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Girl driving in kenya on my own

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posts: 1
Girl driving in kenya on my own


I'm on a fairly brief visit to Kenya in a few weeks to visit my sister near Meru. Am i silly to think of hiring a car and driving up from nairobi to meru on my own? I've done it in namibia with a friend but not sure whether its safe on my own in kenya?? Does anyone know roughly how long it would take?

i've been to kenya before but spent some time on an organised safari and then travelled on my own but on planes and the train, so i don't want to get over ambitious!


Chicago, Illinois
posts: 279
reviews: 8
1. Re: Girl driving in kenya on my own

Well, I've done it, but eventually hired a driver because the roads were hard for me to navigate -- but I spent the majority of my time on dirt tracks and it was nice having an additional layer of security in the form of a male driver. If you hire a vehicle that is in good condition, you should be fine, however my general concern is that you could have vehicle problems and end up on the side of the road which is just not a good situation to be in. In general, someone may help you, but you just never know (I've had local farmers tow my vehicle with their tractor -- tied with sisal rope -- when it broke down along the Mombasa highway, but again this is not ideal).

Not sure how long you'll be in Meru and why you want to hire a vehicle as a bus would also work for you, but safety is always a concern for single females.

Destination Expert
for Mombasa, Diani Beach, Kenya
posts: 6,818
reviews: 15
2. Re: Girl driving in kenya on my own

Hire a car with a driver. Not only the state of the roads to worry about but the matatu drivers will cut you up at every opportunity! Use a respectable company too as many of the hire cars would be better off in the scrap yard!

Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 3,771
reviews: 3
3. Re: Girl driving in kenya on my own

If you've never driven in Kenya before and you'll be on your own, I wouldn't risk it.

Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 211
4. Re: Girl driving in kenya on my own


Glad to hear your love for driving would take you all the way to Meru..certainly not as bad having driven there recently,the road has never been any better since ....

However there are several factors to look into,among them is the driving around the city of Nairobi and especially during heavy traffic times especially morning and evenings,thus if i were you i would avoid them times.

The car rental firm should be very clear about the sum payable in case of any damages or theft or delay in returning the car.Point to note,cars are hired empty fuel and expected back empty fuel,try avoid full tank and expect refund for the fuel not used.

See to it that the car has a p s v sticker on the wind screen,this is means you are likely to be insured as the hirer and so is any other pax,also a certain the insurance is its comprehensive or third party as this will reduce the amount payable in case of any damages or theft.Usually the average reliability is Usd 700 for total damages..

The average cost of an unlimited mileage saloon car 1500-1800 cc per 24hrs is Usd 46,with this you are set for a decent car,the pay per mileage hire could prove to be slightly more costly.

The drivers allowance is about usd 12 per night,should you need one..

posts: 508
5. Re: Girl driving in kenya on my own

If it is your first time I would go car and driver: Nairobi traffic and drivers are quite unlike anything else I have ever experienced (I live in Africa), the roads are not that well maintained or signposted and (personally) I would not feel comfortable having to deal with any mechanical issues on my own. A driver will take care of all the paperwork, the police checks, know safe places to stop, know the conditions of the road and be able to get help/assist in the case of a breakdown. You'll also be able to chat to someone along the way and get a bit of local info and colour!

posts: 13,762
6. Re: Girl driving in kenya on my own

Namibia, for the few main roads here, go north/south and east/west, are well paved* and not much traffic.

*not referring to the off-the-beaten path gravel and dirt roads

Kenya has terrible roads, few road signs and lots of traffic.

Hire a car/driver.

Bungoma, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
posts: 2,570
reviews: 2
7. Re: Girl driving in kenya on my own

Arla - I have driven in Kenya for very many years. I used to think nothing of driving from Western Kenya to Nairobi on my own - or even to Mombasa, but I wouldn't do it now.

I'll drive alone now on roads I know very well, but prefer to go with someone else if possible. (I'm talking of journeys of over 1 hour).

The main reasons are -

1.The state of the roads. You need to watch all the time for potholes or unmarked speed bumps. You won't be able to see much of the scenery.

2. Other drivers - some crazy! You need eyes in the back of your head. A second person is helpful.

3. In case you break down..... every Tom, Dick or Harry will appear from nowhere and many will be an "expert mechanic"!

You can belong to the AA, but it may take them a long time to reach you.

Maybe your sister can advise on hiring a taxi. Do you need the car once you reach her?

We are expecting a group of teachers from UK to visit us next week and it is actually cheaper to hire a vehicle here in Bungoma and send it to Nairobi for them than to get a vehicle in Nairobi!!

Sorry not to be more positive about your idea, but i wouldn't advise it myself.

Pretoria, South...
posts: 367
reviews: 74
8. Re: Girl driving in kenya on my own

jambo arla

from nbi to meru should take you roughly 6 hours...its about 350kms..

and there are a few police checks on the way so tell your driver to take it easy!

(i presume you will hire a car - driving is not fun here!)

take care


posts: 131
reviews: 18
9. Re: Girl driving in kenya on my own

Hi there

It is a very personal decision i think!

Last year I drove (with a friend) from cape town through to nairobi and onwards.

If you are a confident driver - go for it!

It takes a bit of getting use to... but whoa it will be fun! haha. HAve you ever driven in africa?

If not, you might as well hire a driver. The expense of a driver will not be much higher than hiring a good car. Go for the most established company you can find and pay the higher prices... i have heard horroe stories of 'drivers' getting in the car and being maniacs

In terms of safety - if you do it on your own. Make sure you only drive in daylight. Not only does the risk of high jacking increase at night... but the chance of hitting animals and ppl on the rds do to! So make sure you leave upon daylight and give yourself the greatest possible amount of time to get there.

10. Re: Girl driving in kenya on my own

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