How much we spent on our 11 day Road Trip

After coming back from any trip, the first thing people tend to ask is, “So, how much did your trip cost?”. And since this trip took place in my own backyard instead of an International excursion, here’s a breakdown of what our 11 day road trip actually costed us. 

South Africa has a bit of everything; wildlife, beaches, wine regions and desert terrain. The only downside is the long journey, so it’s not exactly a weekend break.

It’s a long, grueling, patient yet a worthwhile experience.

Each to it’s own travel preference and style. Mine being mid-luxury; going for self-catering to B&B accommodations, cooking to dining at certain restaurants in particular towns, spending a few rands on gifts and, partaking in a number of activities.

Day 1: Cape Town to Wilderness

Wilderness alone is a mecca for exploration; experiencing the various landscapes, people and towns this part of South Africa is famous for alongside the Garden Route.  The trip from Cape Town to Wilderness is just over 400kms and takes roughly four and a half hours to get there depending on traffic with an added two pit stops along the way.

Food: Since the accommodation we stayed at is self-catering, we bought a few food supplies in Cape Town to come along with us, costing us at least (R550.00). After two hours on the road, we made a lunch pit stop in Riviersonderend at Oude Muel sticking with a cup of coffee and two toasted sandwiches for (R160.00).

Petrol: Our Corsa Gamma 1.4lr is quite light on petrol so the day before, we filled the tank up with (R400.00), another (R200.00) just before the trip started and, a refill with (R200.00) in Albertina.

Total: R1510.00

Saver tip: Pack in pit stop lunches and snacks to avoid paying restaurant or farm stall prices. 

Day 1 to 3: Wilderness

As a seaside town, Wilderness is known for its impeccable beauty of landscapes and beautiful beaches with many cliffs, overlooking a fringe of forestry. It’s the perfect getaway town for romantic escapes and adventure seekers.

Accommodation: We stayed at a self-catering lodge right up on the mountain top called Ke Nako Lodges for two nights ranging from R660.00 pn (R1320.00 in total). This booking was made directly through their website.

Food: The best way to save is to prepare your own meals. For supper we had a braai and made our own breakfast in the mornings. On our second day, we had lunch at Salina’s (R260.00) and had some desert at Beejuice Cafe (R150.00).

Total: R1730.00

Saver Tip: Make your own meals unless you feel like going out to eat the way we did on our 2nd stay. 

Day 3 to 4: Plettenberg Bay

With just an hour and 10 minutes apart from one another, the stretch onto the N2 passes the town of Knysna where we made a stop and spent some time at Knysna Waterfront.

The town of Plettenberg Bay which stands on steep slopes is surrounded by spectacular views of the sea; no matter where you find yourself.

Accommodation: The places in Plett are quite pricey. I couldn’t find anything suitable below R1000.00 besides Typhoon Terrace, self-catering for (R630.00) a night. You can book your stay with SafariNow.

Petrol: We only refilled again when we left Plettenberg Bay on route to Tsitsikamma (R200.00).

Food: Seeing that we could only check-in at 14:00pm, lunch was on the menu at Moby Dick’s along the beach front (R280.00). For supper, we bought a few items to make at home (R80.00) and, had breakfast the following morning at Mugg ‘n Bean (R150.00).

Total: R1340.00

Saver Tip: Again, you can save on eating out less. I should use this tip on myself. 

Day 4 to 5: Tsitsikamma

Crossing the border into the Eastern Cape yet overflown with indigenous forestry is one of the trips I was excited about the most; getting a glimpse of the Bloukrans bridge and the unusual gorges craved through the mountain of Tsitsikamma River Mouth.

Accommodation: I won a prize to stay at Tsitsikamma Village Inn which came in handy. Funny story: After entering our room, there was a note left on the bed addressed to Mr and Mrs Marthinus! Courtney really was not impressed by this. I advise you book in advance seeing that many tourist come and stay here.

Food: We had a quick lunch consisting of a toasted sandwich, potato wedges and salad at a Bistro in Storm’s Valley (R180.00) and dined at Hunter’s Bar for supper right on the premises (R280.00). Fortunate for us, breakfast is included in the prize so we scored there too.

Activities: The toll gate (R47.50) and the entrance fee to Tsitsikamma Suspension Bridge adventure is (R49.00 pp/R98.00 in total). We also made a gift expense of (R65.00).

Total: R670.50

Day 5 to 6: Jeffrey’s Bay

This sunshine coastal town really surprised us with it’s relaxed lifestyle and friendly locals. Of course, the one component we enjoyed the most was the delectable foods.

Accommodation: Zen Guesthouse has three different accommodations so we opted for the balcony suite for the view of the ocean at (R700.00) per night. I made this booking through their website.

Food: At this stage of the trip, both of us felt that we just didn’t feel like cooking at all and, ate three very unbalanced meals. Lunch costed us (R250.00), Supper at The Greek (R310.00) and Breakfast at McTasty (R160.00).

Activities: We bought an artwork piece along with our car sticker (R140.00).

Total: R1560.00

Saver Tip: There are much cheaper accommodations like backpackers, etc. It all depends on your accommodation preference. 

Day 6 to 8: Addo Park

Dominated by the Addo Elephant National Park, Kirkwood, the little town we stayed in is in the heart of the Sundays River Valley and known for its citrus farming with wide open spaces that can swallow you in by its sheer natural beauty.

Accommodation: Avoca River Cabins has a range of accommodations from cabins, tree houses and the private room we stayed at for (R700.00 per night/R1400.00 in total). I found them while doing some research so I booked with them on their website.

Food: Since we stayed here for two nights, we had a few food items left and just purchased all the poultry at (R320.00).

Petrol: We topped up the tank at (R200.00).

Activities: The Addo Elephant National Park entrance fee is (R62.00pp/R124.00 in total) for self-driving and spent (R150.00) in the gift store.

Total: R2194.00

Saver Tip: A proper two weeks went by after I booked my accommodation, Getaway Magazine published a list of accommodations much cheaper then the one I booked. Sometimes invest time in a little more research. 

Day 8 to 9: Prince Albert

The arid, dry and very flat town of the Klein Karoo has so much charm and fascinating architectural buildings. The trip from Addo to Prince Albert is about four and a half hours along bumpy roads and scenic landscapes. Add another two hours to this route for breaks making the overall time to seven hours.

Accommodation: It was best for us to stay at Karoo Robin B&B since we were on the last part of our road trip at (R800.00) per night. I made this reservation through SafariNow.

Food: We had a lunch pit stop in Willowmore at a restaurant called Sophie’s Choice having the classic burger and chips at (R240.00). Once we got to Price Albert, our host made reservations for us at The Swartberg Hotel costing us (R460.00). The following morning, we had breakfast at (R100.00).

Petrol: (R100.00) in Steytlerville, (R100.00) in Willowmore and (R150.00) leaving Prince Albert.

Activities: Again, we spent (R160.00) on gifts and farm stall items.

Total: R2110.00

Saver Tip: Again, I have to mention the food. We had no idea the hotel was this pricey until we got there. Also, there’s way less inexpensive accommodations in Prince Albert. The ones we wanted were unfortunately, unavailable on the dates we arrived. 

Day 9 to 11: Porterville

Known as the town Courtney and I will be retiring in, Porterville is a quaint town famous for its rare flower, the yellow Disa. The 363km trek is about a four hour drive but allow for an extra hour for a pit stop which we did in Matjiesfontein.

Accommodation: Luckily, our two night stay costed us absolutely nothing since we had a voucher. We stayed at a B&B called Rendezvous.

Food: Breakfast and dinner was included so the only expense on food was the pit stop in Matjiesfontein (R160.00) and lunch on the second day (R180.00).

Petrol: We refilled in Touws River (R150.00).

Total: R490.00

Day 11: Goedverwacht

An hour away from Porterville, we decided to explore the tiny town of Goedverwacht with it’s old-style houses. Since we only spent a few hours in the town, we hardly spent anything.

Petrol: (R150.00) for the long drive home along the N7.

Total: R150.00

Accommodation: R4850.00
Petrol: R1850.00
Food: R4210.00
Activities & Gifts: R784.50

Grand total: R11 694.50

Yip. It’s a substantial amount of money and even for me, it’s a lot. The best way to plan for a road trip like the one we did is to plan months in advance. To not feel the hole being burnt through your pocket, make sure to pay towards something each month; that’s if you planning months in advance which won’t make you feel completely broke and overwhelmed.

How we did it: I paid the first two, two night stay accommodation deposits in April/May, paid deposits for all the one night stays in June. In July, paid the remaining balances besides two one night stay.

Petrol, food and activities were saved for during the month of August and September. We also endured a major car Service expense that cut us back quite a bit. Yet despite that, our trip was worth every rand spent.

There are way less inexpensive accommodations, activities and eateries than the ones we done. It really does depend on how you would like your trip to be. Anje from Going Somewhere Slowly wrote a great post on Travelling in South Africa is not expensive. Definitely worth a read!

Do you have any road trips planned? What are your travel budget tips? would love to hear them!

Until the next adventure.

Written by Stephanie Marthinus

South African Travel and Lifestyle Blog