To book a self-drive safari in Nairobi is easy but you need to have certain facts right to avoid disappointments. This article explores the things you need to consider before booking a self-drive tour package. There is more to it than just hiring a vehicle and driving off to the Masai Mara or Amboseli national park.
Top 10 Tips to Hiring a Self-Drive Vehicle in Nairobi Kenya
If you want to book and hire self-drive vehicle and tour in Nairobi Kenya, you will need to make sure that you have several things checked in order to have an uneventful safari in the country. You can arrange with your tour operator to book a self-drive and go on a game drive or hiking multi day safari.
- Find a reliable Nairobi self-drive hire company
- Explore your options for self-drive in Nairobi Kenya
- Hire a reliable 4×4 vehicle for self-drive off road safari
- Check if the car is road worthy for Kenyan parks
- Find out if the car has insurance
- Check if the car has a vehicle Inspection sticker
- Discover what is required in regards to driving in Kenya
- Discover what is Included and Not Included in the cost of vehicle hire
- Sign the necessary self-drive contract in Nairobi before the tour
- Explore your route and buy a lonely planet guide book in Nairobi
You need to be ready for you’re driving in a foreign country and there is a lot of research you need to do. Besides having an international driving license, you are required to know your directions and security ratings of the various towns. You also need to know the dos and don’ts of driving in Kenya to avoid getting in trouble with the police or thugs.
1. Find a Reliable Self-Drive Car Hire Company in Nairobi Kenya
There are a few self-drive companies in Kenya which offer excellent service and good 4×4 vehicles for self-drive. If you are planning to go off road in national parks, you should always use 4×4 vehicles as opposed to sedans and saloon cars. This is because of the fact that, even though most of the main Kenyan roads to national parks are tarmacked, the roads within parks are not. Small vehicles with low power and low ground clearance will not be a good idea in Kenyan parks. The company should be registered and have experience in planning self-drive safaris.
2. Explore Your Options For Self-Drive In Nairobi
You need to look at several options in regard to costs of hiring the vehicle, extra services offered and types of vehicles on offer. The few companies offering self-drive safaris in the country mainly have 4×4 land cruiser and land rover options. These are vehicles which are tropicalized and modified for the tough terrains in Kenyan national parks. While cost is a major factor to consider while hiring a self-drive vehicle in Nairobi, it is quality of the vehicles and their condition that matters most. You also need to know that the company has rescue services in the event you get stuck or your vehicle breakdown. It is also important to know that the company will also help you to hire other camping equipment like tents, sleeping bags, gas cookers, cutlery, among others. A few self-drive companies in Nairobi also offer to help you do the groceries shopping and even help you to do a budget for meals. In some cases, we can provide a chef or a chauffeur to accompany you for the tour. Find out every detail you need to know especially when it comes to the services offered by the self-drive outfitter in Nairobi.
3. Hire a Reliable Self-Drive Vehicle for Your Kenya Safari
The most important aspect of your self-drive safari is of course the condition of your vehicle and its ability to cover the whole of your planned itinerary without breakdowns. Most vehicles in Kenya are aged above 10 years but you can still get a very well maintained 4×4 vehicle for self-drive if you don’t mind the miles on its clock. The advantage with these cars is that they are usually highly modified for Kenyan roads including dual coil springs, double shock absorbers on each wheel, protected under carriage etc.
4. Check Is the Car Is Road Worthy
To hire yourself drive vehicle, it would be a good idea to road test it for a day prior to the safari. Check out for engine power, any oil leaks and general condition of the vehicle. If your gut feeling tells you things can go wrong with a vehicle then most probably they will. You can also request for the servicing history of the vehicle to make sure that it’s on top condition.
5. Check If the Car Hire Vehicle Has an Inspection Sticker
All vehicles beyond a certain weight must undergo an annual quality inspection by the government. The vehicle is issued with an inspection sticker which must be displayed at all times on the windscreen. Check if the vehicle has an inspection sticker since this is a requirement by law and you can get into problems with police if found without one. The inspection also guarantees you that the vehicle has been recently fully inspected for roadworthiness.
6. Check If the Self-Drive Vehicle A Has an Insurance Cover
The vehicle you intend to hire for yourself drive must have an insurance cover. Whether the insurance is third party or comprehensive is ok. It is a legal requirement that all vehicles must have insurance cover in Kenya as it is globally anyway. Check to see that the insurance sticker on the windscreen is valid, just in case they overlooked that important item. This is mostly to ensure you are not harassed by police by driving without a valid insurance cover.
7. Discover What Is Required To Drive In Kenya as a Foreign Driving License Holder
In most cases you only need an international driving license to be able to drive on Kenyan roads. You can read up if there are any other requirements needed. For example, you should not drive a public service vehicle or PSV if you are not licensed locally to do so. So don’t hire a 9 seater tour van for self-drive if you don’t have a PSV license. If you need a tour van, then you may need to hire the services of a local tour driver as well especially if you have a group of more than 7. With the current covid19 social distancing requirements the maximum number allowed in a 4×4 land cruiser short chassis is 4. In case your group is larger; you may want to consider hiring a tour van inclusive of a driver. The point here being; it’s important to find out the local regulations on driving and passenger requirements from yourself drive firm in Nairobi.
8. Discover What Is Included and Excluded In Self Drive Hire Price
When hiring your self-drive vehicle in Nairobi you need to know what is included in the cost of the hire of the vehicle. For example most car hire firms only include the cost of hiring the vehicle only. Fuel, driver’s allowances and park fees are usually not included in the hire price. So it’s good to know what you are paying for and what extra items you may be required to plan for. For example drivers, fuel, park fees, camping fees, conservation fees, parking fees etc. Some self-drive companies will require you to leave a refundable security deposit which covers any vehicle damage that you may cause.
9. Sign the self-drive vehicle Hire Contract in Nairobi Office
If you like the vehicle you are about to hire for the self-drive safari in Kenya, you can now sign the contract and make payment for the vehicle hire. They will need to take a photocopy of your driving license, ensure its valid and keep a copy. The company will also take a photocopy of your passport for the file and to have your details. The safari vehicle you have just hired will be made available to you on the day you need it and in a clean condition ready for the drive. Remember to fuel it within the city before departure as petrol stations can be far between out of town. You also need to fill up any extra storage tanks or jerricans just in case you ran out of fuel in the bush.
10. Explore Your Routes and Buy a Lonely Planet Guide in Nairobi
You need to explore your routes and if possible download the GPS route on your GPS Device or phone so that you avoid getting lost. The lonely planet Kenyan guide book is a very helpful and extremely detailed guide to self-drive in Kenya. Make sure you have mapped out all your routes and read more about the towns and parks to know where to get supplies, security ratings, road conditions and everything you need to know about the drive around Kenya. The people at the self-drive office in Nairobi will be glad to offer their knowledge on any part of the itinerary that is unclear. You can also reach the office at any time and day during yourself drive trip around Kenya for further assistance.
There are more details you may need to find out about self-drive safari in Kenya. We can provide more details on email on everything you need to know about self-drive and car hire in Kenya.
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