One of the best ways to design an extraordinary itinerary for a Kenyan safari is to hire a safari vehicle that you can drive yourself. From my review of self-drive vehicles available in the Kenyan transport industry for the tourism sector, it appears that very few tourist operators allow their clients to drive vehicles.
What is a self-drive vehicle?
Self-drive vehicles are basically those that allow people to drive or navigate a vehicle by themselves. In Kenya, the majority of self-drive vehicles are 4x4s and most tour operators prefer these due to their ruggedness and off-road capabilities.
How self-drive vehicle hires work:
- When renting a self-drive vehicle in Kenya, the process usually begins with the customer selecting the type of vehicle you want to hire. In the Kenyan market, there are a few companies offering self-drive options with most providing guided tours.
- Once you decide on the vehicle, you’ll need to make inquiries about its availability and to get a custom quote, you’ll be required to fill out your personal details such as your age, experience driving off-road and any other information that may be pertinent.
- Make payment for per-day-use and a non-refundable deposit of $500. There are two kinds of fees for self-drive: daily fee and deposit fee. The $500 deposit is to safeguard the vehicle against any damages.
- You’ll then be required to sign a rental agreement, which will include details about the terms of service and liability.
- Once you have signed the contract, you may be required to provide proof of driver’s license, passport or any other document that is deemed necessary by your provider. You’ll then be given the keys to your vehicle and off you go on your self-drive journey in Kenya.
The safety of the vehicle:
Most companies providing self-drive vehicles also provide basic instructions on how to drive the vehicle safely. They usually also provide a personal guide for each trip which is mandatory for all tourists renting out their services. The guide will also be responsible for ensuring that the vehicle is in good condition before and after each use.
Manual vs Automatic transmission in 4x4s:
When selecting a self-drive vehicle, one of the most important factors to consider is whether it is a manual or automatic transmission. Automatic 4x4s are usually more expensive than manual ones but offer greater convenience, especially for those who are not used to driving in off-road conditions.
Manual 4x4s do require some additional skill and knowledge to operate but they offer greater control and provide a better experience when navigating rough terrain.
Most vehicles in Kenya do not have cruise control as they do in the US and other countries and so it is important to be aware of this while driving.
List of Features/specs of self-drive vehicles hired out for Safaris:
- 4×4 Drive: All self-drive vehicles have four-wheel drive capabilities which allow them to navigate rough and rocky terrains, as well as climb steep slopes with ease.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: The fuel tank capacity of the self-drive safari vehicles ranges from 40 to 70 litres, depending on the make and model.
- Safety Features: All self-drive safari vehicles have ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System), ESP (Electronic Stability Programme), and ASR (Acceleration Slip Regulation).
- Suspension: The suspension of self-drive safari vehicles is adjustable to cope with different terrain conditions.
Landcruiser with pop-up roof:
One of our most popular self-drive safari vehicles in Kenya is the Landcruiser and we have 2. It has a maximum seating capacity of 5 and can easily traverse off-road terrain. Our Landcruisers come with a long-range tank that can hold 1050 liters, With this much power, you’ll be able to drive for kilometers on end without having to worry about running out of gas. Not only that, but its 4×4 diesel engine is perfect for Kenyan roads because it can handle any terrain or obstacle.
Our campervans are the perfect choice for those who want to experience a unique safari tour. They come with all the amenities and features that you need to make your journey comfortable. The campervan has a maximum seating capacity of 4, is equipped with solar power, and comes with a kitchenette that includes a refrigerator, microwave, gas burner, and sink.
List of 25 Executive SUVs Car Models to Rent in Nairobi
1. Ford Escape
2. Honda CR-V
3. Toyota RAV4
4. Nissan Rogue
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee
6. Hyundai Tucson
7. Kia Sportage
8. Chevrolet Equinox
9. Mazda CX-5
10. Subaru Forester
11. Ford Explorer
12. Dodge Durango
13. Volkswagen Atlas
14. Audi Q5
15. Honda Pilot
16. Hyundai Santa Fe
17. Jeep Wrangler
18. Nissan Pathfinder
19. GMC Acadia
20. Toyota 4Runner
21. Lexus RX 350L
22. BMW X3
23. Land Rover Discovery Sport
24. Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
25. Acura RDX
Kambu Campers currently only has two models available for you to rent, Ford Escape and Toyota Rav4.
Where to rent SUVs in Kenya?
After perusing the internet for the finest self-drive SUV, safari van, and executive rental service providers, I found numerous companies with multiple locations in Nairobi that also have a website to make bookings. Many of them are based in the airport but a good number offer customers the option of picking up their vehicles in different Nairobi locations. However, there appears to be no company offering an app as well – something which would seem like a great convenience!
My take on the current car rental market is that they are costly and lack diversity in their fleet options. Additionally, many of these companies fall short when it comes to providing a convenient booking process with an emphasis on customer satisfaction. Thankfully a few companies such as Bamm Tours and Kambu Campers offers mini SUVs such as Toyota Rav4, Nissan X trail, Toyota Vanguard, Toyota Harrier, and Mazda cX5 – I really appreciate having this abundance of SUV choices at my fingertips! Not only can I select from executive or 4×4 vehicles but also have the assurance that the prices will be low without comprising quality service.
I also found a few rental companies that offer outdated models of SUVs from as far back as the 90s. Most are in poor condition and seem unlikely to provide reliable transportation during your travels.
What’s the cost of self-drive vehicles per day?
The cost of self-drive vehicles varies depending on the make and model, as well as the level of service provided. The average daily rate for a self-drive safari vehicle ranges from $100 to $300 per day. This rate includes insurance, maintenance and breakdown services. Our self-drive campervans with a lot of fitted utilities go for as high as $350 during peak season and $250 during the low season.
Can American Drivers Drive on Kenyan Roads with US License?
Yes, American drivers can drive on Kenyan roads with a valid US license. However, it is important to note that international driver’s licenses are not required in Kenya and the local authorities may ask for additional proof of identity such as your passport if you are pulled over at any point. For those visiting for an extended period of time, an international driver’s license is advisable.
Please reach out with any questions about driving on Kenyan roads as a foreigner.
Which is the best self-drive car to hire?
The answer to this question really depends on how or what you intend to use the car for. If you want to hire a vehicle for trips within cities such as Nairobi, getting a compact car is the best option.
Models such as Toyota Axio are known for being fuel efficient and smaller ones such as Belta have even smaller engine capacity and occupy such a small place that you’ll find it easy to find parking for it in a crowded place such as the city center. You can expect a mileage of 14.53 km/liter which means you can travel for about 16.4 km before the tank runs dry. Economy cars such as Premio, Axio, Demio, and others can cost 2,000 to Kes. 4,000 per day to rent as per Vismart Motors here.
For long road trips and safaris, you can opt for larger vehicles such as a 4×4 SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) or an MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle). Vehicles such as Toyota Prado, Jeep, Land Cruiser, and Land Rovers are ideal for this kind of trip. They come with a larger engine capacity and such vehicles can easily traverse through rough terrains without any problem. Not to mention, they have great ground clearance which is necessary for certain regions such as Masai Mara where the roads may be poorly maintained or even nonexistent. If you are traveling as a team of more than 2, consider getting the large-size SUV model mentioned above or if you want a more compact SUV that’s bigger than the Premio sedan above, then a RAV4 is a great option.
As self-drive car hires, these 4WD SUVs are my favorite for game drives and love that you get a really good view of the wild animals and the landscape in general with their pop-up roofs. Having gone on a 3-week trip on a campervan in a foreign country, I can confidently vouch for SUV self-drive vehicles. The only downside with these models is mileage. SUV models such as Land Cruiser (2009 model), for example, have a high fuel consumption rate of 10.5 km/liter and if you are not careful, it can significantly increase your fuel costs for the trip.
Many tour operators rent their Land Cruisers from rates as low as $150 per day to $300 per day. Vismart here charges Kes. 15,000 for a luxury Prado SUV model
If you have a big family or are planning on taking an adventurous road trip together as a group, hiring a long-base van is your best bet. MPV minivans and station wagons also provide fantastic car rental options for families vacationing in Kenya due to their large space – plenty of room for both passengers and luggage alike! In addition, they offer the best fuel mileage – better than SUVs at least. Our Toyota HiAce campervans boast incredible fuel efficiency, ranging from 8 to 12.6L/100km – making them perfect for the budget-minded traveler! Comparing this mileage to SUVs and compact self-drive car models, this translates to an approximate mileage of 17.6 to 13.3 km/liter. As you can see, it can even do better than the compact sedan model, Toyota Premio discussed above.
Expect to pay upwards of $100 to $200 for safari vans such as Toyota Hiace and Nissans here. Kambu campers currently rent a few of these cars.
If you want a luxury self-drive car hire, then getting a luxury sedan or an SUV is your best option. Models such as Mercedes-Benz S Class, BMW X5, and Range Rover are some of the vehicles you can hire for really great self-drive experiences in Kenya. These cars come with extra features and offer not just comfort but also luxurious comforts including leather seats, modern infotainment systems, and more. However, some of them come with poor fuel efficiency. The S class model consumes 13 mpg to 21 mpg which translates to 5.6 km/liter to 8.8 km/liter, which is not too great considering the size of the car and its features. We currently do not have luxury self-drive cars but can check on this site.
The takeaway here is that when it comes to self-drive car hires, consider your needs carefully before making a decision. If you are looking for fuel efficiency as well as comfort and space then you should opt for either a compact sedan such as the Toyota Premio or an MPV minivan. For luxury SUVs and sedans are your best bet but be aware of their poor fuel efficiency.
You can weigh between these car models, reading reviews on their comfort levels as well as fuel efficiency, and decide which one is right for you. Ultimately, you should pick the model that suits your needs the best – both in terms of budget and practicality.
Why Hire a Self-Drive Vehicle with Kambu Campers?
Reliable and well-maintained vehicles:
All vehicles provided by Kambu Campers are kept in excellent condition. They are regularly serviced and well maintained to ensure a safe and reliable self-driving experience.
Comprehensive insurance coverage:
All vehicles rented with us come with comprehensive insurance coverage, so you can rest assured that any damages incurred while using the vehicle will be covered by our policy.
A personal guide:
For those who are new to self-driving in Kenya, we provide a personal guide with each vehicle to help you navigate the roads and provide information on the best places to visit. The guide is also there to ensure that the vehicle is checked before and after each rental period.
24/7 roadside assistance:
In the event of any breakdowns or problems with the vehicle, our 24/7 roadside assistance is available to provide help whenever you need it.
Car replacement in case of breakdowns:
If your vehicle is unable to be repaired, we will provide you with a replacement car at no extra cost within 12 hours.
Superior communication systems:
Our vehicles come with superior communication systems that allow you to stay connected while on the road. You can easily keep in touch with family and friends back home, as well as find information about local attractions and points of interest.
Requirements for Self-drive car Hire:
To hire a self-drive car with Kambu Campers, you must be over the age of 21 and have a valid driver’s license. You will also need to provide proof of identity and address in order to complete the rental process. We also require a refundable deposit and a credit card for any additional charges that may be incurred during the rental period.
Some other companies have requirements such as;
- Driver must have a license that’s at least 2 years old.
- Driver must be over 25 years old or have an age restriction waiver.
- Credit card details to secure the rental agreement and payment of insurance excess if required.
- A security deposit is also needed to cover any unforeseen damages which will be refunded upon the return of the vehicle.
- Additional documents may be requested depending on the supplier.
- Police clearance certificate.
Booking our self-drive vehicles:
To book one of our self-drive vehicles, please visit our website www.KambuCampers.com and complete the online reservation form. Please provide all relevant information such as your name, contact details, pick-up/drop-off location, dates and vehicle type. We will then be in touch with you to confirm the booking and arrange payment.
Why are self-drive vehicle hires very few in Kenya?
I asked one veteran tour operator in Kenya and he pointed out that various cases of car-parts theft and general mistrust in strangers taking a $50k+ asset all the way to some remote parts of the country have all made it difficult for tourists to rent self-drive vehicles.
When we started Kambu Campers, our priority was to make safaris affordable and camping is essential to that in reducing accommodation cost. With self-drive, we wanted to make sure that our clients are able to explore Kenya and its wildlife in an economical way without compromising on safety.
To ensure this, we made sure that our vehicles have the necessary features such as 4WD, GPS tracking devices and satellite communication. In order to keep costs down, all of our vehicles have combined tracking and communication system. It allows us to monitor the vehicle during its journey and also offers 24-hour customer service.
Pros and Cons of Self Drive vehicles over guided-drive vehicles:
The main advantage of self-drive vehicles is that it gives people the freedom to choose their own route and explore at their own pace. This can be particularly useful for those who are looking for a more adventurous experience. Additionally, the cost of renting a self-drive vehicle is usually lower than hiring a guided vehicle, which makes it more affordable for those on a budget.
However, self-drive vehicles also come with their own set of risks. They can be more difficult to navigate and require more experience to handle. In addition, the lack of a guide can lead to people getting lost in unfamiliar areas or missing out on amazing views or wildlife opportunities.
In Kenya, cars are driven on the left side of the road and it can be confusing for those who are used to driving on the right. Additionally, some roads may not be well maintained or easily accessible, which can make self-driving even more difficult. If you are American and used to driving in highways and freeways on the right side of the road, you may benefit from a brief guide regarding driving on the left side of the r, you will find it difficult to drive in the sparsely populated Kenyan roads.
Overall, self-drive vehicles can be a great option for those looking for an affordable yet adventurous safari in Kenya. However, much caution should be taken if you are inexperienced in driving on left side of road, or navigating off-road, it might be best to hire a guided vehicle instead of attempting to drive yourself.
Cost of Self-Drive Vehicles in Kenya:
At Kambu Campers, we offer a variety of self-drive vehicles that range in price from $100 to over $1,000 per day. The cost will depend on the type and size of vehicle you choose as well as the length of your trip.
For example, a 4×4 SUV can cost around $150 per day, while a camper van will typically cost between $250 and $300. Additionally, you may need to pay for extras such as camping gear or animal-viewing passes.
You will love the add-ons we offer our clients:
Full insurance coverage:
No need for you to pay extra for insurance when you rent with Kambu Campers. We provide full coverage on all our vehicles.
24/7 customer support:
We understand that things don’t always go as planned and offer 24/7 customer service to ensure your trip is a success no matter what.
We offer competitive rental rates and provide additional discounts for long-term rentals.
Wide selection of vehicles:
Kambu Campers and its partners have a wide selection of SUVs, from economy to luxury models. We also have a range of 4x4s that are ideal if you’re going off-road or on a safari trip.
Modern and well-maintained vehicles:
We take pride in providing our customers with modern and well-maintained vehicles. All of our cars are regularly tested for quality, safety, and reliability.
Convenient Booking Process:
Booking a vehicle with Kambu Campers is easy. You can book online or over the phone and our customer service team will be there to help you out every step of the way.
Why Choose Self-Drive Kenya 4×4 Vehicles – 7 Reasons:
1. Easy access to remote areas: With a 4×4 vehicle, you can easily access roads and trails that are inaccessible by normal cars. This will allow you to explore more of the beautiful landscape and wildlife of Kenya without having to worry about getting stuck in mud or sand.
2. freedom to explore: When you hire a self-drive vehicle, you are in complete control of the route and destinations you choose to visit. This means that you can go wherever your heart desires without having to worry about set schedules or predetermined routes.
3. Greater safety: Self-driving vehicles come with a variety of safety features such as 4WD, GPS tracking devices and satellite communication. This ensures that you are always safe and can get help in case of an emergency.
4. Cost-effective: Self-drive vehicles are much more cost-effective than guided tours as they require no additional staff or guide to accompany you.
5. More comfortable: With a self-drive vehicle, you will have the luxury of traveling in a more comfortable and spacious vehicle. This is perfect for those who want to spend extended periods of time on the road.
6. Great way to meet locals: Driving your own vehicle gives you the chance to interact with local people more easily as they will be able to see you driving by and approach you if they wish.
7. Flexible itinerary: With a self-drive vehicle, you have complete flexibility over when and where to go. You can easily change your plans as you go along and make the most of your safari experience.
Is it safe to self-drive in Kenya?
We’ve explored all of Kenya, and we can assure you that it is a safe country for self-drive on Kenyan roads. We would never want to do business in a place where it’s not sensible to go on a self-drive safari. Unless you have issues adjusting from right-hand-drive to left-hand-drive, you will most certainly be able to safely travel on the roads of Kenya with a self-drive 4×4.
Our Car Rental Locations
Though relatively new, Kambu Campers has worked to establish a network of service centers in different towns spread across 17 countries. We are growing and look forward to becoming the best car hire service provider in Nairobi and other cities including Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kakamega, and more.
We also welcome you to rent in our satellite offices including those of our partners in Diani, Masai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru, Narumoru, Nyeri, Malindi, Eldoret and entire Kenya as a country.
At Kambu Campers, we offer a wide range of 4×4 vehicles for hire in Kenya. We provide 24/7 support and are committed to ensuring you have the most unforgettable safari experience while staying safe and comfortable. So, if you’re looking for an adventure of a lifetime, get in touch with us today!
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
What’s a typical self-drive itinerary in Kenya?
A typical self-drive itinerary in Kenya would include exploring wildlife and national parks, visiting beaches and coastal towns, trekking through hills and mountains, and visiting cultural sites such as museums, temples and archaeological sites.
What are the legal requirements for self-driving in Kenya?
All drivers are required to have a valid driver’s license, and it is recommended that you also have an international driver’s license. If you don’t have an international license, you can still drive. You will also need to obtain third-party liability insurance and any additional insurance required by the rental company or country law.
What type of vehicle do I need for a self-drive safari?
For a self-drive safari, we recommend a 4×4 vehicle such as an SUV or camper van. This type of vehicle is ideal for navigating rough terrain and gives you the flexibility to visit more remote areas.
Are there any additional costs associated with self-driving?
In addition to the rental cost, you may need to pay for extra items such as fuel if the fuel cost is not included in the pricing. There may also be other fees such as tools, parking fees, park entry fees, and more.
What is the minimum age for renting a vehicle?
Most agencies require drivers to be 23 to 25 years old with some making specific requirements that you must have driven for at least 2 years. Some companies may also require a higher age limit. Be sure to check the requirements of the rental company before booking. Our minimum age for booking our vehicles is 25 and do not really have a set limit.
Do I need to have any special skills for self-driving?
No special skills are required for self-driving. However, it is important that you know how to drive safely, are aware of the local driving laws and regulations, and know how to operate the vehicle you have rented. It is also important that you respect the environment in which you are driving.
Do I need a special license?
No, a special license is not required for self-driving in Kenya but an international or valid Kenyan driver’s license is required.
Do you provide GPS systems?
Yes, we can provide you with a GPS system that will help you to navigate your way through the country safely and easily. We also offer maps and other tools to help make your journey easier.
Are there any restrictions on where I can go?
We do not place restrictions on where you drive Kambu Campervans and our non-converted vans. Aside from restricted areas in the park, we give you the freedom to explore where you wish with no limit on mileage or location as long as you do not leave the country. However, it is important to note that some areas may require a permit or special permission from authorities and/or tour operators. It is important to check with the relevant authorities before traveling to any such areas.
What are some of the clauses in self-drive car hire agreement?
The clauses in a self-drive car hire agreement may vary depending on the rental company but typically include clauses such as:
• The vehicle must not be used for any illegal activity or purpose.
• The driver must abide by the rules and regulations of the jurisdiction in which he/she is driving.
• The driver must maintain and keep the vehicle in a clean, safe condition at all times.
• The driver must return the vehicle to the rental company in the same condition as it was when received, subject to ordinary wear and tear.
• The driver is liable for any damage caused by negligence, accidents or misuse of the vehicle.
• The driver is liable for any traffic or parking fines incurred during the rental period.
• The driver is responsible for ensuring that all passengers wear seatbelts at all times.
• Animals are not permitted in the vehicle unless otherwise stated.
• Smoking is not allowed in the vehicle at any time.
Can I rent a self-drive vehicle to use in Kenya and Tanzania?
Unfortunately, the cost of paying to move a Kenyan or Tanzanian self-drive vehicle across the border is prohibitive, so we do not offer this service. Immigration charges upwards of $500 for a tourism vehicle to cross the border. They do this to discourage encroachment by some tour operators who cross over and serve clients in neighboring countries outdoing local operators.
It stands for Sport Utility Vehicle and is a type of car that provides the convenience of a family vehicle but with off-road capability. It has higher ground clearance, extra seating capacity, and more power than other cars. Kambu Campers offers various types of SUVs ranging from modest economy to full-size luxury models.
1. Safety: SUVs are designed with powerful engines and higher ground clearance, making them more capable of handling rough terrain and providing a smooth ride even in bad weather conditions.
2. Comfort: SUV’s offer plenty of interior room for passengers and luggage. This makes it perfect for road trips with family or friends.
3. Style: SUVs come in a range of designs, colors and styles. You can choose the one that best suits your personality and make a statement while you travel.
4. Economy: Although SUVs are more expensive than compact cars, they tend to be more fuel-efficient as well. This makes them cost-effective in the long run.
5. Reliability: Kambu Campers offers top-notch car rental services and provides reliable assistance for all maintenance needs. You can be sure that your SUV will get you to your destination without any trouble.