7 tips for planning and taking a round road trip in Kenya

Kenya comes across as a country of extremely exciting diversities. It’s not only in the people and culture but also landscapes, attractions, weather, lush and sprawling natural vegetation. In short, Kenya is definitely a plug destination for those looking to get a cozy connection with nature and its abundance. You never miss a reason for taking a road trip through the beautiful and serene landscapes in the country. But the best way to best enjoy the trip is to plan and put everything in order.

Just to get you started, having a fulfilling and fun-filled road trip means having a private car, van or tourist van. You obviously will be cheating yourself to use public means on road trips. It doesn’t just work that way.

So for someone who doesn’t own a car for the road trip, be ready to get one from the car rental companies around or borrow from a friend. Whichever way you choose to source your car for the trip. Just make sure it’s in proper driving condition with all documents including updated car insurance. A small mistake may earn you a disgusting date with the cops on Kenyan roads. 

The beauty of traversing Kenya by road

More and more Kenyans now begin to celebrate the beauty of their country. For a long time, most people never had this idea of just traveling over miles just for fun and adventure. Most of the time, people would travel for business, events or studies but not just to satisfy curiosity.

Today, you will see pages such as thewonderlusters.com showcasing happy Kenyans displaying pictures of their recent visits to Tsavo, Maasai Maara, Mount Kenya, Mfangano island and more. This alone testifies to the growing love for traveling and the need to just plan to connect with some of these thrilling destinations.

On your roadtrips in Kenya, you can get to experience such beautifully rising and falling landscapes

A travel enthusiast will tell you that “Traveling allows you to explore different versions of yourself.” So get ready as we share insights to get you started on traveling the length and breadth of Kenya. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a local Kenyan or a visiting tourist. The nuggets apply whatever your case is. 

There are pretty good things to connect with in the Kenyan museums but not so much. The true Kenyan heritage any person may feel blown away by remains out there-in the wilderness, nature and communities. You will drive through Samburu, Kisii and so many other cultures. Its possible to stop by the roadside to taste the yummy foods prepared culturally. It just never gets more exciting than this. 

Traveling Kenya gives you a better, newer or fresher impression 

From Kisumu to the West to Garrissa, Voi to Moyale, Kenya embodies greatness which can’t be felt by just looking at its map. You may have chosen to sample specific places to visit but then this may deny you the chance of making accidental travel discoveries, interacting with so many people, tasting a lot of different meals and just getting to see Kenyans in their true element. 

So, have you considered interacting with new people and learning new things, getting away from your usual place,  getting entertained,bonding with friends, family or making new contacts? That’s a great idea and it may turn out to be your best experience ever.

Breathaking typical trails that lead you to hideen gem attractions in Kenya

You can imagine having a cocktail of natural sceneries, cultures, foods and wildlife. In some countries, people pay a lot of money to see wild  game in zoos but then in Kenya, you get an opportunity to have a closeup with a giraffe, lion, wildebeest and more.

Some may tell you to visit the national museum, Bomas of Kenya, National parks and getaway destinations as a way to soothe yourself. Such may be a good way to experience Kenya but it even gets better when you enjoy Kenya on the go. Like you become a sojourner traveling through the country-a dwarfed version of Christopher Columbus of sorts. 

It’s never a mistake to prioritize traveling around Kenya

So many people will identify with the fact that getting sucked up in work and earning money denies one a chance of taking a break. If you think of upcoming bills, financial goals, a need to make a wardrobe change over and such, there’s a likelihood of working all year round. 

Work is good as it earns us salaries, promotions, accolades and more. But, taking a break and choosing to travel extensively comes out as an even better choice because it gives us a rare opportunity to reconnect with ourselves, people and cultures. If anything, traveling around Kenya triggers a unique sense of patriotism, fulfillment and accomplishment. 

Snaking your ride through the plateaus, valleys, mountains and undulating landscape of Kenya definitely soothes the soul. While some may work themselves crazy and spend hours on end on psychiatric recovery plans, all you may need is just a break and travel though Kenya. It’s all therapeutic to say the least. 

How to plan your road trip in Kenya

1. Acquire and prepare your car for the road trip

Road trips across Kenya can’t be done using public means or just any ordinary cars. This almost applies even in other countries with advanced public transport systems. So, you need to either use your own car, borrow a car from a friend which may be a tough one for a trip or go for a car rental company.

Kenyan roads may never be the best especially for those driving on them for the first time. Major roads and highways in Kenya have been improved considerably in recent years but small feeder roads that link to some of the breathtaking attractions still remain pathetic if not bad. They need powerful cars to maneuver.

Get your car ready to hit the road

If you can, get a four wheel drive car that can easily go over rugged terrains and muddy, slippery roads. Off-road vehicle models will perfectly take you through many terrains in Kenya without unnecessary headaches. Sedans and hatchbacks which so many people currently own may experience troubles driving in jungle-like landscapes. 

Best car models for road trips across Kenya

While every car can take you somewhere, the most important thing is convenience. Ask yourself, how much difficulty will it take you to drive for example a Toyota Wish through the unbeaten small roads in Kinango in Kwale? What of the highlands of central Kenya and Maragoli? To save you any troubles, go for suitable all weather and offroad car models. They include; 

  • Land Rover Defender
  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Mercedes-Benz G-Class
  • Land Rover Discovery
  • Ineos Grenadier
  • Ford Ranger Raptor
  • Suzuki Jimny
  • Ssangyong Rexton
  • Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
  • Ford Bronco
  • Toyota Tundra TRD Pro
  • RAM 1500 TRX

You basically need to assess the mechanical state of the car including wheels, brakes and braking system, steering and more. Also inspect safety features because the kind of carriageways you’re going to navigate through may not be some of the best. 

2. Have a rough idea on which routes to use

A roadtrip in Kenya needs you to plan which routes to follow to whichever destination. Yes, you may choose to take a blind ride and go where any road leads you so long as it becomes adventurous but that may turn out to be an awful decision,

Imagine driving a long distance on a rough road only to realize it has a dead end and the only way out is driving back. It even gets awry if it rains and you get caught up in a muddy road full of potholes and dangerous criminals just marauding for stranded people. That should be something to avoid in Kenya.

Find out which possible routes best leads to your destination(s) on your roadtrip

For a best road trip experience in Kenya, identify usable routes with the least safety issues as possible. Remember at the end of the day, you still need your car intact and your life to mind about. Also, you never know when an unmarked bump is erected on a road or uncovered side trench that pose a risk if you’re a first time user of a road.

These days, there are so many pages where you can simply ask the exciting yet not common  routes to go to a place. People ask for example how to go to Kwale without driving through the island city of Mombasa or using the Likoni ferry. You’ll be surprised how Kenyans know so many routes for a single destination. 

3. Tag along with a few friends,family, workmates

Road Trips become more exciting when you tag along with friends, family or workmates. Of course you may choose to take a solo road trip but then the fun won’t really be as when with two or more people. The size of people may not be too many to ruin the trip. Maximum of 4 people in your car can be best.If the other people too drive their cars alongside yours, three packed 5 seater cars can be a good number to enjoy a great road trip to amazing destinations in Kenya. 

If you have in mind some people to take the road trip together with, it’s best to let them know the plan ahead of time. Just make sure that all of them are in the genuine mood to unwind and unplug from the bustles of everyday life. The bigger the number, the more planning is needed. 

4. Open yourself to learn, unlearn and relearn

A sojourner road trip which involves driving and stopping to interact with locals means socializing as an additional.Here you get to speak with the locals, eat their uniquely cooked foods,ask them a few curious questions and just learn their way of life. Bet you me, its a great feeling to interact with these locals. You’ll not make up how they manage to have so much information about their locality that no books will teach anyone.

For the period of the road trip, just be a good learner. Good in the sense that you need to listen more, absorb a lot and get the stories that may not have hit your consciousness before. You may have read something about the Dorobo or Ilchamus for example. But forget about the textbook knowledge for a moment and hear them out. They will infuse in you the untrained knowledge which is raw and interesting to listen to. That will be a great interaction and exciting off- classroom learning. 

5. Set aside enough money to spend out there

Roadrips will set you back a couple of bucks. Of course you don’t have to break a bank to have a road trip but then it will cost you money to fuel the car, buy an assortment of snacks and drinks for the trip and also spare some money to purchase a souvenir at each stop at least to preserve the memories. 

You need to have a proper estimate of how much to spend for the trip. If possible, set a limit on your credit card so that it alerts you in case you’re about to overspend. Rather, have a list of estimates for expected spending just so that you stay within budget. Keep in mind that there’s always life and bills waiting after the road trip. Shout “yolo” for the period of the trip but remember you’ll be back home anyways. 

In case you have accompanying people on the trip, be sure who will pay for their personal needs. Most of the time, road trips turn friends into foes because of money issues. People need to clearly agree on who sponsors the trip or if each person pays their own bills. In the event anyone borrows from the other, make sure it’s noted down and repayment set. 

6. Have in your travel bag the proper mix of clothing 

For your carry on back for the road trip, you may choose to have a mix of clothes inside or just buy some on the go. If you have to carry clothes, make sure you mix light ones with heavy alternatives just to take care of the different weather at every location. You will learn that regions of Kenya experience varying weather patterns which require suitable clothing.

In the event that your trip goes down to the coast and may stop to bask in the sandy beaches of the Indian ocean, have a swimming costume, a bikini if you will. Just be ready for the fun moments at each stop. Maybe you also need sunglasses to take care of the glares of the setting sun too? Rubber shoes to press the gas pedal and sandals for the ocean sand? Have a checklist of what to put in the bag and that will save you a lot of stress. 

7. Remember accessories and entertainment system

Merry making when driving is dangerous and may lead to accidents. In fact, we emphasize that you don’t drink liquor and drive. However, it gets to a point where the only thing you need to keep excited is some cool Rhumba music, Benga or just soft RnBs.

The car entertainment system may be a good option but then if you could bring along a bluetooth speaker that perfectly filters music, that will nail it. The buzz and base that such devices give will surely carry you away. 

To capture and preserve  the moments, carry a camera with high magnification lenses, a smartphone or tablet. Your memory stick should have some space as well and don’t forget to have a high voltage power bank. Some people may opt to stuff in cards or droughts to play in the evenings after a tiresome journey. 

Our final submission on road trips in Kenya

Road trips come across as periods to create exciting memories worth the books. If there’s a way to unwind, it’s in taking road trips to some exotic destinations you never have imagined existed.  To have a great experience, you should be ready and prepared to actively do everything correctly. A small mistake may ruin what would have otherwise been a great journey which legends call Tembea Kenya.       

Fredrick Awino

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