Travelling within Africa using bitcoin has become easier as more businesses are adopting the cryptocurrency. In this guide, you will find all the most important travel service providers and merchants that allow you to pay in bitcoin during your travels around Africa.
Presently, a number of international travel sites have enabled bitcoin payment systems on their platforms. One such platform is the California-based CheapAir.com. The company has witnessed an upsurge in customers paying through bitcoin for travel bookings since integrating bitcoin payments on its platform in 2013. With over $15 million worth of bitcoin processed to date, the travel site hopes to extend the option to customers using the CheapAir iOS app for flight and hotel bookings.
Another flight booking option you can use is the Spanish travel service Destinia.com. The travel agent, which was the first to accept bitcoin payments, allows customers to purchase discounted tickets using the digital currency. The online booking process using bitcoin remains the same to any other payment method, with some customised features to make it user-friendly. You can book low-cost flights to South Africa on the travel site for example.
Alternatively, you can use BTCTtrip, a bitcoin-only travel site to purchase flight tickets to select African locations. The travel site offers special discounts for customers booking business class with bitcoins. ABitSky is another bitcoin only travel site where you can find cheap airline tickets to several African airports.
Similar to online travel agents, several individual establishments and online platforms accept bitcoin as payment for accommodation. HOTELGO24 allows one to book hotel rooms using bitcoin. The platform is a favourite for cryptocurrency enthusiasts due to its 5 percent bitcoin cash-back of a reservation amount on a select number of hotels. You can search for a hotel in Africa among the 130,000 partner institutions listed on the platform.
An alternative is AccomoDirect, a South African online accommodation portal that accepts bitcoin payments. You can view its 20,000 listings as well as reviews across 2,000 unique African destinations. Accommodation listings on the platform are pre-verified to ensure their suitability. Booking payments are scrutinised and confirmations sent to guests.
Also offering online accommodation booking services is SafariWithUs, a South African tour company that organises accommodation for people on dream vacations or those seeking an African adventure. Customers can pay in bitcoin via the PayFast payment feature on their website and enjoy quality accommodation in South Africa, Mozambique, and Tanzania.
You can also use Travel sites such as CheapAir and Destinia, to book hotels or vacation homes across multiple locations in Africa, and pay for the reservations using bitcoin.
Once you have found a place to stay, the next thing you may need is a way to move around. Luckily, popular travel sites CheapAir and Destinia, allow you to hire car rental services and pay for them in bitcoin. If you are visiting South Africa, you can hire a vehicle from cabscarhire.com, a bitcoin-friendly car rental service that has depots at all major airports and cities in the country. SafariWithUs, another bitcoin-enabled travel site also provides wildlife and ethical safari tours for guests.
Ashworth Africa is another South African tour company that specialises in setting up tailor made tours for those planning Safari’s or enjoying a honeymoon. You can pay in bitcoins and start making travel plans with the help of their itineraries’ specialists to dream locations in Southern and Eastern Africa.
Food, Drinks, and Entertainment
Purchasing foods and drinks, not to mention enjoying relaxing night-outs, is highly dependent on which African country you are visiting. As a rule, countries with higher bitcoin adoption rates such as South Africa offer more in terms of online retailers and merchants who accept the digital currency.
For coffee lovers visiting South Africa, Cape Coffee beans is a good place to start. The online store caters to coffee enthusiasts in the country and accepts bitcoin payments. You can order freshly ground coffee beans from any artisanal roaster at affordable prices and have it delivered to you at any location within the country.
If you are looking for a wider selection of food and drink, South African retailer Checkout may be a perfect choice. The second place recipient of the ‘Good Practice Award 2015-2016’ has a network of 45 corporate stores across the country. Shoppers can pay for its affordable products using bitcoin. By using the store locator feature on the website, you can locate a store close to you.
Alexander Bar, Cafe & Theater, is a popular entertainment joint in the Cape Town area. Located on 76 Strand Street, the joint offers a unique entertainment experience with a cozy bar and intimate live performances. You can purchase drinks and snacks using bitcoin as you enjoy soothing jazz performances.
Alternatively, if there are no bitcoin-friendly food and hangout spots, you can always pay using a bitcoin debit card.
Buying Travel Gear
If you are looking to do some outdoor activities such as hiking or rock climbing, you can purchase gear beforehand using bitcoins on Amazon, through Purse.io. Purse.io enables customers to buy items at a discounted rate, such as backpacks, diving gear and more, by selecting them on Amazon and uploading them to the Purse.io platform. The platform then connects the user to someone who wants bitcoins and is willing to purchase the items on behalf of the user. The user will then receive the delivery and release the bitcoin to the other party in the transaction.
There are also some local bitcoin-friendly options one can consider such as ActionGear in South Africa. The former allows you to pay in bitcoin for a wide range of outdoor electronic equipment such as activity trackers, drones, cameras just to name a few.
Purchasing Gift Cards
You can use bitcoin to buy gift cards from Gyft.com and use them at several merchants in Africa. You can obtain gift cards for well-known establishments such as Domino’s, Burger King, Pizza, Starbucks as well as retailers like Nike and Addidas.
While travelling using bitcoin seems like a cheaper and hassle free experience, you have to remember bitcoin adoption in Africa is still marginally low. Therefore, it would be wise to have a bitcoin debit card on you if bitcoin is your preferred spending currency when you are on the road.
You can also check for more African merchants who accept bitcoin here.