One of the key aspects of traveling in Africa is knowing exactly what to expect when navigating the continent’s roads. Although African roads are home to some of the world’s most spectacular scenery and landmarks, they can also be quite hazardous. In fact, the roads in some parts of Africa have become notorious for their danger, with travelers being urged to avoid them unless it is absolutely necessary.
East London–Umtata in South Africa
Inattentive drivers, broken-down vehicles, and stray animals are the main contributors to numerous accidents. The N2 route is more than 1250 miles (around 2,000 km) long and runs along the coast of South Africa from Cape Town to Ermelo, but the 150 miles (230 km) section between Umtata and East London is the most treacherous.
The road passes through mountainous areas and has many barriers and sharp turns, and local motorists often ignore the rules of the road. Fatal accidents happen here so frequently that the name “Road to Hell” has stuck to the route.
Lagos–Ibadan in Nigeria
This road has long been one of the busiest in the country. A huge flow of cars, whose owners regularly neglect traffic rules, made this route one of the most dangerous in the country.
Local experts say that due to the prolonged construction work, blockages have formed. It made some areas even more dangerous, especially when it comes to trucks and other heavy vehicles. Though even cheap motorcycles might be more effective and safer. In Nigeria, motorists don’t always pay attention to the technical condition of their vehicles and often drive recklessly. Heavy trucks roll over on poorly lit roads, causing serious accidents. Potholes in the pavement force drivers to change directions abruptly, pulling onto roadsides where other cars and people might be.
Beitbridge–Harare in Zimbabwe
According to new WHO data, Zimbabwe has the highest road accident fatality rate in South Africa. Just imagine: five people die on the roads every day, and accidents occur every 15 minutes! Road traffic accidents on Zimbabwe’s highways kill 665 people every year. In recent years, very few new highways have been built in the country, while the number of cars has grown, and as a result, Zimbabwe’s highways have become even more crowded and lethal.
The most murderous is the Beitbridge–Harare road, or A4. The path is approximately 370 miles (600 km) of difficult driving conditions combined with extremely high temperatures. It’s also the busiest highway in Zimbabwe. The traffic here is just crazy. The road doesn’t accommodate everyone, which is why drivers constantly go to the side of the road and the oncoming lane. There are no warning signs during the repair of the roadway, livestock grazes nearby, and pedestrians run straight onto the roadway. No wonder the death rates here are so high.
Nairobi–Nakuru in Kenya
This 100-mile (159-kilometer) long road connects the capital of Kenya with the city of Nakuru. Not so long ago, it was repaired. However, the number of fatal accidents has risen as drivers have begun to regard the road as a racetrack. So, speeding has become a serious problem there.
Accidents often occur on this highway due to drunk driving, improper overtaking, and pedestrians crossing the road in the wrong place. The number of fatal accidents is in the hundreds, and less serious accidents aren’t at all countable. The lack of barriers, the deplorable state of the vehicles themselves, and poor driving technique only make the situation worse.
Kampala–Masaka in Uganda
The Kampala–Masaka road provides access from the coast of Kenya through Uganda to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi. Despite the importance of the route for regional transport and tourism, people are increasingly afraid to travel along it. Desperate drivers even blame unclean forces for endless accidents and perform rituals to exorcize evil spirits. However, the vast majority of accidents occur due to improper driving.
Buses overturn and catch fire, trucks fly into the oncoming lane, provoking mass collisions, loaded trucks fall into a ditch—and all through the fault of the drivers. Low fines for traffic violations and year-long prosecutions for serious accidents make the situation only worse. Instead of putting things in order, officials are actively stealing money. Over the past seven years, more than $1 billion has been misappropriated as a result of corrupt road construction deals!
These are some of the most dangerous roads in all of Africa. All travelers are advised to do their research before traveling the roads of Africa, ensuring that the routes chosen are ones with less risk to both the traveler and their vehicle. Taking the time to stay informed and adhere to safety rules and other recommendations are the key to success when traveling Africa’s roads and can protect a driver from unsettling and unexpected situations.