Bush to Beach

Bush to Beach

This one-way roadtrip from Nairobi to Mombasa includes the best Kenya has to offer: wildlife spotting and game drives, culture and beach. Scroll down below to see the detailed day-to-day route with lot's of insider travel tips. 

The price includes the car rental and one way drop off fee. The suggested lodges are places we like to stay ourselves when we are roadtripping; small-scale, good price-quality ratio and owner-managed when possible.

If you want to go budget you can consider hiring a set of camp gear, and camp along the way.

Check the day to day itinerary

Day 1 of 12

Destination: Nairobi
Drive: 25km | 1-2 hours

Welcome to Kenya, or in Swahili: Karibu! Today you will arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where get a transfer to your accommodation for the night. Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and the most developed city of East Africa.  Depending on your time of arrival you can also head-out to see some of Nairobi’s busy citylife. At night you take a taxi and enjoy the gastronomic highlights of East Africa.

Accommodation Suggestions:
Budget: Jungle Junction
Mid-range: Wildebeest eco camp

Day 2 of 12

Start: Nairobi
Amboseli NP
Drive: 160 km | 4 hours

Safari enjema! Today you will climb behind the wheel and start your road trip! Amboseli National Park is on the menu for today. We recommend to start driving after traffic hour 9AM. You will have enough time to reach your destination. You’ll spend some good time on the Nairobi – Mombasa highway. Highway travel advice: take it easy, don’t overtake as the Kenyans do, and reserve plenty of time to reach your destination.

Accommodation Suggestions:
Budget:  Public Campsite of Amboseli NP Or We4Kenya Guesthouse
Mid-range: Maasai Simba Camp


Day 3 of 12

Enjoy: Amboseli NP

Amboseli is a medium sized park, famous for its herds of elephants, dramatic views over Mount Kilimanjaro, and generally captivating landscapes. It patchwork of dusty plains and marshlands form the heart of a wide ecosystem covering the surrounding maasai lands. In the rainy season, the wildlife can roam around this vast ecosystem beyond Amboseli National Park, which is not fenced. In the dry season, the wildlife tends to concentrate in the park. Large herbivores such as elephants, wildebeests, zebra and gazelle are easily spotted here. Predators such as lions, cheetahs and hyena’s are also regularly spotted, but changes increase when you go with an experienced guide in your car.

Day 4 of 12

Start location: Amboseli NP
Destination: Tsavo West NP
Drive: 130 km | 3 – 5 hours

Depending on the road condition, which varies from season to season (ask the rangers/hotel staff) you can either opt for the C103 going west wards towards Tsavo West (3,5 hours) or back to the main A104 highway leading to Tsavo West (4,5 hour). Tsavo West is a huge park, but the centre of attraction is roughly in the triangle of the Chyulu gate, Mtito Andei Gate and Tsavo Gate.

Accommodation Suggestions:
Budget: Severin Kitani Self catering Banda's
Mid-range: Rhino Valley Lodge


Day 5 of 12

Enjoy: Tsavo West NP

Tsavo West is the true wilderness. Scrubby, rocky, dusty and bushy, rivers meeting volcano remnants, a landscape filled with hills, craters and caves. You can easily spend a week in Tsavo without getting bored of the place. Gazetted in 1948, and Kenya’s largest, second oldest and (we think) wildest park. The vast expansion of land enables you to truly wander off on the wilderness by yourself, though a guide is highly recommended when you want to search for wildlife. 

Accommodation suggestions:
Budget: Severin Kitani Self catering Banda's
Mid-range: Rhino Valley Lodge

Day 6 of 12

Start: Tsavo West NP
Tsavo East NP
Drive: 120 km | 5 hours

Drive from West to East to day and cross into the second wildest and largest park of Kenya – Tsavo East. Like the West, Tsavo East is also a wilderness, full with scrubby bushes, dusty plains, rocky outcrops and lots of wildlife! It gives you an overwhelming sense of space. Luckily wildlife concentrates itself along the river banks of the Galana and Voi river, so those are the ways to go.

Accommodation suggestions:
Mid-range/deluxe: Ashnil Aruba Camp

Day 7 of 12

Start: Tsavo East NP (Voi side)
Tsavo East NP (Sala gate)
Drive: 60 km | 4 hours

Spend a day in Tsavo East. Sights along the Galana river are Lugard falls and you will find lots of pools of hippos and crocs. You won’t miss big herds of elephants heading to the river as well. Another destination is the Mudanda Rock, which looks a bit like the famous Australian Uluru. On this one you can climb to an outlook overlooking a waterhole. People regularly seem to spot leopards here!

You'll drive through the park and end your day along the Galana River with plenty of crocodiles to be found. Note that the roads are rough on these stretches so reserve plenty of time to reach the Sala Gate.

Accommodation suggestions:
Mid-range: Epiya Chapeyu Tented Camp or Galana Crocodile Camp

Day 8 of 12

Start: Tsavo East (Sala gate)
Drive: 180 km | 5 hours

You’ll leave the bushy and wild nature behind you and drive to the coast. Malindi, here we come! Malindi is very relaxed which its delicious restaurants and Italian cuisine, the white sandy beaches of Watamu and the splendid variety of sealife at the coast.

Note that the first part of this road is rough & rocky.

Accommodation suggestions:
Mid-range: Kola Beach Resort

Day 9 of 12

Enjoy: Malindi

You have deserved some relaxation from the days in the bush. Spend a day in Malindi and surrounding beaches. We recommend to take stroll along the beach to the city centre where you find some relics from Vasco da Gama's explorations of the coastline. In the afternoon you can relax with a cocktail at the swimming pool of your resort, or take a dip in the sea.

Accommodation suggestions:
Mid-range: Kola Beach Resort


Day 10 of 12

Start: Malindi
Drive: 42 km | 1 hour

This is a short and relaxed one hour drive south to Watamu, although you can spice it up with some activities and sights, such as a walk through the Arabuko Sokoke forest. The forest is the only home in the world to the fascinating golden-rumped elephant shrew, which you can track here. Though, honestly, they also roam around on the parking lot of the next door Gede ruins; a cultural highlight at the coast, and well worth spending a few hours in this magical place. Another option is to see some creeping friends at the Bio-ken Snake farm and laboratory, where an enthusiastic guide shows you the most thrilling, venomous but beautiful snakes.

Accommodation suggestions:
Mid-range: Mawe Resort or AirBnb Self catering houses (good value for money)
Upgrade deluxe: Treehouse Watamu

Day 11 of 12

Enjoy: Watamu

Watamu is a roadtripper's paradise, with relaxed, budget-friendly accommodation, superb beach life, and lots of sights and activities. Go diving at Ocean Sports, watch turtles being rescued at the Watamu turtle watch, or just unwind with delicious pizza at Hosteria Romana.

Accommodation suggestions:
Mid-range: Mawe Resort
Upgrade deluxe: Treehouse Watamu






Day 12 of 12

Start: Watamu
Mombasa or Malindi Airport
Drive: 120 km | 3 hours or 40 km | 1 hour

It is another 3 hours south to Mombasa. We recommend to stop for lunch or a day in Kilifi. Try Nautilus or Boatyard for a delicious cuisine. Mombasa is a busy, smelly and slightly dirty city. If you like chaos, go through old-town.

Hand-in the vehicle to our driver waiting at the airport, where you can depart back to Nairobi, or fly to Lamu, Zanzibar or the Maasai Mara.

What to expect on the Bush to Beach trip in Kenya?

Travel time and road conditions

A stay of 12 days with 11 days car rental is recommended to follow this route. On average, you spend two nights at one location. On a travel day, you drive around five hours without factoring in time for lunch, pictures etc.

Road conditions are OK year round. The main roads are asphalt pavement, with occasional potholes and speed bumps. Usually, the last stretch to your lodge or inside park entrance, requires some driving on gravel or dirt roads. Inside the parks it is off-road driving on dirt roads. The conditions of these roads are the most challenging during rainy season, but in general off-road driving is not technical in the parks covered in this route. Offline navigation is easy if you download Maps.me on your smart phone before you go. More tips at the on the road section.

Go to Travel time and road conditions

When is the best time to visit Kenya

The hottest and most humid part of the country is at the coast. If you're a person that can't stand heat, than avoid the coast around Jan- Feb. The coolest months are from May to July. 

The rainy season generally lasts from April through to May, with some short rains from September to November. April and May are not a good time to visit the coast.

The migration of wildebeest in the Mara starts around July and last until end September. More regarding the Mara can be read in our blogpost 'Self drive in the Masai Mara'

Find more info about the weather and timing your safari in the 'before you travel' section.

Go to When is the best time to visit Kenya


Low season | 1st March - 31st May

Price includes 12 day Toyota Landcruiser or Toyota RAV 4 rental, airport pick up in Nairobi and drop-off in Mombassa.

Want to do the Bush to Beach with the company of a driver - guide? Add USD 440 to the total.

  Rav4 Landcruiser Regular Landcruiser Stretched
Per car
$ 1,038 $ 1,398 $ 1,638

Rest of the year

Price includes 12 day Toyota Landcruiser or Toyota RAV 4 rental, airport pick up in Nairobi and drop-off in Mombassa.

Want to do the Bush to Beach with the company of a driver - guide? Add USD 440 to the total.

  Rav4 Landcruiser Regular Landcruiser Stretched
Per car
$ 1,158 $ 1,518 $ 1,848

Create & book

Book the Bush to Beach roadtrip as is, with car rental and accommodation, or adjust it to your liking.

Make this road trip yours

Included in your accomodated roadtrip


  • Airport transfers
  • One way rental fee
  • Comprehensive car insurance
  • Roadmap and Lonely Planet


  • Electrical fridge
  • Driver-Guide
  • Camping gear