Discover Kenya's highlights | Taste of Kenya safari itinerary

Experience the freedom of a roadtrip with the ease of a well-planned itinerary. This Kenya self-drive trip is perfect for first-time visitors who are primarily interested in safari, the country's highlights, and minimal driving hours per day. 

  • Experience first-class game drives and wildlife spotting
  • Visit Nakuru, the Masai Mara, Naivasha and Hell's Gate
  • Enjoy a memorable stay at an authentic Masaai Camp

Do you want to combine your roadtrip with a beach holiday add-on? Daily comfort express trains are available from Nairobi to Mombasa and several cheap charter flights fly to Diani, Watamu, Malindi and Lamu Island. Scroll below to see our day-to-day itinerary with realistic driving times, route directions, and travel tips for Kenya. 

Day-to-day itinerary | Taste of Kenya

Day 1

Day 1 of 9

Start: Nairobi
Drive: 160 km | appr. 4 hours

It's a lovely drive from Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park. You'll climb up and down the escarpment, with endless views across the low-laying Masai plains.

Nakuru is a small but scenic park and provides a gentle introduction to self-driving in Kenya. We think one day of game drives is sufficient to explore the park. 

Day 2

Day 2 of 9

Start: Nakuru
Maji Moto Eco Camp
Drive: 177 km | appr. 4 hours

Most big safari animals are present in Lake Nakuru, except 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. 

You can spend two nights / one full day in Nakuru or one night, and do an afternoon and early morning game drive and continue to Maji Moto. 

Day 3

Day 3 of 9

Maji Moto is a natural hot spring about 1-hour drive from Masai Mara's Sekenani gate. The hot springs provide the lifeline for the Masai communities and their cattle. Over and over again, road trippers mention that the stay at Maji Moto Eco Camp was a highlight of their trip. 

Day 4

Day 4 of 9

Explore: Maji Moto

The Camp is nestled on a hilltop overlooking the vast savannah plains. The Camp is professionally run by Masaai.  A stay at this camp includes guided nature walks, a walk to the Maji Moto hot springs and the communities, a fun and informative Masai warrior training, sundowner drinks and campfire stories. 

Day 5

Day 5 of 9

Destination: Masai Mara 
Drive: 1 hour to Sekenani entrance gate. 

If you are visiting the Masai Mara, it can be difficult to understand how the Mara ''works'' - which entrance gates to use, which roads to avoid, and understanding the fees. We have written a Travel Blog about the Masai Mara. Feel free to check it out. 

Day 6

Day 6 of 9

It's great fun to keep track of all the wildlife you have spotted and note it in your journal. We also recommend doing a bush breakfast or bush picnic. Turn off that engine and 'hear'' 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 genuinely agree - the word game drive, derives from hide and seek. It's a game between you and the animal. It's so rewarding and fun if you're not surrounded by other safari vehicles and have spotted an animal yourself. And don't worry; on a self-drive safari, you will see plenty of wildlife in the Mara. 

Day 7

Day 7 of 9

Start: Masai Mara
Lake Naivasha & Hells Gate 
Drive: 230km | From Sekanani gate to Naivasha is appr. 4,5 hours. 

Lake Naivasha and Hells Gate National Parks border 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. 

Hells Gate National Park is not a big wildlife destination. You go there for the scenery and the ability to get active. You can go mountain biking amidst the giraffes, zebras, and gazelles and do a scenic hike through the gorge. Fore more info, check our Travel Blog on the most beautiful parks in Kenya.

Day 8

Day 8 of 9

We recommend a 2 nights stay at Lake Naivasha so you also have time to explore nearby Hells Gate National Park and 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 the following day. 

Day 9

Day 9 of 9

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, 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. 

Discovering Kenya's highlights | This is what you need to know

Travel time and road conditions

We recommend 9 car rental days for this Taste of Kenya itinerary. 

Is time not on your side? The minimum time needed to follow this Kenya circuit is 6 days. You can skip a stay at Maji Moto and continue straight from Nakuru to Masai Mara. Still, it would be a shame to miss out on this cultural experience. 

Road conditions between the national parks are good - you'll find smooth tarmac here all the way. The roads inside the parks vary, depending on weather and heavy rainfall. Want to know more? Check out our Driving in Kenya blog for more tips and advice. 

The Taste of Kenya itinerary is possible to travel year-round.

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