About Open Africa Routes

Open Africa’s self-drive travel routes take you off the beaten track to mostly rural areas, allowing you to connect with the real Africa – the birthplace of humankind, unspoiled nature, incredible beauty, rich biodiversity (the richest in the world, in fact) and legendary hospitality.

At the same time you will be contributing to local livelihoods and conservation in the area by supporting local businesses, which increasingly conserve their environment as they understand its value to generate future income. In some cases you could even enable an entrepreneur to feed their family for a month or send a child to school for a year.

Routes are created around an area’s travel attractions and services such as accommodation, crafts, cultural places of interest, activities and restaurants. Browse through the site to find what you’d like to do!

South Africa

Khanyisa Cape Route

Western Cape, South Africa: This route goes through the townships of the Cape Flats. The Khanyisa Cape Route is all about  pointing tourists to other destinations in the townships, not just the beaten track to struggle route landmarks.

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Kokerboom Food and Wine Route

In the Northern Cape of South Africa, where the Kalahari and the Nama-Karoo deserts meet, the Great Gariep River (Orange River) flows, bringing life to the typically arid worlds on both sides, and turning the area into an oasis. It is here that travellers can experience the Kokerboom Food and Wine Route.

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Mbodla Eco-Heritage Route

The Fish River (Nxuba) Valley is located adjacent to a thriving game-farming area of the Eastern Cape. The Mbodla Eco-heritage Route adds an original, Afro-centric, environmental, cultural and heritage dimension to the region’s offerings.

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Kimberley Diamond Route

Northern Cape, South Africa: This route centres on the town of Kimberley, where a diamond mining rush began after the first stone was discovered in 1866. Surrounding Kimberley are the sites of some important battles of the Anglo Boer War, as well as rock art sites.

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Land of Legend Route

The Land of Legend Route, true to its name, offers a platform to explore sacred lands, rippling rivers and awe-inspiring nature sites. Based in Thohoyandou, it is within close range of the Kruger National Park, but deserves more than a stop-over.

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South Barotse Trails Route

South-western Zambia: This route roughly follows the Zambezi River. Visitors can call on the villages and their untouched rural surroundings and experience the charm of the gentle and friendly people of Zambia.

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Livingstone - The gateway to Zambia

Livingstone is a historic colonial town and present provincial headquarters of Zambia’s Southern Province. Livingstone is rapidly becoming known as the “Adventure Center of Southern Africa”. Livingstone links well with other destinations on the Open Africa network including Kafue National, South and North Barotse Trails.

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Nsobe Sitatunga Experience: "Bangweulu-Kasanka Eco-Tourism Route"

The Nsobe Sitatunga Experience is located in a section of the vast southern headwaters of the Congo River. Nsobe is the local name for the sitatunga, a shy antelope that inhabits the swampy papyrus reeds spread across the wetlands of this region. The route is located within a set of protected areas concentrated in swamps, flood plains and Miombo woodlands.

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Untamed Kafue: 'Where the cheetah roams'

The Untamed Kafue tourism route is situated in the Kafue National park which is the largest park in Zambia and one of the most important ecosystems in Africa. The park covers a total area of 22 400km² accounting for about 35% of Zambia’s total national park area.

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North Barotse Trails

The route name is coined from the ancient Luyi kingdom of Barotseland. The Trails boasts of the remotest National Park in Zambia; the Liuwa Plains National Park and significant cultural, water and wildlife resources. The route spans the greater Western part of Zambia stretching from Senanga to the south, Mongu and Kalabo town to the North West. It includes Barotse flood plains and West Zambezi Game Management Area No. 1 to the west.

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Kavango Open Africa Experience

The Kavango Open Africa Experience is based on the riverine landscapes of the Kavango, its people, birds and wildlife. This unique travel route is situated in north-eastern Namibia.

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Nama Padloper Route

The route has an abundance of natural attractions with unique landscapes and a diverse range of fauna and flora. Most of the route falls within the Succulent Karoo Biome whilst the area east of the Fish River falls in the Nama Karoo Biome.

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Four Deserts Route

The Four Deserts Route covers the entire south, from the Orange River to the Tropic of Capricorn. The route is not a single road linking four great deserts, but rather represents a variety of enterprises - accommodation and other tourist services - found in the vicinity of these attractions.

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Caprivi Wetlands Paradise Route

Namibia: Caprivi, a thin strip of land in the north-east of Namibia, lies in the centre of Southern Africa. It is bordered by Angola, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Three perennial rivers cross Caprivi, making it a wetland paradise full of animals and birds.

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Rixile Bush to Beach Route

A new concept in tourism, the bush to beach experience provides travellers with the opportunity to have the best of both worlds. Spend a few days in one of Southern Africa’s most renowned game parks before reaching the pristine beaches of Mozambique where you can enjoy scuba diving, snorkelling, angling and whale-watching.

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Mozambique Sea Kayak Route

This route is a paddling adventure along the beautiful coastline of Mozambique. Ibo Island in the Quirimba Archipelago and the Ilha Bartolomeu Dias are both suitable for the average paddler or for a family adventure.

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Maloti Drakensberg Route

This route spans the borders between South Africa and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, providing travellers with the opportunity to experience a diversity of cultures – Basotho, English, Xhosa and Afrikaans.

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Swaziland Route

The Kingdom of Swaziland is home to the Swazi nation, a proud but peaceful people with happy, easy-going and often humorous personalities. This route introduces visitors to a kingdom rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage, where visitors are invited to explore and experience the many facets of a country filled with diverse environments and cultural unity.

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Cairo here we come! The network of travel routes is expanding with Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia on the radar in the next year or so. Contact us if you are interested in creating routes in your country admin@openafrica.org

Routes awaiting funding

Help enrich the lives of communities by developing these travel routes:

Impendle, Kwazulu-Natal - A culture, community and ecology route that provides additional exposure to the existing Impendle Ecotourism Programme, restoring hope and dignity to about 30 000 people in this rural area

Van Reenen, on the Kwazulu-Natal / Free State border - A nature, culture and history route around this small hamlet originally established as a railway depot. This route aims to integrate marginalised communities around the town by increasing tourism to the area

Mooi River to Giant's Castle via Kamberg, Kwazulu-Natal - A nature, culture and outdoor activity route which seeks to extend the successes of the Midlands Meander to other areas with tourism potential, creating jobs for local communities in the area

Mt Kenya Highlands, Kenya - A fascinating route incorporating a famous mountain, Mt Kenya, interesting cottage industries and rich agriculture, culture, history, nature and wildlife, which aspires to grow tourism and uplift communities in this marginalised rural area

To find out more contact kate@openafrica.org