Have you dreamed of trekking gorillas in Rwandan mountains? Been glued to National Geographic as you watch the legendary wildebeest migration through the Serengeti? Travel through Africa is a constant adventure. With over 50 countries on the massive continent, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Whether you’re driving or taking public transportation, we recommend starting with Southern and Eastern Africa. Generally, these areas are simpler to navigate than other parts of Africa. They are also home to many spectacular destinations, like Zanzibar, an island off the cost of Tanzania, Victoria Falls, and the mysteries of the Namibian desert.
A trip through over a dozen countries can easily be completed in 3 months in Africa. Here’s our recommended itinerary for an amazing trip.
Day 1-4: Arrive in Cape Town. Spend a few days sightseeing and picking up last-minute necessities.
Day 5-8: Depart Cape Town and travel via the Garden Route to Durban. The Garden Route is a beautiful way to travel the coast.
Day 9: Soak up some sun on the Durban beaches.
Day 10: Depart Durban and travel to Swaziland.
Day 11-12: Spend time exploring Swaziland National Parks and learning about community projects.
Day 13: Depart Swaziland and head to the Kruger National Park (via Nelspruit).
Day 14-17: Get out those binoculars! You can self-drive through the Kruger (the majority of the roads are paved) or sign up for organized game drives.
Day 18: Leave South Africa and arrive in Maputo, Mozambique.
Day 19-24: Travel up the coast, stop in seaside towns like Inhabane, and don’t miss the Bazaruto Archipelago. Most towns have spectacular scuba diving (and offer certification).
Day 24-25: Travel into Malawi and arrive in Blantyre.
Day 26: Spend the day in Blantyre.
Day 27-32: Travel along the coast of Malawi, stay in coastal towns like Monkey Bay and Nkhata Bay.
Day 33: Head into Tazania. The further north you go, the borders will get more hectic. Be sure to allow plenty of time.
Day 34-36: Take a couple of days to travel through Tanzania to Dar es Salaam.
Day 37: Enjoy Dar es Salaam. While there isn’t a lot to do in the city, it’s a good place to stock up on supplies and dig into a good meal.
Day 38-44: Take the ferry or fly to Zanzibar. Spend a couple of days wandering through the winding streets of Stone Town before relaxing on one of the northern beaches.
Day 45: Arrive back in Dar es Salaam.
Day 46: Drive to Moshi and, if you’re lucky, you’ll start to see Mount Kilimanjaro through the clouds. Continue on to Arusha.
Day 54: Back in Arusha you can buy supplies and get some rest before traveling north to Kenya in the morning.
Day 55-57: In Nairobi, check out the local market for crafts. Plan a trip to the mall if you need clothes or supplies – which you might after nearly 2 months of travel. Be sure to stop at a local coffee shop to have some true Kenyan coffee before making your way to the Masai Mara.
Day 58-60: Spend a few days seeing wildlife in the Masai Mara.
Day 61-63: Enjoy a couple of days on the banks of the Nile. There are a variety of adventure activities, like white water rafting, available.
Day 64-65: Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, is a great place to rest before continuing your journey to Rwanda in the morning.
Day 66-67: Drive to Rwanda, stay in Kigali and visit the Genocide Museum.
Day 68: Head to Volcanoes National Park to get ready for your gorilla trekking adventure.
Day 69: You’ll awake bright and early to spend the day in Volcanoes National Park trekking gorillas, afterwards head back to Kigali.
Day 70: Spend the day in Kigali.
Day 71-74: Leave Rwanda and head back into Tanzania. Spend a few days traveling to Zambia via Mbeya, Tanzania.
Day 75-76: As you exit Tanzania, you’ll drive into Zambia. You’ve officially left East Africa! Travel through Zambia and head to Lusaka, Zambia’s capital.
Day 77: In the morning, you’ll drive from Lusaka to Victoria Falls, one of the world’s most amazing waterfalls!
Day 78: Spend the day at Victoria Falls. Zambia holds 1/3 of the magnificent falls and there are hiking trails so bring plenty of water and snacks.
Day 79-80: Head to the Zimbabwe side of the Falls. Take part in adventure activities like white water rafting and bungie jumping.
Day 81-82: Drive from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, to Maun, Botswana. In Maun you can organize tours into the Okavango Delta.
Day 83-85: Head into Namibia and drive to Swakopmund via Windhoek. In Swakopmund, be sure to take quad bikes out on the sand dunes.
Day 86: From Swakopmund, go south to Sossusvlei to see Dune 45 at sunrise and hike to Dead Vlei.
Day 87-90: Travel south to Cape Town, be sure to stop at Fish River Canyon on your way out of Namibia.
If you are looking to spend 3 months in Africa, this itinerary is a great place to start. From strolling the narrow, winding, streets of Zanzibar to white-water rafting down the Zambezi, traveling through Eastern and Southern Africa is an adventure of a lifetime!
Have you traveled in Africa? What tips do you have for people as they plan their itinerary for Eastern and Southern Africa?