What to Pack for a Road Trip in Kenya – Expectation vs Reality

The Kenyan government has for the past year invested heavily in building highways and other major roads connecting different counties around the country. This good road provides an opportunity for travellers to move around with ease. So what should one pack for such a road trip to Kenya?

The good roads have also seen investors building up other infrastructures. This includes shopping malls, convenience stores, and gas stations at strategic locations built with travellers in mind.

This makes it easy for anyone to plan a road trip around Kenya. Whether for a day or backpacking for some days. There are many routes to consider whether starting from the main city, Nairobi or any other town or estate.

However, there are a few places in the Northern parts of Kenya that is not safe to traverse. Though this is a small portion compared to the larger area that is easily accessible.

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What to pack for a road trip.

The main thing that stands out about Kenya is the good weather. Although of late there have been days when heavy rains and floods have proven otherwise. Most times in the year, the weather has been favourable for short trips around different counties. So what should you pack for this kind of trip?

In terms of dress code for a road trip, always dress comfortable casual clothes that are not too revealing but pack in a jacket or two for the cold nights. Most counties and communities have different religious and cultural beliefs that need to be respected by presenting yourself as decent.

road trip

One of the main reasons for going on my road trip on my end is to try out different food. Hence I would not pack much food, just small snacks to munch at the beginning of the trip as we find more snacks on the way. What not to forget on such a trip is water. The temperatures in most places require you to drink enough water. At the same time, this essential need is not readily available everywhere. You can also research popular spots to stop for lunch or outstanding meals.

Other Accessories

A great trip calls for creating great memories by taking memorable photos. Packing a camera or phone for your road trip? You ought to be sure you have a backup battery or a good charging port so as not to run out on the way.

If you are taking a road trip as a couple or with a group, plan how you are going to help each other drive. This helps to avoid dependence on one person and fatigue on the driver.

One of the main businesses on most roads in Kenya is hawking, whether food, staple crops in the area or even roadside snacks like roasted maize, sugarcane, chopped fruits, boiled eggs etc. Be ready to be enticed to buy some and also do not hesitate to buy.  As long as you are sure of the hygiene of the commodities being sold.

Are there other things you can come up to pack for a road trip in Kenya or have I exhausted everything?


Also Read: Hiking Mount Kenya Forest through the Castle Forest Lodge

Road Trip Expectation vs Reality

The main thing to consider on a road trip is where to find bathrooms to freshen up once in a while. The best place for this is gas stations that have cafeterias, restaurants or shopping malls. Most of these places will expect you to purchase from them to access their facilities.

However, in places where the bathrooms are free e.g the route to Mombasa they lack necessities like running water, tissues and soap. It is advisable to carry tissue, hand sanitiser or wet tissues to use after accessing these facilities.

Kenyan roads have one of the most intolerant traffic police. While you were just expecting to have a good time out there, they may turn your day upside down. They may try to place a road traffic offence on you that you didn’t even commit. While on a road trip, expect to be stopped by the police at random times. Pray that they don’t place any traffic offence they can think of ruining your road trip.

It is always fun to try out different food and snacks while on a road trip. At times depending on where you buy your food, your stomach may decide otherwise. Always be ready for the unexpected especially when eating out in places you are not used to.



In Kenya, it is not easy to find someone willing to help you for free in case of car trouble while on the road. Always have some extra cash for such eventualities to pay the locals so they can agree to help you. It’s not a good idea to be stuck in strange places where you are not sure of the security.

Kenyan google maps and GPS does not cover all areas, especially in the rural parts. Hence, you need more skills than just relying on GPS to find your way through Kenyan roads. One of the most commonly used methods is stopping locals to ask for directions if you think you are completely lost.

Road trip in Africa

Some popular routes

One of the most popular routes for a road trip especially for young party-goers is the Nairobi-Naivasha route. Many young people take road trips leaving Nairobi to go party in Naivasha by the Lake. This route is popular and has many stopover joints for food and some beautiful scenery e.g the Rift valley viewpoint. There are other lakes like Elemtaita and Bogoria that are good for bird watching with the lesser flamingo being the most common here.

The route from Nairobi via Thika Road to Muranga, Nyeri or Meru is also good for party-goers. It also has stopovers especially for buying fresh farm produce and meat joints. If you are more adventurous, this route will accord you good views of Mount Kenya from different locations. Also, an opportunity to view the snow-capped mountain peak.

The route towards the coastal region through Mombasa road is also very popular. It is common for business people to head to the port area. This was the most common way to get to Mombasa before the construction of the SRG train. This route can take approximately 6 hours or more. It is appropriate to use it when travelling for more than a day.

There are other routes to consider that provide great sceneries and sites like driving through Kericho tea farms. Driving through the farms in Nyahururu on your way to Nyeri. Whichever route you take always embrace a positive mind and an adventurous spirit and you will enjoy your ride.

Do you have any other information to add on what to pack for a road trip to Kenya? Feel free to add more examples in the comments section below.

Read: Hiking safari in Kenya

Road Trip in Kenya


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