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Tricks For Driving In Kenya

Read on to find out essential information if you prefer self-drive road trips. Details covered in this section include:

  • Driving precautions
  • Cases of breakdown
  • Mileage/fuel consumption
  • Road conditions in Kenya
  • Navigation
  • Traffic police in Kenya
  • Border crossing
  • Travel distance

Various Precautions to Take When Driving In Kenya

Driving in Kenya is safe and rewarding if you follow precautions. Here are comprehensive details for driving in Kenya:

Drive Defensively

  • Be wary of unmarked speed bumps, which are plenty in many regions of Kenya, especially at the entrance of towns.
  • Drive at or below the speed of 80 km/h on the highway, 50 km/hour in urban areas. The recommended off-road speed is 40km/h.
  • Avoid driving after dark (6 pm); the potholes are challenging to see, and fellow drivers often use blinding high beams.
  • Kenyans are experts at dangerous manoeuvres; do not copy their behaviour by overtaking trucks at blind corners.
  • Always carry hard money, water and a charged mobile phone to handle any situation.
  • You will soon discover that Kenyans drive on the left side of the road.
  • Consider that a flat tire is a part of the adventure as the road conditions are rough on the tires. All Kenyan cars come with a small jack, and any petrol station can fix small punctures.

Cases of Breakdown

What happens in case of a breakdown? Despite driving well maintained, secondhand cars, sometimes issues can occur, a factor that you should consider in general when hiring vehicles where roads are rough in Kenya. Our suggestion is to leave enough time in your itinerary for the unexpected.

Mileage/ Fuel Consumption

Fuel consumption and exact mileage are dependent on your driving behaviour and the terrain. However, it is around 9-10 km/l for a Toyota Hilux and 7-8 km/l for a land cruiser. Fuel cost ranges from USD 1.10 to 1.30 per litre. Keep in mind that fuel is paid in cash in Kenyan shillings, through mobile money payments, or credit/debit card.

Road Conditions in Kenya

Are you wondering what the condition of roads in Kenya is? Road conditions are good by African standards. All primary roads radiating out of Nairobi are tarmac roads and will bring you to your safari destination. The so-called ‘D’ and ‘C’ roads are usually not surfaced, and you can expect potholes and eroded surfaces.

Some access roads are rough. Hence, consult your travel guide about self-driving where driving and road conditions.

How to Navigate and Map out Routes in Kenya

Download Kenya maps before you travel to Kenya and offline navigations are easy if you install the free Google Maps on your smartphone. Do not map out the entire day; break the journey in pieces. Otherwise, you run the risk of Google maps outing the shortest routes, which in practice are not shorter at all.

Traffic Police in Kenya

Dealing with traffic police in Kenya is easy if you have not broken any road rules. There is quite a lot of traffic police, and they will frequently pull you over to check if your car is insured, if you’re carrying a fire extinguisher, if tires are okay, triangles and a first aid kit. However, the police will want to see your driving licence, and a valid one from your country of residence is acceptable in Kenya. Kenyan traffic police are friendly and will want to make chitchat. If you did not break the law by overspending, dangerous overtaking, overlapping, etc., you are good to go.

Border Crossing

It is possible to cross Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda through Kenya. However, you cannot cross to Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia. If you want to make multiple country road trips, arrange a COMESA card and extension of car insurance for your vehicle. The insurance is around $70 and lasts for three weeks.

Travel Distance

The distance you can cover in a day depends on a few factors. You will not make more than 50-60km/h due to many speed bumps, the need for sanitary stops and reducing speed when passing through villages, and probably because you want to take a significant number of pictures. However, asphalt roads are in good condition. On gravel roads, you will cover an average of 30km/hour.

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