Road Trip on a Budget: Kenyan Uses ksh1,000 Daily Budget to Visit 18 Countries

  • Haadi Abdikadir posing for a photo in Lusaka Zambia.
    Haadi Abdikadir posing for a photo in Lusaka Zambia.
  • Spending an average of just Ksh1,000 each day, a Kenyan traveller- Haadi Abdulkadir has covered 18 African countries in just over three years.

    Speaking to, the enthusiastic traveller detailed memorable tales from his journey across the African continent, including a challenging encounter that stemmed from the fact that he is a Kenyan Somali.

    It is said that life is a book, if you haven’t travelled then you’re still stuck on page one. Haadi is a firm believer, having dedicated his entire life to travel to as many countries as he can, on a budget.

    “If you haven’t travelled, you have really lived brother,” he passionately states. “There’s really no way to describe the entire experience and the magic behind it".

    Kasumbalesa border post in Zambia.
    Kasumbalesa border post in Zambia.

    Remarkably, Haadi once hitchhiked from Kenya to Zambia – at least 2,500 kilometres, in one of his most memorable trips ever that included some nights spent on those long-haul trucks.

    His story is that of a man completely in tune with his passion, a man whose experiences across the African continent have inspired other like-minded individuals, a man who has proved that taking a trip across borders is more affordable than most previously thought.

    This is his story.

    Can you name the countries you have travelled to?

    Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Angola Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Senegal, Gambia, Djibouti, and Eritrea. 

    Outside Africa, the countries I have visited are: Iran, Iraq ( Kurdistan Region), India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Brazil, Cuba, and Peru.

    On average, how much did you spend across the 18 African countries you’ve visited?

    I use less than $10 (approximately Ksh1007) a day. I always purpose get the best bargains when it comes to accommodation, and eat at local restaurants - which are quite affordable.

    Prior to travelling to certain countries, I look for locals who can host me from online platforms such as the couchsurfing app. Other times I stay in hostels for about $4 to $6 a night. 

    I think I have spent less than Ksh2 million during all my trips across Africa. I travel overland and use public transportation. 

    What was your most memorable trip and why? 

    My most memorable experience was spending a day with the Himba people who live in the Namibian desert. 

    It was a life-changing experience for me to be able to learn their culture and be welcomed in their home. Himba people are nomads and they always move from one place to another in search of water. 

    I really loved how they have successfully maintained their tradition and culture in this day and age. They have really unique clothing and hairstyles. 

    What has been your worst experience on your travels so far? 

    My adventures have been amazing and great more often than not. However, when it comes to incidents I’d like to forget, then our neighbours come to mind. 

    In Tanzania, I have been harassed and profiled so many times by the authorities. I have been there several times and I can say that every time I am travelling in Tanzania I have to undergo some sort of interrogation.

    The last time I was returning from the Democratic Republic of Congo and was on my way back home. I was the only foreigner who was ordered out of the bus (because I am Somali and I have a Kenyan passport) for an interrogation. 

    This is so common in Africa. Some of my friends from Ghana and Nigeria also go through the same problems. The funny thing is that I have come to the realization that it’s quite difficult or challenging to travel in Africa as an African. 

    Tell me about hitchhiking from Zambia to Kenya, what is hitchhiking and how does it work? 

    Hitchhiking is a mode of transportation where you ask strangers for a ride. Sometimes it’s free and sometimes you pay less than what you were supposed to if you had opted to go by bus.

    When hitchhiking your biggest weapon is your smile.

    Last time I hitchhiked was from Zambia to Kenya and I covered a distance of 2500 km with a budget of $100 (approximately Ksh10,000). I slept in a truck. 

    What makes hitchhiking fun is meeting total strangers who quickly end up as your close friends with who you get to share memories.

    What’s your favorite destination in Kenya and why? 

    Honestly, I haven't travelled across Kenya a lot. I have recently moved to Mombasa and I can say Mombasa is my favourite city in Kenya. 

    I love the weather, the ocean and the culture. Mombasa has so much to offer. One of the things I love about the coastal city is the street food and the history of the city. 

    What do you miss about Kenya and why? Do you come across Kenyans during your travels? 

    I always miss Kenya because it’s my country. I was born here and my close friends and family live here. I always make a point to make a trip back home after every two years, during which I get to spend time with my family and share stories on my travels.

    I always miss walking the streets of my hometown Garissa and eating Somali food. 

    I come across so many Kenyans during my travels. My most memorable one was in Dakar, Senegal when I met a Kenyan woman who was selling traditional Kenyan craft at the local market. 

    I saw the famous Kenyan bracelet and I was quickly happy to interact with her in Swahili. We have been in touch up to this very day.

    Every Africans country is unique from the other. I believe the best education is travel - when you travel everything changes. 

    You learn new things and appreciate the beauty that lies in our differences. You will always find the warmest hospitable people in the most unexpected places.

    A Traditional Himba Tribe Woman Of Namibia.
    A Traditional Himba Tribe Woman Of Namibia.
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