Taste of Kenya
When following the Taste of Kenya you'll visit Nakuru, the Masaai Mara, Navaisha & Hell's Gate, and you can include a memorable stay at an authentic Masaai Camp.
This circuit is ideal for Kenya first-timers, those who primarily come to Kenya for safari, want modest driving hours a day, have limited time, or want to combine their road trip with a beach holiday add-on. There are daily comfort express trains from Nairobi to Mombasa and several cheap charter flights to Diani, Watamu, Malindi. and Llamu Island.
Scroll down below to see the day-to-day route. Starting September this year, it shall also be possible to book this tour with pre-booked accommodation and detailed travel notes included.
Check the day to day itinerary
Day 1 of 10
Drive: 25km | 60-90 minutes.
Welcome to Kenya, or in Swahili: Karibu Kenya! Depending on the time of your arrival, we can either deliver the car to the airport, so you can start your road trip straight away. Or you arrange an airport shuttle through the lodge you're staying at, and we deliver the car to your lodge the next morning. The lodges we select in Nairobi are based in Karen or Lang'ata, both green and affluent suburbs, boasting many good restaurants and shopping malls to stock up on supplies.
Top attractions in Nairobi are Nairobi National Park (a safari park with all the main predators enclosed by the city!), the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Giraffe Centre, Karen Blixen Museum or shopping for souvenirs at the Masaai Market. Alternatively, you can go up to the International Conference Centre Tower for a 360 view of the city.
Day 2 of 10
Drive: 160 km | appr. 4 hours
It's a scenic drive from Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park. The driving time is approximately 4 hours, depending on traffic at Mai Mahiu (slow-moving trucks driving up the escarpment). You'll climb up and down the escarpment, with endless views across the low-laying Masai plains. Depending on the time of your departure, you could still have time for your first-afternoon safari in Lake Nakuru!
Lake Nakuru is probably Kenya’s most visited national park. The scenery is breathtaking. The Rift Valley escarpment, dotted with euphorbia trees, rises up from the lakeshore. Heavy mist usually shrouds the lake and surrounding yellow fever trees in the early morning. The shallow lake supports great birdlife, including pelicans and some flocks of flamingos, although many of the flamingos have moved to other Rift Valley lakes.
Day 3 of 10
Destination: Maji Moto
Drive: 177 km | appr. 4 hours
Most big safari animals are present in Lake Nakuru, with the exception of elephants, and varied habitats support an excellent range of wildlife. The park is known for its populations of black and white rhinos and the rare Rothschild's giraffe. If you’re lucky enough, you can spot tree-climbing lions – Lake Nakuru is the best place in Kenya to see them.
The game drive tracks are limited, and if you're not a profound bird watcher or wildlife photographer, we find 1 day of game drives is enough. You can either spend 2 nights / 1 full day in Nakuru, or do an afternoon and early morning game drive, and continue to Maji Moto.
Day 4 of 10
Maji Moto is a natural hot spring, about 1-hour drive from Masai Mara's Sekanani gate. The hot springs are the lifeline for the cattle and communities that have settled in the vicinity. Over and over again, roadtrippers mention that the stay at this Masai camp, was a highlight of their trip.
Day 5 of 10
Start: Majio Moto
Destination: Masai Mara
Drive: 1 hour from Sekanani gate, from there it's a game driving to your lodge inside the Mara
The Maasai Mara and the Serengeti in Tanzania are probably the most rewarding game parks in the world. Imagine fields of waving grass in various shades of yellow to green as far as the eye can see, intersected by rivers and other water sources, and a prolific wildlife, even off-season. For a first-timer, it can be quite complicated to understand where to go and where to stay in the Maasai Mara as the tracks are not marked, so you easily get lost. When booking a car rental tour with accommodation, we make sure the routing is logical and doable for self-drivers.
Day 6 of 10
Instead of moving from one safari park to the next, we advise to only focus on a few safari parks, and exploring them well.
We recommend three nights in the Mara. If time is not on your side., you can consider reducing your stay to 2 nights only.
You can read up on our Masai Mara Travel Guide for more practical information.
Day 7 of 10
It's great fun to keep track of all the wildlife you have spotted and note it down in your journal. We also highly recommend doing a bush breakfast or bush picnic. Turn off that engine, and feel the silence.
Roadtrippers sometimes ask us - how do we spot wildlife? we don't have a walky-talky to communicate with other drivers, like the drivers from tour companies do. Well, what Peter will say, and we truly agree - the word game drive, derives from hide and seek. It's a game between you and the animal. It's so much more rewarding if you're not surrounded by other safari vehicles, and have spotted an animal yourself. And don't worry, also on a self-drive safari you will see plenty of wildlife in the Mara, always, year-round.
Day 8 of 10
Destination: Lake Naivasha & Hells Gate
Drive: 230 KM | From Sekanani gate to Naivash is appr. 4,5 hours.
Lake Naivasha and Hells Gate are two small national parks bordering each other. Foremost, Lake Naivasha is a great place to relax and unwind. After a few days of game driving, it's nice to be in another environment. If you can't get enough of wildlife, you can still do a walking safari or boat safari, but personally, we find the boat safari rather dull. Much of the lake is surrounded by forests of yellow-barked acacia trees. These forests abound with bird life, and Naivasha is known as a world-class birding destination. .
Nearby Hells Gate National Park is not a big wildlife safari destination. You go there for the dramatic scenery and the ability to get active. You can go mountain biking amidst the giraffe's, zebra's and gazelles - you can do rock climbing or go on a scenic hike through the gorge. Highly recommended!
Day 9 of 10
We recommend staying 2 nights at Lake Naivasha, so you also have time to explore the nearby Hells Gate and to to simply relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
If time is not on your side, or your return flight is in the evening, then you can stay 1 night, and return to Nairobi today.
Day 10 of 10
Start: Lake Naivasha
Drive: 120 km | 2-3 hours, depending on traffic at Maai Mahiu (slow-moving trucks up the escarpment).
After a good rest at Lake Naivasha, its time to head back to Nairobi. You'll either hand over the car at the lodge you're staying at, or we meet you at the airport.
Taste of Kenya: what to expect on this 10 day Kenya Tour
Travel time and road conditions
8-10 days / 7-9 car rental days are recommended to follow the Taste of Kenya
We recommend 1 to 2 nights in Nakuru, 2 nights Maji Moto, 2 to 3 nights in the Masai Mara, and 1 to 2 nights in Naivasha & Hells Gate. If time is not on your side, you can consider skipping Maji Moto and continuing straight from Nakuru to Masai Mara, but it would be a shame to miss out on this cultural experience. The bare minimum time needed to follow the circuit is 6 days.
Good tarmac roads connect the national parks and it's a scenic drive. The road conditions inside the national park vary from time to time, depending on whether there has been heavy rainfall.
Offline navigation is easy if you download Maps.me on your smartphone before you go, and combine it with Google Maps and the roadmap included with your car rental. Don't map out the entire day, but break up the journey in pieces, as otherwise, you run the risk that Google maps out the shortest route, taking you to rough back roads, which is bad for the car and greatly increases your travel time. Consult our Driving in Kenya blog, for more tips.
Starting from September this year, we shall also offer this route with accommodation in three price categories. Every guesthouse, hotel, and lodge that we select is carefully hand-picked. We favor eco-conscious boutique hotels that offer delicious cuisine, a pleasant ambiance in breathtaking surroundings, and good value for your money.
In the course of September, we shall update our website and also include the price tables, and we start taking in request for tours with pre-booked accommodation and detailed travel notes included. Stay tuned!
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Included in the Taste of Kenya
- Comprehensive car insurance
- Car delivery to your hotel or airport
- Roadmap and Lonely Planet
- 24/7 Road assistance
- Unlimited mileage
- Electrical fridge
- Camping gear