Hiring a Private Driver in Kenya(How to & Tips)

Looking for tips to have when hiring a private driver in Kenya? In this article, I have shared crucial tips to have when hiring a driver including steps on how to hire a driver.

Among our travel options when on your safari in Kenya is hiring a private driver who will also act as a guide. For some travelers without an active license in their resident home countries or who are not comfortable going on self-drive safaris, this could be their only chance to explore the vast wildlife parks and watch animals in their natural habitats.

At Kambu Campers, we have offered the option of renting our vehicles that come with a driver – what we call guided safaris.

If you want to source and work with your driver, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

How to Hire a Private Driver in Kenya: 6 Steps:

Step 1: Determine your requirements

The first step is to determine your specific requirements for hiring a private driver in Kenya. Consider the following questions:

  • How long do you need a driver for? Is it for a one-time trip or do you require long-term services?
  • What type of vehicle do you need? Do you have any preferences or specific requirements?
  • Will the driver also serve as a guide and provide information about local attractions and culture?

Having clear answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search and find the right driver for your needs.

Step 2: Research and compare drivers

Once you have determined your requirements, it’s time to research and compare different private drivers in Kenya. You can do this by asking for recommendations from friends or family who have previously used a private driver in Kenya.

Finding reviews for different drivers in Kenya can be a challenging task, as there is currently no centralized platform that provides driver profiles and reviews. If you go on online classified sites such as Jiji and search ‘driver’ you’ll find a list of over 30 drivers each quoting their expected salaries ranging from 20,000 to 45,000 per month but few of them have reviews. See the Jiji link to the drivers’ page here.

Snapshot of Jiji Kenya Page with list of Drivers
Snapshot of Jiji Kenya Page with list of Drivers

Unfortunately, only a few job postings provide detailed driver information, such as driving experience, and have limited or no reviews. I managed to find one with a total of 7 reviews, consisting of 3 positive, 1 neutral, and 3 negative. However, it’s important to note that this is an isolated case. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the posting actually belongs to a car rental company, rather than a private driver.

Below is a snapshot showing the reviews;

snapshot showing 7 Reviews for driver in kenya
Snapshot showing 7 Reviews for driver in Kenya

At Kambu Campers, we have a list of up to 10 freelance drivers that you can also consider if you are unable to find one yourself. All of them are also trained tour guides and can also act as security. Just let us know and we can share a few profiles.

Step 3: Check for legal requirements

Make sure to check the driver meets the legal requirements to drive the vehicle you have or are looking to hire. According to Kenyan law, all drivers must have a valid driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle.

To operate a light truck or van, the driver must possess a B, C, or C1 license, which should be indicated on the license document. When you meet the driver, you can request them to log into their Ecitizen account. This will allow you to verify the validity of their license and confirm whether they are authorized to operate vehicles classified as Class B, C, or C1.

Below is a snapshot showing typical license details on the Ecitizen platform.

Screenshot showing copy of driving license details
Screenshot showing copy of driver’s license details

If you are looking to hire a driver to drive a bigger vehicle such as a bus or minibus, they need to have Class D endorsement in their license. See all vehicle categories here.

If you prefer a driver who has been trained to carry a public transport vehicle, you can ask the driver if they have a PSV badge. To get a PSV badge, a driver needs to do additional training and pass a test administered by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA). This ensures that they are qualified to transport passengers safely.

It is important to make sure the driver you hire meets all legal requirements, as it will give you peace of mind and ensure a smooth trip without any unexpected issues.

Step 4: Conduct interviews

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential drivers, it’s time to conduct interviews. This is an important step in the hiring process as you want to make sure that the driver’s qualifications and personality align with your needs.

During the interview, make sure to ask about their experience driving in different areas of Kenya, any special skills or certifications they may have, and their availability for your specific dates and destinations. It’s also a good idea to ask for references from previous employers or clients.

On the Ecitizen platform, the driver’s years of experience should be shown similar to the one on the snapshot below;

Snapshot showing driver year of driving experience in ecitizen
Snapshot showing driver’s year of driving experience in Ecitizen

Take this opportunity to get a feel for the driver’s personality and communication style as they will be representing you while on the road.

During the interviews, you can also have a quick driving test run to assess their driving skills and see if they are a good fit for your needs. This will also give you a chance to check the condition of the vehicle they will be using.

Step 5: Communicate expectations

Once you have found a suitable driver who meets all legal requirements, it is important to communicate your expectations clearly. This will help avoid any misunderstandings and ensure a smooth working relationship with your driver.

  • Discuss the scope of work: Make sure you discuss the details of what you expect the driver to do. This could include driving specific routes, managing schedules, or performing other tasks such as running errands.
  • Communicate your schedule: Let the driver know your schedule and any specific timings they need to adhere to. This will help them plan their day accordingly.
  • Set ground rules: It is important to establish some ground rules with your driver, such as punctuality, dress code, or use of personal devices while on duty. This will ensure that both parties are on the same page and there are no conflicts in the future.
  • Discuss payment: Be clear about how much you will be paying your driver, whether it is a fixed salary or based on hours worked. Also, discuss any additional benefits such as meals or accommodation if applicable.

By communicating your expectations clearly, you can avoid any misunderstandings and ensure a smooth working relationship with your private driver.

Step 5: Hiring:

If the driver you’ve interviewed and communicated your expectations impresses you, the next step is to hire them. You can hire them directly on a contract basis to avoid obligations that come with hiring them permanently. Contractual driver agreements exploit a clause in the law that allows anyone to hire a consultant and leave all paperwork obligations with the consultant.

  • Sign a contract: To ensure both parties are protected, it is important to have a written contract in place. This should include the scope of work, payment details, and other expectations discussed. There are several driver contracts online but can ask us for a free sample if you’re struggling to get one that has been reviewed by a practicing attorney in Kenya.

Step 6: Verify insurance coverage

After hiring, make sure the driver has insurance coverage. They should have at least National Health Insurance Fund Insurance coverage, the public insurance cover that’s affordable for anyone in Kenya. The NHIF is not expensive and if they are freelance drivers, it only costs Ksh 500 per month. If they don’t have active insurance, you can discuss how they can re-activate and ensure their monthly payments are up to date.

Tips for Hiring a Private Driver in Kenya

1. Ask for references

– The best way to find a reliable driver is through referrals from friends or family members who may have used the services of private drivers before. Also, do your research on the web and read customer reviews to get an idea of the service you can expect from them.

Most Kenyan drivers will give you the contact information of a few references if you ask for it, so make sure to get in touch with them and ask any questions that you may have about their service.

Try to understand why a driver had to leave the other jobs. When you speak with a former employer, you’ll get one or two things that may make you decide whether to hire a particular driver or not.

2. Check driving experience:

When hiring a driver, make sure to verify their driving experience. It is important that they are well-versed with the roads and can take you safely from one destination to another.

You can also ask for their driving license or any other proof that they are qualified. Do a background check on them and try to find out as much information as possible about their experience.

You can confirm the validity of the license by texting the license number to 234 on the Kenyan cellphone service.

Snapshot showing driver year of driving experience in ecitizen
Ecitizen Snapshot showing years of driving experience

3. Consider the driver’s personality:

Make sure you take the time to get to know your potential driver, as a wrong hire may make your trip unpleasant. They need to be able to communicate with you in English and understand what you need from them.

Also, look for someone who will be patient and understanding of your needs as a traveler and will put safety first.

4. Set up the ground rules:

Before you hire a driver, it is important that you set out some ground rules to avoid any possible misunderstandings during the trip. For example, decide who will pay for fuel and other road costs such as tolls, agree on acceptable rest stops, and make sure that your driver is aware of any special needs you may have.

5. Agree on the payment upfront:

When you hire a driver, it is important to agree on the payment upfront and to sign a contract that both of you understand. It is also good practice to agree on a daily rate so that the driver can plan their day accordingly and make sure they have enough money for fuel, meals, and other expenses.

6. Make sure the driver has NHIF Insurance cover:

NHIF is a health insurance package in Kenya that provides coverage for medical expenses such as hospital bills, doctor consultations, and medication. It is important to ask your driver if they have an active NHIF cover, as it will save you the cost of paying for their medical expense in case of any emergencies during the trip.

Make sure your driver is enrolled in the NHIF scheme and has a valid medical cover. This will give you peace of mind knowing that your driver is taken care of if anything happens on your journey.

7. Get to understand what the driver is comfortable doing in addition to driving:

If you need extra help such as requiring some support – if you are using a wheelchair or when you are traveling with children – make sure you understand what the driver is comfortable doing.

For instance, some drivers will offer to help you load and unload your luggage, but not all of them are comfortable with this task. It’s always good to have a clear picture of what tasks they’ll be carrying out during the trip so that everyone knows what to expect.

8. Get a copy of the driver’s ID, Passport Photo and License:

Getting a copy of your driver’s ID, passport photo and license is important to ensure that you have all the necessary documents in case of any eventuality.

Also, make sure to keep a copy of their license number as it is essential for confirming their identity when texting 234 on a Kenyan cellphone service.

9. Get a driver with a good knowledge of the driving range:

Hire a driver with a good knowledge of the driving range. This is important for your safety, as it will ensure that you don’t miss out on any interesting attractions or landmarks along the way.

The driver should have an in-depth understanding of the local roads, and be familiar with shortcuts and detours in case of traffic jams.

They should also be knowledgeable about the local culture and customs in order to make your journey more enjoyable.

10. Take picture of your car before leaving:

Before you leave, take a picture of the car with the driver so that you have proof of the condition it was in when they took it over. This will ensure that you are able to claim any damage charges when you return.

11. Discuss any potential reasons for conflict:

If you smoke, you should discuss this with your driver beforehand to ensure that they are comfortable with it. Similarly, if you want to listen to music or make phone calls during the journey, make sure you check with your driver first. It is important to be respectful of each other’s preferences and avoid any potential conflicts throughout the trip.

Bonus; #12: Always carry a good attitude:

Finally, always carry a good attitude when traveling with your driver. Remember that they are providing you with a service and should be respected for it. Be polite and patient, and you will have an enjoyable trip.

Looking for steps to have a private driver in Kenya? You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will take you through a detailed step-by-step process of hiring a private driver in Kenya. From choosing the right driver to understanding the legal procedures, we’ve got you covered.

What’s the cost of hiring a driver in Kenya?

Kenya’s pay for different job group categories classifies drivers as Job Group B3 or B4. As per the SRC salary framework, these individuals receive an average wage ranging from Ksh.16,777 to Ksh.20,972.

This means that the minimum wage for a driver in Kenya is Ksh.16,777 per month or a daily rate of Ksh.556. The hourly rate for such an individual is Ksh.66 per hour before any deductions. As you can see this rate is not within livable wage and most qualified drivers shy away from government jobs where the Salaries and Remuneration Commission makes the determination.

Most qualified and skilled drivers, therefore, rely on getting hired by big tour companies and private companies that pay far more than the minimum recommended wage. It is, therefore, not uncommon to find a driver in Kenya charging between Ksh. 1000 and Ksh.2000 per day depending on the nature of the job and experience held by the individual.

Hiring a private driver in Kenya can be quite tricky because you are dealing with an individual who is not necessarily employed by any company or

It is important to note that other costs associated with hiring a driver include fuel, vehicle insurance, and maintenance, depending on the nature and length of the journey.

The cost of hiring a driver in Kenya depends on the type of car you are using as well as the length and difficulty of the journey. Generally, rates range from Ksh 2,000 to Ksh 8,000 per day. It is always advisable to negotiate with your driver before agreeing on a particular rate. It is common thing to haggle over the price of services before making a final decision in Kenya.

You can also opt for hiring a car with a driver in Kenya. This is often more expensive but it may be more convenient and safer as you will have a reliable driver who is familiar with the roads at your disposal. Prices vary depending on the type of tour company offering the service as well as the type of car you choose.

Private Drivers vs Hiring through a Company

When it comes to hiring a driver in Kenya, private drivers often have more flexibility and can be cheaper than those hired through companies. However, bear in mind the different risks that come with employing an individual directly, such as lack of insurance or experience.

Hiring a driver through a tour company is usually the safest option, as they will be more experienced and have the relevant insurance cover. Additionally, if you are traveling in a large group or on a long journey, it is often more convenient to hire a car with a driver so that you can all travel together.

Most tour operators have also trained their drivers to also act as guides and even askaris(guards) in environments such as game sanctuaries.

Do I need to get insurance for my driver?

For ex-pats, visitors or foreigners residing in Kenya, it is a legal requirement to possess physical damage and third-party liability protection if you plan on driving. For drivers, it is important to note that you are responsible for any damages or losses incurred whilst driving.

It is, therefore, advisable to purchase insurance cover for your driver if they are driving your car or the company one they represent. You can easily get motor insurance quotes online from various companies operating in Kenya.

Below are some of what insurance covers in Kenya as per the CIC Group Insurance FAQ page;

  • Bodily injury and property damage liability coverage for damage caused to other people or property.
  • Personal injury protection to cover medical expenses and other damages.
  • Collision and comprehensive coverage for damage done to your vehicle in collisions and in non-collisions (i.e. fire, vandalism and theft).
  • Uninsured motorist coverage protects in the event of an accident where the driver at fault does not have insurance.

About Kambu Campers Guided Safari Drivers you can hire:

Kambu Campers Guided Safari Drivers provide an experienced driver-guide who is not only knowledgeable about the local terrain but also knowledgeable in various aspects of wildlife and Kenyan culture.

The driver-guide will ensure that you get maximum value for your money as they are trained to be friendly, courteous and efficient. They come with a 4WD vehicle which is well maintained and regularly serviced to ensure comfort and safety during your journey.

The driver-guide will also provide personal security for you and your group throughout the tour. All drivers are CPR certified and have undergone a thorough background check before being hired as a driver with Kambu Campers Guided Safari Drivers.

To sum it up, when you are hiring a private driver in Kenya, there are certain things to consider such as the cost and the safety of the journey. Make sure you negotiate with your driver before agreeing on a rate and always remember to purchase insurance for your driver if need be. It is also important to make sure you hire a driver who is experienced and familiar with the local terrain. Kambu Campers Guided Safari Drivers provide highly experienced drivers who are knowledgeable in various aspects of wildlife and Kenyan culture so you can rest assured that your journey will be safe and enjoyable.

FAQs

Can I drive a car in Kenya without insurance?

No. It is illegal to drive a car in Kenya without insurance and you may face severe penalties if caught doing so.

Do I need to check my driver’s license to hire a driver in Kenya?

Yes, you will need to confirm the appropriate documents before hiring a driver. This includes a valid Kenyan national ID card or passport for foreign visitors. Additionally, you will need to check that the driver has a valid driving license and proof of insurance.

Do I need to require police clearance before hiring my driver in Kenya?

Yes, you should always request police clearance as part of the driver’s background check before hiring them. This will help to ensure that they have no criminal record or other relevant information that could affect their ability to drive safely.

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