The following is just a general overview of costs of travel in Africa, so you can work out what budget you should allow yourself.
All you need is a lightweight tent, a sleeping mat, and a sleeping bag/sheet. Our nightly costs ranged from $1 to $5 a night.
You can sleep in national parks and safari destinations for around $10 – $15 per night, or you can upgrade to one of their lodges (though remember you still need to pay national park fees and permits).
Most African hostels and backpackers will have kitchen facilities, and markets and supermarkets provide cheap food options.
Venture out of your hostels and into the local towns, for some cheap food in the local restaurants. Africa is a poor continent so you will find their diet is very staple and bland. Everyday in Malawi we would walk into town for some rice with a basic curry tomato sauce. It was less than a $1 and quite tasty.
In each town, local min-vans will zip you to wherever you want to go from anywhere from 20cents to a couple of bucks. Mini-vans, otherwise known as matutus, or pick up trucks can also take you on longer distances between towns for a couple of bucks more.