Cape Town to Kenya: Our 4×4 Self-Drive Route

October 12, 2017

Welcome to part 2 of my Cape Town to Kenya blog post. In case you missed Part 1, let me fill you in real quick: my boyfriend and I have recently just returned home to Cape Town from a 3 month 4×4 self-drive expedition in our Land Rover Defender TDi named Pumba. Our journey took us 24000km from Cape Town to Kenya and back however whilst on the road, we both noticed how hard it was to get up to date and relevant information about potential routes, border crossings, fee’s, national parks and general 4×4 self-drive information.

I have therefore broken this topic down into two blog posts each containing information pertaining to:

Part 1: Everything Border Related: Vehicle Fees, Vehicle Requirements, Visas & Last Minute Thoughts.

Part 2: Our Route

PART 2: Our Route

General Route Overview:

South Africa ✈ Namibia ✈ Botswana ✈  Zimbabwe ✈ Zambia ✈ Tanzania ✈ Kenya

NAMIBIA

(To see a fully comprehensive Namibia 4×4 self-drive route & camping guide, click here)

✈ Vioolsdrif: Amanzi River Trails

Accommodation Type: Camping

 

✈ Fish River Canyon: Fish River Lodge

Accommodation Type: Lodge

✈ Aus: Klein Aus Vista

Accommodation Type: Camping or Chalet

Last Minute Thoughts: Read why this was one of our favourite campsites of our trip here!

 

✈ Sossusvlei: Sossus Oasis Campsite

Accommodation Type: Camping

Last Minute Thoughts: Another camping highlight. Each campsite is equipped with a private kitchen area as well as a bathroom with a shower, toilet & sink. Communal swimming pool is a a big plus!

(4×4 Recommended).

✈ Swakopmund (Hotel Stopover)

Accommodation Type: Wide Variety of Accommodation Options

Last Minute Thoughts: A great seaside town to restock with any necessary supplies.

 

✈ Spitzkoppe: Spitzkoppe Campsite

Accommodation Type: Camping

Last Minute Thoughts: An incredibly unique camping experience! Situated amongst large boulders, each campsite has something different to offer. Campers must be fully self-sufficient.

 

✈ Grootberg: Hoada Campsite

Accommodation Type: Camping Only

Last Minute Thoughts: If you’re looking for something a little more luxury than camping (although this is a pretty luxurious campsite), Hoada’s partner lodge, Grootberg Lodgeis situated at the top of the Grootberg Plateau & overlooks the entire valley below. I would recommend both as great options. We did one night camping & one in the lodge.

 

✈ Etosha National Park: Halali Campsite

Accommodation Type: Camping or Chalets

Last Minute Thoughts: A very average campsite in the centre of the park. The highlight is the watering hole that is on the property where we saw both lion & rhino.

 

✈ Caprivi Strip: Ngepi Camp

Accommodation Type: Camping, Chalets or River Treehouse

Last Minute Thoughts: A must-visit if you are visiting the area. Ngepi has become a bit of household name in South Africa & Namibia and never ceases to disappoint. I would highly recommend staying in a treehouse on the river where you go to sleep with the sound of hippo’s grunting underneath you & wake up with the sunrise between your feet.

 

BOTSWANA

✈ Maun

Accommodation Type: A wide variety of accommodation options.

Last Minute Thoughts: Maun is a great place to restock your campaign supplies. There is a Spar, Shoprite & Woolworths in town. I can also highly recommend the butcher, Beef Boys, for some quality cuts of meat, from steak to marinaded kebabs to sausages. You can buy the meat frozen & vacuum-packed which should suffice if you go through Foot & Mouth Control Areas.

 

Tuskers Bush Camp

Accommodation Type: ‘Glamping’

Last Minute Thoughts: A short drive outside of Maun along a sandy track. A good stopover before entering Moremi Game Reserve.

 

✈ Okavango Delta: Xobega Island Camp

Accommodation Type: ‘Glamping’

Last Minute Thoughts: Situated on an island in the Okavango Delta, this camp requires a boat transfer provided by the lodge. A unique safari experience!

(4×4 Required for Moremi)

✈ Chobe: Savuti

Accommodation Type: Camping or Lodges

Last Minute Thoughts: Camspites are now privately owned & run. Visit SKL for campsite bookings. Booking is necessary. I can highly recommend Belmond Elephant Safari Camp as a lodge option!

(4×4 Required – Heavy Sand Driving).

 

ZIMBABWE:

✈ Matetsi Reserve: Matetsi River Lodge

Accommodation Type: Luxury Lodge

Last Minute Thoughts: If you’re happy to part with a large chunk of your money, Matetsi would be the place to do it. Some of the best food that I have ever eaten & overall a complete 6 star experience worth every cent!

 

✈ Victoria Falls: Victoria Falls Rest Camp

Accommodation Type: Camping or Chalets

 

✈ Binga: Masumu River Lodge

Accommodation Type: Camping or Chalets

Last Minute Thoughts: I would highly recommend Masumu. An exceptionally good value for money spot & especially great for camping with excellent ablution facilities. There are only two camping spots so make sure to book beforehand.

 

✈ Bumi Hills: Musango Safari Camp

Accommodation Type: Lodge

(4×4 Recommended)

✈ Matusadona National Park: Tashinga Campsite

Accommodation Type: Camping

Last Minute Thoughts: Definitely not worth the US$70 pppn. US$10 would be much better suited to the run-down abandoned campsite.

(4×4 Required)

 

✈ Matusadona National Park: Changa Safari Camp

Accommodation Type: Lodge

Last Minute Thoughts: A great lodge experience. Delicious food, fantastic staff, beautiful accommodation & fun activities including tiger-fishing on Lake Kariba.

(4×4 Required)

 

✈ Mana Pools National Park: Nyamepi Campsite

Accommodation Type: Camping

Last Minute Thoughts: I would recommend breaking this drive up from Matusadona to Mana, however Mana Pools simply CANNOT be missed if you are visiting Zimbabwe. A truly beautifully wild experience! If you are looking for a lodge, I can highly recommend John’s Camp in Mana Pools.

(4×4 recommended – required in wet season)

ZAMBIA:

✈ Lusaka

Accommodation Type: Wide variety of accommodation options.

Last Minute Thoughts: Lusaka is a thriving city which seemed like home away from home. Anything that one needs, can be found in Lusaka.

  • If in Livingstone in Zambia, I can HIGHLY recommend staying at Tongabezi, or their Island lodge on the Zambezi called Sindabezi. A very expensive lodge however one of the best experiences of our trip!

From Lusaka, we were on a very tight schedule to get up to Tanzania & put foot along the T2. The road is in average condition, especially compared to the T4 (to Malawi), which is in incredible condition so try and avoid driving at night. Our stopover included one night at Kundalila Community Campsite which although basic, is situated a short walk from the beautiful Kundalila Waterfall.

 

TANZANIA:

✈ Mbeya: Hill View Hotel

Accommodation Type: A variety of accommodation options.

Last Minute Thoughts: Mbeya is a chaotic little town that serves as a good stopover point after entering the border. I would recommend staying in a hotel to keep things simple.

 

✈ Iringa: River Valley Campsite

Accommodation Type: Camping or Chalets.

Last Minute Thoughts: A great campsite for a stopover, especially those with families. We had a delicious (and slightly overpriced) dinner at the restaurant that evening & camped next to a beautiful river. The ablutions are also great.

 

✈ Dodoma: New Dodoma Hotel

Accommodation Type: Hotel

 

✈ Arusha: Hotel Stopover

Accommodation Type: A wide variety of accommodation is available.

Last Minute Thoughts: Great town for restocking with supplies, mechanical work on the car or for general sightseeing as it is close to Kilimanjaro.

✈ Ngorongoro: Simba Campsite

Accommodation Type: Campsite.

Last Minute Thoughts: A bucket-list experience for me however after swallowing the tough pill of paying the extortionate park fees for self-drivers, Simba Campsite was extremely disappointing. Dirty long-drop toilets and lots of rowdy tour groups.

(4×4 Required – Best of Luck)

✈ Serengeti National Park: Asanja Africa Camp

Accommodation Type: Luxury Tented Camp

(4×4 Required)

KENYA:

✈ Nairobi: Airbnb in the neighbourhood of Karen

Accommodation Type: A Wide Variety of Accommodation Options are Available.

 

✈ Nanyuki (Mount Kenya): Trout Tree

Accommodation Type: Cottages

Last Minute Thoughts: A definite recommendation. If you’re looking for some fun, book a heli flight with Tropic Air & you will see the jaw-dropping snowy peaks of Mount Kenya from the sky. We even saw climbers summiting.

 

✈ Lake Bogoria: Lake Bogoria Spa Resort

Accommodation Type: Camping, Hotel or Chalets.

Last Minute Thoughts: The Spa Resort brings in tour buses by the dozen however is pretty much the only accommodation in the area. It was a nice atmosphere & was fine for camping.

✈ Nakuru National Park: Public Campsite

Accommodation Type: Camping

 

✈ Lake Naivasha: Rented House

  • We were kindly allowed to stay at this incredible spot on the lake through some friends at Nomad Magazine.

 

✈ Masai Mara: Disney Campsite

  • This was last used for the film crew of a Disney movie a few years back and is quite literally a tiny bush clearing  in the middle of the Masai Mara Triangle, however is not open for the general public (we had film permits). There are plenty of great accommodation options in the Mara.

I hope that this has helped with any potential route planning & accommodation questions that you might have had. Please feel free to add any extra information or to ask any questions in the comments below about our route or stop-overs. Safe Travels 🙂

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  • Chloe Botha

    Hi Nicole
    I found your vlogs on YouTube yesterday and I must say you and Ben are an inspirational couple, and you have just got me dreaming of our next adventure though Africa! I don’t want to travel anywhere else now 😉
    I see you drove south past Gumare on the west of the Delta. We we there in October and that road just after Gumare was insanely bad with MASSIVE potholes and livestock everywhere! We were subsequently told by the owners of Guma Lagoon Camp that that is the worst road in Botswana! Can you agree with that? And how does that road compare to the rest of your trip?
    Thanks
    Chloe

    • Nicole Eddy

      Hey Chloe 🙂 Thank you, and I’m stoked that we could have helped with the Africa wanderlust!

      I would definitely agree that it was the worst road that we drove on in Botswana, it stands out as one of the worst roads from our trip actually, bar the road works on the main Tanzania-Kenya road (however the finished sections were dreamy), as well as the dirt road from Ngorongoro to the Serengeti which was probably the worst road on our trip. But apart from that, the roads are all actually in good condition & shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

  • Ellie

    What a cool trip!<3
    http://www.blogellive.com

  • Liam O’Connor

    Hey mate, great post as always!!
    I was just wondering what your thoughts were on a young Aussie backpacker attempting a similar style trip around the middle of 2018? I’ll be travelling with some South African friends for at least part of the way but could potentially be doing some segments by myself-is it worth looking into going wifh a tour group or will I be be able tim manage getting between countries on my lonesome?
    Thanks so much for all the effort you’ve put in to sharing your experiences with us!
    Liam

    • Nicole Eddy

      Hey Liam 🙂 Thank you!
      I think for the most part, it’s safe especially as a guy, and there are many people who do these trips solo however it is obviously recommended to have another person for emergencies such as health, or a car accident etc., but if for the most part you are with friends, it should all be good 🙂

  • Eve Wood-Hill

    Hi Nicole, How did you find the road from Lusaka to Arusha? We are doing a similar route in January. Thanks for all the advice!

    • Nicole Eddy

      Hey Eve 🙂 The T2 from Lusaka to the border at Tunduma is not too bad, it is jam-packed with trucks but overall not too bad.

      The road however from Tunduma to Arusha was a nightmare! They were in the process of resurfacing the road, which looks like it will be pretty great when it is finished (and it seems to be going quite fast because on the way up it was completely torn up & one month later on our way back down a lot of it had already been resurfaced). But it was hours and hours of navigating trucks who drive like mad-men & terrible corrugated detour roads. If they are still in the process of redoing the road, I would definitely recommend either taking the B345 after Mbeya up to Arusha or drive the main A104 & go left at Dodoma town (B129) and up to Arusha from there. It’s also a beautiful drive & saved us hours (we did it on the way back down to avoid the bulk of the roadworks). Hope that helps 🙂

      • Eve Wood-Hill

        Wow thanks so much Nicole I will definitely look at those alternative routes. The trucks sound like zero fun!

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