If you have a valid foreign license from your country that is printed in English or Swahili, and you haven’t exceeded 90 days since arriving in Kenya on a tourist visa, you are allowed to drive on Kenyan roads. However, if your license is valid but printed in languages other than English or Swahili, you will need to obtain an International Driving Permit(IDP). You can get the IDP here.
Driving on Kenyan Roads as a Foreigner:
Sarah, the co-founder of Kambu Campers, is an American who drove on Kenyan roads for 5 years before obtaining a Kenyan license. Whenever asked for her driving license, she presented her US-issued license, and she never encountered any issues with law enforcement. While we don’t endorse driving extensively without obtaining a local driving license, it’s worth noting that as long as your country-issued license remains valid, your driving license shouldn’t pose a problem.
But what does the law say?
Under Kenyan law, foreigners are permitted to drive on Kenyan roads for up to 90 days as long as their foreign-issued license remains valid. However, if your driver’s license is not in English or Swahili, it is necessary to obtain an International Driving Permit to ensure compliance.
Can I drive in Kenya as a Tourist?
Yes, tourists and visitors are allowed to drive in Kenya as long as they have valid identification and a valid foreign driver’s license. However, if you plan to stay in the country for longer than 90 days, it is advisable to obtain a Kenyan driver’s license from the driving licensing authority.
Can I use my US license and drive in Kenya?
Yes, you can drive in Kenya with a US license as long as it remains valid and the license is in English. From Sarah’s experience, it may take a few rides to get used to driving on the left side of the road. But don’t worry- it will become second nature soon enough!
Driving in Kenya with UK License:
With a valid UK driving license or an International Driving Permit, you can enjoy driving in Kenya for up to 3 months. However, if you plan to extend your stay or reside in Kenya, it is necessary to obtain a Kenyan driving license.
If you are British and plan to drive in Kenya, there is a distinct advantage as both countries follow left-hand driving. This similarity in road orientation ensures a smooth transition and adaptation to the local roads.
If you rent our campervans or our self-drive vehicles, we can give you a refresher driving for you to get used to the roads.
Is driving in Kenya left or right?
Driving in Kenya is on the left-hand side of the road. This means cars are driven on the left lane and the driver’s seat is on the right-hand side of the vehicle.The key difference between left-hand and right-hand driving is that on the left side of the road, drivers must prioritize passing vehicles from the right. Remember to look both ways before crossing a junction, and be aware of other vehicles in your vicinity.
If you are not familiar with roundabouts, read our guide on rules of roundabouts.
Is it safe to drive in Kenya?
The roads in Kenya are generally safe to drive on. It is important to take precautions such as familiarizing yourself with the area, being aware of your surroundings, and avoiding driving at night where possible. Additionally, it is advisable to avoid driving off-road or entering remote areas as these locations may be more dangerous due to wildlife encounters or a lack of infrastructure.
For further safety advice, make sure to consult the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) website for up-to-date travel advisories and safety tips.
When are you not allowed to drive in Kenya despite having a valid license:
Regardless of whether you have a valid driver’s license, you are not allowed to drive in Kenya if you have consumed any alcohol or drugs that may impair your driving. Additionally, it is illegal and highly dangerous to use a mobile phone while driving. Lastly, drivers must always wear seatbelts when the vehicle is in motion. Failing to comply with these laws will result in legal penalties.
Driving in Kenya without a valid driver’s license is prohibited and can result in serious penalties.
We hope this guide has helped provide you with all the information you need for a safe self-drive safari in Kenya! Happy exploring!