Driving in Kenya Tips

Whether you are driving yourself in your car or using a rented safari vehicle such as a campervan, 4×4, or SUV, you need to be aware of the rules and regulations that govern self-drive car rentals in Kenya. In this guide, we will provide you with the information you need to make your safari trip a success.

What are the road conditions in Kenya?

Kenya has well-developed road networks and highways that provide easy access to tourist destinations. Most roads are paved, but you may encounter some dirt roads when traveling in the countryside or other remote areas. As with any destination, it’s important to drive with caution, obey speed limits and keep an eye out for animals crossing the road.

How is driving in Kenya – left or right?

Kenya is a left-hand drive country, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly. According to this site, Kenya is one of 13 African countries that drive on this side of the road. If you are not accustomed to driving on the right side of the road, sign up for lessons at a registered driving school in Kenya. If you are only staying in Kenya for a short time and don’t have time to take lessons, arrange with your school to conduct your practical lessons en route to different foreign drive destinations.

Some of the most helpful tips for those that are used to driving on the right-hand side of the road include:

• Always check your blind spot before changing lanes.

• Be prepared for unexpected obstacles in the road, such as animals crossing or fallen branches.

• Observe posted speed limits and other traffic laws at all times.

• Use extra caution when driving on narrow roads or winding mountain passes.

What’s left-hand vs right-hand drive cars?

Left-hand drive cars have the driver’s side on the left side of the car, with the passenger seat and other controls on the right side. Right-hand drive cars have exactly the opposite setup, with the driver’s seat on the right and passenger controls on the left.

I have driven both in the US and in Kenya and I find switching sides to be relatively easy. It’s important to always use your mirrors and blindspot when changing lanes, and take extra care when you are driving on narrow roads or winding mountain passes.

Can I drive in Kenya with a foreign License?

Yes, visitors from most countries can drive in Kenya with an international driver’s license or a valid foreign driving license. You will also need to carry your passport and other relevant documents like car insurance papers when you are out on the road. National Transport and Safety Authority give foreigners up to 90 days to drive on Kenyan roads without getting a local license but after that period, you will need to obtain a driver’s license from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

While driving with a foreign license is allowed, we encourage our clients to check with their travel insurance to ensure that the cover is valid in the event of an accident.

Also, in case of an accident police usually make a big deal about foreign licenses and it is important to be extra keen to know this fact. In fact, in some cases, the police may ask for you to pay a fine if they find out that you are driving with a foreign license.

Can I drive in Kenya as a Tourist?

Yes, you can drive in Kenya as a tourist. You will need to obtain an international driver’s license or valid foreign driving license before your trip, and carry it with you at all times while driving. As we mentioned above, visitors from most countries can drive in Kenya with an international driver’s license or a valid foreign driving license for up to 90 days. After that period, however, you will need to obtain a driver’s license from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

Tourists visa are for a period of 90 days and expect that you won’t need to get a Kenyan license if you do not plan on extending your visit.

Driving rules and regulations in Kenya:

Driving regulations in Kenya are guided by the Traffics Act of 2013 (revised in 2015) – See PDF of the ACT here.

Kenya has several rules and regulations when it comes to driving. All drivers must adhere to the speed limits, which vary depending on the location, and also follow other local traffic laws.

• Seat belt usage is mandatory for all passengers in a vehicle – not just those sitting up front.

• Talking or texting on a mobile phone while driving is prohibited.

• All drivers must carry with them their driver’s license, registration documents, and valid insurance papers at all times.

• Drunk driving is strictly prohibited in Kenya and is punishable by law.

In addition to the above rules, you should also make sure to exercise caution when driving on unfamiliar roads and highways. Be sure to observe posted speed limits and be prepared for unexpected obstacles in the road, such as animals crossing or fallen branches. Finally, always use your mirrors and blindspot

• All drivers must carry with them their driver’s license, registration documents, and valid insurance papers at all times.

roundabout driving rules in kenya

Roundabouts are a common sight in urban and rural areas of Kenya, so getting used to the rules regarding roundabout driving is important.

• Drivers should always give way to traffic already in the roundabout.

• Traffic entering the roundabout must yield to traffic approaching from the left.

• Motorcyclists and cyclists should use the outermost lane to negotiate the roundabout.

• Vehicles should travel around the roundabout in a counter-clockwise direction.

• Drivers exiting the roundabout should indicate their intention of turning right or left before entering, and then yield to traffic already in the roundabout.

Finally, always be sure to observe the speed limits when driving in a roundabout – usually 30 km/hr. Failing to follow the rules can result in traffic fines or even having your license revoked.

Is it safe to drive a car in Kenya?

Yes, it is safe to drive a car in Kenya as long as you are aware of the different rules and regulations. As with any foreign country, driving in an unfamiliar place can be challenging and may require some extra caution. It is important to exercise care when navigating around traffic, observe posted speed limits, and always keep your eyes open for potential hazards. Additionally, you should make sure to always carry your valid driver’s license and other documents with you at all times while driving.

Is breakdown assistance available?

Yes, breakdown assistance is available in many parts of Kenya. If you experience a breakdown while driving, you should contact the roadside emergency services for assistance. Most rental car companies will provide 24-hour customer service and can help with any issues you have with your vehicle. Additionally, some companies may offer extra insurance packages to cover any eventuality.

It is important to note that in the event of a breakdown, you should always remain with your vehicle and follow any instructions given by emergency services. Do not attempt to repair or move your car as it can be very dangerous and may result in further damage or injury.

Hiring a Kenyan private driver:

If you prefer to have an experienced driver with you during your trip, it is possible to hire a Kenyan private driver. Most rental car companies offer this service and will provide an experienced driver to take you around the country safely. The driver can also help with navigation and providing useful tips on where to go and what to see. They usually charge upwards of $40 per day, but the price can vary depending on the company.

It is important to remember that when hiring a private driver in Kenya, you should make sure they possess a valid driver’s license and all necessary documents. You should also check with your insurance provider to ensure that your rental car is covered for any damage caused by the driver. Finally, be sure to agree on a fair and reasonable fee for the service in advance.

Renting a car for your safari

If you are planning a safari adventure in Kenya, renting a self-drive car is an ideal way to get around. The vast plains and landscapes of Kenya will provide you with breathtaking views and a chance to explore the wild side of Africa.

When renting a car for your safari, it is important to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork and documents with you at all times. You should always carry your valid driver’s license, insurance papers, and any other relevant documents that may be required by local authorities. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the local traffic laws and regulations in order to drive safely.

Finally, you should make sure your rental car is equipped with all the necessary safety features such as a spare tire, jack, tow rope and first aid kit. This will help you be prepared for any eventualities while driving on your safari.

How to deal with traffic police in Kenya:

It is important to be aware of the fact that traffic police are a common sight on Kenyan roads. It is best to comply with any instructions given by them and always carry all necessary documents with you when driving. You may also be required to present your driver’s license, insurance papers, and other relevant documents upon request.

Kambu Campers will insure your car, check your tires, and make sure you have a fire extinguisher, triangles and first aid kit– so that you avoid any risk of being pulled over. The police in Kenya frequently stop drivers to confirm their cars are insured and up to code. All you need is a valid driving license from your country of residence to drive legally in Kenya. So long as you obey the law while driving (no speeding or reckless overtaking), the police shouldn’t give you any issue! In our experience, traffic officers are typically friendly and just want to chat. If you do commit an offence though, be prepared to pay the fine, which is typically around Ksh 5000 ($50).

Speed limit:

The maximum speed limit for private vehicles in Kenya is 100km/h on highways, 80km/h on national and rural roads, and 50 km/h on urban roads. You should always be aware of the posted speed limits and adhere to them at all times. Exceeding the speed limit can result in fine or other penalties, so it is important to stay within the legal speed limit while driving in Kenya.

Tourist Vehicles which are regarded as Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) are only allowed to drive at 80 km/h on highways and 60 km/h on rural roads. In the Parks, the speed limit is set by the park managers, which can be less than 50 km/h. To be on the safe side, do not exceed 35 km/hr in the parks.

Fuel:

The most common type of fuel used in Kenya is Unleaded Petrol (ULP). You should always check with your rental company before departing to ensure that there is enough fuel in the car for your journey. If you’ll be responsible to refilling the car, make sure you know what it uses – petrol or diesel.

In most major cities, you should be able to find petrol stations where you can fill up your car. The majority of them accept credit cards or cash payments from customers.

If you are planning on traveling off-road, make sure to take extra fuel with you in case of an emergency. It is also important to check the car’s fuel consumption rate and make sure you have enough money to pay for it before setting off on your journey.

In documented cases, the average fuel consumption for a car such as Toyota Landcruiser is 7-8 km/L which is quite good for a car of this size! It should be noted that these rates may change based on driving habits and terrain. In Kenya, fuel costs between USD 1.10–1.30 per litre, which must be paid in cash using Kenyan Shillings.

How to utilize the Kenyan map to Navigate my Route:

The use of a GPS navigation system is the most effective way to get around in Kenya. There are several GPS apps available for both Android and iOS such as Google Maps, Waze or HERE WeGo that can help you find your way around.

Before you travel to Kenya, make sure you have the offline navigation app Maps.me installed on your smartphone, and that you have downloaded the Kenyan maps. In addition, it will be helpful to keep a Nelles map and Lonely Planet Guide of Kenya in the car while you’re exploring. Another great resource suggested by RoadtripAfrica is the iOverlander app, which includes almost every campsite in Kenya.

Alternatively, you can also purchase a physical map from bookshops or ask at local tourist information centers. With a physical map, you can draw out your route and plan where to stop along the way or ask locals for directions.

To ensure a more accurate commute, take the 30% suggested driving time from Google Maps or Maps.me and add it to your total estimated travel time. And although shortcuts may sound tempting, they often lead to back roads that are prone to bad conditions or non-existent paths, which will only end up increasing how long your journey takes.

I like breaking my journey into smaller parts so I can plan stops to relax and enjoy the scenery or even just enjoy some local food.

All in all, it is important to do your research and come prepared when traveling to Kenya as a self-drive tourist.

How to obtain a Kenyan license as a foreigner:

Foreigners who wish to drive in Kenya must obtain a valid Kenyan Driving License. To do this, you will need to provide your passport and the original of your international driver’s license as well as two passport-sized photographs.

You’ll need to fill out the required details on https://fns.immigration.go.ke/

Depending on the type of license you require, there will be a fee for obtaining the license. You can apply and pay for your license on the portal using Mpesa or credit card and once you make the payment, you’ll be provided with a provisional driving certificate. You can visit NTSA offices after 2 weeks to get a physical copy of your license.

How much distance can I cover in one day?

The length of your journey and how much distance you can cover in a day will depend on the type of car you are driving, the terrain, and the condition of the roads.

Generally speaking, it is recommended that you plan to drive no more than 400 km in one day as this allows for frequent stops and breaks. This estimated distance is based on an average of 70 km/h and allows for stops every two hours.

Although the asphalt roads in Kenyan roads are well-maintained, you won’t be able to drive faster than 50-60km/hour because of all the speed bumps and the need to go slower when passing through villages or waiting for animals to cross – especially in locations closer to the Parks. And of course, you’ll want to take plenty of pictures! On gravel roads, the average speed is about 30 km/hour.

In some cases, such as driving through national parks, the speed limit may be less than 50 km/h and you should plan to take more breaks every hour or so.

It also helps to plan your route in advance to ensure that there will be services available during your journey and that you won’t get lost. Additionally, it’s important to factor in the elevation of the road to determine how much time it will take for a certain distance.

Finally, remember that safety should always come first so make sure you are well-rested before setting off on your journey and take regular breaks along the way.

FAQs

Will I get in trouble driving with UK or US License in Kenya?

No, you will not get in trouble if you have a valid UK or US driver’s license. Kenya allows foreigners including tourists to drive with their foregin license if they are over 21 for a period of 90 days. However, it is recommended to get an international driver’s license and a Kenyan driving permit which can be obtained at the local police station or car rental company.

Do I need insurance when renting a car in Kenya?

Yes, you must have valid insurance when renting a car in Kenya. Insurance covers you in the event of any accidents or damages to the vehicle. You can purchase insurance from the rental company when renting a car or from an independent provider. Some credit cards also provide rental car insurance, so it’s worth checking with your card issuer before your trip.

What other documents do I need to rent a self-drive car in Kenya?

In addition to a valid driver’s license and insurance, you will need to provide proof of identity such as a passport or national ID card. Some car rental companies may also require two references, so it is advisable to have these ready before renting a car. Additionally, the rental company may ask for a credit card as a form of security deposit.

Are there any restrictions when renting a car in Kenya?

Yes, most rental companies will have certain restrictions such as age and type of vehicle that must be adhered to. It is important to research the company before booking and make sure you read their terms and conditions thoroughly. Additionally, you should check with your insurance provider to make sure you are adequately covered.

Are there any rules of the road I should be aware of?

Yes, it is important to familiarize yourself with the local traffic laws before driving in Kenya. Some basic traffic regulations include wearing a seat belt at all times, not using a mobile phone while driving, not overtaking on a bend or hill, and keeping to the left unless overtaking. It is also important to remember that right of way is granted to larger vehicles such as trucks and buses. Additionally, any form of bribery or corruption while driving should be avoided at all costs.

How much does it cost to rent a car with a driver for a day?

Prices vary depending on the car and the driver, but a typical price range would be between 10,000-20,000 Kenyan Shillings per day. This includes all necessary fees such as fuel and insurance as well as any additional services such as accommodation or meals. It is also important to remember that tipping your driver is considered polite, so it’s best to factor this into your budget.

Are there any additional costs when renting a car in Kenya?

Yes, there are some additional costs that should be taken into account. The most common fees include park entry fees, parking fees and tolls which can vary depending on the route you take. For example, if you take the Expressway on your way from the Mara to Jomo Kenyatta Airport, you’ll be required to pay 280 shillings. In addition, some car rental companies may charge a fee for cleaning the car or replacing missing items such as hub caps or wiper blades. It’s best to check with the company beforehand to avoid any surprises.

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