Best African Road Trips, Route Ideas, Itineraries & Reviews (Updated 2024)
Best African Road Trips, Route Ideas, Itineraries, Tips, Reviews. African Road Trips for families, couples, relatives (Adults), organizations, Friends, solo traveler, group travels.
Adventure is what you want in Africa. It’s all about getting behind the wheel of a 4×4 or a Touring bike and discovering who you really are in the process. Who you are when you’re stuck in an office, when you feel hemmed in by trivialities like… human civilization.
Africa, on the other hand, is where one goes to live out their wildest fantasies. Traveling by car across the continent is a great opportunity to see the sights and experience the culture of this unique region. In the company of an expert guide or on your own steam.
It can be overwhelming to make a decision when faced with 54 countries’ worth of incredible variety. We’ve compiled a list of our top African road trip ideas, as well as some helpful tips for planning the perfect African road trip.
Our Top African Road Trip Ideas, Itineraries
Tanzania Road Trip
African adventure through Tanzania and Zanzibar on a Self Drive Safari
Start and finish: Arusha to Dar es Salaam
How? Car Rental Drives Tanzania supplies old but tough trucks and SUVs at affordable prices
Why? Wildlife encounters and a true taste of Africa
Almost no truck rental service or vehicle rental agency will let you drive into the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania because of the treacherous road leading there. Even if you choose to self-drive in Tanzania, you can still see wildlife on day trips to Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks and the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, all within a day’s drive of Arusha.
When returning from a trip to the national parks, you should stop at Arusha. Continue on to Moshi, a bustling town that serves as a gateway to Kilimanjaro and, if time is short, a variety of day hikes. After more climbing in the beautiful Usambara Mountains, you’ll take a much-deserved break on the coast of the Indian Ocean, not far from the town of Pangani.
Travel to the new capital, Dar es Salaam, begins on the final day. Just go with the flow and enjoy the attention of the merchants selling anything from fish and nuts to footballs and kites, as you sit in the inevitable traffic congestion.
Many African road journeys, including this one, involve driving on unpaved roads in national parks, highlands, and along the coast.
Kenya Road Trip
Self drive safari in Kenya ?!? / All you need to know before doing a Kenya self-drive safari…
Kenya is an attractive nation with a rich culture, a wide range of landscapes, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and adventure. One of the best ways to see everything it has to offer is on a road trip, especially if you’re the kind of traveler who craves freedom and adventure. Hitting the highway allows you to see more of the nation on your own terms, with the added bonus of discovering some off-the-beaten-path beauties.
When visiting Kenya, visitors cannot miss the capital city of Nairobi. For this reason, we have compiled a list of fantastic itineraries departing from Nairobi. The starting point is flexible, so long as you make it to some of these fantastic places. You can count on finding adventure on one of these routes, whether you’re a Kenyan local or a tourist from another country.
Namibia Road Trip
SELF DRIVE SAFARI – BEST Way To Discover Namibia
Start and finish: Windhoek
How? Hire a car in Windhoek by Car Rental Drives Namibia
Why? Stunning scenery, wildlife and lonely desert roads
Time needed: 10 days++
Nothing compares to Namibia and its decent, unpaved roads and stunning desert landscapes. If you’re really good at spotting animals and you’re lucky, you can even see all five of the “Big Five” (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, and buffalo).
Start in Windhoek, the capital, and head south to the magnificent Sossusvlei dunes first thing in the morning. From the German-influenced seaside resort of Swakopmund, continue your desert adventure up a short stretch of the Skeleton Coast before turning inland to see Etosha National Park. You may stay at a remote lodge like Vingerklip for the night.
Springbok, gemsbok [oryx], and cheeky black-backed jackals are just a few of the animals you’re likely to see in and around Etosha National Park. You will very surely encounter giraffes and zebras at Etosha’s salt pan reserve, and will be extremely unlucky not to spot elephants and lions there. On the way back to Windhoek on the paved B1, you can stop at Okonjima, a natural reserve that is home to the Africat Foundation, for some exciting encounters with leopards and cheetahs.
Road Trip to South Africa and Eswatini
INCREDIBLE Self-Drive Safari In Kruger National Park | SOUTH AFRICA
Start and finish: Johannesburg, South Africa
How? Easily driveable in a regular hire car by Car Rental Drives South Africa
Why? Two countries, wildlife, beach and history
Time needed: 10 days ++
The border crossings between South Africa and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) are simple, making this circle from Johannesburg an ideal two-country road vacation.
Jo’burg is a bit of a drive from Eswatini, so it’s worth considering stopping at Waterval Boven or Badplaas after a long flight. The Phophonyane Falls Ecolodge is a great site to stay before making a circle around Hlane Royal National Park, where you are almost guaranteed to see rhinos.
As you make your way back into South Africa, stop at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, arguably one of the country’s most gorgeous game reserves and a great place to see the Big Five. Out at sea, you can also see whales. Ballito, on the Dolphin Coast, is worth a visit farther south, and a trip inland via KwaZulu Natal province to the sites of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, made famous in the 1964 war epic Zulu, is well worth the time. Find a Zulu guide if you want an insider’s look at the battlefields from someone who lived through them.
Drop off your rental car in Johannesburg, but before you do, take in some of the sights in the surrounding area, including the Free State. Despite its negative reputation, a visit to the city and the nearby Soweto township is definitely worthwhile.
Road Trip in Uganda and Rwanda
UGANDA – Roadtrip | Drive yourself
Start and finish: Entebbe, Uganda
How? Depending on the time of the year going off the main roads can be tricky, so hiring a 4×4 is advisable by Car Rental Drives Africa
Why? Two exceptionally friendly countries, awesome wildlife and wonderful scenery
Time needed: Two weeks ++
Seeing the mountain gorillas is an experience not to be missed, so if you’re planning a vacation to Uganda or Rwanda, you might want to incorporate a gorilla tracking excursion into your itinerary.
You’ll begin close to Uganda’s main airport in the city of Entebbe. Entebbe, located on the banks of Lake Victoria, is a relaxing destination worthy of a one-night stay. The journey to Lake Mburo National Park is then an exciting one. The road has been paved, but beware the speed bumps that plague Uganda. Hiring a park ranger to lead a walking safari is an option once you arrive at the park.
The route to the Rwandan border continues beyond Lake Mburo. Remember that, like with many African crossings, all you need is the proper documentation, a sense of humor, and lots of patience, and the crossing should just take a couple of hours. After passing through kilometers of magnificent hills and tea plantations, you’ll arrive in Kigali, Rwanda’s thriving capital; from there, you’ll travel to Lake Kivu, Uganda’s most beautiful lake, before returning to the country to see the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and, if possible, resting at Lake Mutanda.
After spending the next three nights in various spots within Queen Elizabeth National Park, you’ll make the drive up north to spend a few days in the beautiful and teeming African town of Fort Portal. Get back to Entebbe and finish the circuit.
While the majority of the major thoroughfares are paved, several side roads and park trails might become impassable after a rainstorm.
Road trip in South Africa and Botswana
Start and finish: Johannesburg, South Africa to Maun, Botswana
How? Hire a truck with a roof tent from Johannesburg by Car Rental Drives Africa
Why? Everyone needs at least one big adventure in their lifetime
Time needed: At least four weeks ++
There was a time when traveling through five countries in southern Africa was more of an expedition than a vacation. However, there are now a plethora of 4×4 rental companies that are suited for overland travel, making this a realistic option for anyone with the time and spirit for exploration.
Get your Kalahari Desert fix in Kuruman on the way from Johannesburg to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, then cross into Namibia and go north to the riverside village of Rundu. From there, travel into Botswana to spend the night among the elephants of Chobe National Park, before continuing on to Zambia’s Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park’s wildlife, and Botswana’s Matobo National Park’s landscape. You can leave your truck at Maun and take day trips to the Okavango Delta.
This trip could easily fill a month, and there are many ways to alter or add to the itinerary. But be forewarned, you’ll need to put some thought into organizing your trip.