Journeys Magazine

Self Drive in Kenya: How to Make the Most Out of It

Am sure every tourist is aware of the emerging and developing self-drive safari idea in Kenya. Self-drive safari is where a tourist has a chance to drive him/her- self throughout in Kenya. There’s an amazing experience of being behind the steering wheel when driving in Kenyan national parks and you find a herd of elephants crossing the roads, or a leopard hiding behind the bush.

However, most tourists traveling to Kenya find it difficult to go for a self-drive safari because of the fear to fail to see animals and having less information about different animals’ habits and characters.

Here are some of the tips for you to put in mind to make the most out of your self-drive safari in Africa;

Choose your travel date wisely

Kenya has two travel seasons, and these are the wet season and the dry season. If you have budget issues, traveling during the rainy season is a perfect idea whereby most tour companies reduce prices, accommodation reduces room rates, and even car rental companies reduce the prices of car rental, but this comes at the cost that you will need a very strong 4×4 safari vehicle to pass through same roads in national parks and even during this time the grass is very tall which make animal watching difficult.

If you have enough money, the perfect time to visit Kenya is during the dry season when there is less rain and you will pass in the road when they are dry and be ready to find a lot of tourists in national parks.

Drive slowly in the national park

In all national parks in Kenya, the speed limit is 45km/h, this is because all the roads in national parks are murram roads and it’s very easy for a speeding vehicle to overturn and cause an accident on murram road, and to your benefit, it’s very easy to see animals in the national park when driving slowly because the animals are less likely to run away from your vehicle. Still, in the national park, the animals have 100% to the right of the way, and still when driving during the rainy day keep a keen eye out for snakes and tortoises coming to take some water from the puddles on the road.

Get up early in the morning

Another way you can enjoy your self-drive safari in Kenya to the fullest is getting up very early in the morning when you going for a game drive in the national park, this is because most wild animals most especially the predators like lions and leopards are most active in the morning and evening. So it’s advisable at least to be among the first people at the national park gate when it opens when most of the tourists are still at the lodge sleeping and others still preparing to go for a game drive. This offers you a chance to enjoy wildlife watching quietly when there are fewer people in the park meaning every sighting you will get you will often have to yourself.

Go Camping

Another way to enjoy your Kenya self-drive safari to the fullest is by going camping. Camping in the African wild is an amazing idea to experience both day and night of the African wild. There are different camping grounds in all of Kenya’s national parks and most of them can provide camping gear to their clients.

Still, if you not sure whether you will have good camping gear, there are several car rental companies in Kenya offering 4×4 car rental with camping gear, some come with rooftop tents.

Get a good camera and a pair of binoculars

The main reason why most tourists fear to go for a self-drive safari in Kenya is that they have a fear that they may fail to see animals in the park, but taking a good pair of binoculars can help you break sighting and be able to see animals which are fear from you clearly. And also you will have to keep some evidence that you were once on an African safari, taking a good camera also can help you keep some good photos and videos you can show back home.

Be patient, don’t rush on a safari

In the national park, animals have 100% to the right of the way for example when you find a herd of animal elephants crossing the road, it’s better to stop the car wait for them to cross and even you don’t have to hoot for them. For your benefit, waiting patiently at the water source in the national park more especially during the dry season of the year when all animals are forced to go to the large water source to drink water, will never be bored since you will see most of the animals coming to drink water, and also predators like, crocodiles, will be waiting there to catch what to eat.

In case you’re a bird lover, still, here you will have the best time of your time when you seat patiently by the water source.

Listen to the sounds of the African wild

Since most cars are soundproof when they are closed, it’s a good idea when you on a game drive in a national park to have your vehicle windows opened, your radio turned off, and also awaken your senses to the sound of the Kenya wild. In case you hear animals alarm calling, or birds calling, there is a high chance there’s a predator around.

Watch animal behaviors

At least do a little research on different animal behaviors before you set off for a self-drive safari in Kenya, for example, when you on a game drive in a national park, and realize that a herd of wildebeest, impala, or giraffe is looking at the same direction this means there is a predator in the area. Just stop the vehicle and use your binoculars to look in the same direction and see whether you can also spot the danger.

Switch the engine and light off in the sight of animals

Since most safari cars we use in Kenya have diesel engines that make a lot of noise, it’s better to switch the engine off in presence of animals because the car engine sound may scare the animals away. You may be in the middle of a hot day when using air-con is inevitable due to hot weather outside, but sacrificing your air-con for a short time you won’t regret it, and another thing you have to keep in mind that you’re in Africa after all.

Respect the animals

Don’t ever go off the road towards the animal because you can’t see it clearly, you will disturb the animal’s peace and also damage the vegetation around. It’s advisable to at least use your binoculars.
In case you find the animals lying in the middle of the road, it’s advisable to wait for them and also to keep a distance of around 100Metres away from Fierce Animals like Elephants.

In case you want to get animal attention to look into your camera for a photo you need to just be patient. Don’t whistle or beep your horn at it. You have to know that these are wild animals and they are likely to be scared when you whistle at them.


In case you have been having a second thought of visiting Kenya for a self-drive, then just read this post, you will have enough idea to plan and make your Kenya self-drive safari memorable and interesting.

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