchase about 7 South African Rand (ZAR). As of today, the dollar can now get 11.16 rand. That is over a 59% devaluation of the rand to the dollar!

To give you an idea of prices, I spent all of December in Australia. While I was there I ate several times at a popular South African chain restaurant called Nando’s.(they specialized in grilled chicken) The average meal at Nando’s in Australia would run me about US$21. The same exact meal at the same exact chain in South Africa was a bit over $7. A similar meal in the US would probably run around $12-15. That meal was also in Cape Town which is probably one of the most expensive cities in South Africa.

I’ve had many meals here in Durban where I never had to pay more than $5. The hotel I’m staying at is rated at 4-stars on Hotels.com (but I’d call it a 3-star). It is located across the street from the beach and is very nice by my standards. I’ve been paying US$38/night.

10 year performance of the rand vs the US dollar
10 year performance of the rand vs the US dollar

I’m renting a car in Durban for a one-way rental to Johannesburg. One-way rentals usually cost a lot more than regular rentals. I’m able to get a car for US$18/day….taxes included.

Basically, right now South Africa is the most affordable it has been in the last several decades. For those wondering, it is also at record lows vs the Euro, the British Pound, the Canadian dollar, and the Australian Dollar.

To put it bluntly, NOW is the best time to come to South Africa.

South Africa is far and away the most accessible country to visit in Africa and now is the best time in decades to do it. It has the infrastructure on a par with any developed country, but at fraction of the price.

…which brings me to my photography tour :)

We still have seats available. Due to the nature of the trip, there are a few more seats this year than we’ve had in the past.

This year’s trip is approximately 1/2 the cost of last year’s trip to Italy and prices on the ground here in South Africa are obviously cheaper than Italy by a wide margin. You can book on the G Adventures website, talk to a real person on the phone (numbers available on their website), or even book the tour through your local travel agent. Whatever you are most comfortable doing.

This is the best deal you are going to find for a photography tour lead by an award winning travel photographer. Period.

20 thoughts on “Why NOW is the Best Time To Visit South Africa in Decades…. And By the Way, Did I mention I’m Running A Photography Tour Here in May?”

  1. South Africa is getting cheaper and cheaper as our rand weakens against the dollar. I think the rand is going to weaken more. Best time to visit February and March. That is if you like hot weather. Cape Town a must see, also the East Coast of Durban and don’t forget the East London coastline. Visit places like Cintsa just outside of East London for a quiet and beautiful coast. Depends how old you are? If you want a party, then Cape Town. Cape Town is suitable for all ages. Also the Garden Route is beautiful. June to September are rainy months in Cape Town. If you visit, enjoy, enjoy!

  2. We noticed the prices and decided to make the leap. We’re going in May too! Maybe we’ll see you and your group down there.

    • I’ve traveled with them around the world. I’ve never had an issue. Almost everyone I know who has been on a trip with them has great things to say.

  3. Wow, sounds interesting! I have been planning to visit S. Africa. Maybe it’s the right time now. Thanks for sharing this information.

  4. well written post, first of all thanks for sharing. I would also love doing photograph in Africa and surely when it comes to elephants. Thanks again for sharing!

  5. SA is great place to visit. I also like to recommend you to visit Nepal once. Grt destination for adventure lovers.

  6. South Africa is really getting more and more interesting place to visit. Yet Sydney Australia is a great place to visit.

  7. South Africa is amazing. I was there years ago. I’m headed to Namibia in a few months. I’m not sure how expensive things will be with the Namibian dollar. Hopefully not too bad.

  8. If you have not, you need to check out American Heather Mason’s blog 2Summers. She is an amazing photographer and has lived in Johannesburg for over 3 years and she knows pretty much everything about the city. She moved there to be with her boyfriend. Sadly he died, but she ended up staying. She does a really great job of breaking down stereotypes about the city and pretty much has convinced me that I need to visit someday. Her Nelson Mandela tribute post was awesome.

  9. I want to go!

    South Africa has been on my to go to list for a long time. So far, I have not been able to make it. I really want to see places like Kruger National Park and Cape Town. Everyone I meet who has been there says it truly is amazing. Someday…

  10. Great advice, not got any plans to go to S. Africa in the near future though, so hope it stays this way until I get a chance!

  11. Very informative post, so thank you for that. It’s always interesting looking at exchange rates, and this definitely gives me more of an incentive to add South Africa to my travel plans for the year!

  12. Only looked at this post just now. We left Durban yesterday. Wish we could have got together.

  13. It’s funny, I’m a South African now resident in the UK and have been back in SA visiting since November. For South Africans, its really expensive to live here, but for those of us with foreign coin, super cheap…

    • It is a tradeoff in every country.

      If the currency is high (ala Switzerland or Norway) no one wants to visit because it is too expensive. Their tourism industry suffers.

      If it is low, people want to come, but the people who live there can’t afford to go anywhere.

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