A ‘self-drive’ holiday is suggested for the more adventurous traveller. It is a cheaper way to see a country provided a certain amount of ‘homework’ is done prior to travel, unlike a guided tour where one has constant access to the guide’s knowledge. We recommend that you obtain basic information on the local culture, customs, safety as well as a knowledge of the local currency, electricity, access to banking facilities, shopping hours, using the roads, etc before visiting such country or area.
The most important advantages of a self-drive holiday is the freedom and privacy that this option provides along with the savings normally achieved.
The operator/hotel establishment normally only includes breakfast in the rate. This gives you the freedom to choose your restaurants according to your taste and budget for the other meals. Those meals can be your single biggest extra expense. In South Africa the food is generally cheaper than in most areas of Europe and closer to those in the USA, especially if you choose restaurants that the locals frequent. The food here is wholesome and normally more than the ‘norm’ served elsewhere.
However, often there are quite a few areas forgotten at the planning stage of such a holiday! Here is a list of the most important costs:
Meal costs can vary considerable depending on the type of food. A general rule of thumb would put it around R 80.00 for a basic – especially fast food – meal to R 350.00 per person for more excotic food/fine dining and some fish dishes. South African wines are normally cheaper in our ‘Bottle Stores’ or discount stores. You would pay around one and a half times to twice as much at restaurants for a bottle of the same wine.
Fuel currently costs around ZAR 15.50 – ZAR 16.50 per litre and varies monthly according to the international oil price.
Scenic Areas – Entrance Fees
Entrance fees are generally not expensive and could be budgeted from R 5.00 – R 40.00 per person to scenic areas. Scenic areas with a well organised infrastructure and with activities included charges more and can get to R 60.00 – R 300.00 per person.
Public Game Reserves
Public game reserves and National Parks have introduced a conservation levy of between R 180.00 and R 380.00 per person per day. This is paid in addition to accommodation costs.
Activities cost around R 150.00 – R 450.00 per person for a short boat ride in lagoons and lakes and around R 600.00 -R 750.00 when going out to sea. Rides such as cable car and short steam train rides around R 300.00 and between R 350 and R 900 for animal interactions.
Gratuities and Porterage
It is custom to pay gratuities and porterage at hotels, restaurants, guides and parking attendants. The fees here are indications only; R 10.00 – R 15.00 per person for porters at hotels and airports, 10% of restaurant bill depending on the quality of food and service, from R 5.00 for parking and fuel attendants and around 10% of taxi fares.
Toll roads are not too expensive compared to some countries in Europe and are only found on main routes. There may be several tolls on a road between major cities totalling between R 10.00 up to R 100.00.