My Route Traveling Africa

Route traveling Africa, cape to cairo, backpacking africa for beginners

My route traveling Africa turned into a crazy adventure spanning the continent from Cape Town to Cairo

So you already know there are a lot of reasons (54 reasons to be specific) to travel Africa. You’ve already bought all the travel gear you need (like the best travel, anti-theft, shirt ever!!) Now you just need to know where to go.

I did my 7 month trip completely by myself, using public transportation. It’s pretty easy, and you can do it too.

Let’s get one thing straight first. There is no good or bad route for traveling frica. What matters is that you just go.

My route traveling Africa changed a lot from what I initially planned.

Original Planned Route

South Africa –> Mozambique –> Tanzania –> Kenya –> Ethiopia.

Original Planned Time Frame

I thought I’d spend two weeks in each country and come back home within two months.

Look at the picture below, and you’ll see things didn’t go as planned. In fact,  I ended up spending 7 months traveling through 13 countries! That’s because once I started traveling, I felt so comfortable. I realized that African countries are amazing! I couldn’t get enough. So my route changed drastically.

My trip was almost 4x longer than I expected & I visited more than 2x as many countries as I planned


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My Route Traveling Africa (In Order): South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.

Why You Should Do the Same Route Traveling Africa:

If you got the time & the money, I highly suggest my same route. I got to see so much, & absolutely adored each country I visited. It was a good mix of popular backpacking destinations & off the grid/”I’m the first tourist this year” spots too. If you’re a new beginner, it’s especially great to start in South Africa (more backpacker’s, easier, etc.)

What I Regret the Most about My Route Traveling Africa:

If I could change just one thing about my trip though, I would have visited even more countries. For example, I could have easily incorporated Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland. I missed them because in the beginning I was still a little freaked out about traveling Africa.  Initially, I was also hurrying to get to Ethiopia to see some friends. I know other backpackers loved these countries though, so don’t miss out like I did.

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Other backpacking routes:

I met many other travelers during my trip. Some of them traveled my same route in Africa. Others did it the opposite way (Cairo to Cape). And others just chose one random country and went from there. Just note, that there is no real route. No “Cape to Cairo” road. It’s more like a general direction you’re traveling with lots of different roads, buses, and ways to do it.

However your route traveling Africa turns out to be, I can promise you it will be amazing. You really can’t go wrong. Sure sometimes you realized you missed a really big festival by a week or came during a rainy season, but you can make it work. The most important thing is that you go.

See Also:  How Much Does Backpacking Africa Cost?

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PS- If you still need help planning your route traveling Africa, check out my 5 Sample Itineraries that comes free with the only backpacking Africa book. It includes specific places to go & route information for travelers based on what they want to see, do, and experience during their time in Africa. Each route is 2 pages long.

  1. Slow & Steady (6 months or longer)
  2. Not Too Long, Not too short (3-5 months)
  3.  Short & Sweet (3-5 weeks)
  4. Party Like a Rock Star (1-2 weeks)
  5. Max Site Seeing (10-15 days)
Val Bowden
Val Bowden took off on the adventure of a lifetime in 2013 when she backpacked from Cape Town to Cairo solo using only public transportation. Since then her love of the African continent has continued to grow. She currently lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is the author of Backpacking Africa for Beginners E-book.

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7 responses to “My Route Traveling Africa”

  1. Phil becker says:

    Hi Val
    This summary and map is very helpful. I recently retired and have a dream of seeing the real Africa in much the same way you did. I also have a friend who was one of the lost boys of Sudan and found refuge in the US in 2003. I would like to take him back to see his family in South Sudan. About how much out of pocket did it cost you including airfare? Thanks again! Phil

    • Val Bowden says:

      You should definitely come to Africa! I think a lot of people have always yearned to go, and I promise, no one who comes is ever disappointed…. they just usually come back again and again. Backpacking costs vary completely, and so do plane tickets. Go to the book page and download my complete edition (for free if you want), to find out how much I spent, how to save money, and how to get super cheap flights. Hope this helps! 🙂

    • GL says:

      But I don’t think South Sudan (SS), Central African Republic (CAR) and Somalia (except Somaliland) are safe for travelling. Admin, do you know any details of these three countries? Both SS and Somalia are bordering ET

      • Val Bowden says:

        I’m not sure about CAR, but Somalia and SS might not be a good idea right now unless you have a friend or guide there who can tell you more about the safety. I was planning on going to SS recently from Ethiopia and was told by people in SS and Ethiopians in the border region it’s a bad idea. You would probably be fine flying into Juba, but I’m not sure about the rest of the country. Check out to get more safety advice.

  2. I’m making that exact same trip!! I tried to download your book but the link is broken. :/

    • Val Bowden says:

      That’s so awesome! You’ll have such a good time! Just don’t miss Swaziland, Lesotho, or Namibia like I did. I was an idiot in the beginning. Lol. Ok try the download again. I was updating the page and so it was down. But should be good now. Let me know if you have any more questions. Happy traveling 🙂

  3. Sophie says:

    i’m planning on traveling from gambia up through senegal, Mauritania, western sahara and in to morocco, what do you think of this route? from some of my research i will need to be able to speak fluent french, any info on this?

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