Road Trip Africa Tips

Road trippin’ with my two favorite allies
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

We can’t argue that the ingredients for the perfect road trip must include your favourite people and snacks, as sung by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. However, there are a few more things you’ll need to ensure a safe and fruitful trip, especially around Africa. Africa is beautiful and diverse and one of the greatest ways to feel the spirit of the African people is to travel by her roads. The open roads and endless horizon will leave your heart leaping. Whether you’re planning an overland road trip or taking a long drive to your safari destination, here are a few tips for planning and executing the perfect road trip in Africa.

Dreaming of a road trip in Africa? Read these 6 tips first…

1. Bring a valid driver’s licence

Driving outside of your home country can always feel daunting and should be taken seriously. It’s critical that the government of the country that you are travelling in recognises your driver’s licence and that it’s valid. Most countries will accept particular country-specific driving licences, but it’s important to check or, better yet, apply for an international driver’s license before.

2. Rent a reliable vehicle

One of the most important aspects of your adventure (if not THE most important) is a reliable car. A sturdy vehicle is essential. While a lot African roads are paved, expect many potholes or unpaved roads along the way that will make for a difficult trip if your vehicle is unreliable. As you’ll spend the majority of your trip in the car, you want it to feel safe and comfortable no matter the weather or the conditions of the roads. Having a solid maintenance plan and roadside assistance will put your mind at ease and ensure the safety of you, your loved ones and your vehicle no matter where you might be.

Road Trip Africa Tips

3. You’ll need a map (yes, a  REAL map)

It might seem that nowadays there is no need for large and flimsy maps when there are Garmin’s, TomToms and map apps for your smartphone. Wrong. While these are all wonderful and helpful things to have, they are not always reliable and can lead you into some tricky circumstances. A lot of roads in and around Africa are not only unpaved but unnamed. This makes it very difficult for your GPS to pick up on your location. Also,  factors like battery and signal also come into play when travelling in fairly remote areas. Be prepared and bring a paper map just in case.

4. Make regular stops

One of the best things about road tripping is the freedom you have to stop off and explore various places along the way at your leisure. It’s a good idea to plan an itinerary beforehand of places to stop at along your route. The long hours of driving will leave you sleepy and occasional stops will help you stay alert.

In Africa, it’s essential to remember that’s it’s not safe to drive at night. The roads aren’t always well lit and may lead you down an unwelcoming path. Getting lost will be more likely if you drive in the evenings, so it’s best to find accommodation to stay at overnight. There are many extraordinary places to stay at in Africa, all diverse and unique. Whether you are looking for a luxury game reserve, a family lodge, romantic villa or rowdy backpackers, there is a place and space for all types of travelers.

Africa Road Trip

5. Plug in an epic playlist

No matter how well you and your road trip buddies get along, there is always time for good music. In fact, good music is almost as essential as a good car when it comes to road trips!  Spend a few days together before you go to make a great playlist. It will get everyone excited for the big trip. Not everyone has the same taste in music so make sure you all contribute some songs. This will keep everyone happy along the way. Also, a playlist can never be too long. Don’t be afraid to create long ones as you’re bound to kill them all throughout the trip.

6. Pack lots of snacks

Last but not least, it’s not a road trip without snacks – even Anthony Kiedis says so. If you want to take your snacking one step further, bring along a cooler box to keep your snacks fresh. Whether it’s sweet or savoury, healthy or junk food, it’s important to have an array of all sorts to keep your taste buds just as tantalised as your eyes.

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A Road Trip in Africa Tips

Have you been on a road trip in Africa? Share your tips in the comments!