East Africa on a very thin budget

I traveled around 21 African countries technically broke. I was definitely broke when I traveled round East Africa for six months. I still managed to live in Nairobi and Kampala and travel around Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Getting there: I started in Kampala. I got there by catching a bus for R1000 in Lusaka, where there are buses connecting Southern and East Africa. The trip took 5 days of tripping through Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania.When it comes to transport stretch your money by using mass public transport and motor bikes instead of private cabs.  If you have the time, a long trip through a few countries is a good way of seeing as many sights as possible, like Mount Kilimanjaro, without paying top dollar for pleasure.

East Africa has hundreds of buses moving around the region.

Where to sleep:Sleep at Backpackers. Go as low as it gets by sleeping in a dormitory. Sure there’ll be no “space” but the fact is in most cases a bed on the road is where you go to pass out. Go for practical instead of palatial.  You get to meet other people after the same experiences as you are. The more a travel group the lower the cost of epic experiences like going to on safari where National Geographic shoots.

The best roof over my head is a free one and there’s always a new friend who’s only too happy to host a traveller.  I love this option for opening me up to experiences that I would miss following a guidebook or staying at travellers’ hotels. A traveler explores a destination; a local has an intimate experience of home.

What passes as a hiking trail in Rongai, which I would never have known had I not asked Arrot, pictured, to move in with her.

What to eat: Eat street food. The only food rule is boil it, peel it, cook it.  Eat at local restaurants than at tourist and expat joints. Even better, buy ingredients at a market and ask a random stranger for a kitchen and cooking lessons.  You get to eat and make new friends. 

What to do: Pick experiences that you can’t miss out on, like experiencing the pyramids in Egypt, negotiate reduced rates for activities and put on your walking shoes. Walking is the best way to get a sense of s destinations. It’s also free and increases your chances of meeting new friends who inevitably know where you can go to get the full experience at a discount.

The Masai market, Nairobi city center is a free cultural experience.

Visas: This and getting there will always be your biggest expense.   Again, one of East Africa’s draw cards is that South Africans don’t need a visa to every country  in the region. You don’t need a Visa for short stays in Kenya and Rwanda. Uganda and Tanzania charge $50 (R412). The Tanzanian visa is valid for three months and covers Zanzibar.


About leratomogoatlhe

I fell in love with traveling Africa on a four day trip to Accra in 2006. I started my journeys around the continent in 2008, when I went to Senegal, and around West Africa to launch my dream of knowing Africa through all my senses. I have been to 24 countries (and counting) over five years of stopping everything in my life to focus on one phenomenal continent. #AfricaRocks.
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4 Responses to East Africa on a very thin budget

  1. Panana_M says:

    Would love to experience african scenery someday

  2. Koneom says:

    Hi Lerato, do you go on this journeys o le one?

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