Self-driving is one of the most popular ways to visit Africa in recent years. It’s easier to rent a car and the infrastructure supports such a trip. Using your own car or the one you’ve rented allows you to set up your own schedule and make the trip as long as you want it to.
Foreigners driving in Africa need to have an international driving permit issued by the InternationalDriversAssociation. It’s only valid if you have a photo ID and a national driving permit with you as well.
The most amazing feeling you’ll have when visiting Namibia comes from a sense of being on an open road and driving through the desert scenery. There is also a chance you’ll spot the five animals everyone wants to see in Africa if you pay attention to the road (these are the elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, and buffalo).
Etosha National Park is the most important location to visit if you’re there to explore the natural beauty and wildlife of Africa. Okonjima is another important nature reserve and home to the African Foundation which is an organization dedicated to preserving the wildlife of the area.
2. South Africa and Eswatini
This trip will take you through two countries in the very south of Africa. The trip is about 1750 km and it will take about ten days if you make all the common stops and give them the time that they actually deserve in order to be appreciated.
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve is the most beautiful wildlife reserve in the country. Other than the five animals we’ve mentioned you can also spot a whale on the shore. Make sure to make a stop at KwaZulu Natal province and visit the battlefields of the famous Zulu wars.
This road trip is one of the roughest on our list and you’ll need to prepare yourself for it both in terms of equipment and mindset. The roads won’t be as good as in the other countries and you’re in for a rough ride with rather harsh weather.
Beyond the national parks that are on everyone’s list and that come with guided tours, you should also visit Moshi, a vibrant coastal town, and use it for a day full of hikes on the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Make sure you pay a visit to the former capital Dar el Salaam and get lost in the busy streets.
4. Uganda and Rwanda
It’s best to hire a 4×4 when going on this trip since the roads can be tough during the wetter seasons of the year. The scenery is lively and the wildlife is amazing and well preserved. You’ll also meet some of the friendliest people on this trip.
The shores of Lake Victoria are the first natural wonder to see and from there you can move on to Lake Mburo on the border between the two. A trip to Uganda isn’t complete without the visit to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park famous for its gorillas.
5. South Africa and Botswana
This is the longest and most challenging trip on our list and it will take about four weeks to complete it. The trip goes through two countries and covers about 7500 km. The best way to go is to hire a truck since the roads are a bit difficult.
The most important stops to make include: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Chobe National Park. The latter park is most well known for its elephants which are now becoming an endangered species. Along the way, you’ll see Victoria Falls and the beautiful Okavango Delta.
A trip to Morocco is the least adventurous item on our list and you can count on accommodations and infrastructure that wouldn’t be that much different from your own country. During the same trip, you can enjoy the Atlantic coast and Atlas Mountain.
Fez and Marrakech are the largest cities in the country and both deserve a visit. Make sure to venture outside the hotel and touristy zones and experience the city as it is with its complex mixture of cultures. At the end of the trip, you should take a camel safari and spend a night under the stars in the desert.
Choosing the Right Vehicle
Regardless of which of these trips you decide to take there’s one important piece of advice to have in mind when visiting Africa. The best way to go is to drive on your own and to decide on where you want to spend your time and for how long.
There are plenty of options for renting a vehicle and the advice you’ll get from the agencies renting them is usually the way to go. They won’t try to upsell you just to provide you with the vehicle you need.
The trips we mentioned are rough but they aren’t dangerous at least not that much as you would expect a trip centered around wild animals to be. It’s, therefore, best to have insurance. The policy should cover you and the passengers in the car in case you’re injured in any way during the trip.
You should also cover the vehicle itself, any GPS equipment you may have, and the belongings that you carry in the car with you. That way if the vehicle is destroyed you can recover both it and everything that was in it.
The Language Barrier
One of the biggest issues that tourists in Africa are facing is the language barrier. Western tourists won’t be able to understand any of the local languages and many of the locals won’t understand western languages. That’s why so many of the local tours are guided and you should rally on guides while you take them.
When it comes to touristy locations and large cities there’s more of a chance that the locals will speak western languages. In most cases, that’s English, French, and Dutch due to the history of the region. It’s, however, considered rude to presume that the locals will speak these languages.