Self-Drive Safari in Kenya

If you are considering a freedom-filled safari in Kenya, a self-drive safari is the best way to experience the wildlife and natural beauty of this amazing country. Having launched our self-drive safari vehicles for hire, we thought it fitting to also introduce self-drive safari packages.

What’s a self-drive safari?

A self-drive safari in Kenya involves you renting a 4WD safari vehicle and driving it yourself, following a pre-planned route. It’s an easy way to get around in Kenya as you don’t need a guide or driver with you. You’ll be able to explore the country at your own pace, taking in some spectacular scenery along the way.

What are the benefits of self-driving safaris?

  • Freedom on where to go: You can choose your own route and determine where you want to go, without a tour guide dictating where you will go.
  • Unrivaled views: Enjoy panoramic views of the African plains that you’d miss out on from traditional safari tours.
  • Inexpensive: You save money by not having to pay for a driver or guide, as you can do the driving yourself. You can also check out car rentals with drivers here.
  • More space: You have more freedom to pack up your belongings and feel at home in your own vehicle.

How should I get prepared for a self-drive safari?

Even though you don’t need a guide or driver with you, there are still some things to consider when packing for your self-drive safari.

  • Make sure the car rental company provides all the necessary documents such as insurance papers and driving license.
  • Bring a map of the area so that you can easily navigate and find your way around. With reliable cell reception covering most parts of Kenya, having a map on your phone is sufficient for navigation.
  • Bring along a first aid kit and other essentials like flashlights and spare batteries in case of an emergency. If you book Kambu Campers self-drive vehicles, we have these essentials already in the car.
  • Check for any restrictions when it comes to wildlife viewing, as some areas have strict rules on how close you can get to certain animals.
  • Make sure that your vehicle is properly serviced and checked for any mechanical issues before setting out.
  • Have a good look at the car rental agreement to understand what is covered in terms of insurance and fuel costs.

Cost of a self-driving safari:

If you book your safari with Kambu Campers, you only pay for car rental fee which covers insurance for the vehicle. We also provide extra emergency air evacuation insurance cover operated by Flying Doctors so you may be evacuated in case of accidents.

Our rates vary depending on the type of vehicle and duration of the safari. While both Landcruisers and safari vehicles are suitable for off-road use with 4WD capabilities, Landcruisers are priced higher. Please reach out to get a quote.

Self Drive with a 4×4 Rental:

My favorite way to explore Kenya is with a 4×4. This allows you to get off the beaten path and see the country in all its glory. It’s also cheaper than taking organized safaris, so it’s great for budget-minded travelers.

Below are the benefits of 4WD vehicle for a self-drive safari;

  • High clearance level; your vehicle will have higher ground clearance and better suspension system so that you can handle rough roads easily.
  • Better suspensions; a higher ground clearance also means better suspensions, making your ride smoother and more comfortable.
  • More control; you will have full control over the vehicle and its speed, while on a guided safari you would have to keep up with the group’s speed.
  • Better traction; 4WD vehicles provide better traction when driving off-road in muddy conditions or over rocky terrain.

Check out our page on self-drive car rentals or our campervan page for 4WD drive options

Start your self-drive safari from Nairobi;

We recommend picking up your 4WD rental vehicle from Nairobi and starting your safari there. This way, you can explore some of Kenya’s most popular national parks such as Maasai Mara National Reserve or the Amboseli National Park.

When picking up your vehicle at the car rental company, read through all documents and check the condition of the car to ensure that everything is in working order. Also, make sure to take the necessary documents along with you, including your driving license and insurance papers.

So, which destinations should I drive myself to during the safari;

We recommend 10 main safari circuits that cover parts of Rift Valley, Northern Kenya, Central Kenya and Coastal regions.

Masai Mara: This is the most popular safari destination in Kenya and home to some of the best wildlife viewing spots in Africa. You will spot plenty of lions, leopards, elephants, and a variety of other game.

Lake Nakuru: This stunning soda lake is home to thousands of flamingos and rare species of animals. You can easily spot large flocks of pelicans, cormorants, and other birdlife here.

Mount Kenya: If you are looking for breathtaking views then a self-drive safari to Mount Kenya is the perfect option. This snow-capped mountain offers an incredible landscape of alpine forests, glaciers and wildlife.

Samburu: An arid region located in the Great Rift Valley, Samburu is known for its unique wildlife. Here you can spot elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, reticulated giraffes and other animals that roam freely.

Taita Hills: Containing some of the most breathtaking scenery in Kenya, Taita Hills boasts rolling hills, golden plains and lush vegetation. Here you can spot large herds of elephants, buffalos and leopards.

Amboseli National Park: Here you will find sprawling acacia woodlands along with spectacular views of Mt Kilimanjaro.

Tsavo National Parks: This is one of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya. Notable for its black rhinos, elephants and other large game species.

Lamu: Located off the Kenyan coast, Lamu is an idyllic island with historic villages and ancient buildings. You can explore winding streets lined with colorful Swahili-style homes and take a dhow boat ride in the Indian Ocean.

Meru National Park: Home to rare animals such as Grevy’s zebra, the Beisa oryx, and reticulated giraffes, Meru is an idyllic destination for wildlife lovers.

Kisumu: Situated on Lake Victoria, Kisumu offers plenty to explore with its colonial-era architecture and lively markets. Here you can also take boat rides to see hippos in their natural habitat.

Mombasa: Located on the Indian Ocean, Mombasa is a vibrant city with beautiful beaches and plenty of activities to do. From snorkeling in coral reefs to exploring ancient fortresses, this city offers something for everyone.

What safety precautions should I take during my self-drive safari?

When embarking on your self-drive safari in Kenya, it’s important to follow safety precautions.

  • Always obey the speed limit and stick to the designated routes.
  • If you encounter any wild animals on your journey, stay in your car and observe from a safe distance.
  • Make sure all doors are locked at night while camping or sleeping in your vehicle.
  • Keep a first aid kit handy in case of any medical emergencies.
  • Keep your car keys and other valuables safe on the journey.
  • Be cautious when crossing rivers to avoid getting stuck in mud or washed away by strong currents.
  • Make sure you have sufficient fuel for your journey.
  • It’s a good idea to carry an emergency SOS device for communication in case of any accidents.
  • Make sure your vehicle is serviced and maintained regularly to avoid breakdowns on the road.
  • Always be prepared for any wildlife encounters in remote areas.
  • Listen to weather forecasts and plan accordingly as some roads can become muddy or flooded during heavy rains.

What to also get if you plan to camp when driving yourself:

We provide rental camping gear which is optional for your safari. Below is an entire list of items;

  • A small ground tent that can fit 2 people
  • A large ground tent that can fit 4 to 6 people
  • A gas cylinder for cooking
  • Camping chairs
  • Cooking utensils
  • Sleeping bags and camping mats
  • Cool box for keeping food or drinks cool – The car is equipped with a small fridge

If you plan to stay in lodges, these items are not necessary.

How to book your safari:

If you are interested in this safari, just let us know by sending us a message on the form on this page or by sending us an email to;

We will get back within 24 hours.