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3 Dream Road Trips Every Backpacker Should Sample

Sani Pass

Descending the steep Sani Pass from Lesotho to South Africa (photo: David Lee)

Every seasoned backpacker or even a casual traveler will have a couple of places they like to visit – a bucket list of sorts.

Having gone through hundreds of glossy travel magazines and enjoying hours of travel shows, it is only natural that everyone has formed a mental image of what their vacation should look like.

If once-in-a-while travelers have a list of places to visit on their mind, seasoned backpackers will most certainly have their dream road trips planned.

And, if you were to ask some of the regulars which road trip they would like to take, then you will most definitely hear these three places.

1. Road Trip through Africa

One of the most popular road trip destinations is Africa and not without good reason.

Most backpackers start their journey across Africa from Tunisia. From Tunisia, head towards Egypt – all the while exploring the wonders of Luxor and enjoying the scenic beauty of the River Nile.

Drive along the beautiful river; crisscross the vast expanse of the desert and finally reach the border to Ethiopia.

On the way, you will be able to visit the Langano Lake, make acquaintance with native African tribes, explore the coast, see Mount Kilimanjaro up close and personal and see some of the animals that call the Masai Mara National Park their home – the perfect place for an African safari.

Or simply drive from Johannesburg to Lesotho along the Sani Pass and the Tsitsikamma forest to reach Cape Town – a true South African tour.

Africa is a continent that offers so much to its guests – from spellbinding forests to arid deserts, native tribes to great wildlife, accommodation facilities to some amazing food – everything one could ask for.

Mt. Doom

Mt. Doom (photo: David Lee)

2. New Zealand's North Island

New Zealand is a favorite destination for many travelers. Its ethereal locations, serene landscapes, unblemished villages and absolutely stunning scenery are something that is magical to look at and experience.

One of the most popular road trip routes on New Zealand's North Island is from Auckland to Wellington, where you can rent a campervan like this from either end and set off exploring.

This route spans the entire length of North Island making it the perfect way to check out the spectacular landscape of the place.

This route will follow the steps of the magical world of “Lord of the Rings” and turn the fantasy into reality.

A road trip on this route will take you across the world of Hobbiton and Bree along with Huapai, Lake Tuapo, Kaimananwa Forest Park, Bodega and Karori Sanctuary.

In addition to these fascinating places, you can also look at the rugged landscape of New Zealand that manages to draw people to its shores – the volcanic foot prints, rainforests, lakes, rolling hillside and the stunning villages.

Route 66 mural in Oklahoma (photo: Kool Cats Photography)

Route 66 mural in Oklahoma (photo: Kool Cats Photography)

3. Legendary Route 66

This list would be meaningless without the mention of the legendary Highway Route 66 in California. Crystal clear blue skies, warm sunshine, landmarks, coasts, deserts and lots of sea, sand and surfing to catch up with – that is the California road trip for you.

Go from east to west – start your journey from the Anza – Borrego desert state park and finish off at Santa Monica Beach or drive off from the ocean front city of Santa Monica and put a final break at the desert park.

Either way, don’t forget to catch Universal Studios Hollywood, the museums in Pasadena, the art collection at the Huntington Library, and take a detour towards San Gabriel and San Bernardino to catch your breath in a small town where artifacts of the original Route 66 migration are on display.

You can also visit the Mojave National Park before cooling off at the Palm Springs.


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Saturday 20th of June 2015

Road trips are the best. You should add a road trip through the UK to the list. It's a great way to see many castles and history.


Friday 5th of June 2015

Missing from the list: The Eurasian road trip! Many do the Mongol Rally, though we chose to do it slower and end our journey in Kazakhstan instead of Mongolia. Definitely an amazing four-month journey that beats the pants off our current USA road trip. So fun we just might do it again :)


Thursday 4th of June 2015

A road trip through Africa would have to be one awesome adventure. Such an interesting and diverse place.

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