"Self drive: be realistic about road conditions" Top 5 Page for this destination Nairobi Transportation Tip by CatherineReichardt

Nairobi Transportation: 63 reviews and 86 photos

 
 

Because my experience of the country is limited to Nairobi and the central part of the Rift Valley, I can’t claim to comment authoritatively on the standard of the entire Kenyan road system. The bits we drove were of a pretty reasonable standard (compared to other African nations), but a few pointers may be of use if you're considering a self drive option.

Kenyan roads are generally well constructed, although the universally poor state of maintenance (both in towns and the rural areas) is clearly an issue.

The biggest challenge to safe driving (and rapid progress) is the huge volume of heavy vehicle traffic on the roads. On uphill stretches, some vehicles struggle to maintain more than a walking pace, thus frustrating vehicles trapped behind into unsafe overtaking manoeuvres. Seeing vehicles attempting to overtake on a blind rise just before a sharp corner when their acceleration is only marginally better than that of the vehicle they’re trying to overtake is a truly terrifying experience, but unfortunately, all too common.

Mindful of this challenge in a country that has some pretty fierce topography, it is hard to understand why the road authorities have not made more of an effort to introduce ‘crawler lanes’ which allow ordinary vehicles to safely overtake heavy trucks on uphill stretches, but ours is not to reason why (complete that well known quotation at your peril!)

Unlike much of Southern Africa, where single lane roads are engineered with a wide ‘hard shoulder’ onto which slow moving traffic can temporarily pull over in order to allow ordinary traffic to pass, the road edges in Kenya are sharply cambered. Thus, any vehicle pulling over to the left to allow other traffic to pass runs a more than even risk of careering off the road altogether, so don't even consider this maneouvre!

Mode: AROUND
Type: Car/Motor Home

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 19, 2012
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CatherineReichardt

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