Classic Routes

TOP TO BOTTOM One Year

Begin in Tunisia (p213), then head east past Libya (pl26) to Egypt (p82). Hope for smooth sailing across Lake Nasser (pi 19) to Sudan (pl97), then head into the Ethiopian highlands. From Ethiopia (p651) journey down to Nairobi (p684).

An alternative for hitchers or self-drivers is to go via the west coast, through Morocco (pl42) and south to Nouadhibou (p426), Mauritania. There's no official public transport for this desert crossing, but there are some hitching opportunities. Reports from overland travellers who've taken the once-impossible west-coast overland route are now coming in. The latest suggest that it's possible to take a 'desert taxi' between Dahkla, Morocco and Nouadhibou.

If you're less of a purist, you can avoid the long haul from Cairo and concentrate instead on the classic jaunt from Nairobi to Cape Town - passing through the wildlife-sprinkled plains of Kenya (p677) and Tanzania (p745) and onto the warm and welcoming villages of Malawi (p908) andZambia (pl051). From here, it's back into wildlife territory with Botswana's Okavango Delta (p848) and Namibia's Etosha National Park (p972), before finishing up right at the bottom in the stunning city of Cape Town (p993), South Africa. It pays to factor stunning Mozambique (p934) into this round trip.

SOUTHERN AFRICA SMORGASBORD Three Months

Start in South Africa's mother city, vibrant Cape Town (p993) then head north to take in the endless sand dunes of Namibia in Namib-Naukluft Park (p968). Continue north and east along the Caprivi strip to Kasane, the gateway to Botswana's Chobe National Park (p856) and its amazing concentration of elephants, then fly to Maun for a few days poling through the swampy maze of the Okavango Delta (p848). Back in Kasane, it's a short hop into Zambia's Livingstone (pl064), Africa's adrenaline capital and the place to see the spectacular Victoria Falls (pl064).

Continue on from Livingstone to Zimbabwe's Harare (pl079) for trips to Mana Pools National Park (pl086), Hwange National Park (pl090) and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe (pl087).

From Harare, make your way towards Mozambique's Nampula(p947), the jumping-off point for trips to the unforgettable llha de Mozambique (p947), via Malawi's Blantyre (p921) and the white beaches of Cape Madear (p927). Take a trip to the lost-in-time Quirimbas Archipelago (p949) then head south via the sleepy towns of Quelimane (p947), Beira (p946), Vilankulo (p945) and Inhambane (p944). Next stop is Maputo (p939), the only Latin city in Africa, for a fiesta of seafood and caipirinhas, then it's on to Johannesburg (pl015), South Africa's hustling, bustling commercial capital. From here you can head to the Kruger National Park (pl026) or set off back towards Cape Town via Durban (pl007).

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

MALA

Cape MadiarC lp BlantyriC

Quirimbas Archipelago llha de JMoçambique

MALA

Cape MadiarC lp BlantyriC

BOTSWANA

Johannesburg Ç

This itinerary takes in the best southern Africa has to offer - most places are easily accessible, English is widely spoken and the countries are well set up for overseas visitors.

BOTSWANA

Tropic of Capricorn

Namib-Naukluft e Park

Johannesburg Ç

INDIAN OCEAN

LESOTHO SOUTH AFRICA

EAST AFRICAN EXTRAVANGANZA Two to Three Months

Fly into Kenya's Nairobi (p684) and explore the Central Highlands around Mount Kenya (p694) then head east via Mombasa (p700) to the palm-fringed beaches, sleepy atmosphere and coral reefs of Lamu (p705).

Head south into Tanzania to Arusha (p765), the safari capital of the country, from where you can arrange all sorts of activities including 4WD safaris to the Ngorongoro crater (p771) or Serengeti National Park (p770) and trekking trips up Mount Kilimanjaro (p774). Head south to Dar es Salaam (p751) and hop offshore to drink in the Swahili history and culture of Zanzibar (p757) and neighbouring Pemba (p765). From Dar es Salaam head west towards remote, stunning Lake Tanganyika (p780) to watch chimpanzees, then make your way across to Mwanza (p772) and western Lake Victoria (p789). From here you can move up through Rwanda, which is still recovering, but is a great place to see mountain gorillas, or head directly into western Uganda. The Ssese Islands (p812) are a good place to chill out, there's fantastic white-water rafting at Jinja (p813) and Murchison Falls National Park (p817) is a gem.

From Uganda cut back east to explore western and northwest Kenya, perhaps starting with a trip north to remote Lake Turkana (p698). Adventurous jaunts to Ethiopia, Eritrea or northern Mozambique are also possible - or head to Lake Malawi for some laid-back beach time.

Equator

Many travellers choose to focus on East Africa, but few spend all their time hanging out on safari with lions and zebras.

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