South African prices – How much do things cost in South Africa?

06 September, 2018


Getting ripped off
Let’s face it; this was in the back of your head before you clicked the link to read this article.  Yes, we’ve all been there.  We’ve all been ripped-off by someone while traveling.  It sucks because it makes you feel vulnerable and as if the seller “stole” from you.  But no more!  In this article, we hope to eliminate that fear and show you the true cost of living and South African prices.

I was ripped off in New York
When I was 12, I was fortunate enough to head on over to the States and Canada for 3 weeks with my Mom and Grandma.  As South Africans, we were in awe of this magic city and as one does, we headed to Central Park.  Once there, we wanted to get a hot dog.  The “gentleman” at the stand asked us if we would like a hotdog with or without a sausage.  Thinking that New Yorkers probably liked hot dogs with no “dog”, we thought this man was joking and said with the sausage of course.  He ended up charging us a lot more.  In my late 20’s, I asked my friend from New York if this was normal and he said it was one of the oldest tricks in the book.  Check out this article of someone asking tourists even more than what we were charged.  So I know that ripped off feeling and I share your concern and worry!


Cost of living
The website, hosts a very good cost of living comparison meter, which shows you how South Africa stacks up against your country.  A few special mentions have to be made here:

The cost of living in South Africa is almost half that of the USA
Renting in South Africa is close to 60% less than in America
Finally, here is the link to’s cost of living in South Africa.

The rule of thumb
If the webpage given above seems to be too much of a hassle, let me make it a bit easier by mentioning the following few tips:

General food and drink

  1. Fruit and vegetables in South Africa are cheap – We have a lot of land and compared to other countries, our fruits and vegetables are cheap.
  2. Meats are also cheap – Yet again, we have a lot of land to host beef, pork, cattle, and poultry.
  3. Water costs nothing – South African water is fine to drink from the tap. Unlike other countries, our water is clean.  If you do however want to buy bottled water, paying more than R10.00 for 500ml is a rip-off
  4. Wine is an absolute bargain – Many tourists visit Cape Town and other wine regions and can’t believe the price they are paying for the same bottle of wine back home. *Hint – Wine farms are a lot cheaper than buying in a restaurant or a liquor store.
  5. Farms, in general, are cheaper – A big part of our economy is from agriculture. This means that many farms open their doors to the public to sell different products they manufacture or cultivate.  And these are a lot cheaper than stores or restaurants.

All the rest

  1. Imported goods = imported prices – Living at the edge of Africa has its pros and cons. One of the cons is that it is very far to ship northern hemisphere products to.  This is added to the final price.  So buy local; buy proudly South African.
  2. Accommodation; a bargain depending on what you want – South African accommodation is generally considered a bargain compared to other countries’ accommodation costs. Be very careful to not look for the cheapest accommodation or you might be disappointed.  Personally, I look for accommodation options that are about R800.00 a night per person.
  3. Restaurants are expensive – Very few South Africans eat out every single night. The reason for this is the extremely high cost of restaurants.  We usually like to meet up with friends at their home or apartment and cook.  *Hint – When you are here, try doing a cooking class!
  4. Bars are even more expensive – If you compare what a beer costs in a liquor store and compare that to what it costs in a bar, you would rather stay home with your six-pack!
  5. Tipping – South Africa believes in a tipping culture. It is entirely up to you what you would like to tip your waiter, tour guide, driver etc.  However, a good guide would be 10% of what you paid.  And don’t feel obliged to do so.  If someone makes you uncomfortable with regard to tipping, ask to speak to their manager.

To Conclude
We hope that this article will guide you better in your understanding of South African prices.  For a fantastic all inclusive deal on 5 days of learning English and traveling the Garden Route in South Africa, we encourage you to visit our website and check out our Adrenaline Rush and Animal Encounters Tours.

Contact us

Xplore English,
P.O. Box 845
George, 6530
South Africa


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