A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Nairobi vs. Johannesburg for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Nairobi or Johannesburg?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Nairobi and Johannesburg can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Nairobi or Johannesburg?


Nairobi is Kenya's capital as well as the country's largest city. With a population of about 3 million, it is also one of the largest cities in Africa. It is a prominent city both politically and financially within the region. There are many international companies that are located in Nairobi and the Nairobi Securities and Exchange is one of the largest in Africa.


Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa with a population of over 3 million people. Most of the population is made up of South Africa's black residents, who predominately reside in the Soweto area. There are approximately half a million white residents and 300,000 residents of other descent. Half of the population live in the Soweto area as well as the nearby suburbs.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Safaris in Kenya, The Best Budget Safaris in Kenya, The Best Adventure Tours to South Africa, and The Best Eco Tours in South Africa.

Which place is cheaper, Johannesburg or Nairobi?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Nairobi is $63, while the average daily cost in Johannesburg is $94. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Nairobi and Johannesburg in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Nairobi $12
    Johannesburg $54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Nairobi $24
    Johannesburg $108
Compare Hotels in Nairobi and Johannesburg

Looking for a hotel in Nairobi or Johannesburg? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Nairobi

Hotels in Johannesburg

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Nairobi Hotel Prices and Johannesburg Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Nairobi $11
    Johannesburg $16
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Nairobi

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Nairobi:

  • Taxi from Airport

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Nairobi

Also for Nairobi, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Nairobi Airport Transfer, Hotel Pick up and Drop Off: $20
  • Airport Transfers in Nairobi: $20
  • Private Transfer from Airport to Accommodation: $21
  • Nairobi Airport Transfers- Arrivals & Private Transfers: $24
  • Nairobi Airport One-Way Transfers: $25
  • Nairobi NBO Airport One-Way Transfers: $25
  • Mwashi Airport Transfer & Taxi: $26
  • Private One-Way Transfer from Nairobi: $27
  • Nairobi Airport Transfer: $29
  • Nairobi Suburb Arrival Transfer: $30
  • Airport Transfers within Nairobi: $30
  • Professional Airport Transfer Service in Nairobi: $33

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Johannesburg

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Johannesburg:

  • Taxi Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Johannesburg

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Johannesburg:

  • Transfers Between OR Tambo and Pilanesburg : $171
  • Shuttle Transfer from Johannesburg Airport to Hazyview: $64
  • Private Van Airport Transfers : Johannesburg, Sandton, Pretoria: $71
  • Private Transfer: Tambo Airport JNB to Johannesburg in Luxury Car: $102
  • Private Transfer: Johannesburg to Tambo Airport JNB in Sedan Car: $61
  • Private Transfer: Johannesburg to Tambo Airport JNB in Luxury Van: $71
  • Private Transfer: Johannesburg to Tambo Airport JNB in Luxury Car: $102
  • Private Transfer, Airports to Cradle of Humankind & Muldersdrift : $142
  • Private Transfer from Johannesburg To Pilanesberg: $214
  • Private Transfer from Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport (JNB) to Pretoria hotels: $163
  • Private Transfer Johannesburg Pretoria or SunCity to JNB Airport by Business Car: $70
  • Private Transfer JNB Airport to Johannesburg Pretoria or SunCity by Business Car: $76

Is it cheaper to fly into Nairobi or Johannesburg?

Prices for flights to both Johannesburg and Nairobi change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Nairobi $7.63
    Johannesburg $17
Typical Food Prices in Nairobi

For Nairobi, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:

  • Dinner for Two

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Nairobi

For Nairobi, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Carnivore experience Lunch Or Dinner (Optional Bomas of kenya ): $40
  • Nairobi:Carnivore Restaurant Dinner and Pub Crawling.: $47
  • Local Market Tour and Traditional Meal Cooking Class: $53
  • Enjoy Traditional Kenyan Food Cooking Class With a Host.: $53
  • Nairobi Private Traditional Kenyan Cooking Class with Lunch: $55
  • Traditional Kenyan Cooking Class & Local Market Tour : $60
  • Nairobi Cooking and Food Tasting Activity: $60
  • Private Interactive Cooking Class and Market Tour in Kinoo: $65
  • Carnivore Resturant Dinner Experience : $68
  • Carnivore Dinner Experience: $80
  • Carnivore Restaurant Lunch or Dinner Experience: $80
  • The Carnivore Restaurant Experience: Lunch Or Dinner: $84

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Johannesburg

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Johannesburg.

  • Maboneng Street Art and Street Food Tour: $39
  • Unique street food tour from at least 6 different cultures!: $48
  • Taste of Africa Food Tour: $49
  • A Private Traditional Cape Malay Cooking Class, with a MKR Finalist: $95
  • Johannesburg Culture and food tour: $97
  • Pan-African Cooking & Dinning Experience: $186

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Nairobi $47
    Johannesburg $21
Typical Entertainment Prices in Nairobi

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Nairobi's activities, tours, and tickets:

  • Village Visit

Tours and Activities in Nairobi

For Nairobi, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Ebike adventure Hire Nairobi (Electric mountain bike hire): $15
  • Nairobi cultural shopping experience: $18
  • Nairobi City;culture and historical guided tour: $19
  • Nairobi City Walking and Historic Tours: $19
  • Nairobi;Downtown walking tour: $20
  • Kibera slums half day tour from nairobi: $25
  • Private Guided Nairobi City and Cultural Walking Tour: $25
  • Elephant orphanage, Giraffe center, kobe beads tour: $25
  • Half-Day Tour Giraffe Center and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: $25
  • Nairobi City tour: $25
  • From Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Center Tour: $25
  • Nairobi city walking tour : $25

Tours and Activities in Johannesburg

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Johannesburg are as follows:

  • Golf Tour, Sun City , Gary Player Course - Rated the Best: $219
  • Private Full Day Johannesburg Historical Tour : $187
  • Rhino and Lion Park Safari Tour : $94
  • Soweto half day tour including Mandela House.Private transport: $67
  • (Meet the Artist)Art Gallery & Street Art tour with lunch: $29
  • 10 Days Overland Tour-Johannesburg and Cape Town: $2,589
  • 15 Days Johannesburg, Kruger National Park – Cape Town Tour: $3,884
  • 3 Day Kruger National Park Tour from Johannesburg: $823
  • 3 Days 2 Nights Panorama Tour & Kruger National park Safari: $797
  • 3 Days Big 5 Kruger National Park Tour from Johannesburg: $1,176
  • 4-Days Overnight Experience in The Panorama Route & Safari: $1,663
  • 6 Days Johannesburg and Kruger National Park Tour: $1,553

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Nairobi $16
    Johannesburg $4.65

Sample the Local Flavors in Johannesburg

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Johannesburg:

  • Wine Tasting Experience in Johannesburg: $8.08
  • Wine Tasting and Cableway Half Day Tour: $111
  • Experience Johannesburg Wine Tour Views and Luxury: $224

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Nairobi and Johannesburg, we can see that Johannesburg is more expensive. And not only is Nairobi much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Nairobi would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Nairobi and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Johannesburg would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Johannesburg than you might in Nairobi.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Nairobi Expensive? and Is Johannesburg Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Nairobi or Johannesburg?

Nairobi has a larger population, and is about 36% larger than the population of Johannesburg. When comparing the sizes of Nairobi and Johannesburg, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.