Road Travel in Kenya

Feb 26th, 2005, 05:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3
Road Travel in Kenya

I am thinking of a Kenya safari that will involve road travel from Nairobi to the Mt Kenya area and parks north of there. I am in good physical condition and health, but am in my late 60's. I would like to hear the experience of others who have traveled into this area relative to the level of discomfort (severe road roughness, etc.) they have experienced during road travel both to and into the parks using safari company 4x4s. I am considering the option of flying in and out, but would prefer to experience the countryside travel experience. If I should decide to fly in/out, that would still leave the road travel through the parks. Thanks.
travelertom is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 03:56 AM
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From my experience on numerous trips to East Africa, both Kenya and Tanzania, at least half the visitors are between ages 50 and 80. They have the time and the money... so they travel.

No doubt, road travel in these countries can be difficult when compared to the super highways with which most of us are familiar and comfortable in our home countries, but that is part of the experience. You will find that many of the major roads between city centers are paved blacktop, though all are not in the best condition. And one won't find road crews out fixing potholes as soon as they appear, so one has to be prepared.

Certainly you can fly from Nairobi to Nanyuki/Mt. Kenya and from there to Samburu, but even upon reaching these areas you'll have to drive to the parks/reserves and thru them to reach your lodging. And, of course, you'll then be driving within the parks during your actual safari time. Surprisingly, the roadways inside the parks are more often then not in better condition then the paved roads outside.

We've previously traveled by road and by air, often combining both and road travel, especially in Kenya will provide you with more contact with people in the communities along the way; and, there is some amazing scenery along these routes.

If you are in good physical condition and health, I don't see any major issues with road travel, but only you can decide if this is something you want for your holiday. Why not tell us where exactly you plan to travel and we can suggest the best routing - air or road.
Feb 27th, 2005, 12:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3
Thank you for your comments. My inquiry was motivated by an interest in hearing what others have experienced. The specifics of my travel itinerary wiil be determined by the Safari Company I contract with, and subject to the transport options offered. Your reply has been helpful to me. I look forward to hearing from anyone else who might be so kind as to offer their experience and perspectives on this question.
travelertom is offline  
Feb 27th, 2005, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Sandi pretty well summed it up as to roads. Being a country boy used to back roads in Pa with some fairly rough mountain jeep trails (okay, rough for eastern usa), I was prepared for the gravel roads in Eastern Africa. And, our guides were very considerate in how they approached rough conditions (afterall they had to tolerate the conditions as well). However, I was not mentally prepared for the horrible conditions of the paved roads where we often had smoother traveling on the berm! According to our guide politics play a big role in the condition of the paved roads. In some reaches the roads were simply great. Along others, nothing close to a paved road existed. And talk about dust! Yet, we would gladly experience it again for the opportunity to see the countryside. Just accept the fact "it isn't Kansas" and you will do fine.
rsnyder is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 05:03 AM
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rsnyder -

Your comment >>"it isn't Kansas"<< reminded me of the thought/comment I made to our driver heading from Lake Nakuru to the Mara (on our first trip and this was a long drive 5-hrs). A good portion of the road was in pretty good condition and the lansdcape in every direction were fields of wheat. My comment "if the roads were just a little better, I could easily believe I was driving across Kansas" where the traveler sees little but fields of wheat and not much of anything else. We all got a good laugh, but weren't laughing much by the time we reached Narok where the road disappeared and we had only ruts. An adventure anyways.
Feb 28th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Thanks to both of you, sandi and rsnyder - I think I get the picture, and also being a "country boy" (at least at some point in the very dim past!!)from Michigan (where I lived on a gravel road about 3 miles from the nearest paved road)I am feeling pretty comfortable about what to expect. However, anyone else with comments, please let me hear from you!

travelertom is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 12:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We were mentally well prepared from reading this message board and found that the roads were not as rough as we had anticipated. We really enjoyed the scenery along the way and conversations with our guide. The time passed very quickly. Actually the worst part for me was not the condition of the roads but the diesel fumes from the trucks when traveling on major paved routes. But we would still opt to travel by road again.
Patty is offline  

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