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self drive east africa


Monkey Mad Matt

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Monkey Mad Matt

i used to live in south africa so have done many self drive trips (kruger mainly, but etosha, pilansberg and a few others as well) and was wondering if anything comparable is an option in east africa. i remember going to masai mara 8 years ago and seeing people self drive around off road, which i would have thought would lead to people getting lost quite easily. 

 

anyway, id love to revisit the masai mara or serengeti but cost is a problem and am wondering if anyone could shed some light on driving in these areas. Is there a park equivalent to kruger with more mapped roads or a way around this in the serengeti.

 

I am new to this site so apologies if this is in the wrong place or has been asked 100 times

Edited by Monkey Mad Matt
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I can´t recall seen any trip report for a self drive trip in Masai Mara or Serengeti on this forum. Most people  here go on a high-cost safari(whick I envy :()So I guess you won´t have to much luck with finding any info here. There is a useful source on www.4x4community.co.za which I use a lot(but never to Kenya or Tanzania). Lots of info especially for Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, but also some  East Africa.

 

What I can tell you is that self drive in Tanzania or Kenya will cost a lot more than Kruger. And nowhere near as organized as South Africa. 

 

 

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Botswanadreams

I think everybody like to do self drive in East Africa can do it. We don't like this but we like to do camping trips. There is no reason to have a Guide and a Chef with you as long as you prefer to be alone on the trip. You need a rental company for the car and you have to organize the whole trip by yourself. That's all.  

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Atravelynn

Best wishes in your self driving adventures.  It seems you have the experience!

 

It worries me that you saw people self-driving off road in the Mara, as offroading is not allowed.  Maybe they were on less substantial roads where driving was still allowed.

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DanielBme

I did read a few threads on the Trip Advisor Tanzania forum about self driving.  It was quite detailed.  You may have to do a search on self drive.  I thought I had saved the link but can't find it.

 

This might help.  Go to the third last post with the smugmug link.

 

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g293747-i9226-k7005188-o10-I_want_to_do_a_self_drive_What_do_I_need_to_know-Tanzania.html

 

Edited by DanielBme
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Monkey Mad Matt

thanks for all the information. After reading those threads/blogs i think self driving in east africa isnt an option. I like adventure but it seems its not what east africa has been designed/developed for. The phrase "toilet tent" is a new one on me as well haha

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  • 2 months later...

"What I can tell you is that self drive in Tanzania or Kenya will cost a lot more than Kruger. And nowhere near as organized as South Africa."

 

It's definitely less organised than South Africa, in terms of the facilities as campsites for example. However:

 

1) roads - the main roads in Kruger, Addo, etc. are excellent; the main roads in Serengeti (for example) are atrocious! However the secondary roads/tracks are generally OK, not much different from those in SA. Rwanda (Akagera NP for example) has good roads, Uganda (QENP, Murchison Falls) - good, although Kidepo NP can be challenging, the less-visited parks (Samburu, SHaba, Meru) in Kenya are good. Main roads between parks can be excellent - especially the new roads built by the CHinese and USA, other roads vary between good (Rwanda and some routes in Kenya and Tanzania) and terrible (the highway up to the west shore of Lake Turkana, the road connecting Tanzania with Rwanda.

 

"seeing people self drive around off road"

 

Not permitted in any National Parks, anywhere, without special permission.

 

"Is there a park equivalent to kruger with more mapped roads..."

 

Short version - no. The roads are mapped to a large extent and T4A covers much of EA although not to the extent of SA.

 

"...or a way around this in the serengeti. "

 

Rent a vehicle so that you don't destroy your own. If you take your own it's about 7-8 days' drive from Beitbridge or Kazungula to Serengeti; then stick as much as possible to the secondary roads (which is where you'll find the wildlife anywhere). Have the vehicle checked for damage after leaving the Park...

 

Happy to offer more thoughts to specific questions.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
The Lioness

I am experienced travelling to Masai Mara. Selfdriving is allowed and possible,  as long as you are experienced enough and have he knowledge how to drive through rivers and muddy places :D 

Driving offroad is not allowed, exept you buy an off-road permission which is really expensive per day. Beeing outside in the darkness is permitted (in the Mara),, too. You get highly charged by the rangers! 

And speaking Swahili would really be helpful to pick up information on the radio,.

During the game drives you will meet other cars,  and everybody helpf each other in case someone gets stuck.

Important too: its a 7 hours drive from Nairobi to Masai Mara and the traffic is horrible. 

Check Sunworld Safaris, located directly in Nairobi. They rent solid  cars for selfdriving in East Afrika and provide perfect organization.

Nevertheless, I would recommend to go for a gamedrive with a guide, this is so muhc more relaxed. B)

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there is a reason why in countries like South Africa and Namibia you will find many more self drivers than in Kenya and Tanzania - I have been travelling to both parts of the continent for almost 20 years now, with close to 40 different trips on my back...in South Africa and Namibia I would never do a booked safari, in Kenya and Tanzania never venture out on my own. Of course it's feasible. but with a lot more effort and chances that something goes wrong, are much higher. Some call that the adventureous part of a holiday, I call it taking unnecessary risks. 

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  • 2 months later...

Hi there, I’m the author of the TR mentioned in post 7. (Thanks, DanielBme). The trip described happened in 2015 and we loved it so much, we did another one this past June. Yes, it’s very expensive because of entrance and camping fees, but it’s certainly a grand adventure and with the right car and equipment and lots of preparation anyone can do it. Just know what you are getting into as far as food and water supply is concerned as well as toilets and showers... and camping is quite a lot of work. It helps to be really well prepared and expect the unexpected and bring along a lot of patience. The wildlife is so spectacular and will compensate you for any hardships on the way. 

Now im wondering if you have made a trip to East Africa since I may be reacting to an older post. 

Greetings from KaliCa 

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