List Of Cheapest African Travel Countries For Kenyans (2024)

Here is a list of some affordable African travel destinations that may be suitable for Kenyan travellers. The African continent is blessed with a rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, active wildlife, and hospitable people. Little wonder it’s become one of the most popular holiday destinations for budget-friendly travel.

Ideally, what makes up most of your travel expenses are flights, accommodations, and sightseeing. International flights to and from African countries are relatively expensive, especially when flying from other continents.  However, there are some very affordable African countries that you can visit on your next vacation without blowing up your savings. These countries offer budget-friendly accommodation, food, and tourist attractions that you can explore.

Here is a list of the cheapest African countries that won’t break your bank account.

Cheapest African Travel Destinations for Kenyans

1. Zanzibar

The archipelago is more than an island paradise. It is characterised by soft sandy beaches, shimmering azure waters and blissful sunsets. Zanzibar is a multi-faceted destination offering intriguing culture, tasty cuisine and fascinating history. It fully caters to the budget traveller, as it has something for everyone. Once you get to Dar es Salaam, it is easy to visit Zanzibar.

Best Places to Visit in Zanzibar

  1. Stone town, the main town in Zanzibar
  2. Prison Island, a former detention place for slaves
  3. Slave Market
  4. Kwale Island Safari Blue, which is a day boat trip to an island
  5. Scuba diving, snorkelling, and dolphin tours at the Indian Ocean
  6. Look out for the famously carved teak Zanzibar doors.
  7. Head to Jozani forest
  8. Catch some sun at Nungwi Beach
  9. Don’t forget to eat at Forodhani, which is the best part for foodies
  10. Sunset Dhow rides in the evening would be ideal for all who believe in romance. The beaches are far better than Diani, Watamu and the Kenyan North Coast.

Trip to Zanzibar by Bus from Kenya

There are two routes to travel from Nairobi to Zanzibar. First, board a Tahmeed bus from River Road to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (about 16 hours) via the Namanga Border, then catch a ferry to Zanzibar. Second (for the best experience), board SGR from Nairobi to Mombasa, then take a Tahmeed bus to Dar es Salaam and finally catch a ferry to Zanzibar.

Cost Breakdown Kenya to Zanzibar by Bus
  • Nairobi to Mombasa (SGR): Ksh 1,500
  • Nairobi to Dar es Salaam (via Namanga Border): Ksh 4,500
  • Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar (ferry): 30 USD

2. Rwanda

Kigali

Kigali is probably the cleanest city in East Africa. Kigali’s weather is fantastic, and its transport system is not as complicated as Kenya’s. Pay a visit to the famous Kigali Genocide Memorial and learn why you cannot trust humans.

Moving on, Rwanda is a tiny nation and should you decide to rent a car, you will be able to drive through the whole country in a matter of days. Hikers will have a blast because Rwanda is seriously hilly. ‘The land of a thousand hills’ is one of the only three countries where endangered mountain gorillas live. Rwanda is extremely picturesque. So much so that the United Nations declared its capital, Kigali. Africa’s most beautiful city.

Best Places to Visit in Rwanda

  1. Kigali City Tour
  2. Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre
  3. Kigali Conventional Centre
  4. Lake Kivu
  5. Ramera SDA church (The Christ Ambassadors church)
  6. Nyamata church, where thousands were burned during the Genocide
  7. Kigali Museum
  8. Akagera National Park, The baboons in Akagera are wonderful
Trip to Kigali, Rwanda, by bus from Kenya

We only have three bus companies offering direct bus services from Nairobi to Kigali, Rwanda.

  1. Trinity Express: This is your bus for those who love Chinese units. Their booking office is along Duruma Road.
  2. Simba Coach: They’ve got their booking office on River Road.
  3. Modern Coast Express: Their booking office is also along River Road. Another option is to take Mash Poa from Nairobi to Kampala, which you will reach in the morning. Relax in town before boarding the evening Mash Poa bus to arrive in Kigali in the morning.

If you don’t want to spend a night in Kigali, you’ll use small cars like Probox, Sienta, etc. that cross to Bujumbura (assuming the crossover starts at 5 p.m., you’ll get to Bujumbura at around midnight). It costs Ksh 2,500 to Ksh 4,000, depending on luck and availability. If you spend the night in Kigali, you can proceed to Bujumbura by bus; there’s only one reliable bus service, and it’s called Volcano.

Cost Breakdown Kenya to Kigali, Rwanda, by Bus

Nairobi to Kigali using Trinity Express is Ksh 5,500; return tickets are Ksh 6,500 or 50,000 Rwandese Francs.

For those who want to visit Kigali, Rwanda, here are some travel tips:

  • The maximum speed limit is 60 km/h; only a few places are 80 km/h. There are speed cameras all over, so you cannot risk overspending, as you’ll be fined depending on the speed you were at. You are expected to pay the fine within 3 days if caught; otherwise, your car gets confiscated and attracts a penalty for failure to pay.
  • Motorbikes strictly keep right, just like the rest and are super disciplined. They will stop by traffic lights and zebra crossings.
  • It’s a fairly safe country; you can use your phone on the busiest streets, whether walking or in your car, with the windows rolled down, without fear of it being snatched.
  • There is no room for bribes or being harassed by cops. (No Ksh 50/= for the police.)
  • Traffic lights are obeyed to the letter by motorists, bikers and pedestrians.
  • All boda boda riders and their passengers wear helmets.
  • All the roads have walkways and bike lanes. No motorbikes will be seen on the walkway or cycle lane.
  • There is no smell of garbage.

3. Burundi

Bujumbura

You cannot visit Rwanda and fail to visit Bujumbura, formerly Usumbura, which is the economic capital, largest city and main port of Burundi. Once in Rwanda, set aside a few days to visit Bujumbura. Bujumbura is rather hot because the country is along Lake Tanganyika. Enjoy water sports activities on Lake Tanganyika while interacting with the locals. It’s also a plus that most locals can communicate in Swahili.

It is only 5 hours away. That’s like going to Eldoret from Nairobi. It will only cost you about Ksh 2,000 to return to Burundi from Rwanda.

Best Places to Visit in Bujumbura, Burundi

  1. Lake Tanganyika: This is one of the largest lakes in the world and offers beautiful scenery. You can relax on the beaches, go swimming, or even take a boat trip on the lake.
  2. Livingstone-Stanley Monument: This monument commemorates the meeting of explorers David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. It’s a historical site with significance in the exploration of Africa.
  3. Rusizi National Park: Located near the Rusizi River, this park is known for its diverse birdlife and wildlife, including hippos and crocodiles. It’s a great place for nature lovers.
  4. Kigwena Natural Forest: This forest reserve is a haven for bird watchers and those interested in the natural flora of the region. It’s a peaceful place for a nature walk.
  5. Belvedere Climb: For panoramic views of Bujumbura and Lake Tanganyika, you can climb to the top of the Belvedere hill. It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
  6. La Tempete du Kivu: This is a popular local market where you can experience the vibrant culture of Bujumbura. You can find traditional crafts and fresh produce and interact with the locals.
  7. Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium: If you’re interested in sports, you might want to catch a local football (soccer) match at this stadium, named after a key figure in Burundi’s history.

4. Tanzania

Tanzania is one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s quite similar to Kenya, with a special twist. Home to the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro for climbers, historical and cultural sites, beautiful lakes and wildlife lovers, Serengeti National Park was made famous by the Lion King.

Dar-es-Salaam

Trip to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania by Bus from Kenya

Documents Required to Travel to Dar es Salaam by Road

  • Passport: Without this, use your Kenyan ID to get a temporary passport from an e-citizen account valid for 1 year. The process takes less than 10 minutes, and there are cyber cafes at the border to sort you for Ksh 350
  • Yellow fever vaccination card: This will cost you Ksh 2,500, while at the border you could pay Ksh 1,500.
  • COVID certificate: This is strict; you must have it.

NOTE: If you are driving, you need these extras.

  • Original logbook: It is best if the person whose name is on the logbook is travelling too; if not, you will need a consent letter.
  • Insurance: They call it Comesa. You will get it at the border for Ksh 3,500.

Travel Tips for those travelling to Tanzania 

  • Whenever you see a 50 km/h sign, please drive at 49 km/h. They have speed guns randomly. It is advisable to cover the distance at night. If you happen to be arrested, the cops will demand a fine of Tsh 30,000 (about Ksh 1,500).
  • Make sure to visit Coco Beach for food you will never regret.
  • Pork is more expensive than beef.
  • Petrol is cheaper than diesel.
  • Trade most, if not all, of your currency at the borders; rates are excellent.
  • They have M-PESA so you can withdraw Ksh and give it in Tsh via Vodacom at their M-PESA agents, “Wakala.”
  • Airbnb is not readily available if you have a low budget.
  • The first ferry to Zanzibar leaves at 7.30 am and the last one leaves at 4 pm. The fare is Tsh 30 to 40,000 (Ksh 1,600) one way.
  • Crossing the Nyerere Bridge to Kigamboni will cost you Tsh 1500 (Ksh 80). You could also take the ferry at about the same time.
Cost Breakdown Kenya to Dar-es-salaam by Bus

Use the Tahmeed bus. Costs 3500. Change the Kenyan currency at the border to Tsh for snacking on the way and for a hotel for the first night. Talk to your conductor or bus driver to assist in changing money.

NOTE:

  • You are using the Namanga border so the trip will be long so carry lots of snacks.
  • Duration: 16–18 hours (if there is no speed limit from Namanga to Moshi, it happens a lot)
Mombasa-Dar es salaam
  • On this route, you will be using the Lunga Lunga-Horo Horo border. Bus fare: Ksh 2500 (Tawakal bus).
  • Duration 8-9hours

Arusha

Arusha is a city in East Africa’s Tanzania, located at the base of volcanic Mt. Meru. It’s a gateway to safari destinations and Africa’s highest peak, 5,895-meter Mt. Kilimanjaro, lying some 100 kilometres northeast. To the west lies Serengeti National Park, home to wildlife including lions, rhinoceros, giraffes and leopards. Annual migrations feature huge herds of wildebeests crossing the plains.

Arusha is less than 6 hours from Nairobi. Plan a weekend and drive yourself or even go by public means. All you need is just a weekend.

Best Places to Visit Arusha

  1. It’s home to a cultural heritage centre that serves as a museum, restaurant and gift shop.
  2. Canoe at Lake Duluti or if that is not your thing, take a nature walk. This place is rather peaceful
  3. This town has a vibrant nightlife. Have a bottle or ten of Kilimanjaro, Serengeti or Safari Lager.
  4. Take a game drive in Serengeti. It is one of the best game drives in East Africa.
  5. Drive down to Moshi, which is an hour away and visit Kikuletwa Springs.

5. South Africa

Cape Town

Cape Town should be on your travel itinerary, as this country offers much to see. Cape Town is a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast, on a peninsula beneath the imposing Table Mountain. Slowly rotating cable cars climb to the mountain’s flat top, from which there are sweeping views of the city, the busy harbour and boats heading for Robben Island, the notorious prison that once held Nelson Mandela, which is now a living museum.

Trip to South Africa by Bus from Kenya

You will take three different buses to travel from Nairobi to South Africa.

  • Bus 1: Nairobi to Dar-es-Salaam. You can travel with Tahmeed Coach, Kidia One or Sr. Classic coaches.
  • Bus 2: Dar-es-Salaam to Lusaka,Zambia. The reliable bus company operating on the route is Sr. Classic Coaches. They have a daily schedule from Dar-es-Salaam to Lusaka.
  • Bus 3: Lusaka to Johannesburg. We have several bus companies operating on the route: Royal Africa Logistics, K&M Luxury, Unlimited Gift Limited and Juldan Motors. They don’t operate daily. Buses depart for South Africa from Zambia on Sundays and Tuesdays.
Cost Breakdown Kenya to South Africa by Bus
  • It will cost approximately Ksh 23,000 for one way without factoring in food, accommodation or any other expenses.
  • This trip takes approximately 5 days.

If you need to travel by car, you will need the following documents:

  1. Passport
  2. Yellow Fever Card
  3. Car Logbook (make several copies): Keep your original logbook safe. Don’t leave it at any border points.
  4. Driver’s License
  5. Comesa Insurance
  6. Covid Certificate 19
Best Places to Visit in Cape Town, South Africa
  1. Table Mountain: A must-visit landmark offering stunning views of the city. You can hike or take a cable car to the top.
  2. Robben Island: Known for its historical significance, it was a political prison during apartheid. Nelson Mandela was incarcerated here.
  3. Victoria & Alfred Waterfront: A vibrant area with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. You can also take boat trips from here.
  4. Cape of Good Hope: Visit the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula and enjoy breathtaking scenery. Don’t forget to see the Cape Point Lighthouse.
  5. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is a beautiful botanical garden located at the eastern foot of Table Mountain.
  6. Bo-Kaap: Famous for its colourful houses, this neighbourhood has a rich Cape Malay culture.
  7. District Six Museum: Learn about the history of forced removals during apartheid in this moving museum.
  8. Boulders Beach is home to a colony of African penguins. It’s a unique and charming beach experience.
  9. Groot Constantia is one of the oldest wine estates in South Africa. Take a wine tour and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
  10. Camps Bay Beach is popular for its white sand and vibrant atmosphere. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery.

6. Uganda

Kampala

Kampala is Uganda’s national and commercial capital, bordering Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. Hills covered with red-tile villas and trees surround an urban centre of contemporary skyscrapers. In Kampala, the main thing to do is interact with the locals, have some matoke, throw in the word balance here and there and enjoy the vibrant nightlife. Traffic is terrible, in case you ever thought Nairobi’s traffic was awful.

Documents Required to Travel to Uganda by Road

  • Passport: Without this, use your Kenyan ID to get a temporary passport from an e-citizen account valid for 1 year. The process takes less than 10 minutes, and there are cyber cafes at the border to sort you for Ksh 350
  • Yellow fever vaccination card: This will cost you Ksh 2,500, while at the border you could pay Ksh 1,500.
  • COVID certificate: You need to have it.

Best Places to Visit in Kampala, Uganda

  1. Kasubi Tombs: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kasubi Tombs is the burial site for the kings of Buganda. It provides insight into the history and cultural practices of the Buganda kingdom.
  2. Uganda Museum: This museum showcases Uganda’s cultural heritage, including ethnological and natural-historical exhibits. It’s a great place to learn about the country’s diverse cultures.
  3. Namirembe Cathedral: One of the oldest cathedrals in Uganda, Namirembe Cathedral is an iconic religious landmark with stunning architecture and panoramic views of Kampala.
  4. Gaddafi National Mosque: This mosque is one of the largest in Africa and offers breathtaking views of Kampala from its minaret. Visitors can also explore the mosque and its beautiful gardens.
  5. Kampala Serena Hotel: A luxury hotel with excellent facilities, including restaurants, bars, and a spa. Even if you’re not staying here, it’s a nice place to enjoy a meal or afternoon tea.
  6. Craft Markets: Visit local craft markets like Owino Market and Nakasero Market to experience the vibrant atmosphere and buy traditional crafts, fabrics, and souvenirs.
  7. Lake Victoria: While not directly in Kampala, Lake Victoria is nearby and offers opportunities for boat rides, fishing, and relaxation on the shores.
  8. Kabalagala Market: Known for its street food, Kabalagala Market is a great place to try local snacks and dishes.
  9. Acacia Mall: A modern shopping and entertainment complex with a variety of shops, restaurants, and a cinema.
  10. Makindye Country Club: A peaceful retreat with beautiful gardens, a swimming pool, and sports facilities, offering a relaxing break from the city.

Jinja

Jinja is a town in southern Uganda, on the shore of Lake Victoria. The source of the Nile, at Coronation Park, is marked by a garden and a monument honouring British explorer John Hanning Speke. Owen Falls Dam and Bujagali Dam both span the Nile. Farther north on the river, Itanda Falls is known for its white-water rapids. East of Jinja, on Lake Victoria, Samuka Island is home to birdlife, including little egrets.

Jinja is only two hours from Kampala. Hire a car or use public means to see that side of Kampala and double it with a couple of adrenaline activities like:

  • Water Rafting
  • Bungee jumping
  • Quad bike safari along the River Nile
Best Places to Visit in Jinja, Uganda
  1. Source of the Nile: This is one of the main attractions in Jinja. The source of the Nile is where the Nile River starts its journey northward to the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a picturesque spot, with boat trips available.
  2. Bujagali Falls: Bujagali Falls is a series of rapids on the Victoria Nile. It’s a popular spot for white-water rafting, kayaking, and boat cruises. The scenery around the falls is stunning.
  3. Itanda Falls: Another impressive waterfall in the area, Itanda Falls offers a quieter and less crowded experience compared to Bujagali. It’s a great place for nature lovers
  4. Jinja Town: Explore Jinja Town to experience local life, markets, and cultural activities. There are also various restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy local cuisine.
  5. Sezibwa Falls: While not directly in Jinja, Sezibwa Falls is not too far away. It’s a cultural and historical site with a beautiful waterfall, surrounded by lush greenery.
  6. Nile River Explorers Club: If you’re interested in adventure activities, the Nile River Explorers Club offers a range of options, including rafting, kayaking, and bungee jumping.
  7. Speke Memorial Monument: Visit the monument dedicated to John Hanning Speke, the first European to discover the source of the Nile. It provides historical insights into the exploration of the region.
  8. Mabira Forest: If you enjoy nature and wildlife, consider a trip to Mabira Forest. It’s a tropical rainforest with walking trails, birdwatching opportunities, and the chance to see various species of monkeys.
Cost Breakdown Kenya to Uganda by Bus

Travelling between Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda, by bus is pretty straightforward. One bus takes you all the way. No transfers are required. The trip takes 12–14 hours. Day and night buses are available. Tickets for this route can be purchased in cash at the ticket offices in Nairobi and Kampala. It may be possible to buy tickets online from some bus companies.

Bus companies include:

  • MASH Bus (Mash Poa)
  • Modern Coast
  • Easycoach
  • Dreamline

The average price for this trip is about $20–$25, depending on the company and class that you choose. The more expensive buses offer air conditioning. VIP seats are also available. These seats are larger and recline further, which makes sleeping a bit easier.

The air-conditioned version of the MASH bus is called MASH COOL. The non-AC bus is called MASH POA. Mash Bus offers this route twice every day. One leaves at 5:00 pm and one leaves at 6:30 pm. There are 3 ticket options for the 5 pm MASH POA bus:

  • VIP class costs Ksh 2,600
  • Business class costs Ksh 2,400
  • Regular economy class costs Ksh 2000

There are 2 ticket options for the 6:30 pm MASH COOL bus.

  • VIP class costs Ksh 3,500
  • Business class costs Ksh 2,500

It’s always a good idea to plan, compare prices, and look for travel deals to get the best value for your money.

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