We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

Which Nairobi hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Global African
posts: 37
reviews: 37
Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

Does anyone have suggestions for a reliable, well priced car-hire company in Nairobi for a short-term rental? A small 4wd (eg Suzuki Jimney) or bakkie or elevated vehicle would be ideal, but small sedan also ok.

And any tips on driving, ability to find parking.

Thanks

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
posts: 4,372
reviews: 6
1. Re: Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

I always recommend Corcorde - I've used them many times and found their Suzukis (well, Marutis) very reliable, and they're well located in the heart of Westlands, just off Waiyaki Way.

Driving tips? Where to begin?! You need to be robustly defensive, always alert, and always prepared for the worst possible outcome. It's much better to hire a driver when you hire the vehicle. Parking is a serious problem in the CBD and other busy areas. Buy parking tickets (usually valid all day) from parking wardens. And beware the city askaris, who are a law unto themselves…

Happy driving!

Richard Trillo

Global African
posts: 37
reviews: 37
2. Re: Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

thanks, Richard ... Corcorde or Concorde?

London, United...
posts: 990
3. Re: Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

Yacht,

Richard I am certain meant Concorde, I have seen him mention them before. His fingers are obviously having a very bad day, it is not often he makes mistakes!

GJ

London, United...
posts: 990
4. Re: Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

I take it you are only driving around NBO for a few days and are not considering ‘wandering’ too far.

In addition to Richard’s comments, I will add. Pack an abundance of patience, and have a good look at where you are going, the routes and alternative routes before you depart, sitting with a Map of NBO will pass a few hours on the flight!

The traffic can be bordering ‘evil’ at times, so give yourself plenty, and I really do mean plenty of time if you are heading somewhere for a specific time.

I too would advise a driver with their own vehicle for a day, you have no worries about parking, security of the car and the routes, they know all the short cuts you would not find, etc. Their fees, so I have read, I have never used them myself, probably don’t add up to much more than car hire and fuel!

If you intend to head off beyond NBO, shout again, I am sure there is much we can all add about driving outside the City.

Global African
posts: 37
reviews: 37
5. Re: Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

Thanks! Warnings headed.

How bad IS the traffic? Do you have another city that you can compare it to? Bangkok, KL, Cairo and Mumbai are my reference points in order of ascending chaos!

The reason we are considering car hire is primarily to enable us to do the Nairobi National Park in our own time at our own speed. We would use the car to get from airport to Karen mid-afternoon Friday, and after that maybe to go one place in the area to do some birding if time permits. Early morning to the Park (to be there when it opens) and then if we do not spend the full day in the park to go to one or more of the following: Karura Forest, Ngong Forest, Giraffe Centre nature trail, Arboretum. I am assuming the 1st 3 are easier options wrt traffic. Back to Karen and then early morning to JK airport to be there for 7am (Sunday).

Your thoughts appreciated.

London, United...
posts: 990
6. Re: Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

Yacht,

I suppose Bangkok is a fair comparison.

If you are only going between Jomo and Karen, with a few trips for birds and NBO Park, I cannot see you encountering any major problems. The Park is off Langata Rd, which is what you will use to get to Keran from Jomo. At the moment there are some works going on there, so it is a little more depressing than usual, but no world shattering.

Also, the Park is one of those on the ‘Card system’, you could actually stop and do all the paperwork the day before going in, thus making entry quicker on the morning you visit. Sometimes there can be a queue at the desk, and anything you can do to avoid it gives you more time actually in there! Ideally, you want to hit the Gate at 0630ish.

I would also opt for Ngong over Karuru forest, nothing to do with the birds, I don’t know enough, just that the latter is over by Muthaiga and you’d have to battle through town!

If you come out early, and are puckish, there is a reasonable place to eat just by the Gift Shop, then you can get back on the road to the Giraffe Centre, that has a small Café too, but is really form emergency eats! You may also wish to consider the Elephant Orphange, also in the area, time dependant.

For a good feed in the evening, I would head for the Talisman, excellent place about 2 mins from Karen Shops, get your hotel to book a table though, it can get a little busy and try to eat on the Patio, it makes for a nice evening.

Do beware, particularly when heading into the road-works on Langata of Matatus, they don’t take prisoners and will when the traffic merges attempt to push you off the road to make space for themselves. For a first time driver over there, I would say bow out gracefully and let them in, it is better than ending up in the ditch.

Be lucky and enjoy!

Global African
posts: 37
reviews: 37
7. Re: Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

Thanks for all the tips freely shared :)

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
posts: 2,165
reviews: 150
8. Re: Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

Also make sure that the car you hire allows you to go "off road" as Nairobi National Park is considered "off road". If you have an accident, then insurance won't cover it.

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
posts: 4,372
reviews: 6
9. Re: Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

Couple of thoughts:

Arriving at JKIA mid-afternoon Friday and trying to drive to Karen, you will probably (depending on flight arrival time) get as far as Uhuru Stadium roundabout before encountering traffic heading left (west) to Karen that will take you 1-2 hours, so don't expect to be in Karen much before dark (6.30pm).

I'd suggest you might do better to get a taxis on Friday and Sunday and have a car and driver for the whole of Saturday, someone who will pick you up from where you're staying and drop you back at the end of the day. There's not much point in renting for such a short time, IMHO. Not to be a downer on the plan. And there are no standard car-rental outlets at the airport.

Richard Trillo

Global African
posts: 37
reviews: 37
10. Re: Car Hire (self drive) in Nairobi

Thanks - doing some serious thinking now about what to do.

Emailed concorne yesterday about possibility of car & driver, but as yet no reply. Hopefully MOnday or Tuesday they will reply.