12 African Cities With The Worst Traffic

12 African Cities With The Worst Traffic

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For Africa’s urban dwellers, traffic is part of life in the big city.

Urbanization rates reached 40 percent in Africa in 2010, and are projected to reach 60 percent in 2050, according to U.N. Habitat, the U.N. agency for human settlements, VOANews reported.

Many African cities were poorly planned, says urban planner Amanda Ngabirano, of Kampala, Uganda.

As African cities began to grow, they didn’t look to Europe’s transit-friendly street plans, but to America’s suburban, car-friendly sprawl, said Sunny Kodukula, global coordinator for EcoMobility.

That could take decades to undo. Meanwhile, public transport needs a makeover in African cities where prosperity, for many, means getting your own car.

“Public transport does not have the image it should have for people to shift from cars to public transport,” Kodukula told VOA. “People in African cities think public transport is poor, or not attractive enough for them to shift.”

Los Angeles is notorious for horrible traffic. You can find thousands of images of its freeways crammed with headlights that go on for miles. In New York, you only get in a car if you have to. Walking is usually faster than sitting on the roads. Africa’s traffic troubles rival those of the famous U.S. Route 101 in California.

Here are 12 African cities with the worst traffic.

Source: AllAfrica.com, VOANews


Lusaka, Zambia

A reported 300 cars are imported into Zambia every day, and it appears most of them are headed for Lusaka. Accidents in the city leave about 50,000 people permanently injured each year according to Zambiawatchdog.com.

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Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

A reported 1,010,732 cars were registered in Tanzania between 2003 and 2011, and around 70 percent of them were in Dar es Salaam. It can take a resident two hours to travel 10 or 15 kilometers during rush hour, according to a video on Bbc.com. Wealthier residents have resorted to taking helicopters to get around.


Cairo, Egypt

Cairo has a tremendous pollution problem because of the number of cars that idling on the roads every day. Cairo has a 320.44 index score in Numbeo’s 2015 Traffic Index says Businesstech.co.za. The index takes into account time spent in traffic, “Due to job commute, estimation of time consumption dissatisfaction, CO2 consumption…and overall inefficiencies in the traffic system.”

Nairobi traffic jam Photo: Huffinhtonpost.com
Nairobi traffic jam
Photo: Huffinhtonpost.com

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi has a population of over 3 million, but its roads see over 7 million commuters from outside villages. Nairobi gets an index score of 317.24, says Businesstech.co.za.


Gaborone, Botswana

During rush-hour traffic in Gaborone, driving less than seven miles can take two hours. Much of the problem can be blamed on urban sprawl which leads to “high car dependence,” according to Researchgate.net.


Kampala, Uganda

Uganda’s traffic problem got so bad that the city added low-cost buses, but they’ve only made matters worse. Many people end up getting off their motorcycles and walking to work because it’s faster than sitting in the traffic, reports Independent.co.ug.

Johannesburg worldpropertychannel.com

Johannesburg, South Africa

Considering that over 80 percent of this city’s 3 million-plus people commute to work in cars, the streets are pretty jammed. Residents of Joburg spend an average of 40 minutes on their commute to work, says Businesstech.co.za.


Khartoum, Sudan

Khartoum has recently seen an economic boom that has created more jobs, but also more traffic. Buses are affected, too, with many residents complaining it takes them hours to get home by public transit, according to Sudanvisiondaily.com.

Air China To Boost South African Tourism
Photo: travelzoo.com

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is the most congested city in South Africa. The city ranks 55th globally for worst traffic says Wheels24.co.za. Travel time increases by 29 percent during heavy traffic.


Pretoria, South Africa

Pretoria gets a ranking of 198.55 on the Numbeo 2015 Traffic Index. The city’s commuters can see a 22 percent increase in commute time during traffic according to Wheels.co.za.

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Lagos, Nigeria traffic. Getty

Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria has a population of 21 million people. If the city reaches 25 million, it will be the third largest city in the world according to Worldpopulation.com.


Durban, South Africa

Durban receives ranks No. 98 for worst traffic globally based on reports on Businesstech.co.za. Commute times increase by 18 percent during traffic in the city says Wheels24.co.za.