Adventure Safaris In Africa

Can You Drive Across Africa to Europe?

Can You Drive Across Africa
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Written by Jesca

Can You Drive Across Africa? It’s certainly possible, but remember that certain areas are off-limits due to safety concerns. If taking on such a journey appeals to you, your best option would be either driving along the East or West coasts and connecting them – thus allowing for an extraordinary circumnavigation of this magnificent continent.

Are these answers satisfactory on how you cruise through the continent. For those interested in driving across Africa with a the vehicle, let me take you deeper into this wondrous idea. We will discuss all available and safe routes, and how much time it would cost. Now hop aboard, and let’s go explore together.

How Long Would it Take to Drive Across Africa?

Drive across Africa

A Toyota Prado from Europe in Nairobi Westlands. Photo/Ahmed/Twitter

Depending on the route and your plans, it could take anywhere from one to three weeks. So what’s your plan for the trek? North to South or East to West? The motorcycle record from Cape Town to Cairo stands at seven days, but it is advised that you plan for a minimum of 10 weeks. Most travelers take three months up to a year to experience and explore throughout their journey.

Depending on where the trip starts, routes can be adjusted accordingly and cut down from the total estimated time. It would require a good 4×4 vehicle, an experienced driver and navigator, and reliable maps. Even with all that preparation, expect obstacles like broken roads, illegal checkpoints, and different cultures and languages to encounter along the way. A road trip across Africa promises incredible sights and adventures for those brave enough to undertake such a grand undertaking.

Is It Possible To Travel From Africa To Europe By Car?

Definitely, this February a man from the Netherlands claimed to have driven a Land Cruiser Prado through a six-day journey from Amsterdam to Nairobi, Kenya. This surprised many Kenyans and the photos went viral on social media showing a Land Cruiser Prado with a Dutch registered number plate in Nairobi. According to Google travel guides, it would take approximately 6 days and 22 hours) to travel the 9,617 kilometres journey, using the fastest route ever.

However, there are a few important things to consider before taking on this journey:

  • You will need proper visas and permits and any necessary vaccinations depending on which countries your travel route passes through.
  • Ensure your car is in good working condition and has the equipment necessary for long-distance drives, such as a spare tire, safety triangles, a first aid kit and fire extinguisher.
  • Ensure you have enough fuel and food supplies to last the entire journey.
  • Also, to ensure a safe trip, avoid anything illegal like smuggling drugs, steer clear away from locals who could lead to arguments or scuffles.
  • Remain vigilant when entering conflict zones, and keep an eye on the forecasted weather conditions while travelling.

With these safety tips at heart, you can embark worry-free into the unknown, allowing you to navigate tricky situations. Don’t worry—it’s still safe, but it requires you to think differently and be prepared to adjust your standards a bit. You might even be able to offer a bribe or two along the way. 

How Much Does it Cost to Drive Around Africa?

On the Pan-American Highway, budget travellers typically spend between $30 – $150 per person daily. For two people driving from Cairo to Cape Town in a car over six months, expect to pay approximately $24,000, including shipping costs for the vehicle back home. Your spending can vary depending on your travel style. Those who use accommodation alternatives such as camping or Couchsurfing and avoid eating at restaurants can stick closer to the lower end of that range. In contrast, luxury hotel stays and fine dining may increase expenditure significantly.

Is It Safe To Travel Across Africa?

Can You Drive Across Africa

It is safe to Travel across Africa by car. Photo/

Can you drive across Africa safely? Journeying in Africa is just like any other trip. However, brace yourself for a unique experience. Travelling across Africa by car is a secure option if you remain in the safer regions. You may have heard of tales from far-off places such as Sudan and South Africa, but rest assured that you can easily avoid any harm by taking some cautious steps.

Three options for crossing Africa

If you are looking to traverse the African continent, you have three viable options:

  • A 10-week journey from North to South along the East Coast
  • An 11-15 week adventure on the West Coast, depending on your route
  • Or an extensive 11-week trip across DRC and lower regions of Central Africa.

Choosing the correct route depends on your individual goals and desires. Generally, traveling from North to South along the East coast is a smoother experience compared to other routes. You’ll pass through Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa, which all have relatively developed roads. The biggest obstacle in this stretch may be Ethiopia due to its reputation for instability – make sure it’s safe before deciding to venture there.

While the West coast is slowly becoming more accessible, it can still be tricky. In the past, a journey through Algeria, Mali/Niger and Northern Nigeria was an exciting experience. However, today, I advise avoiding these routes at all costs due to the instabilities in the region, tourists being soft targets for criminal groups. Avoiding crossing the Sahara via this path is best for your safety during your travels. Crime levels are high, and a few animals are seen roaming around than in other parts of Africa.

Unfortunately, the journey from East to West is also no longer a great route due to ongoing conflict in central Africa. The northern route is also blocked off, so crossing through the Democratic Republic of Congo is the only option for experienced travelers. Zambia and Angola provide a more relaxed alternative for those new to international travel or travelling with families.


The answer to the question, ‘Can you drive across Africa?’ is yes, but it’s important to research and look out for potential risks. You may encounter situations that can cause your blood to boil and make your face turn red—like when a problem should have been solved in just five minutes but takes five hours instead. In these instances, locals often sport broad smiles, reassuring visitors with the phrase “This is Africa,” or TIA for short.

To get the most out of your visit, try to put aside all preconceived notions and come equipped with an open mind – don’t forget to leave your watch at home too. With the correct information and preventive measures, you can make this adventure a reality while staying safe and having a memorable experience. Traveling across Africa is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will ignite your senses in ways you may have never imagined possible before. It’s an adventure unlike any other – it’ll be both raw and thrilling but, above all else: uniquely African.

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About the author

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Besigye is a Ugandan writer and a teacher by profession. She loves adventure and travelling that's why she loves writing travel blogs.

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