Cheap Africa vacation spots can be found in many places around the continent, and choosing one really depends on what interests you. The most affordable cheap African vacation can be anything from a safari in Tanzania or a week on the beaches of the Seychelles to discovering the cultural treasures of Egypt, meaning no matter what type of cheap vacation you're interested in, there's something here for you.
Even though safaris in the countries that offer the most amazing wildlife are well known as Africa luxury vacations and have some of the most luxurious and exotic lodges, it is also possible to find a cheap African safari by looking for some of the less expensive lodges and considering camping safaris. The original cheap African safari became popular with young American and European backpackers during the 1970s and 1980s. They were called "overlands," and are still offered today. An overland safari generally accommodates from 16 to 24 travelers and all their camping gear (including tents) in a single large overland truck that has been modified to with comfortable motorcoach-type seats and can negotiate any kind of rough terrain. There is a professional driver, a professional guide, and usually a camp assistant. Travelers put money in a kitty to purchase food along the way and help with camp chores, including cooking and putting up their own tents. The overnight stays are in established campsites (sometimes with permanent basic toilet and shower facilities) that are in or near national wildlife parks, on the grounds of lodges (providing access to the lodge bar and other facilities), or on the outskirts of cities. This kind of cheap African vacation can be relatively short (from two to three weeks) or as long as three to six months. The longer itineraries are very ambitious, traveling the full length and breadth of the continent from Cape Town to Cairo.
If you want a cheap African safari that doesn't make you dig your own latrine and put up your own tent, you will find budget lodges in or near most national parks. Even the less expensive lodges have a good dining area, bar, and other facilities like a swimming pool or gift shop. Look especially in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Africa for these. You will enjoy the same intoxicating landscapes and the same incredible wildlife as those paying thousands of dollars more, but you won't necessarily have the bells and whistles such as massage service, a personal room valet, Michelin star gourmet dining, and an array of complimentary toiletries in your lavish bathroom. While Namibia and Botswana both do have less expensive safari lodges, they are fewer than found elsewhere, as those countries have an official policy of encouraging high-revenue, low-density tourism.
There are many excellent cheap Africa vacation spots in South Africa primarily because it is a relatively modern country with a tourism infrastructure as sophisticated as Western Europe. You have a wide choice for hotels in and around the cosmopolitan cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth, as well as many options in the countryside. Many of these areas even have clean and comfortable cheap hotels that would be considered youth hostels in Europe. You have some of the same choices for accommodation in North Africa, especially Egypt and Morocco. In these countries, a cheap African vacation can be a camping trip, but it will most often be staying in less expensive hotels and guest houses that are located near the major attractions, which can include anything from the Giza Pyramids to the markets of Marrakesh.
Airfare to sub-Saharan Africa from the United States is not cheap. It is more affordable from Europe, especially if your destination is northern Africa or the beaches of East Africa, including Mombasa in Kenya or Tanzania's island of Zanzibar. These beaches, in fact, are very popular cheap Africa vacation spots for European tourists, and there are several European companies (especially in the UK, Germany, and Italy) that offer very attractively priced vacation packages that often include flights. This is also true of the Red Sea resort area of Egypt where there are numerous beach and scuba diving resorts. All of these places have all inclusive resorts that are popular because all meals and sometimes alcoholic beverages are included in the cost of the room.