Driving in Kenya as a Tourist

Self Driving Kenya

All foreign nationals are required to convert their international or country of origin driving licenses to a Kenyan one once they arrive in Kenya. If a foreigner has an international driving license they are allowed to use it in Kenya for a maximum of three months.

Road safety in Kenya

Most roads are well maintained and most traffic users know and obey to the driving rules quite well. However, always drive defensively and at limited speed, lock your doors and avoid driving after dark due to badly lit roads and livestock that can cross the road unexpectedly.

Do not leave valuables in your car when it’s unattended and always carry cash, water and a charged mobile phone with you. Most of the children in Africa go to school by themselves. You are advised to slow down in the local towns since these children may play or run around in the roads.

How about crime in Kenya?

People in Kenya are generally friendly and willing to assist you. It is not uncommon for people to ask for a small incentive to help you, however. Negotiation on price is always done upfront. Along the main tourist attractions, you can be surrounded by street vendors. A firm “no thank you” will mostly do the trick. However the locals are always happy to see tourists and will wave.

With regards to crimes such as theft, be street-smart, as you are traveling in a country where the population is considerably less wealthy than you are. Don’t leave valuables in the car, always try to park the car at a secure spot, leave your diamond rings at home and try not to leave your valuables up for grabs in your hotel room. However, hotel theft is not a big problem.

Inter-tribal conflicts in Kenya have diminished in recent years. Unfortunately, Kenya has, like many countries in the recent past, faced some terrorism attacks. These attacks were never specifically aimed at tourists. Although it is a very sad thing we can only hope that it never holds people back from doing what they really love: travelling. Tourism is usually one of the first economic sectors hit hardest as tourists shy away, whilst so many people depend on it for their livelihoods.

Some safety tips for tourists in Nairobi

If you are self driving Kenya most especially in Nairobi, lock your doors, avoid driving after dark, and don’t leave your car unattended with all your luggage in it. If you’re heading out to explore Nairobi town, it’s better to take a taxi instead of your rental car. It’s also more convenient for parking, etc. Some additional tips:

  • Do not walk on the streets after dark. Use taxi drivers to drop you inside a secure compound.
  • Beware of people hanging around when you are going to the bank or the ATM, and preferably use ATMs inside shopping malls.

Is Kenya Safe for Self Drive?

Kenya has had its own horrible past reputation. Because of its past, most Kenya safari travelers opted for structured safaris arranged from their home countries but today, the story is different. Kenya is one of the very few safest and most accessible destinations in Africa, the easiest place to explore and experience even as a solo traveler.

Whereas Kenya is considerably the safest destination compared to other African states, cases of crime in the main cities/towns usually occur. Also, it is important to crosscheck with travel advisories on the current state of the country.

Most often, visitors attract the unwanted attention from beggars or potential pickpockets and you should be keen enough while on the streets of Nairobi or other towns in Kenya.

How a self-drive tour in Kenya can be done

The most sought for means that most budget minded travelers often opt for is self-drive car hire in Kenya. We have the best 4×4 rental cars suitable for all road trips to Nairobi National Park, Masai Mara or Tsavo. Contact our team to book your dream ride and have the best of Kenya self-drive.

Where to go for a Kenyan self-drive tour

Kenya boasts of about 54 National Parks and Reserves and noted for its remarkable self-drive experiences. Some of the best places not to miss visiting for unforgettable self-drive experience in Kenya include the Masai Mara National Reserve most visited for wildebeest migration experience, big five game viewing etc.

Amboseli National Park, most popular for its large herds of elephants and mesmerizing views of the Kilimanjaro Mountains-snow-capped Mountain. Tsavo National Parks-Tsavo East, Tsavo West also offers the best of Kenya self-drive safari experience in Kenya.

Samburu National Reserve, a perfect semi-desert reserve set along the Northern side of Kenya. Ewaso Ngiro is the largest river in Kenya and it flows via the Samburu National Reserve. The protected area boasts of its significant wildlife species including cheetahs, elephants, leopards, lions, wild dog etc.

For unique experiences, don’t miss to visit Aberdares National Park in the western side of Mount Kenya. Chyulu Hills set between Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks, Kimana Sanctuary and others.

Be aware of the weather in Kenya

While on a self-drive safari in Kenya, weather conditions are key to take note of. In Kenya, the weather is largely temperate with Nairobi often experiencing cool weather conditions and temperature rise of 28 degrees Celsius from the months of January, February, and March during the day and at night 14 degrees Celsius especially from July to August.

However, Kenya is an all year round self-drive destination and except the wetter/rainy months of the year. That is April, May, June and October, November when roads can be muddy.

Travel insurance

If you plan to visit Kenya soon, it is wise to have travel insurance. This can help save you a lot from cases of sickness, theft while on your trip to Kenya.

Things to pack for your Kenya Self-Drive Safari

Pack appropriately for yourself drive safari in  Kenya starting with phone charger, bed sheets, insect repellents, safari shoes, cameras, extra batteries, daypack, first aid kit, valid driver’s license, sunglasses, bottled water and others.


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