What do you need when you hire a car in Kenya? A sturdy 4x4 vehicle to handle the roads and a reliable service in case something goes pear shaped. At Roadtrip Kenya, we have a fleet of Toyota RAV4s and Toyota Landcruisers, all sturdy 4WD vehicles. All our cars are owned by us, and serviced by our workshop in Nairobi.
What's in the car?
- Air conditioning
- Radio with audio connection port for your mp3 player or SD Card with roadtrip music.
& Spare tire, car jack, spanner and wrench
- Jumper cables and towing cable
- Detailed roadmap of Kenya and lots of maps from National Parks
- Latest Lonely Planet travel guide
- Car information booklet
- Mobile phone with a local SIM card for the best network coverage
- Garmin GPS navigation with Tracks for Africa
In case you need assistance, we are available 24/7 on the phone. In the field, we can rely upon a network of workshops for minor repairs. In case of a major problem, we have a replacement vehicle ready. Please refer to our policies for more information.
The Toyota RAV4 is sporty, compact and robust, as well as being easy and cheap to drive. In our experience, the RAV4 is able to take you around Kenya in almost any season. The RAV4 has an automatic transmission and permanent four-wheel-drive, which is an excellent feature given the hilly terrain of Kenya. The fuel consumption is low compared to other 4x4 models, giving you the best value for your money. The RAV4 has a gasoline engine and a fuel capacity of 60 liters with a calculated range between 650 – 700 km depending on the terrain and driving behavior.
Our fleet consists of two models, both with the same engine and transmission specifications:
- A smaller 3-door Rav4, suitable for up to two people with camping and a reasonable amount of luggage.
- The standard 5-door Rav4, which can fit up to four people without camp gear.
The ultimate classic safari car, the Toyota Landcruiser is a very sturdy and reliable car. It has a powerful Diesel engine and high ground clearance. This car is a must-have on rough roads to such places as The Maasai Mara. In case you are planning to hire a car with more than three adults and camping equipment, the Landcruiser is a better fit than the RAV4.
We do not allow the Toyota RAV4 into the Maasai Mara. For the Maasai Mara, you need a Toyota Landcruiser.
Driving precautions and travel tips
All the primary roads radiating out of Nairobi are tarmac roads, and will bring you comfortably to your safari destination. Road conditions are good for African standards and ever improving, so expect to encounter some roadworks along the way. There are also unsurfaced roads. The ‘C’ and ‘D’ roads especially are usually unsurfaced. Some unsurfaced roads are still in a good condition, but most roads are notorious for their large potholes, rocky surfaces and river overflows. Some poor ones are:
- The C107 south from Mariakani to Kinango; if you think think this road is a nice bypass to skip Mombassa, think again. It’s terrible.
- C12 from Narok to Sekenani Gate, Maasai Mara national reserve; one of the worst roads of Kenya and excluded from our services when driving a Toyota RAV4.
- A109 Nairobi – Mombasa highway; ever under construction, this road has some terrible parts, especially in between Tsavo, Voi and Mombasa. Besides, it's a dangerous road with very many (slow) trucks and cars that overtake each other. More than once you'll have to swerve to the shoulders because a truck is driving on your side of the road towards you.
We have been exploring Kenya by road for many years. The experience is rewarding and safe, as long as you follow these precautions:
- Drive at or below the speed limit (80 km/h on the highway, and 50 km/h in urban areas). Drive Max. 40km/h off-road.
- Beware of unmarked speedbumps which are plentiful in many parts of the country, especially at the entrance of towns.
- Drive defensive.
- Don’t drive as if you are in a hurry. Kenyans are experts in dangerous maneuvers - don’t copy their behavior with overtaking trucks at blind corners.
- Avoid driving at night; the potholes are difficult to see and fellow traffic often uses blinding high-beams.
- Always carry some cash, water and a charged mobile phone to handle any situation.
- Keep in mind that a flat tire is part of the adventure, as the road conditions are rough for your tires. All our cars come with a jack, and any petrol station can fix your slow punctures.
- As you will discover soon enough, Kenya drives on the left side of the road…