The cost of living in South Africa is substantially higher in terms of costs of food, housing and leisure activities in the Cape Peninsula since most of the population lives there. The rural areas are less expensive. The bigger cities in South Africa are less expensive when they are compared to cities in Europe and the US, but they are not as cheap as the less-developed cities in other African countries.
Most visitors find value in the national reserves and parks in South Africa. They are significantly cheaper than the parks in East Africa.
You can travel around South Africa on $25 a day if you stay in hostels or camp sites, and use public transportation. If you are willing to spend $45 or $50 a day you can hire a car and stay in clean comfortable rooms. Two or three good meals a day would also be included in a $50 a day budget. For $140 a day you can stay in first class hotels and eat in great restaurants, but if you want to stay in a luxury wildlife lodge you may have to budget five times that amount.