While Southern African countries such as Botswana and South Africa have well-established self-drive safari, the Kenyan market is still relatively young with very stringent car rental requirements. Some car rental agreements for Kenya tour vans are so long and boring, you might fall asleep reading them. No kidding.
Some car rental companies use template agreements with so many errors that you would think the whole thing is a joke. Aside from the agreements, most van rentals have clauses that try to limit or push you to opt to a guided safari where the rental van comes with the driver – some additional fee.
10 Key Benefits of Self-drive safaris in Kenya:
1. Flexible Traveling: You can choose when you want to depart and return, as well as create your own timetable within the duration of your safari. This is particularly ideal for families who may have different interests or a tight budget to work with.
2. Cost Savings: Self-drive safaris are much more affordable than guided and chauffeured tours. You save money on fuel costs, driver salaries, accommodation and other related costs such as park fees.
3. Control Over your Itinerary: Guided tours typically follow a preset route that cannot be altered by the tour guides no matter how much you may want to extend or shorten your stay in a certain area. Self-drive safaris allow you to make changes as you go along, enabling you to explore different areas and plan the trip according to your budget and preferences.
4. Personalized Experiences: Guided tours offer a more ‘canned’ experience with limited choices of places to visit and activities to take part in. With self-drive safaris, however, you can choose to visit places and engage in activities that are of particular interest to you and your family or friends.
5. Unique Opportunities: When driving through the African bush, you get a chance to experience some unique opportunities that may not be available on guided tours such as getting to listen to the sounds of the wild or viewing wildlife in their natural habitat.
6. Choose Your Accommodation: Self-drive safaris allow you to choose your own accommodation from camping sites, lodges, cabins and other alternatives that fit within your budget and preferences.
7. Interact with Local Communities: When guided tours go through rural communities, travelers interact with local people as part of their tour package. Self-drive safaris provide a much more intimate experience as you get to interact directly with the people of the area and learn about their customs and culture.
8. More Freedom: Compared to guided tours, self-drive safaris offer more freedom, as you will not be tied to a strict itinerary.
9. Bring Your Own Food: You can bring your own food and drinks for the duration of the safari, reducing the risk of food poisoning from unfamiliar restaurants or resort dining facilities.
10. Sightsee On Your Own Terms: Self-drive safaris give you the freedom to explore at your own pace and make stops at different attractions that are of interest to you. This allows you to enjoy a more intimate experience, taking in the sights and sounds of Kenya on your own terms.
Benefits of self-drive campervans:
1. Budget-Friendly: Self-drive campervans are often more affordable than other forms of accommodation in Kenya, especially when traveling with a larger group or family and staying in private lodges.
2. Fits Two People: Self-drive campervans offer more space for the same amount of money and can sleep up to 2 people, making them ideal for couples on honeymoon.
3. Comfort: Self-drive campervans are equipped with all the amenities you need on your trip, such as a kitchenette, living area and shower facilities, so that you don’t have to worry about finding a place to stay.
4. Home On Wheels: Self-drive campervans provide the perfect accommodation for travelling around Kenya, as you can move from location to location whenever you please and enjoy the comfort of your own home on wheels.
5. Privacy: Self-drive campervans also offer more privacy if that is what you are after.
6. Save Money On Transportation: You can save money on transportation costs as you will not need to hire a car or taxi for the duration of your trip, allowing you to explore Kenya at your own pace without worrying about transport costs.
7. Flexibility: Self-drive campervans offer more flexibility than other forms of accommodation as you can easily pack up and move to a new location with ease.
8. Explore Unconventional Areas: With self-drive campervans, you have the opportunity to explore areas that are usually inaccessible to guided tours and other modes of transportation such as rough terrain, national parks and wildlife reserves.
9. Enjoy Outdoor Activities: With a self-drive campervan, you have the freedom to enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, hiking and more in remote areas that may be inaccessible otherwise.
10. Connect With Nature: Due to its unique design, a self-drive campervan offers the perfect opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the unique sights, sounds and smells of the African bush.
Self-drive vs guided safaris – Key differences:
1. Cost: Guided safaris tend to be more expensive than self-drive safaris as there are additional costs associated with hiring a guide, buying a tour package and other miscellaneous expenses. Self-drive safaris are usually much cheaper as you can buy the necessary gear (vehicle, fuel etc.) upfront and maintain control of your budget.
2. Type of Travel: Guided safaris provide a more structured experience with pre-planned itineraries and limited flexibility, whereas self-drive safaris allow you to explore the area in a much more relaxed manner, allowing you to make your own decisions about where to go and what activities you want to do.
3. Flexibility: Self-drive safaris offer much more flexibility as you are in control of your own journey, allowing you to make spontaneous stops or detours whenever you please. Guided safaris tend to stick to a much tighter schedule and may not have the same level of flexibility when it comes to making changes to the itinerary.
4. Convenience: Self-drive safaris provide the ultimate convenience for travellers as you don’t have to worry about organizing accommodation, transport or activities as everything is taken care of with your vehicle. Guided safaris require more planning and coordination as you have to book activities and accommodation in advance.
Advantages of renting a 4×4 Safari Van:
1. Safety: Safety is paramount when traveling in remote areas and a 4×4 Safari Van is designed to handle the terrain, providing peace of mind to those behind the wheel.
2. Comfort: Safari vans are roomy and comfortable with all the amenities you need while on the road such as air conditioning and heating, allowing you to enjoy your journey in comfort.
3. Versatility: Safari vans are designed for a variety of terrains, from dirt roads and sand dunes to mountainous regions and river crossings, allowing you to explore areas that are inaccessible to regular vehicles.
4. Self-Sufficiency: With a 4×4 Safari Van, you can easily carry all the supplies you need for a long journey including food, water and additional fuel. This allows you to remain self-sufficient on your travels and explore even the most remote of areas with ease.
Pros and cons of self-drive cars in a safari:
1. Cheaper overall cost as you are in control of your budget
2. Flexibility to explore areas that may not be accessible by guided tours
3. Privacy and comfort of having a home on wheels
4. A unique way to experience nature and the African bush
1. You will need to have a valid driving license
2. Difficulty in navigating unfamiliar terrain and roads
3. Limited access to amenities such as restaurants, banks and supermarkets
4. Lack of knowledge about the local area and points of interest
How Kambu self-drive Campers make safaris more affordable:
We lower accommodation costs using equipped Campervan rentals:
We understand the importance of having a comfortable and affordable holiday. This is why Kambu Campers offers fully equipped Campervans for hire at an affordable price. The campervans are fitted with all the amenities you would need on your self-drive safari, including a kitchen area, sleeping space and other fittings.
Instead of paying for glamping costs ranging from $200 to $800 per night, all you need to pay is a max of maybe $50 per night and as low as $50 for food. You can also opt to make your own food which will even be cheaper as the van comes with a cooker and utensils.
With bedding in the van, you won’t need to buy or rent camping gear such as tents, sleeping bags, etc. This way you can save money while still enjoying the freedom of seeing the sights and sounds of Africa at your own pace.
Here is a full guide with details on our rental self-drive 4WD safari vehicles (not converted into campervans) and another guide for self-drive 4WD campervans
We provide reliable and affordable van rentals:
At Kambu Campers, we understand that self-drive safaris in Kenya come with a few challenges such as expensive rental fees and unreliable vehicles. We strive to provide affordable and reliable Campervans, which come with 24/7 roadside assistance in case anything goes wrong. Our vans are well-maintained, so you can be sure that they will run smoothly throughout your holiday.
Customized support to identify affordable campsites:
We have built a great resource with information on some of the best campsites in Kenya. With this information, you can easily identify which sites are suitable for your self-drive safari. Additionally, we have staff members who can give you advice and support throughout your holiday so that you can make the most out of your trip.