Here is a list of the best road trips to take in Kenya. Road trips in Kenya offer a wide variety of activities for travelers seeking adventure, cultural immersion, and scenic beauty. Blessed with rugged mountains, wildlife-rich savannahs, dense forests, blissful beaches, and lovely spots, Kenya is an attraction for scenic drives. Due to its unique landscapes, Kenya has gained the attention of many local and foreign tourists and road trips have become the ultimate activity for vacationing.
When you’re driving in and around the Great Rift Valley and Western Highlands, you could end up making stops like these every few minutes to take in the sights or snap a photo. Most roads in Kenya are easy to navigate, but some routes (like those in Northern Kenya) require a car that can handle off-road terrain. In no particular order, here are some of the road trip destinations you should check out.
Best Road Trips To Take In Kenya
1. Nanyuki to Samburu (130km)
If you’re planning a trip to Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve, a road trip is a great way to experience the diverse landscapes that the country has to offer. As you drive through the area, you’ll see the lush scenery transition into desert and mountains. Samburu is a beautiful and unique wilderness, and you can drive for miles without encountering another car.
If you have time, stop by the town of Isiolo, which is surrounded by hills and is famous for its bustling market. You can also check out the Catholic Church bell chamber, which offers stunning views of the urban sprawl from its rooftop. As you continue your journey, make sure to explore the Samburu villages around Archers Post or head towards Ngurunit at the base of Mt. Poi and northwest of Samburu Reserve. Finally, don’t miss out on spending a few days in the Samburu National Reserve itself, which is home to the “Special Five”: gerenuk (long-necked antelope), reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, and common beisa oryx (antelope). You’re sure to have an unforgettable adventure at Samburu National Reserve.
2. Nairobi to Kericho (264km)
Kericho is a beautiful place that is loved by many because of its stunning tea farms and the Mau Forest. The area is surrounded by rolling hills, and after Kapsoit, some winding turns are truly breathtaking. The road network is good, and people can easily drive to the farms in the north or south. The North Rift Valley and the Elgeyo Escarpment are must-see spots, and the best place to view them is Nyaru, which is even known as the “World’s End” viewpoint. The western highlands have some beautiful waterfalls, and in Cheploch, visitors can explore the valley floor where streams flow in different natural gorges. Another fascinating place to drive is near Tugen Hills, where people can enjoy even more stunning views. The Cherang’any Hills in the western highlands are also worth a visit for more mesmerising sights.
3. Nairobi to Mara in Maasai Mara (230km)
Masaai Mara is the top priority for those who want to experience local culture. This location is rich in beautiful landscapes, ideal wildlife, and rich local culture, which ultimately captures the attention of local and foreign tourists. A road trip from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara is an unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into the world of African wildlife and culture. Travelers should bring a reliable 4-wheel-drive vehicle, as well as enough supplies and water for the journey.
Taking a road trip to Maasai Mara is an exciting adventure that can create memories to last a lifetime, provided you prepare well and have a sense of adventure. Driving from Nairobi to Mai Mahiu, Narok, and Masai Mara takes about 5–6 hours or days, depending on your travel itinerary. Along the way, you will enjoy scenic views, including the Great Rift Valley viewpoint.
You can either join a guided game drive or explore the reserve independently. The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including the Big Five (lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos), as well as numerous bird species. To fully immerse yourself in the wilderness experience, you can spend the night in a lodge or campsite within the reserve. Visitors can also learn about the local culture and way of life.
It’s important to note that the road trip to Masaai Mara is not suitable for small cars such as the Mazda Axela, Honda Fit, Nissan Note, or Toyota Vitz. You will need a 4×4 vehicle such as a Toyota Prado, Toyota Harrier, Subaru Forester, and so on, at a minimum. Ideally, you should hire a specialised safari vehicle for optimal game viewing, either a 4×4 safari land cruiser or a safari van.
4. Nyeri to Nanyuki to Timau to Isiolo to Meru (265km)
This route is considered one of the best in Kenya. After navigating the winding roads of the Nyeri-Kiganjo route, take a break and admire the breathtaking views of the valleys. This area is known for its scenic beauty, which is even more impressive after it rains and the greenery comes to life. Along the way, you can stop at Nanyuki and Isiolo to enjoy the picturesque scenes of the hilly terrain.
If you’re looking for an off-roading adventure, drive from Nanyuki to Timau on unpaved roads, trails, and rough terrain. This route is surrounded by expansive wheat fields that offer stunning views and a refreshing breeze. If you live in Kenya and are planning a summer weekend trip, consider visiting Nyeri, Nanyuki, and Timau. Just make sure to prepare your all-terrain tyres and get ready for an unforgettable ride.
5. Nairobi to Turkana (700km)
Visiting Lake Turkana National Park is an adventure worth the effort for intrepid travellers. The region features stunning, arid volcanic landscapes surrounding a salty, crocodile-filled crater lake known as the “Jade Sea.” Additionally, there are traditional fishing villages and communities to explore.
If you’re travelling from Nairobi, it takes approximately six hours to reach Samburu National Reserve, which is about 300km (185 miles) away. Spending a night in a tented camp by the river is a great way to enjoy the beautiful setting. On day two, a shorter four- to five-hour drive will take you to Marsabit National Park, an unexpected oasis of green in the desert and home to an extinct volcano. Spending a night at Kalacha, which is located on the edge of the Chalbi Desert (around four hours from Marsabit), is an excellent way to experience solitude and the desert landscapes before embarking on an eight-hour drive to Loiyangalani on Lake Turkana’s eastern shores.
The highlight of the trip is walking and exploring the “Jade Sea” of Lake Turkana, with its crocodiles, hippos, and migratory birds. The El Molo tribe, one of Kenya’s smallest communities, lives in this region and makes a living from fishing. They braved the crocodile-filled waters to do so.
6. Nakuru to Nyahururu to Nyeri (163km)
While travelling on this route, you will have the opportunity to witness the majestic Nyandarua ranges. In Nyahururu, the Thomson Falls are a must-visit attraction. The stretches of land and ranges on the horizon will capture your attention, making it difficult to shift your gaze. The farms on either side of the road are beautiful, especially during sunset. On Saturdays, you are likely to encounter many cars of ‘Roadtrippers’ on this route.
7. Isiolo to Marsabit to Moyale (600km)
Ever since the construction of Isiolo-Marsabit Road, the route has become more accessible. In the past, only trucks and lorries could navigate the rough terrain. The landscape is characterised by many hills, providing a unique experience for those accustomed to city life. With a bit of luck, travellers may even spot some wild animals. Previously, the journey would take three days, but now it takes around 10 hours. If you feel adventurous, this road leads to Ethiopia.
8. Nairobi to Mombasa (490km)
If you’re looking for an exciting adventure in Mombasa, why not take a scenic road trip through Amboseli and Tsavo East and West National Parks before relaxing on the Indian Ocean’s beautiful beaches? The Nairobi to Mombasa Highway is a great road to travel on, and it’s mostly double-laned. You can take a detour to Amboseli, which is known for its stunning scenery dominated by Mt Kilimanjaro. You should stay here for a few nights to see the elephant herds.
After Amboseli, you can double back to the main highway to reach Tsavo National Park. A more direct route heads west to Tsavo West, but it’s only an option if it’s dry and there have been no incidents or adverse weather. The latest road information is available from rangers or staff at Amboseli. Tsavo (East and West combined) is one of Kenya’s largest parks and is renowned for its wild landscapes of hills, craters, and rocky scrubland. The drive between Tsavo West and Tsavo East National Park is about 100km (62 miles) long, so you may spot zebras, monkeys, and even giraffes and elephants on your way. Part of the road also runs alongside the railway line, so if you happen to drive alongside a train, it makes for a great experience (and photo opportunity).
As you pass the town of Mtito Andei, between Tsavo East and West, you will notice the terrain changing to a lusher, hillier one with cooler temperatures. You will also drive through the lush landscape of Shimba Hills. As you approach Mombasa, you can decide between the sweeping white-sand beaches of Diani and Galu south of the city or go north for Kilifi‘s bohemian atmosphere, the excellent snorkelling at Watamu, or the old-town charm of Malindi.’s bohemian vibe, the excellent snorkelling at Watamu, or the old-town atmosphere of Malindi.
9. Mwatate to Wundanyi (21km)
Nestled in the picturesque Taita Hills, Wundanyi Town in Taita Taveta County is blessed with awe-inspiring views. The landscape is simply breathtaking, captivating the hearts of all who visit the town that lies about 20km west of Voi Town. While ascending on the Mwatate-Wundanyi road, the lush rolling hills stretch out as far as the eye can see, creating a harmonious balance and painting a picture of natural beauty.
Wundanyi is a haven for nature lovers, offering countless opportunities for hiking, exploring, and immersing oneself in the stunning surroundings, leaving visitors in awe of the wonders of the breathtaking scenery.
10. Nakuru to Eldama Ravine to Kabarnet to Iten (210)
Kerio Valley is located in Elgeyo Marakwet County and is renowned for its steep hills and steps lined with acacia trees, making for a breathtaking view. It is an excellent location for capturing panoramic drone shots. Iten is approximately 40 kilometres away from Eldoret. Along this route, you can explore several sights and attractions, including Torok Falls, Kerio Valley, Cheploch Gorge, Tugen Hills, and Lake Kamnarok.
11. Nairobi to Kisumu (360km)
On your beautiful journey across western Kenya, you will be driven northwest of Nairobi to Lake Nakuru and then proceed into the lake city of Kisumu with a view of the northern Great Rift Valley. The viewpoint is one of the most popular stopovers in Kenya, and travellers can soak up the views, take photos or buy some jewellery at the curio shops. It is perfect in the evenings. The land forms a V-shape, and you can see roads and hills on the sides of the vast valley. When the sun is setting behind the mountains, the rays make it look spectacular.
The Nairobi-Naivasha Highway passes through the town of Kericho, where you can stock up on snacks and drinks and experience everyday life outside of the capital. There are also beaches and safari lodges in this area. A few tea estates are located near Kericho, and the Mau Forest is a prime destination area for road trips because it has an abundance of winding paths to enjoy. Once you reach Kisumu on the northeastern shore of Lake Victoria, stay a while to soak up the vibes of this relaxed port town, wander its market, explore its impala sanctuary, and enjoy sunset views.
12. Nairobi to Naivasha (95km)
If you’re up for a quick road trip away from the city, this day-long drive offers breathtaking views of the Great Rift Valley from places like Mathore Viewpoint. From there, you can feast your eyes on the expansive network of ridges and escarpments that make up one of Kenya’s most awe-inspiring sights. The valley floor is dotted with lakes and volcanoes, some of which are still active.
About 50 kilometres down the road from Nairobi, make a pit stop at the Traveler’s Chapel, also known as the Mai Mahiu Church. This charming little Catholic church, constructed by Italian prisoners of war in 1942, is one of the smallest churches in the world. Don’t miss the vibrant “Welcome to Nakuru County” sign just after the church. It’s adorned with a map of Africa and distance markers, making it a popular spot for photos.
13. Nairobi to Magadi (112km)
If you’re looking for a rewarding journey with a beautiful lakeside view near Nairobi, head south to Lake Magadi. Known as Kenya’s “pink lake,” it’s home to flamingoes and other wading birds. Along the way, you can stop at Nyama Choma restaurant at Olepolos Country Club for lunch. “Nyama choma” means “barbecue meat” in Swahili, and while you’ll find plenty of roadside stalls serving grilled goat meat, barbecued chicken, and crunchy corn snacks, Olepolos is a relaxing spot with great views and hiking trails.
After lunch, drive past acacia trees and traditional villages until you reach Lake Magadi. This soda lake is a lovely lakeside spot, especially at sunset. You can bring a picnic or head to the Lake Magadi Sports Club and Tented Camp for lunch, which also serves good food. If you want to stay overnight, you can choose between comfortable rooms and safari tents.
14. Nairobi to Mt Kenya National Park (213km)
Drive north out of Nairobi into Mt. Kenya National Park for hiking, climbing, and wild camping, and see the view change from urban sprawl to beautiful green countryside. You’ll travel through Thika, so stop for some local pineapples at one of the roadside stands. After that, take an active break at Sagana Camp, around 95 km from Nairobi, where you can camp, raft, and zipline.
The equator sign immediately before entering Nanyuki town is a popular stop-off before Mt. Kenya; it’s difficult not to take a photo here. Visit the craft market, which also features a great coffee kiosk and a convenience shop providing ice cream, beverages, and snacks. Nanyuki is the gateway town to Mt. Kenya and a lively place, ideal for picking up nyama choma, grilled corn and other snacks.
15. Emali to Loitoktok (103km)
The C102 is quite a scenic drive. It starts from Emali Township on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway and goes all the way to the Loitoktok border. It’s best to take the drive early in the morning to enjoy the views of the Emali to Loitokitok plains, with many low hills visible from the tops of the hills in Kilome. It’s also worth noting that Emali has a tarmac exit to Tanzania through Loitokitok, which could be a great option for those looking for a less busy route for adventure or a shorter route to the coastal towns of Tanzania. This road also provides quick and easy access to Amboseli National Park and Mt. Kilimanjaro, as well as the many luxury camps and hotels in proximity to Mt. Kilimanjaro.
16. Chebilat – Ikonge – Chabera (38km)
17. Nairobi – Narok – Sotik – Chebilat – Ikonge – Chabera – Sondu – Ahero – Awasi – Chemelil – Nandi Hills – Eldoret – Eldama Ravine – Nakuru – Nairobi
18. Illasit – Rombo – Taveta – Msambweni – Diani
19. Lokichar – Lodwar – Kakuma – Lokichoggio
20. Ena – Marimanti – Kaguma – Meru
21. Nairobi – Kiambu- Ndumberi – Limuru – Flyover-Njabini – Ol’kalou- Nyahururu – Nakuru
22. Eldoret – Kapmwosor – Eldama Ravine – Nakuru
23. Voi – Mwatate – Taveta – Holili
The A23 Voi-Taveta road is one of the finest roads in Kenya, passing places like Mwatate, Taita Hills and Tsavo West National Park and seeing wild animals beside the road. The road also provided an alternative route to Tanzania, passing through Tsavo West National Park.
24. Nairobi – Nyahururu – Rumuruti – Marsabit – Moyale – Isiolo – Meru – Embu – Masinga – Thika – Nairobi
25. Embu – Kiritiri – Kitui – Kibwezi
26. Buyangu – Sabatia – Mumias – Bungoma – Malaba
27. Mombasa – Malindi – Minjila – Garsen – Hola – Bura
28. Komarock Hills – Mua Hills – Machakos- Wote – Kathonzweni – Makindu
29. Othaya – Kangema – Gachocho – Ngonda – Mareira – Kabati
30. Machakos – Wote or Machakos – Mitaboni – Makindu
These routes offer breathtaking scenery, and travelers can stop along the way to appreciate the hills, valleys, and towns. At night, the little lights twinkling from the villages and towns of Mitaboni are a sight to behold.