Tips for driving in Kenya

Tips for driving in Kenya

Kenya is a dream destination with an incredible mix of natural wonders. Aside from Kenya’s natural parks, wildlife safaris, snowy mountains, endless grasslands, and gorgeous sandy beaches, Kenya, also has a reputation for traffic being chaotic and roads being full of potholes.

Driving in Kenya

In this article, we shall take you through tips and what you must know when doing on a self-drive safari in Kenya.

  • Road conditions in Kenya
  • Driving precautions
  • In case of a breakdown
  • Mileage / fuel consumption
  • Traffic police in Kenya
  • Navigation
  • Travel distance
  • Border crossing
  1. How are the road conditions in Kenya?

All the primary roads in Nairobi and those going out are well tarmacked, and will bring you comfortably to your safari destination. There for these Road conditions are good by African standards. There are also untracked roads where you can expect potholes.

Below are some of the roads that we think are bad and you should try to avoid when you rent a car

  • Some access roads leading to the Maasai Mara Triangle are in rough state.
  • A109 Nairobi – Mombasa highway; there always seems to be one part under construction, especially between Tsavo, Voi and Mombasa. This highway is much used by slow trucks, greatly reducing your travel time. Be ware of fellow drivers practicing dangerous overtaking.  
  • The C107 south from Mariakani to Kinango: if you think think this road is a good alternative to bypass Mombassa, think again.
  • Nairobi to Samburu Road. This is very poor state and should be avoided.

2. What is the Highway code of driving in Kenya?

  • Drive at or below the speed limit (80 km/h on the highway, and 50 km/h in urban areas). 40km/h off-road is recommended.
  • Beware of unmarked speed bumps, which are plentiful in many parts of Kenya.
  • Drive defensively.
  • While in a sharp corner/ blind spot, please stay in your lane and reduced speed. It is very likely that someone will be overtaking in your lane and you will not have where to
  • Avoid driving after dark (6PM); the potholes are difficult to see and fellow drivers often uses blinding high beam lights.
  • Always carry some cash, water and a charged mobile phone to handle any situation.
  • Keep in mind that a flat tire is part of the adventure, as the road conditions are rough on tires.

3. What happens in case of a breakdown?

Sometimes issues may occur and this is something you should take into consideration in general with hiring vehicles in countries where the roads are rough, as in Kenya. We suggest leaving enough time in your itinerary for the unexpected.

In case of a flat tire, this should be repaired by yourself.

Should you have. Breakdown that would take 24 hours to fix, we shall provide you will a car replacement

3. What is the mileage / fuel consumption?

Exact mileage / fuel consumption depends on the terrain and your driving behaviour, but is around 9-10 km /L for the Toyota Hilux and 7-8 km/ L for the Landcruiser. Fuel costs between USD 1.10–1.30 per litre. Keep in mind, fuel is paid in cash in Kenyan Shillings.

4. How to deal with traffic police while driving in Kenya? 

If Kenyan police officers stop you by the side of the road, remain patient and friendly and show them your documents. Beware that some police officers ask for bribes so ask for an official receipt in order to avoid being taken advantage of

5. How do I navigate and map out my route driving in Kenya?

Offline navigation is easy if you install the free Maps.me on your smartphone and download the Kenya Maps, before you travel to Kenya.

6. How much distance can I cover in one day?

Although asphalt roads are in good condition, you generally don’t make more than 50-60km/hour, due to the many speed bumps, the need to reduce speed when you’re passing through villages, need for sanitary stops, and because you probably want to take a lot of pictures!. On gravel roads, you reach an average of 30 km/hour. 

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